Nutcracker Rehearsals

Yesterday was our last rehearsal before Thanksgiving break.
Sean wasn’t there, so I just watched Rat Queen while Jessica and Greyson did it the way they would for Beeville. It helped me really get it into my brain. I think I’m confident enough now where I can just go for it and not mess up the order and more than likely get the timing right. Jessica has been great at helping me learn all of this. She is SUCH a good Rat Queen, which I greatly appreciate since it helps me see how it should look. (I’m so visual.)
I had to go and try on the flowers costumes again, which worked out since the other dancer I needed to try them on with got there early, so we were able to do it when Mrs. Jane had some down time, rather than when there was a million people around. Since Emerson had to drop, they had to fill her spot with a couple of girls, meaning they needed another costume. Since mine was the smallest, they needed to move us up so they could use it. I was kind of sad, since that one was my favorite and the girl whose costume I always get had it the year before, but that’s okay. (Besides, I looked at the names in mine and some pretty spectacular people have worn it. So I can’t really complain.) Lauren (who is one of the 3 girls now wearing my old one) said it fit perfectly, to which I said, “you’re welcome. (I love Lauren 😀 )

After Battle scene, they ran through Snow. Since I’m not cast in Snow, I took this time to get all my ticket sales sorted and turned in and catch up on crocheting, while watching and learning. I love getting to watch, especially the warm up, because you get to see things you miss in class. You can see people who do it correctly and compare and contrast them to the people who need a bit of improvement and then think of how you do it and see how you identify with the person needing more improvement and how you can get it to look like the person who is doing it correctly. (Way to go Cheyanne, your pique’s at the barre were so sharp and flawless!)

We ran Act II a few times after Snow. The Chinese are really killing it, which is great. That core of girls are really a group to watch out for. They’re very driven. I was impressed with how well they did the role. (Their private lessons are paying off)

We ran Flowers (did I mention it was all in costume?) and actually did pretty decently. (Well, the petit fleurs. I don’t know about the other two, I can’t really pay attention to all three.) We messed up our ending part, but they weren’t too hard on us because it had changed last minute last rehearsal. Now we have it down, though. The second run through, we managed to not get a single correction, save for what they called out during. (I don’t know if this is actually a good thing, or if it means they just didn’t see us or notice us doing anything wrong. At least we didn’t get a chewing for messing up the same thing over and over!) Another flower was out, but hopefully not the whole show. Her appendix had to come out, which is what happened to Mari during Oz. (I swear, there’s a curse this season.)

At the end, the Nutcracker comes out as they dim the lights and close the curtain. We were all really excited because they are letting Emerson do it! It was so crushing when she had to drop because of her ankle, but this way she still gets to be a part. And she said it’s healing a lot faster being in the boot with crutches, which makes me really happy.

Yesterday seemed to be the day of breakdowns. Tensions were high and drama was inevitable at times and there were people I really wanted to slap around a bit, but you can’t do anything except try to hold your maturity rather than stoop to levels you shouldn’t stoop to. Some of the girls were just pushed to the brink, but they kept going. I just felt bad because once people noticed they cried, then people kept bothering them. I wish there was something I could do to help in these times, but I know sometimes the best thing is to leave them alone. I just love them so much.

I kept forgetting things. Not choreography, but things. Like I forgot my Mustang Tickets at home, and forgot my nude leotard, and then forgot my little notebook of choreography and my crocheting (Thanks for saving me, Rowlands!) and to check out the Rat Queen costume for next Saturday. All noninvasive things in the long run, but still things that would have been better had I remembered. I didn’t forget Judy! Which is great seeing that I was her ride home. I really love that kid. She’s an old soul and really aware and wise and funny. I don’t feel like I’m hanging out with a twelve year old with her. She’s pretty fab.

A cold front came in, which made it super exciting because our company jackets came in! I’m not going to lie, I saw mine hanging up today and thought for a second that Annika or someone left theirs at my house before I remembered that it was mine. I always wanted to be a part of one of those groups that had jackets. To know that I was enough to be wanted among them. To have talent and some sort of place. This all sounds way cheesier than I want it to, but the point being, it feels really good. Never say never. I’m twenty-seven, and am now a member of the Corpus Christi Ballet Company, and that feels good.

(polaroid of my jacket. It’s dark and stuff but I haven’t gotten a picture, picture yet.)

How long will I dance? Who knows. But I know that I’m there right now, and it feels good.

Edit: Here ya go

Blurry, but yessss

This past week

Mrs. Alex wasn’t in class on Wednesday, so we had a sub. I ended up sneaking out towards the end, embarrassed by the fact I couldn’t do what she was asking. She was teaching more on the advanced side and I could do it—or at least try it—on flat, but on pointe it was impossible. It is a bit frustrating to have the class taught to a level farther than what we are capable of (and more so when most of the class is the lower level) but I understand with subs its hit and miss. (And not all the time.) She didn’t know me. She didn’t know I’m an adult and incapable of “just try” ing like the younger girls in my level. They rocked it and learned and tried, but I can’t do that. My body doesn’t always let me. Or it’s an addition onto something I have yet to master, even if the other girls have. Which I just have to accept, and know when to pick my battles. It was okay, I know where I stand and know what I need to do and have a plan on how to achieve it.
I had to miss Saturday’s rehearsal due to a wedding I was booked to shoot. It was laid out oddly, so I was actually able to swing by the downtown studio for a bit of the Rat Queen rehearsal. I was really grateful to get to see it one more time. It also worked out as Ms. Munro needed a couple pictures for the Beeville shows and I had my camera on me and was able to get them.
Sunday’s rehearsal went relatively smooth. We figured out a solution to the missing Petit Fleur issue (we being not us, just to clarify. Mrs. Alex and Ms. M are rockstars. Especially with how chaotic this year’s casting has become) and were able to help Ileana learn the extra role and Hannah and/or Nina did well switching spots (so well I couldn’t tell who actually switched.) Now we should be able to clean it up.
They didn’t have the air on, and there’s this fun thing my body likes to do where if I get too hot, I get sick. (My sister is opposite. If she gets too cold, she gets sick) I tend to have to be able to feel air blowing, but I try not to think about it because sometimes if I don’t think about it I can trick my body into not reacting. But it went a little too long Sunday, and I felt it hit while we were at the barre. I tried to ignore it, but by the time we started running rehearsals, my face felt really hot and Mariela said I looked red. This is a good sign, because if I’m pale it means fever, so I knew it was probably just the being-too-hot thing. I had to step outside for a bit to feel the air flow, and still felt pretty crummy. I knew chances were once we started dancing I’d forget about it, so I tried to hold out. Elizabeth showed me where in the studio you could feel the air blowing most so I stood there during corrections. Everyone was a bit hot, and Elizabeth found one of the Spanish fans to fan herself with after running Sugar Plum. She came over and stood next to me so I could get some of the air too, which I really appreciated. She is so good to me.
(Sometimes I sit back and am blown away by the quality of people I have in my life now. I got so used to having people who leave me or just want to use me that to have kind people who stick around, it’s still kind of shocking at times. I’m super grateful.)
We had another flower roll her ankle. I haven’t heard yet what the final verdict is, but hopefully it’s something she has time to come back from and can still dance in the show.  I got home that night and was putting stuff away in my house when I misjudged and hit my toe on a suitcase. Ten years ago, I hit this same toe on a suitcase wheel in Paris and broke it. I hobbled around Paris and London when we continued on there. It was super cute. It’s the toe next to the pinkie toe, which always blows my mind. Why this one? Why not the toe farthest on the end? How did that one escape injury again?(Maybe because it’s hunched over from when it too was broken when I was 13 and hiked on it not realizing. *shrug*)
I’m not going to lie; I sat on my bed and cried. I was terrified it was broken. That I, too, had become the next victim of the falling flowers and would have to be replaced by God-knows-who since we’re officially out of spares. It didn’t swell, and the bruise is only on top, so I convinced myself to calm down and got an ice pack for it. In the morning, you could see it was bruised, but only a little bit. I can bend it, but I could bend my pinkie toe as well when it was broken. I could point my foot, so I decided I’d go to class and at least try barre and see what happened. I told my teacher, Ms. Catherine, and she said, “You just can’t catch a break, can you?” I wanted to thank her.  So often these things will happen and my head tells me that I’m just being dramatic and should push through things and suck it up, when really I should take my time with them, even if it seems to be all the freaking time.
I could releve, but only if my weight stayed completely over the big toe. I could plie, but gingerly where I kept pressure off of it. I could point my toe, but only if it was slow enough to be careful so I ended up doing half the stuff rather flexed on that foot, and nixed the releve on the other. It was frustrating.
I skipped the second half of class, afraid of jumping on it, and skipped Jazz V. It made me sad, but I’d rather be safe—especially with Nutcracker at risk.
With perfect timing, I received my shirt I ordered from Marissa Milele which says, “Never Give Up!” When I emailed her to order it she told me to send her a picture, so I had one of my friends get a picture of it and send it to her.

She’s so great. So kind and encouraging. And I love this shirt. I think it’s a mantra I can really get behind.

I’m still going to class tonight, mainly because I told Adrienne I would help her work on fouette’s after ballet. Plus, I can watch and learn that way. Get it in my brain and all. 
Hopefully my toe will be okay by the weekend on next week. It really doesn’t look that bad. 
All else fails, if I can hike on a broke toe, I can dance on one right?
(Kidding.)
(Maybe.)

(also, just re-read this and it reads really funny. Like it’s just notes of what all I really wanted to say. I’ve been in a funk, I guess, and keep embarrassing myself. So anyone who encounters me right now, my apologies. I’m a mess and not saying the right things and blah)

Tuesday

It’s been rather humid here, lately, which causes our floors to be sticky and our barres to turn our hands colors. Thankfully, yesterday’s class was the class I do on flat shoes, so I had less of a risk than the other girls. Consequently, the sticky floors helped me be able to control my turns so I had the cleanest single turns I’ve probably ever done.

There were quite a few challenging elements in class, but most of them were petit allegro which I am unable to do because of my knee. This is great and terrible at the same time. I want to be able to do these things, my body just doesn’t let me, and that is one of the hardest things to accept. To have these visions of things you could potentially do and accomplish, but are unable to because of physical limitations that have little to no explanation. I have to accept that there may be some things I can never accomplish, and others that I will have to work much harder to find adaptable ways to accomplish, which will more than likely take longer. This just is how it is. It isn’t fair, but it is life.

I was able to mark the combinations; to try and get the pattern and rhythm and direction of the movement so if one day I ever can do it, my brain will be familiar. That’s half the battle, right? I flubbed up here and there, but it wasn’t anything dire. Most of it was just human error, which you learn from and do better next time.
Mrs. Julie showed everyone our recital costume, and played with a bit of music and some movements to start getting a feel for what she wants and what we can do. It never struck me to be afraid or nervous about recital until yesterday. What if they have an element I can’t do? I mean, I’m not really worried about it, but I am a bit nervous.
I’m trying not to think about it too much, though. No need to dwell on something that might not even happen. The music we were playing with yesterday was quick, but fit the vision well. I wasn’t absolutely perfect with it, but I understood the bits she gave us and felt confident if she used any of that, I would be able to work on it to get it clean and blend with the rest. 
Even just playing with it all just made me so excited to even be a part of this piece. I mean, four years ago I was the kid crying in the corner, absolutely certain that I would never get those steps that challenged me to the point of tears. That there was no way I could improve enough to be in advanced. It was just too fast, too complex, too much. And here I am, taking the advanced class, holding my own. Sure, I’m in flat shoes, but two years ago I couldn’t even do this class in flat shoes. The thought of triple beats on frappe’s seemed outlandish, same with beating jete’s or assemble’s or anything else. Granted, I haven’t been successful with those yet (thanks knee) but my brain is starting to process how they are executed, which is loads more than I had before. I thought for sure when Instep closed that my opportunity to be in an advanced class had closed with it. I didn’t expect going into my second year at Munro to be told by the teachers that they thought I should take the Advanced class. It never entered my mind before it was put there. And here I am, in this class, no longer a beginner.

As Mrs. Julie was showing the complex, quick, million-beats petit allegro combination, you could hear a groan or two from the girls about what she was asking. Mrs. Julie said, “it’s good for you” and it just kind of all clicked in my head that it is. You could see it on a few girls. They wanted the challenge. They understood that you have to try to improve. If we never try the entrechat six, you’ll never achieve it. Even if you look like a flopping fish your first couple times, that’s what class is for; to push your limits and learn new things while perfecting things you’ve learned. There are times when it’s good to just do clean versions of what you know, and then there are times to try new things you know you’ll suck at. If you do it enough, eventually you won’t suck. Eventually you’ll stop being the new girl panicking in the corner because you just don’t grasp the concept of a scissonne and you’ll become the girl in the advanced class.
We’ll always be learning, if you ever stop learning then you stop growing and why are you really there? Old dogs can be taught new tricks if they want it badly enough.

After class, I went into the small studio. Andie skipped a bit of her Jazz class and helped me out on my en dedans turns en pointe. I started with a few preparations to truly grasp the concept, then tried turning. I wasn’t getting enough of a plie to really get anywhere, and was getting frustrated with how I still “climb” a bit, but Andie said it wasn’t as bad as I was thinking. (Which, she’s the friend that will tell you the truth if it hurts, and won’t tell you something if it isn’t true.) I got the feel for it and the fear began to fade. Afterwards I felt confident enough to know I can try them in class. I still have a lot of work to do with them, and my en dehors turns as well, but that will come with time and work. I also find I turn better in class than when I try it on my own. If I’m looking in the mirror, I tend to fall out of it. If I face the corner, I have better success. (Although I tried the en dedans turns facing the mirror to see what my feet do and better understand it, so hopefully I got the feel enough to do it to the corner.)
(It’s all a balance.)

Today I have my tap class, which I missed a step she wanted us to learn and know for our recital piece. Thankfully, Cheyanne and Judy made sure I was shown the step this weekend and helped me understand it until I got it. I still need to work a little more so I can get a bit quicker, but the hard part is over thanks to them. It’s great having good people in your life.
If I wasn’t shooting a wedding this weekend, I’d be teaching three classes on Saturday. I’m a bit sad, but such is life. Gotta take it as it comes. (I think I’m more sad to be missing rehearsal, being that I can use all the practice I can get!)

(Maybe one day I won’t need to shoot weddings and can be more selective. That day is not today, though, but maybe one day.)

I just like that I love dance again. That I feel good and like I’m going somewhere; achieving something. 

Also here’s my feet.

4 years ago

Yesterday was my first class after my “week off of life.”
I know a week doesn’t seem like much, but it can really do you some good if you utilize it well.

When I first started dancing, I hated when something would happen that would cause me to have to take extensive time off from dance. In fact, it was actually 4 years ago tonight that I got in the car wreck that could have left me in far worse condition than it did. I had just begun dancing again a few weeks before. I was heading home from church, (which was on Thursday nights) waiting to turn into my alley when I was hit from the passenger side and my car was slammed two lanes over. 
I still don’t know where the car came from. It was all very confusing for me as it was literally the exact moment I took my foot off the brake and was intending to turn after two cars passed. I assume those two cars passed, because they were cars and no one else was hit except for me and the truck that jumped my hood and came back off my car. Somehow I got the blame for this whole ordeal, and it was all pretty traumatic, but I typically play it off. After all, I’m okay. It shut down the entire street and my friends I was just with turned around to come make sure I was okay. My left leg hurt and I could feel a mass, but of course I was in skinny jeans so I couldn’t see. I turned down an ambulance ride, knowing it’d be ridiculously expensive, and sat on the curb. Some lady I don’t know came from I don’t know where to check on me. She stayed with me until my friends got there which I appreciate more than words could ever say. I was terrified, and she brought me peace. (Thanks, lady I don’t know.) I literally walked back to my house, as this all happened so close to home. My friends that came back around to make sure I was okay had a new friend with her who was conveniently knowledgeable in medical things. She looked at my leg and suggested an x-ray. Shana told me to get some things and that I would stay the night with her. I told her I would be fine, but did what she said anyway. She took me to the ER in Portland, since it’s a smaller town (The town she lived in, across the bridge) and we would more than likely get in and out a lot quicker. I got signed in exactly at midnight, and my hospital bracelet says 11/11/11. (I still have it.)
They did xrays and said I was okay and gave me some anti inflammatory medication and the usual. I went back to Shana’s, skipped work the next day, and stayed there until my mom came for me the next day. (I didn’t realize how much I needed the love and care and concern Shana gave me until I was in it. For that I am eternally grateful.)
My leg bruised up pretty badly, and I have some marks from where the seatbelt was. Miraculously, the airbags didn’t break my nose. My face was actually completely fine. (If you want the full details of everything God told me and showed me and how He spared me, just ask.) (It’s pretty cool.)
I don’t know if it’s because I was wearing pants with elastic at the knee, or what, but I ended up developing nerve damage in that spot that I felt after the wreck. It’s on the inside of my left knee, and is typically fine. Unless it’s touched. Then my knee will hurt for a solid day. (Not too bad, considering everything that could have happened. Like, ya know, slamming my head into the left window like I should have, or the airbags jacking up my face, or messing up my ankle on the brake.) (When my Dad saw my car at the towing lot, he was speechless. Literally. He was chewing me out a bit as he walked up to the car, and then was at a loss for words when he saw it. He said that the only part of my car that wasn’t completely bashed in was the driver’s seat. But I’m okay. I walked away.
My camera on my phone at the time really sucked, so you can’t really see all the detailing. This was the day after when my mom had picked me up

The hospital bracelet (again, stupid camera)

This was a few days later, after I was back home. I stayed at my parents house until Saturday night I believe. So this was Sunday-ish. (I was back at work Monday.)
The numb spot is actually more-so that bit of normal skin among all the bruising up top.

My lovely boss’ wife made me cookies. I love her. (Cora, you’re a gem)


(I don’t have the pictures of my car accessible yet. Apparently my phone only backed up pictures I took then, and not ones I also saved. Shana got the pictures of the car, thank God.)
Time is a funny thing. It’s crazy to think that was four years ago. How much has happened in four years; the places I’ve gone, the people I’ve met, the people I’ve lost, the changes that have occurred, the things I’ve learned. It seems like a blink, but filled with one thousand years.

Needless to say, I had to take off two weeks of dancing after the wreck. I was so upset. I had just begun again and couldn’t afford to take off two weeks. I had already paid for a November I wouldn’t get to be there for. But life happens. You have to take the highs with the lows.
Since then, I’ve rolled my ankle, screwed up my knee and needed PT, had my gallbladder removed, strained my foot, gotten really terrible sunburns, (yes, plural) and probably more things I can’t remember. It seemed I was out for a week every few months there for a while, and though it was frustrating, but I started noticing a trend; I’d come back better.
Now I’m sure there’s some science behind this, but whatever the explanation I’m really grateful for it. Going back to class yesterday, I was a bit nervous. I was hoping that it would be a good class, but I wasn’t sure if a week was enough to really help me. Would I just come back stiff and regretting having taken the time off? Would it really help me at all? Are my feet gonna be so angry I’ll want to throw my pointe shoes out the window?

 I decided to go into class hopeful and see what happened. After all, I had two successful Nutcracker rehearsals before. That should count for something, right?
I loved seeing my Rowland’s and My Cortez’s.  They were two families I actually felt myself missing while I was at home. I swear there’s magic in them.
Ms. Catherine was sick, so Ms. Munro taught our class. There weren’t all that many students there, either, so I found myself excited. There’s just something about a good ol’ Ms. M class that can do you good.
My hips did feel sore, but thankfully Ms. Munro gave us combinations to help with that. We did balances in second, and back coupe, and other things I normally struggle with that I actually surprised myself with being able to hold. Ms. Munro saw two of them and complimented me. The first time, it was even a tone of surprise, like she was impressed. It felt really good. She worked us pretty well and I was a bit nervous I’d be too shaky to really do anything en pointe.
To my surprise, I was able to do everything except for the turn I know I can’t do yet. Thankfully, it was in a combination that I couldn’t do anyway because of my knees, so I just worked on stuff myself at the barre. I found myself holding balances longer, actually getting onto my box most of the time, doing releves I typically have issues with; I even did a really nice pirouette on my bad leg! My good leg wasn’t doing pirouettes for beans, but that’s okay. I marked them instead and got good clean preparations instead. I also felt myself able to roll through my shoe really well. This gives me a bit of confidence mentally. I watched Catherine and Adrienne on the turns I can’t do, trying to get a good understanding with them. I don’t want to try them before I’m ready so I don’t frustrate myself over nothing. Watching helps. I don’t know if it’s the lack of strength I’m still trying to gain up, or if it’s my short toes, or my jacked up knees, or what. They aren’t happening yet, but I hope to have them happen soon. And the fact I got that good clean pirouette on the one side made me feel really good.

I left feeling great, and really encouraged. That was really nice and hadn’t really happened in a while. I also think the people who were in class helped that as well. I didn’t feel judged or inadequate. I felt safe. I hope this is a growing trend that will continue to be this way and continue to get better. 

Success.

Week off.

The past five days, I haven’t gone to work or dance.
I’ve learned tons and caught up on a million things I needed to get done, with about a million more that will be left unfinished (Among those is the pictures I’m currently editing, and the ones I won’t have time to finish. And laundry is waiting for me when I run out of time here. And the lady behind me at Starbucks has a really annoying and obnoxiously loud voice and of course I forgot my earbuds.)
My knees are feeling better, but we have Rat Queen rehearsal tomorrow, so that probably won’t last long. I have to learn how to press through it.
I’ve missed class to an extent, but I know I mentally needed a break. I’ve been forced to come to terms with certain aspects of my life that can’t change, and also realize certain other areas of strength. It’s been great to really take a breath and remember who I am and why without the constant buzzing of everyone else in my ears.
I think I may have liked it too much.

I took the headshots for the principal dancers as well as Ms. Munro and Mrs. Alex today. It was fun to be in the studio in real clothes, and to be around dance again. I’ll be there for hours tomorrow for rehearsal, which I’m hoping will go well now that I am coming into it with a relatively clear mind.
I’m not going to lie, there are certain people and elements of being around so many people that I am not looking forward to, but I know it’ll be okay in the end.

This is a short update, but an update nonetheless.
I’m going to get cracking on editing now and hopefully get this done.