Summer classes technically started on Friday, but my first class was yesterday.
Many of the kids take during the day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but since I work that really isn’t an option for me. It’s okay, though, since the ballet classes are in the evening.

Our teachers vary week to week. Some of them I’ve taken class from before, some of them I know but haven’t taken their class, some I don’t know at all.

To say I was nervous going into this would be an understatement.

These teachers don’t know me. They don’t know all my issues. Do I tell them, so they’re aware and understanding? Or do I keep my mouth shut so they don’t dismiss me before I can even try? I want to be pushed but I’m constantly afraid of pushing too much. Where is the balance? And will they look at me funny for being so old? Surely they know from shows that’s where I am in level. Will I look too advanced for this class? What if I do just blend in with all these tiny kids. Will that make me feel like I suck? What the heck is even gonna happen? And will the kids get too distracted having me in there? Will I get overwhelmed? I don’t want to snap at them or something if I get stressed out at anything. And these new shoes hurt my toes. Am I even going to be able to dance? What other options do I have if they don’t make the shoe I had before, and this is the requested make of the shoe from before?

I knew the only way to remedy the nerves is to face them. After all, it’s either do that or don’t dance and the later ain’t happenin’. For being as positive as people think I am, I actually deal with fear and doubts constantly. I find myself afraid to hope because I don’t want to be disappointed. I don’t want to look foolish for getting my hopes up. I’m sure this comes from some long-ingrained childhood something or another and I’m trying to figure out what is there and how it affects me and how much of it is logical and how much is ridiculous. I did allow myself to have the hope that the class would help me in the way my first audition did being with the littles.

And it did.

Most of the class is quiet and timid. Most of the class consisted of II’s, but there was still the fair share of III’s and all of three IV’s. The II’s were mostly timid, but the III’s were confident.
They faced any challenge and even asked to try more difficult things. Including this complex, double-timed petite allegro combination that we all flubbed but was great to get exposed to. The teacher wasn’t even going to try it double-timed, but let us since so many wanted to.
These are the kids that will go far. The ones that are unafraid and willing to try anything without doubting their ability. These kids are who I want to be more like. These kids make this class wonderful.
They teach me so much about myself and about life.
Even if my fears are logical, even if they’re rooted in something that has happened before, you still have to try. You have to face them or you’ll never go farther than that moment.
These kids teach me that.

We had Mrs. Vanessa for our ballet class and Catherine for our pointe. They switched rooms and did the opposite for Advanced. I had Mrs. Vanessa once when she subbed our class. She seemed nice enough, but it was rough. I thinks he had been last minute thrown into subbing and wasn’t as prepared as she’d like to be. We struggled. But I still liked her. You could see that she is a great teacher.
Her ballet class yesterday was wonderful. It was a bit of a stretch for the younger ones, but it was great for me and the other IV’s. Really pushing our limits and challenging us. She even prefaced that she would be pushing us and to just do our best, but she wasn’t gonna go easy.
I loved it.
There were a few things she did with us that I want to remember to do on my own. Things at the barre that will greatly improve strength and balance. Then there were things we did that I never would have known how to do at that age at my old studio. These kids went for it. Sure, they weren’t perfect, but the exposure to it is what makes them so good so young. In a few years, they’re going to be incredible. They already are for their level. It was the kind of combinations that would have made me extremely nervous a year ago and that our class at instep would mostly stare at in confusion. Thankfully, at this point I had done all of it before so I was able to attack it with confidence, but some of it I only just mastered or grasped this last year–some even just during Oz.
I knew by the amount of sweat dripping (literally) off my face just during barre alone that I’d be sore in the morning.

Ms. Catherine came in for pointe, and I was curious to see how it would go. I had taken her class with the V’s this year, but only did it in flat shoes. I was fine to do it flat, but pointe would have been a bit much. Granted, I was in a class full of kids who have been shown most if not all of the things she asked of us, so I just bit the bullet and did it flat to not bring the class down. I was really grateful that she was teaching the first pointe class because she knows about my back being wonky, and I didn’t know how the new shoes would fair and it was just a lot of uncertainty for me.
They ended up hurting pretty badly. Since three of my toes are really short, my big toe does almost all of the work. It’s pretty complicated and can be rather painful. It was interesting how the shoes affected my feet in some places, but not others. For instance, usually my arches are aching pretty good by the end of class. This time, they were fine. They aren’t even sore this morning. My toes are okay today, but I need to make sure the pain isn’t enough to make me hesitate when I feel it while dancing. That’s how I can end up hurt.
I don’t know if I would have made it through with them on the whole class–except maybe first class stubbornness?–had it not been for the littles. They are so encouraging and really believe in you. To them, I can do anything, and I really want to spend these few weeks believing them.
We did pique turns, which I wasn’t sure how they’d go with the troubles I was having in the new shoes. I was afraid it would be like before with the hesitation and defeat. But I actually did them fairly decently. Better than I would say is typical, at least in the stability department. I’m still too afraid to pirouette on them just yet, but I’m hopeful that they provide better stability that I can do better if I can figure out how to not let them hurt so much.

I did get a, “Good, Emilee!” from Mrs. Vanessa during Adagio, but I don’t really remember what it was for. (I think it was adagio?) I remember when she said it thinking, “She knows my name!” and then thinking how good whatever it was felt right before she complimented me. I hope she teaches more of our classes.

Next Thursday we have a guest teacher from the Houston Ballet coming in. That’s what I’m really nervous for. They don’t know me, and I stick out like a sore thumb in this class, so I’m not sure what to expect. (Between looking 15, but being 26? Whatever. I’m not really worried about it, just nervous and curious)

Elizabeth, the doll, brought me some of her elastic so I can sew my Airess shoes for tomorrow’s class. She was also helping me evaluate how the shoes worked today and what I can do to try and get them to not hurt so much. She is a true gem. I have great friends in my life.
I’m excited for tomorrow’s class and hopeful my toes will hold out. If I had the private lesson yesterday I probably wouldn’t have made it.

Stay tuned on the continuing saga of Emilee’s anxiety-stricken summer classes! (just keep it in check, right?)


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