'I went with the goal of trying to soothe and encourage her. I did not want to pull her offstage away from her sister and single her out.'
Like most people who go viral online, Marc Daniels' rise to social media fame as the internet's favorite "Daderina" was completely unexpected. All he'd thought about in that now-legendary moment was to help and empower his then 2-year-old daughter Bella to get over her stage fright. "Bella was super excited to dance that day. She adored her costume. She loves to dress up so she was in her element. She kept talking about how much she wanted to dance on stage," the father-of-three said, recalling the 2018 incident in an interview with Daily Mail last year. "On the drive to the theatre, we promised to buy the girls ice cream after they finished their dress rehearsal. Unfortunately, the pre-ballet class had to wait about an hour before it was their turn to go on stage. By that point, Bella was ready to leave because her mind was fixed on getting ice cream."
Daniels' wife, Kim, was backstage at the Earl Cameron Theatre in Hamilton, Bermuda, with Bella and her older sister, Giada (who was 4 at the time). "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," she told The Washington Post. "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!'" Marc, a lawyer, zipped across the stage with his then-8-month-old daughter in hand, hoping to stand in the wings next to Bella and coach his daughter from the sidelines.
"I went with the goal of trying to soothe and encourage her," he explained. "I did not want to pull her offstage away from her sister and single her out from the other girls and boys." Wanting Bella to have a good time that day despite the emotions she was going through, Marc jumped in, Suri in tow, pirouetting and gracefully balancing on one leg along with the rest of the tutu line following the teacher's choreography. Marc was in court the next day when Kim informed him that a video of him dancing on stage with the tiny ballerinas was going viral online. The family shared that they received messages from many saying the moment reminded them of their own experiences with their fathers.
When it came time for her final performance a few days later, Bella didn't need her Daderina on stage with her. "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," Marc revealed. Kim added: "We had front-row seats so she could see us making eye contact. She looked confident and brave."