Surprisingly, my boss gave us today off from work, so I was able to go to the studio for the little mini-performance they did of all the variations they had learned throughout this past month. I had learned a few of them in class with the girls, but they had way more practice with them, being that they were also taking classes during the day, and I didn’t feel all that confident with them. The girls were kinda bummed, but I loved getting to watch them, since I don’t get to when I’m dancing with them.
To say I am proud of them is an understatement.
There are the obvious front-runners in the class–the ones with natural talent and build and perfect feet–whom you know are going to be incredible. But even so, you don’t realize how incredible they are. You don’t think it’s possible for them to improve as much as they end up improving over such a short amount of time. I can’t wait to see where this next year takes them. I’m almost giddy over it.
Then you have the other girls; the quiet ones, the timid ones, the ones not quite on pointe yet. These girls really impressed me. So often in class, I just hear them getting corrected (or chewed in some cases) that you don’t really get the chance to see them at their finest. (Not to mention in class you tend to be mostly focused on yourself, so you don’t really see how well they are doing.)
These girls killed it.
Seeing the ones on flat completely owning each role, using their heads and arms and faces, really selling the character while maintaining technique and engaging their cores and having great form–gah, I was proud! Then you have the girls who are new to pointe–the II’s. These kids have really blossomed in the last month. You see them getting more stable and confident and really going for it, tackling some difficult moves and doing them well. There are these sisters in class (who are flippin’ adorable) that are II’s and pretty quiet when you first meet them. The younger one kept getting corrected that last class I was in, I felt kind of bad for her. But today, specifically when they did the variation from Coppelia, I was really impressed. They nailed it. Their technique was solid, their knees were straight, their faces were passionate. My eyes teared up a bit. They’re growing by leaps and bounds, each and every one of them. We’ve got ourselves a good crop of up-and-comers on our hands.
We also got to watch the advanced kids do their variations. This was particularly fun for me since I got to take class with these kids this year, too. (I say kids. but I say that about everyone. Anyway.) They’ve got a bit more depth to their styles, and of course more complex moves. Their variations were substantially shorter, but also more difficult and there were more of them (I believe?)
These are the ones that really make me feel something. this summer crew in particular. Really nailing it and making these variations look clean, even though some of them had just learned them that week (or that morning, what?!) It’s also fun knowing them, having them for friends. You get to be there to support them and celebrate with them on each accomplishment along the way. I seriously feel like their my siblings. The younger siblings I never had. I can’t really express what that means to me.
One of the mom’s asked me today if my parents read this blog. And it’s kind of funny, because, I mean, obviously they don’t. (Not sure why that would be obvious, but I guess to me it is? Anyway.) They care about ballet, only because I’m in it, but they don’t really care about it. If that makes sense? They support me, but they don’t necessarily enjoy coming to performances (unless they’re shows. Then they’re okay with it.) (sometimes.) Here, I have this whole other world, this entire side of me that my own family doesn’t fully understand or grasp or particularly care about. Such a big facet, just “meh” to them. Sure, they listen to my stories and try to keep straight the names I talk about most (sometimes) but they don’t really care. It doesn’t interest them.
Where the heck did I get this immense love and passion for ballet, when I come from a family that is so indifferent about it? I get the journaling from my grandma, the photography from my Dad, but dance? No clue, whatsoever.
Sitting in that studio, surrounded by the parents and siblings of my friends who were showcasing their work, I looked around and smiled. I tried to take a second to just really soak it all in. This moment, this place, with these people. The colors on the walls and how the sunlight shone in the window. The feel of the room and the love that filled it. I tried not to think about things before or what could come after, of different opinions I’ve heard or ones of my own. I just sat there and enjoyed the moment.
This is what it’s about. Not just the giant performances with elaborate sets and trained orchestra and all the lights and jitters and hundreds of people paying to see us. It’s about these moments in between; the parents coming out on the Friday of a holiday weekend to line up in miss-matched chairs and benches and stools to sit there for an hour and a half and watch their baby dance what they learned this month. To pull out their cameras to keep this day forever. It’s about the in between.
Anyone can put on a good face for a performance. But it’s the people with the passion enough to participate in these little shows for family and friends that really want it. (Not to say other’s don’t want it, but these really show that they do.) Seeing the kids light up with their parents there, it brought tears to my eyes.
My family may not particularly care about my dancing, not like I do anyway, but they’re not my only family anymore. My parents wouldn’t have come to this, but I have “family” that were there and would have been so proud to watch me dance had I chose to. I have made my own family between these very walls we now sit. Ones that pull me out of sadness and share wisdom and listen when I don’t know who else to go to. Ones that encourage me when I’m down or a little insecure. Ones that believe in me when I have my moments where I struggle to believe in myself. Ones that love to see me and miss me when I’m gone.
This is my family.
My dance family.
The family I choose for myself.
And I must say, I have found myself among some of the greatest on the planet.
(okay, that’s all. Anymore and I might cry and that ain’t happenin’.)
After the performance, we went over to Ms. Munro’s house for a pool party. TALK ABOUT FUN.
We got there, and some of the girls went straight for the pool. Ms. Munro came and told the rest of us we were welcome to swim, but we needed an adult out there. I volunteered my services, which was hilarious. Because I’m totally an adult when it’s convenient 😉
The girls (and Sean. Yay Sean!) were so much fun. We had a blast. Squirting each other with water guns and sliding down this awesome inflatable slide and the giant watermelon inflatable thingy. So great. Then we all ate pizza and cookie cake and just enjoyed each other. I also got to hang out with the Urban sisters for a bit, which really made me happy. They’re such dolls, I love them so much. Two of six kids! But both wonderful in their own right. That just had to be noted.
All in all, this was just about the most perfect way to spend a day off of work.
I can’t wait to get to continue dancing, and improving, and working hard. Being with them just makes me want to dance more and get better. I can’t wait until my house is done so I can do more on my own, but I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I get where I am now.
I’m excited to go to Europe and all (in two weeks!) but will be sad to miss out on 4 classes with them. They add light to my life (that’s a Leanne Rhymes song, right?) and give me a good reason to come home instead of running away to one of the countries I visit. 😉
I’m excited for Nutcracker season!
My phone was dying, and I didn’t take my big camera, so I didn’t get many today. But here are two.
Just about everyone that came 🙂
My sweet Sarah and Cheyenne in between classes. ❤ ❤