I got there unintentionally early, which ended up being a good thing since the annual Jazz Fest was across the street and parking was a joke.
I had barely finished sewing my pointe shoes at work. I had actually forgotten until about 3pm (I get off at 4:30) When I was putting together the new desk my boss got for me and realized I didn’t have much time. I wasn’t 100% sure if we would be wearing our shoes or not, but figured I should have them sewn just in case. I mean, the part isn’t that long, and this rehearsal is 2 1/2 hours. Surely we’d get into them.
This is before rehearsal started. I told the girls I needed to get a picture since I kept forgetting to take any for this blog. They were rather excited.
So we got started with a barre warm up, then referenced last year’s DVD for the choreography. Ms Munro put us in order by height, which thankfully there’s one other girl whose around my height, so I don’t stick out awkwardly among the other dancers. (Who are at least 10 years younger than me.)
She put us into two groups for the two different sides of the stage we would enter. The girls in my group would prove to be pretty great, as they were the quieter ones who paid attention and in turn gained the praise of Ms Munro. Which is coveted. Go team.
We learned the entire dance, which wasn’t too hard for me being that it’s rather short. But I definitely recognize the different parts I’ll need to improve on so I don’t look like a blubbering idiot up there.
Ms Munro worked with the lead Chinese, who were adorable to watch. The girls are about 11, and the boys they are partnering are probably in high school, so the girls were rather giggly. But they would keep it together to get the dance done, which I thought was very mature of them. It was quite entertaining to watch.
Ms. Munro had us put our pointe shoes on to work on the dance the second half, so we could get a feel for it.
This was the first time I had put these shoes on. They weren’t broken in at all, and I wasn’t even sure if they were sewn well. They proved to be pretty darn good.
I got mine on before the other girls, so I went over and walked in them a bit on the studio floor. I was instantly nervous when I remembered that there was a pirouette in the choreography, and the last time I did one was on this floor during auditions when I rolled my ankle.
For some reason, the floor seemed squishier than usual and I felt less stable. I was anxious, to say the least, but tried not to let it overcome me. I could do this. I had to do this.
So I did a couple preparations to get the feel for the shoes and the floor, did a couple of almost intentionally horrible pirouettes to get the feel, then Ms Munro came over, as the other girls were practicing various things as well. One did a pirouette, then the other, and then she was looking at me. So, I gave it my best shot.
I made it around, didn’t land it the best, but didn’t eat it either. Ms Munro said, “Good!” and carried on as if it wasn’t an emotionally traumatic thing for me.
(Yes, that’s a little dramatic. But you get what I mean.)
I was a little discouraged that I could feel my foot slipping in my wondershoes.
I don’t remember them feeling like that at the fitting, and I really didn’t want a repeat of my Russians, where I couldn’t do a darn thing due to the pain it put on my big toe, instead of holding my foot like the Grishkos which–inevitably–lead to my rolled ankle.
I put it out of my mind and determined to do my best. I couldn’t do anything about it now, anyway. Plus, they’re brand new, and I’m wearing different toe pads then when I tried them on. Yes, that must be it.
I didn’t make it the whole rehearsal on them, but I sure did my best. I also didn’t push myself too hard and look ridiculous. I did last longer than I ever did in Russians, so I started to feel better about it. This was also the longest I had ever danced in pointe shoes at one time, so that was something to be said.
When I couldn’t take it anymore, I just did the choreography on demi-pointe and gave really good face. Ms Munro never said anything. I think she knew I could do it and knew I was doing what I had to. So that was nice.
My fellow member of TeamTall hadn’t made it to rehearsal yet when we were going over the last bit of the dance. It involved bouree-ing around, back to back, with your partner for a certain amount of counts, doing a little jig, then bouree-ing around again to the finish. Ms. Munro demonstrated with me, liked how it felt, and wanted to see it.
For some reason, no one else seemed to be able to grasp the concept.
It made me feel good that I was able to keep a clear head (which I can lose easily, especially in new situations) and follow along. Usually I’m too nervous to jump in and demonstrate things, but I guess I felt a sense of responsibility to set an example, being that I’m older. I don’t know. Anyway.
Summer–my TeamTall partner–came in at that pointe, put on her shoes in a hurry, and jumped in. (After a mini warm up.) (Ps. She was at CRP training, so she had a good reason to be late. Yay, Summer!) Ms. Munro showed her what we were trying to accomplish, and she busted it out near perfect and Ms. Munro was pleased, and ended up using us as the example for the rest of rehearsal.
I gave Summer a little mini talk-through of the steps, and Ms Munro went over them once, then she was thrown in. And let me tell you, I was impressed. Sure, she didn’t have it perfectly down-pat, but the girl kept up marvelously. By the end, she looked to be about the same level as the rest. She kept saying, “I don’t feel confident in this at all!” Which is understandable, since she was thrown in to a sink-or-swim kind of scenario, but man, did that girl swim.
I know she’ll have it down by next rehearsal and blow everyone’s socks off.
All in all, I’m excited about Nutcracker. I felt a little bit of shame in telling my parents they would be paying all this money to see me on stage for a minute, but they seemed not to care. I just can’t get their reaction to my recitals out of my head. (We don’t want to sit through all those baby dances just to see you for 2 1/2 minutes.) especially now that the tickets aren’t free.
I’m doing this, and I’m going to have fun.
I’m going to keep my eyes and mind wide open to see everything there is to see about this entire experience. I hope to learn and improve and have fun with the girls.
I also ordered the toe pads like what I had when I tried on the shoes, in hopes it helps.
I refuse to give up.
(These are my dead little feet after rehearsal.)