Chances are good that “Daderina” pranced across your Facebook feed this week. The video of a father who, while holding his baby daughter, joined his distraught older daughter on stage to help her finish her ballet dance, has been viewed nearly 40 million times.
Maybe it’s his size in contrast to the tiny dancers that draws viewers in. Perhaps it’s his lack of tutu and the fact that he’s holding a baby while doing twirls and pliés that tugs our heartstrings. Either way, his impromptu finesse is endearing. So, who is this dancing dad?
Marc Daniels is a lawyer in Bermuda. He and his wife, Kim, have three daughters.
Kim was backstage at the Earl Cameron Theatre in Hamilton, Bermuda, during a dress rehearsal May 29 as daughters Giada, 4, and Bella, 2-1/2, waited to rehearse their dance.
“My husband was holding our youngest daughter, Suri. I was able to tend to the older girls backstage, but it was a long wait. That’s why the tantrum started,” Kim said. “Bella started marching on stage, so I thought she wanted to go for it. But she demanded Daddy. I thought, ‘Wait! Mommy has been here for an hour!’ ”
Hoping to coach his daughter from the sidelines, Marc is seen in the video (captured by another parent), zipping across the stage, holding Suri, and standing in the wings next to Bella.
“I went with the goal of trying to soothe and encourage her,” he said. “I did not want to pull her offstage away from her sister and single her out from the other girls and boy.”
Rather than rescue his daughter from the discomfort of crying in front of spectators, Marc joined her, Suri in tow, and helped the rest of the tutu line follow the teacher’s choreography.
When it came time for the final performances June 2 and 9, Bella was ready to dance sans parent. During the performance, Kim said, “We had front-row seats so she could see us making eye contact. She looked confident and brave.”
Marc added, “We were really proud that she wanted to do the performance on her own and showcase her talent, particularly as I did not want to become the focus of the show, especially for the other parents, and especially in light of all of the publicity. However, I wore the same red Pumas to execute the toe point, just in case!”
Because of that publicity, Marc said everyone in the theater seemed to recognize Bella and clapped throughout the dance.
“We knew that Giada would rock it, but we felt proud to know that perhaps my going on stage with Bella during the dance rehearsal gave her that extra boost of confidence to really shine and build her character,” he said.
Kim says she wasn’t surprised by her husband’s impromptu performance. “My husband is very loving; he has a beautiful bond with his daughters,” she said. “Watching him dance was so attractive, but it didn’t surprise me. It is the man I married.”
Marc said this bond with his girls is deliberate, and something he has nurtured carefully.
“All children, regardless of their gender, will experience the best from life when they have strong bonds with both of their parents,” he said. He said he believes that fathers should learn to braid their girls’ hair, learn the characters and names of their favorite dolls and television shows, read and cook with them, and involve them in ordinary tasks such as fixing a toy or making a kite. “Fathers play an immense role in the development of our daughters. We set the standard upon which they should expect to be treated by all other men — so we must govern ourselves accordingly,” he added.
“Mothers are phenomenal and do so much every day that goes unnoticed, even by their own partners,” Marc said. “So I do not feel worthy of all of this publicity for something that is just normal to us. However, I recognize how this video can be of inspiration to others, too, and I am certain that in the years to come, my own children will treasure this moment as a token of my love and respect for them.”