Post-season

I’m beginning to go crazy, not having dance classes. My body is angry about it and my muscles are protesting.
But I’m using the time to see some friends and get things done. So that’s nice.
(And still remaining active. It helps that I’m cat/dog sitting most of the time so I actually have floor space to work on stuff. Score!)

I had asked Ms. Lori before about the possibility of private lessons this summer. She was all for it, so I waited until after recital and her graduation to mention it again. Turn out, it’s looking like her schedule may not allow for it (which I actually felt might happen) so she’s gonna keep me updated.
My next choice was to ask my friend Abby (the Wicked Witch, Abby) if she would be up for it. I don’t even know if she offers them or would be willing, but I do know she is one of if not the most qualified teacher in our area (after Ms. Lori, I’d think) and the fact she’s my friend would help. Plus, she’s very understanding of the adult ballerina challenges, and we have gotten to know each other through this. She said she would be thrilled to work with me, so private lessons this summer are looking to be happening!

I really want to do these so I don’t drown in the V’s next year. I’m taking the intermediate classes this summer, which include levels II-IV, so I’ll be on the upper end of it. But I think it’ll be good for me to have the basics and really work on them; and more than likely learn things I was just never taught, but assumed to know. (Plus, Abby may be teaching some of them, so that’s extra exciting!)
I know Abby is a no-nonsense teacher. She will push you toward greatness, but will also take into consideration all the stupid issues my body is throwing at me. She knows the balance and won’t let me make excuses.
I trust her.

I’m hopeful and excited that this could be really good for me. I may have to get some Grishko’s until my Capezio’s come in (projected date of August?) since they take longer to make and I didn’t get the order in when I really wanted/needed to. No worries. The dance store here should be able to accommodate. (I hope, at least.)

I’m nervous for summer, but only because it’s new. I’m sure I will love it and miss it when it’s over.
One thing I know for sure is that I just want to be back in classes.

Since I’m missing it so much, enjoy some more pictures from Recital.

I know I’ve posted some of these already, but oh well.

Recital

I really want to write this post, but I’m finding myself a little cloudy in the mind. I first noticed it last night, and woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck, so I’m going to attempt to write this out but if it’s a little off, forgive me.

Last night was the second day of our annual recital. My first one at this new studio. I only danced on the Saturday, but I helped with the Friday show. Ms. Munro put me in charge of the Rehearsal Hall, where all the younger dancers were gathered. (I got a walkie talkie! And a clipboard!) She thought I had done recitals with them before. I told her I hadn’t, but if she told me what she wanted I could do it. It ended up being fairly simple, at least my part. The other volunteers (mostly from one of the local high schools) did a lot of the brunt work. (organizing little kids is a lot like herding cats.) Their effectiveness made my job easy.
Friday was the bigger day, although Saturday had a dance of 5-ish year olds with 30 kids.
30.
To keep in order down three flights of stairs and quiet backstage.
And they were only one of 5 groups in the room.
These girls deserve awards.

I missed seeing my favorite dance on Saturday, but had gotten to see it Friday and at rehearsal on Thursday.
I almost rolled my ankle before the show, but managed to not. My shanks are starting to die. Apparently there’s a way to duct tape them to help them last longer, but I need to look into this still.

We danced and it went really well. I was actually the one that was off on the lines out of everybody. Oops. Cloudy brain hit me hard. But Mom said no one could really tell, and she couldn’t tell at all, so that’s good at least.
The dance felt really good. I was sad that I couldn’t be with my girls in the dressing room before hand, but I was really proud of all of them. They did so great. Not just in our dance, either.
One of my favorite things of the whole recital was being side stage, watching some of my babies (and of course taking pictures.) some of them would see me, and we’d lock eyes, and you’d see their faces just beam. It makes you feel good to know you make someone else feel good.

I would say the recital was a success.
The lady who works for the building where we dance and guards the stage entrance door, Pat, was there working the recital shows. We saw her a few times during Oz, but I was glad to have her every day of recital. She is a naturally kind person, I love her. Last night she had a program, and she marked certain dances she wanted to sneak backstage to watch. How sweet, right? She was so encouraging and blown away. She told me afterwards, “That was so beautiful! Like a real ballet!” I got a picture with her, and gave her the extra flower crown we had from our dance. She is such a gem.

Elizabeth also got to sneak backstage and watch us, which was really great. She helps with quick changes and didn’t think she’d be able to see us, but she got to. It really means a lot to me. I know I’m not the only one she loves in the dance, but to have her be so supportive and encouraging and just so lovely is something I cherish. I mean, people are usually nice to me, but nothing like this. And she doesn’t have to be, ya know? She’s just naturally lovely.

I’m really grateful to have my Instep crew at this studio. Andie, Annika, Hanna and some of the younger girls have really rounded out this experience. I love seeing them all thrive and succeed and display these beautiful works of art through movement. I couldn’t be more proud of them, and I’m completely honored to call them my friends.

I miss my girls already. Not all of them are taking summer classes. One is moving away and this was her last performance with us. It definitely won’t be the same without her next year, but I am excited for her new opportunities.

My mom somehow misplaced their recital tickets before the show yesterday. I text Andie to see if she thought Ms. Nancy would be able to help me out or if my parents would have to buy new ones. She said Ms. Nancy would definitely help me out, so I found her when I got to the theatre and told her what was going down. She went with me to the ticket lady, and even gave me one for my sister for free. She also asked me if I was doing summer classes. I told her I was taking the evening ones since I work during the day. She told me that they wanted to compensate me for all my help this weekend, and so to go ahead and register online, but when it came to payment I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I wanted to cry, it was too good to be true. Summer classes are kind of steep and I really wasn’t sure how I would pay for it. But I wanted to be there so I figured I’d worry about it when the time came. Now I don’t have to worry about it at all. It’s especially nice since I’ve been getting kind of beat up on the work-front. This makes a big difference. Even though things at work aren’t in my favor, it’s nice to know other things are that kind of make up the difference. I’m extremely grateful.

My parents came to the show (sister stayed home) and really enjoyed the VIP Parking I had ended up with (Thanks, Mrs. Alex!) for the night. Parking is one of the number one concerns for these shows, so I was hopeful having the stress-free VIP option would help. It really did.
They stayed for the entire show, and even waited to meet me afterwards. When they did, they told me how much they really enjoyed it, and it was genuine. They told me they were so proud of me, and that I did really well. Mom even said, “You looked like a real ballerina up there!”
So even though I didn’t get the opportunity to prove myself in two classes at my old studio, I still proved myself. It felt really good.
I followed my dream for me, and now they see why. They see that I love it.

My friends from Instep, McKenna and Cambrielle, (and mom!) came to see the show, as well! I had no idea, and actually saw them downstairs when I had one shoe off, but I took off down the stairs to see them anyway. It really meant the world to have them there. They were two people that were absolutely pivotal in my story when I first began this road. McKenna would see the panic on my face and meet me in the corner to do the combination with me when I panicked. We also used to teach baby classes together the last year. It’s so great whenever the people you love support what you love. I can’t express how much it means.

This was a wonderful way to cap off the end of the season. I’m sad it’s over, but I’m so grateful it happened.
It’s amazing to see how far we have come in just a year.
I can’t wait to see where we go from here. Especially Annika. That girl has a bright future ahead.
If I get emotional seeing my dance babies grow and succeed, I’m screwed for when I have my own kids. I’m gonna be a mess.!

It was really cool to have some of the other dancer’s moms (and little sisters) come up to me after the show and tell me how great I did. And to know it wasn’t just them being nice, but that they meant it. That they see improvement in me from the beginning of the year. And to have some of my babies who didn’t dance Saturday come out just to see us and support us, it’s really good for the soul.

This is what I’m alive for. This makes all the trouble and stress of life worth pushing through. Loving people and being loved by people.

My heart is full.

My cousin, Lauren, and I

Cambielle, me, and McKenna

Mom and Dad

Mrs. Pat 🙂

Shrub

Hanna B 🙂

Cousin and I againnnn 😀

Elizabeth and I 😀
Sweet Jasmine

Emerson! 

Feetsies

Catherine, my tiny dancer

watching the V’s 
Or maybe advanced? I don’t remember which class they are

Lauren

Shruuuub

Lucy!

Alyssa with some of the 30 of the babies

I taught that one in the back at Instep. She doesn’t remember… haha

Epiphany about previous post.

While sorting through pictures and talking to one of my dance friends, Annika, I think I have come to at least a partial conclusion as to why I seem to have this mindset about my dancing ability.

When I danced as a kid, my parents always came.
They’d sit through the recital, they’d bring flowers, they’d take pictures.
I felt like I was a wonderful dancers, until my friends would tell me where I messed up or I watched the recital video for myself and saw they were right.

Now I’m an adult, and I do recitals, and this year I’ve found myself in a studio that also does two major productions.
And at first, when I was at my old studio, I did recital, and holiday showcase in the winter, and I would hope my parents would come. It was important to me. I wanted them to be there and tell me how great I was and how proud they were of me. And they came. And they complained about how rough parking was and how it made them get there late and get bad seats. And my sister gave me flowers which I really appreciated but felt bad about. And then mom made a comment after recital, “How long does this dance thing last?” And I realized she didn’t meant this season, but how long was I going to dance. And I told her until my feet fall off.
So the next year, I didn’t press them to come. I made it an option and let them decide if they wanted to come. There was one of the holiday showcases where mom told me she wasn’t going to come. And that dad probably wouldn’t want to. So I asked him, and he scoffed at me for thinking he wouldn’t want to come and that if I was dancing, he would be there. So mom went with him. And then for recital, Dad couldn’t come because he was working on a little house he’s building in the backyard for me, so I understood why he couldn’t be there. And mom had to work. And my sister wasn’t there. I don’t think they came, at least. If they did, I don’t remember. And it was my last recital with that studio, and a dance I was really proud of.
I had to figure out in myself why I dance. I had to dance for me. To learn that this isn’t about anyone else and their approval, but because I love it.
And, boy do I love it.

This year was a little easier since two of the shows were productions. My sister was excited to see The Nutcracker–my first dance ever en pointe–and The Wizard of Oz proved to be interesting. I told Dad if he had to pick one to go to out of Oz and recital to pick recital because I’m really proud of this dance. Not that I wasn’t proud of Oz, but recital is en pointe, and that’s more of a challenge for me.
Mom and my sister came to Oz, they all went to Nutcracker, and Mom and Dad are coming to recital and maybe my sister.

I understand that they may not really care about ballet. Definitely not as much as I do. I understand that recital’s can be really drawn out, especially if you only know one person in one 3 minute dance. (Mom made a comment once about “maybe if you were in more than one” which really bummed me out when a girl dropped from the advanced class and instead of putting me in they just reblocked it. I just wasn’t good enough.)
I understand that I am an adult. That this is something that is solely on me–they don’t have to drive me anywhere, they don’t pay for anything with it, they have nothing invested.

But I guess something in me subconsciously stuck with that mindset.
I’m not good enough to be in the extra dance.
Maybe next year.
Studio closes, there is no next year to prove to myself that I am.
New studio.
I can’t do anything in the V’s en pointe. I’m not good enough.
Maybe if I were better then my parents would want to come see me.

And I didn’t realize all of this until I was talking to Annika. And I told her my parents were coming. And my brain thought about how her mom goes to see every single one of her shows, even if it’s the same dances. Because she loves to watch her dance. And I thought of Ms. Jane and how she never gets tired of watching Elizabeth dance. But I’m not good enough for my Mom to want to watch me dance. And last night she said if I would have danced the V’s, which performed last night, as well as the IV’s, which is tonight, she would have only came to one, even though they’re different dances. And my mind connected that to I’m just not good enough.

And it clicked.

Now, I don’t blame my parents for this. I truly understand. Especially during such busy times of year.
And I’ve had friends come out and support me, and I know I’m well loved.
And I guess I never realized how settled this was in my heart.

What will I do with this information?
I don’t know.

I guess it’s kind of like when a musician or an actress is starting out, and not everyone takes them seriously. And then when they stick with it and bust out on the scene and all of a sudden they’re a big name, that’s when everyone wants to claim that they know them.
When I am “good enough” for them, will I feel less indifferent to their attendance?
What matters most to me are the people who are here for me, now, during the process.
Those are the people who are the true gems.
The ones who believe in me before my breakthrough.

I’m hopeful to get to take more classes and improve. I’m hopeful to get to take those private lessons with Ms. Lori or maybe Mrs. Abby. I’m hopeful.

My Mom always listens to my stories after rehearsals or class. That’s something.

Personal.

“Emilee’s a good dancer I dont know why she doesn’t think so cause she is”

My friend sent me this quote from her sister last night.
Why is it that my first response–after how adorable her sister is–was “Who said I though that?” But then I realized that I probably didn’t even realize I said it. It may not have been so many words, but more so my actions and body language. I responded with, “Am I really? Cause I don’t really feel like much of one.” Which was how I really felt, when I am completely honest with myself.

To which she tells me
“I mean I don’t tell ya just to make ya feel good.”

And that’s the thing. This friend won’t tell me something just to make me feel good.
She’s honest. Even if it isn’t pleasant.
And that’s one of my favorite things about her.

So if she sees it, and her sister sees it, why do I have such a hard time seeing it?

I struggle. Especially en pointe. I was too afraid to do the 5s class en pointe because I knew I was behind. There were some things that were just over my head and I didn’t want to risk it. My extensions aren’t as high as I would like and I’m riddled with health issues that keep increasing in number and severity as time goes on. I’m inexperienced and falling behind those in my 4s class. (seriously? How are these girls doing doubles en pointe? I can’t even do two on flat! and I struggle with one en pointe! What gives!) I’m not super talented like my other friend who literally makes people cry with her expression as well as her incredible technique.

I’m awkward and overweight and scared of everything.

Yet these people say that I’m good.

And when I hear that, my initial response is, “Yeah, well they just think that because I know how to fake it really well. It’s not that I’m actually good. I’m just good at making my face seem like everything is okay.”

I really want to improve.
I want to learn more.
I want to practice.
I want to take privates and get more confident.
I feel like if I were more confident and more stable in my footing then maybe I would believe them.
If my thighs were a little more trim and my arms were tone again then maybe I’d actually look the part.

But why am I this shallow?
When I’m the first to shut it down in someone else if I hear the same thing? Because I can see something they don’t see in themselves. Why don’t I believe it when someone does the same for me?

I’ll let you know as I figure it out…

Today is the first recital day. I dance tomorrow, but I’m helping with the kids today.
I’m excited and sad that this year is officially over.
I’m a little nervous for what next year will actually hold, and uncertain of these summer classes.

But being around everyone yesterday, dancing this beautiful piece, I know that dance isn’t something I want to give up.
That concrete stage actually felt the best on my feet than anything, and I don’t know how that makes sense.

I’m just praying my shoes don’t die tomorrow. Because my new ones won’t be in until August.

I have a lot left to learn; about ballet and about myself and about this world I live in.
I really want to believe them when they tell me these things.
Ironically, this friend’s sister is the one I saw dancing that first made me believe that I could do this.
I saw her and thought, “If she can do that, maybe I can too.”

Please be patient with me. I’ve got a lot of demons I’m fighting.
I’m learning.

Post-show blues

I’m finding myself having a hard time dealing with the fact that Oz is over.
Maybe it’s a bit more extreme since the studio is also finished with classes until the summer session begins (which isn’t until June.) and I don’t yet have the means to really practice at home.

I knew I’d miss the show, but I didn’t really expect to miss dancing this much.
Usually when I have some sort of a break between classes, I’m sad, but I take it. Usually I’ll come back and be better; like my body needed the time off to come back stronger.
But this one seems to be a bit more grueling than is typical.

Maybe the fact that Oz was so wonderful makes it more difficult as well.
I know this wasn’t the case for everyone, but for me the entire experience was wonderful. I finally found myself in a place where I felt like I mattered and wasn’t wasting my time. Where I was doing something I actually enjoy for myself and not because everyone tells me it’s something I have to do.
I was committing myself to be part of something bigger than me, and given the liberty to do so.

Now I’m facing change and new.
Summer classes will be different than anything I’m used to. Classes I can take will only be twice a week. It will be a mixed group of people and whether I will be on the advanced or beginning part of that spectrum is up in the air. It will only be for a month, when I will be gone for two weeks, and not sure what classes (if any) happen after that. Next year I will go into a different level with different teachers and different people bringing different experiences. Whether I still take the 4’s class is also up in the air and will probably depend on a few different factors.
I know all these things will work themselves out and I will be fine, but the before always makes me nervous when new things are ahead. I’m not freaking out, though, so please save your opinions for yourself.
I do realize this could be a year of wonderful up ahead. I realize it could be painful. I realize it could be fulfilling or disappointing or both. There are so many factors and we will take them as they come.

One thing I have learned having to go to the chiropractor is what trust truly means.
When your back is jacked up and you have to rely on these people you don’t know to take care of you, letting yourself not freak out at the fact you’re half naked on the masseuses table with someone whose real name you don’t know is touching your bare back, or someone else is asking you to lift your shirt so they can place the treatment spots on your lower back, or you’re lying flat on your back and you absolutely cannot let yourself tense up as the chiropractor pops your neck in ways that resemble murders you’ve seen in movies–you have to trust.
And when you trust, it isn’t always broken.
Sometimes it’s wonderful, and you have better range of motion, and your neck feels like a weight has been lifted, and your back begins to improve.
Sometimes good things actually happen to you and you have someone believe you when you tell them that something feels like it’s off and it turns out it was neurological and this could lead to answers for other things you’ve been searching for for years.
Maybe not.
But you know that since these people haven’t abused your trust thus far that they can be trusted in the future.

So it goes with ballet.
Trust that you’ll be exactly where you need to be, just like you have been all alone.
Leave yourself open to meet more wonderful people like you have in the last year.
Keep your mind open to new opportunities that could arise.
Choose to see the best even if disappointment lies ahead because–honestly–how can you top an experience like the one you’re leaving?

Life will work out exactly as it’s supposed to.
Don’t worry.

How you got there.

I was re-reading through some of the blog posts of when Oz first began rehearsing today. I really wanted to see the difference from when it began to when it ended. Now that it’s just a memory, there are certain set things I’ll subconsciously choose to remember over others, and this show has had no shortage of happy memories.
But what made them so happy? What made them strike so deeply to stay with me the way they did? I have memories of it, but I really wanted to read my thoughts on it and not just rely on what I remember. Future events have a way of skewing how we remember beginnings because now we have the advantage. We have the full picture. Nothing is uncertain. The story is written.

(This is one of the reasons I love blogging and journaling so much. Memories are wonderful, but there’s something about the full story–the beginning, the process, the finish–that helps you get more out of it; more out of life.)

I remembered that there were hard days. I remember going home in tears a couple times. I remembered struggling and hoping I would improve. But I had forgotten how far I’ve really come the past few months.

Now I know what people think of me. Now I know that I’m loved and accepted here. Now I know that I am capable of doing these roles that were a bit of a reach for me–not just do them, but do them well.
Now that it’s done, I know it’s possible.
But what about then?
The days when the future was uncertain. When I had to go forward in blind confidence, hoping that it would be enough. When I didn’t know if I was cast for this role out of an obligation to my level, or because they thought I was capable.

Everything that happened to me the last few days of Oz are wonderful, but what makes them sweeter is remembering the beginning. The fears I overcame. The victories that resulted. The kindness I was shown. The work ethic that I learned. I can look back and see the path these friendships took as they were being formed, which can be forgotten now that the friendship is set. Does that make sense?

Celebrate where you are, but never forget how you got there.

Your happiness is yours.

“Are you still on that high?”
My teacher asked me when she saw me today.
I simply said, “Mostly!” to avoid bringing up the thing that had wavered the high slightly.
I knew she knew. I don’t know if she knew I knew.
Regardless, everyone within earshot had no business knowing, so I played it off.

For some reason, I’m a naturally fearful person. I don’t think that I live in fear, per say, but I do tend to think worst-case-scenario and when something happens in which I’m wrongly accused, it tends to shake me up and make me nervous.

Usually I get really anxious or have panic attacks, but this time is different.
This time I’m able to understand where the issue is, where I play into it, and that it truly isn’t my fault. If the others involved don’t see that, this doesn’t mean it’s because of anything I’ve done wrong.
“I am responsible for my actions, not people’s reactions.”

I’ve learned to face what you’re afraid of. To play Taylor Swift and Uptown Funk as much as you need to calm yourself down and distract yourself.
I learned that there’s no reason to be afraid of it if you’ve done nothing wrong, but even so it doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen to you. It also doesn’t mean that when bad things happen to you they’re automatically your fault.
There’s only so much you can do.
Do what you can, and let it ride out.

But don’t let it steal the good things from you.
These experiences, these great memories, these beautiful things are yours, even if it makes someone else mad. It doesn’t negate that you are deserving of good things.
Don’t shield your light just because someone gets mad that it’s in their eyes.
(ooo, that’s good… where did that come from? I dunno. But I’m takin’ it.)

Moral of the story, I have such incredible people in my life, and I have found myself amongst a wonderful dance family. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been happier or felt more loved.
Typically when something good happens to me, somehow by the next day I look back on it and feel a deep remorse. I don’t know why.
But this time, I think back to Saturday, and all I have is joy inside.
I see this certificate, the drawing from my munchkins, the pictures…I read the comments and texts from friends, and my heart explodes all over again.

I feel confident that if I were to die tomorrow, I will not have left any moment uncaptured. I’ve made the most of these days, and I hope to have more to fill like these have been.
These are my “good ol’ days” and they are good indeed.

Today was our last Monday class.
I can’t believe that it’s been an entire year already…
We took some pictures 🙂

I love these girls so much!
Rebecca got cut out of the one… 😦 But they’re still great!