Elton John Christmas Commercial: My Thoughts on Pianos, Dance Shoes & Finding Your Song by Rick St. Peter

5 years ago

"And you can tell everybody this is your song..."

A month ago, I had never heard of LaDuca dance shoes. My daughter, Olivia, a sophomore majoring in musical theater at Syracuse University, mentioned to me she really wanted a pair. She told me all the reasons she needed them for her dance classes. The support they would give her ankles, the confidence they would give her as she pursues her dream of one day being on Broadway, the fact that all her classmates had them and this was required footwear for “the Industry.” She had a host of reasons!

So over Thanksgiving during a trip to see family in New Jersey, we had an increasingly rare daddy/daughter day in Manhattan. My son, Aidan, stayed with our cousins while Olivia and I took the train into the city. We made our way from uptown to downtown. We went to Levain Bakery on W. 74th, we went to the Drama Book Shop and we saw a show at Classic Stage Company. But the highlight for her – and me if I am being honest – was visiting the LaDuca Dance Shoes store on W. 47th. In the store she was fussed over by Andrew, a dancer who not only gave her amazing service but also delivered a much-needed pep talk to her about life in the business and what she can expect when she leaves the cocoon of Syracuse. She also got a pair of 2.5-inch Elizabeth dance shoes at LaDuca from her daddy as an early Christmas present

LaDucas flashed through my mind’s eye as I watched the 2018 John Lewis Christmas advertisement featuring Elton John sitting at a piano and flashing back in reverse chronological order to the beginning of his journey. Young Reginald Dwight receiving his first piano as a Christmas gift from his mum serves as the beginning of his song. A song that is still playing all these years later.

It is a beautiful advert – fun and wistful, playful and mournful, celebrating youth while realizing there are fewer days ahead than behind. In other words, it is the perfect advertisement for this time of year. Winter, the solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah all provide opportunities for reflection. Who we are. Where we’ve been. Where we are going. Quiet. Stillness. Contemplation. Memories.

But that piano. That piano helped Reginald Dwight find his song. Will the LaDucas help my daughter find her song? I hope so. Her journey is just beginning. Years from now – when I am long gone – will she find those shoes in the back of her closet and think back to the day she got them? And days subsequent to that? Her successes? Her failures? Her father? I hope so. I hope Olivia won’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful that life is with her in my world.

I love her and I want her to find her song.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season. And I hope you find your song as well.

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Ann Marie Patitucci
Rick St. Peter : This is absolutely beautiful. "I hope Olivia won’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful that life is with her in my world. I love her and I want her to find her song." I think all parents know exactly what you mean.
Oh my. I might have sniffled a little while reading this. Beautiful indeed. ❤️
Mary Pat King
Love this - and not just because your daughter will join me in the future as a proud SU alum (although - GO ORANGE!). I loved your perspective of this commercial -- one full of hope and promise during this season. Thanks for your beautiful words!
Melinda Sharp
As a parent, reflecting on those special moments sustain me and help me find my joy on otherwise stressful days. I also love this commercial and your post!
Elisa Schmitz
Oh, Rick St. Peter , you touched my heart yet again. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. You captured what every parent wants for their child. I wish Olivia many amazing dances in those fabulous shoes! Now, off to find the perfect gift for each of my kids to help them find their songs...
Donna John
What a beautiful story, Rick St. Peter . Thank you for sharing this with us.
Chef Gigi
Thanks Rick St. Peter Im hysterically crying right now! Happy Holiday! Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory !
Michael Kennedy
Loved this ad and your piece Rick, music is a daily and visceral part of our family routine and it was an absolute joy reading your piece. Have a wonderful holiday.
Julio Caro
Thanks For Sharing...

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