The day is upon us.
That fateful day when our Assistant Director walks in the door clutching the very thing dreams are made of.
It also happens to be the crusher of dreams.
For me, it’s just, “meh.”
(Okay, not meh but way less exciting than for the younger girls.)
(Or… so I thought.)
If you have been following along in my ballet story, you will know that there were certain roles that I was hoping for. These were goals I had set out to accomplish, hoping it would give me a leg up for Swan Lake, which is really what I want to accomplish.
I knew going into it that in the hierarchy that is Nutcracker, my next role in line would be Petit Fleur. After that, Lilac, and after that, Rose. Typically, if you’re a flower at all, you’re also snow. My goal was to pass up Petit Fleur–which is typically more posing than dancing–and go to Lilac. It was a stretch, but the summer felt promising and I was really improving. Ms. Munro has been watching me. I was allowed to take the VI’s class, which I wasn’t expecting but was very exciting.
The list goes up. I step to the back and let the girls see first. I hear squeals and everyone looks at Annika. She got Clara! We weren’t expecting that, since she’s so good, so I went forward to see who the Clara’s were. And it’s a fabulous group of them–really strong dancers that will impress this year. Annika, Lauren, Alyssa, and Maddison. I’m so beyond thrilled for these girls. I feel some of them may have felt they missed their shot last year when the age range for Clara’s went down so much, but this year it’s their time to shine, and shine they will.
I glanced at the Lilacs. I glanced at the Lilacs continued page.
My name wasn’t there.
I looked at Petit Fleur.
My heart sank a little bit.
I think I knew deep down I wouldn’t get to skip up, but it was given hope when in Oz I was doing the same roles as one of the girls that level above me, and doing them well, and then also when I was allowed into VI’s. Not to mention, everyone telling me I could totally do it. I was sad, but I tried not to show it. I stepped back and waited to look where everyone else ended up.
Emerson came back to me and said she was Petit Fleur and Snow. I was glad to know at least I’m with my girls again. They really make it fun. I asked if she saw my name for Snow, and she said she didn’t.
Wait, what? Usually when you’re one, you’re both? I asked one of the other girls from my class, and she was also both. Why am I not both? I can totally do both. What gives?
Whatever. I’ll look at the list when people file out a bit more. Maybe she just didn’t see it. It’s no big deal. I’ll have fun regardless.
At this point, I’m not like, freaking out or anything. I’m not upset or mad or whatever. Just kinda there.
I’m watching all the other girls find out their roles and watching their reactions, which is a welcomed distraction in my waiting.
Then Annika comes up to me and says, “Emilee! You’re Rat Queen!”
I just looked at her. I asked, “Are you sure?” and she said, “I mean, pretty sure!”
I find my way to the board and try to find where Rat Queen is listed.
Sure enough, there’s my name.
Sharing with Jessica, one of the best dancers in the studio.
(And also someone that has been really inspiring for me. Her work ethic is insane, and I’ve gotten to watch the results that come from it. It gives me the motivation to work hard, knowing it’ll happen for me too in time. I really appreciate having her in class.)
So then I’m freaking out.
That’s why I’m not Snow. I’m freakin’ Rat Queen!!
I remember last year hearing someone complain about being this role. (why do people always complain about the roles I am?) And I remember sitting in the seats and hearing her and thinking, “Give it to me, if you don’t want it. This role is awesome!”
It’s an absolute blast.
You have on the giant rat head, and get to be super sassy, and interact with the Rat King and Nutcracker and the other rats and rat princesses and mice and stuff.
Did I mention I get to be sassy?
I’m really excited to get to be sassy.
The more that this set in, the more I was really pleased with my casting.
Especially with what the doctor had told me earlier that day:
We got into discussion about my knees hurting. I told her the whole happenings with the chiropractor and my back and my legs being uneven and showed her the xrays and she asked me questions about it and I answered them. I told her how they told me 3 1/2 years ago that I had arthritis and sent me for physical therapy. She asked if they mentioned my leg being longer then, and I told her no.
She examines my knee. Asked if this and that hurt, which it didn’t. She poked here and there, and again no pain. She asked where the pain was, and I told her it shoots under the knee cap. It typically doesn’t hurt when it’s at rest, but with use and during class when I plie a lot. She looks at the right knee and pokes this one part. “You can see the right knee is swollen. See this? That’s fluid.”
So it’s not arthritis, I have fluid on my knee.
She wants to get an MRI and look into it more. I’m glad she is so invested in me and interested in all of the issues instead of just surface or what I tell her. She investigates, and she cares that I get better.
So, no. I’m not Lilac. I’m not even Snow. But the roles I have will be really good for my knee (Even though Petit Fluer is a lot of kneeling) and will help, I think.
And that doesn’t mean that I’m out of the running for Swan Lake.
I’m also not guaranteed. And I think my knee will be a big deciding factor.
I asked Mrs. Alex if she thought it would be more the older girls or if I had a shot, and she said it’s very uncertain right now.
Time will tell.
Meanwhile, I’ll work my hardest, do my best, and take it as it comes. If it doesn’t happen, I just have to accept it. This can be difficult as my entire life seems to have been a constant battle of barely missing the mark and having to be happy for my friends as I watch them enjoy what I can’t have–for whatever reason. There’s been times it’s been wrongful exclusion from politics. This isn’t that. But it’s still rough. I felt it last year, I feel it now, but it’s okay. Now I just take a moment I need to grieve the fact I missed the mark, then I pull myself up and get over it, working my hardest to be the best I can. I also try and make the most of the situation.
What people don’t realize is that I’m so inclusive because I’ve known exclusion my whole life. And the times someone included me was a game changer. People think I must have such a wonderful and perfect history since I’m so nice and kind or whatever, but really it’s the opposite. I’ve known great loss and pain and injustice, so I do the best I can to help others through it. I try to be what I wish I would have had.
There are times when it’s just a lesson the person needs to learn, and that’s fine. But when I can lessen the blow, I try my best to do so. I’m also human and imperfect and will still miss the mark, but I’ll give my best effort in what I know and take the lessons as chances to learn and grow.
(I’m not snow, so no snow secret santa for me. But I’m trying to scheme up ways I can still have fun and make someones day in secret. Hehehe)
I’m really excited to be with my girls in Petit Fluer, and really super excited about Rat Queen.
I told my parents, and they were really excited that I get to use my drama skills with this. Like, Dad legitimately sounded excited.
(I really want to prance around in the costume.)
(PLUS I get to hang out with the kids!)
(and this means I’ll be able to take pictures of snow again!)
(really I can’t lose, y’all.)
SPEAKING OF PICTURES
(fun fact, at first I had an excited face when she came up to me with her phone, but she said, “Look dead.” so this came of it.)
And I’m really freakin’ excited for Annika. She’s Clara, then also Russian and Spanish on nights she’s not Clara. So it’s new roles for her and really exciting. Plus, I just feel so proud. Like, here’s my baby Shrub, and she’s mine. And we’re from the same studio, and we came here and newbs, and now look at her. And she’s Clara. Two years ago, Nutcracker wasn’t even a thought. And now she’s doing this and all these people are so happy for her and celebrating her and I know how incredibly happy this makes her and it makes me happy. Because she’s so talented and it’s being utilized and she just keeps rising and my heart can’t take all the love! I fear I may burst!
Happy days 🙂
And Abarrane is a Mirliton!!!
She wanted this role so badly, and she was feeling pretty crappy at auditions but still managed to rock it anyway. And she got the role and my heart absolutely burst when I heard/saw. I’m so proud of her. She’s worked so hard and proven herself and overcome insurmountable odds to do so. I really hope she’s in class today so I can hug her.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.