My daughter is a dancer. She dances at the dining table, she dances in the streets, she dances in restaurants, she dances with relish at her weekend ballet and tap class. She loves being on stage and the feeling that comes with it. We’ve been encouraging her with dance classes, support during recitals, and books about Misty Copeland, whom she now idolizes. So when she needed some encouragement to stay in her bed at night and not come into ours, we tempted her with a trip. Stay in bed one month, and when we are in New Jersey, we will take her to see where Misty Copeland dances. That was it – she never came back into our bed.
Once we were in New Jersey, we planned a trip to New York City to fulfill our end of the deal. Since we were visiting family (and everyone likes a trip to the city), we ended up being a big group. Between our family, my sister and her family, and my mother and her husband, we were a group of 9. By some miracle, we got our group of 9 on the train to New York City, to the rest rooms once we arrived, to the subway uptown, and then finally out directly into Lincoln Center.
As we came up the elevator and out, we rounded the corner and came out into the Josie Robertson Plaza. As we went out in the plaza, my daughter immediately recognized the famous arches of the Metropolitan Opera House that she had seen in her books. She started jumping up and down “This is it! This is it! This is where Misty dances!”
She took some pictures and jumped and leaped around the plaza pretending to dance on a large stage. The rest of the group looked around and took in the famous buildings and site. As we walked closer to the building, we saw that it had a gift shop. So we stepped inside where we were greeted by a guard. My daughter immediately told him that she wanted to see where Misty danced. He said “You’re in luck, we are open to the public today.” That’s right, we happened upon the Metropolitan Opera House, on a day the lobby was open to the public to look around.
We all took the opportunity to check out the beautifully decorated entry way to the famous hall. The long grand stairway lead you’re eyes up to the crystal chandelier masterpiece in the center, capturing and sparkling all the sunlight through the famous arched windows. The adults mostly walked up the stairs and looked around admiring the art work and décor of the famous location.
But my children had a different idea. They wanted to pretend they were famous dancers. And so they did. Doing grand jetés down the stairs, and posing in dance poses all over the stairs and lobby. My daughter literally danced throughout every inch she was allowed to explore.
Finally there was a lovely gift shop that we went to visit. We let the kids each pick a book to take home. My studious son, ever interested in biographies, picked “Trailblazer: The Story of Raven Wilkinson”, which talks about the first African American dancer to tour with a major company, and was an inspiration to Misty Copeland. My artistic daughter picked a dance sticker book, that allowed her to color, and set up scenes of dances using stickers and other decorations.
As we left, we took a quick glance around the rest of the plaza. They wanted to see Juilliard, but the grass bridge that connects Lincoln Plaza to the famous arts school was closed, so we only looked at it from a distance. It was enough for my daughter and son to dream of taking dance and piano classes there. Soon, the group grew restless with hunger and my baby niece was ready to get out of her stroller. So we all said good-bye to Lincoln Center as we walked to a local Greek restaurant for lunch. But my daughter danced the whole way, renewed with her dancing dreams, and now asking when she would actually get to meet Misty Copeland. What haven I gotten myself into…
- On Columbus between West 62nd Street and Broadway, New York City
- Outdoor Plaza’s Always Open to the Public
- Tours Available, see website for details
- Metropolitan Opera House open Mon – Sat 10am – 8pm, Sun 12pm – 6pm
* Starred photos taken by Atma Photography