Post Swan Lake feels. 

Day after Swan Lake and it already feels worlds away, yet I’m still basking in it. 

I also left work early because I was so nauseous I couldn’t stand. So that was cute. I went home, laid in bed, watched the newest Grey’s Anatomy, and fell asleep. 

I had to go to dance tonight, since it was one of two recital practice classes we have left and I’ve only run it with all the choreography twice. I was glad I did. It helped solidify it a bit more. 

I went to the ballet class before also. It was great being around some of the girls again. The class was small, which was also nice. 

I remembered how Ms Munro complimented Hannah and I backstage during intermission. She said we did a great job and it really meant a lot to hear. 

I remembered the feeling of finally getting everything correct. I remembered all my friends celebrating with me. I remembered seeing the show from side stage. I remembered being on stage in Act III, watching the Princesses in front of me, realizing this was real. I was on this stage, in this production, in front of an audience, helping set the scene to make them feel things. How cool is that? 

Class went really well, I think. I was a hot mess in some things, but surprised myself with others. Ms Catherine also made a comment about pique turns that clicked and I was able to do them in the quick tempo required. It was nice. (Still a hot mess, but, ya know, little victories.) 

We got our costumes in Jazz 5, except, ya know, mine wasn’t there. No one really knows why, and our teacher was livid and frantically searching all the boxes, determined to figure out why it wasn’t there. I was actually pretty calm about it, though it was odd. There was a costume for a girl not in our piece that is my size, so they told me to go ahead and take that one. It’s a size smaller than I usually get, which is good for everything except for the torso. It’s not all that bad except it’s a little funny in the arm pits. But it’s really not that bad. I’m just glad to have a costume. How sad would that be? 

We ran the piece in costume, which was really cool. I feel like once I’m confident in what I’m doing it’ll feel really good. I’m still excited for this piece, and I’m really grateful to be a part of it. 

I’m pretty exhausted. And really wish I could have a few more days of nothing. But that’s okay. I’m grateful to have had the afternoon to rest and to have my weekends again. Sleeping on Saturday will be nice. 

My friend sent me a picture I forgot I took on her phone this weekend. 

It reminded me of those moments that you take in but rarely get to capture. Where the lights shine on to the darkness of the side stage, eager dancers watching and waiting for their turn. Taking in the fullness of the production. 

It’s a beauty all its own. 

One of the girls in the company, Alexis, her mom was backstage taking pictures and she captured some really great side stage moments. All her pictures were great, really, but I was particularly fond of the side stage shots she got. It’s those moments that you really remember. Because it’s you in your truest form. On stage, you’re someone else. Side stage, you’re still yourself. 

It seems quite a few of the cast members ended up sick today. One even has a pretty gnarly fever. I’m hoping we all kick this, especially since we have recital to think about now. 

On that note, I’m off to try and sleep. Tomorrow is a full day. 


Swan Lake, Show 2

“Can you quote me on your blog saying, ‘It was literally negative two degrees today in the theater.'”–Abaranne Henderson

I think near about everyone would agree with me when I say that today’s warm up got off to a slow and sluggish start. I was actually almost late to warm up because it just didn’t feel like it could possibly already be time to leave my house yet. (that, and I thought it started 30 minutes later than it did. Good thing I’m always early!)

We got there and got going and it all started to sink in that this was the last day of Swan Lake. This was my last time doing this show with these people. Some big ones will be gone next year, and it’s weird to imagine it without them. Anything could happen, and people we expect to be here next year might not be. I’ve felt this feeling before, and it really just reminds me that tomorrow is never promised. We have to dance today like it’s our last.

I stood there at the barre, looked around at these people, and realized how we truly are a family. It may be dysfunctional at times, but we wouldn’t be able to do a show without each other. Each member is important. These people would drop anything to help the other, even if we may not be super close. It was really cool to see dancers bond with other dancers simply on the basis of we were in this together. We need each other. We have to rely on each other. And when we do, beautiful things happen. Beautiful shows are produced.

Good shows are ones you almost have to grieve when they’re over. And this one was a tough one; physically, mentally, emotionally. But it made us all stronger, better people. I wouldn’t trade a bit of this experience for anything.


Warm up went well. My Dad text me saying they were there early (beat the traffic!) so when I knew they were inside, I snuck out to see them. It meant so much having my family there to support me. They had to hear all the stories from rehearsals, the struggles, the questioning, the concerns, the triumphs, the hopes, the fears. And here they were, happy to see me dance.

I went back to the end of warm up, but couldn’t do much of it since it was jumping. (wanted to save my knees.) After receiving one of the best gifts ever, I went back upstairs to finish getting ready. We received really sweet swan cookies, and laughed in the dressing room. It was fun.

I made a Nutcracker book of polaroids after a really amazing gift from Mrs. Alex in our office secret Santa, and decided to do the same for Swan Lake, so I got ready and went downstairs to see what I could get pictures of that were specific to the show. I’m not gonna lie, they’re pretty great. It makes my heart so happy. There’s something about polaroids–you get one shot, and it really makes you think about what you use it on. It tends to be spur of the moment and not over thought and the things that really matter. The things you really hold dear to your heart. It makes me so happy.

The show started and Act I began. My friend and fellow Hunts Woman Lillian and I stood by each other, which was so much fun. She makes me so happy and we really hammed it up, almost unintentionally. We were just having such a great time, it was convenient that our characters were the ones that tended to be a little heavy on the alcohol.

It went near flawlessly, and the little slip ups were covered so well. There was a moment when one of the Friends’ necklaces fell off. We all saw it untie and start to slowly slip as she did her solo in the middle of the stage. Thankfully, it held on until she was near some villagers, one in particular that was sitting on the ground and very observant. She grabbed it like it was nothing out of the ordinary, put it behind her, and another villager (Polaca? I think they were Polaca) grabbed it and got it to the Friend who put it back on before her next part.You wouldn’t even know it happened if you didn’t know to look for it.

We finished up and went into Quick Change, where everyone was really feeling the fact that this was the last time. It was the last time I would wear that costume, which I absolutely loved. I was going into my last time as a Swan. This was it. I made it. I did it. Everything I worked so hard for was about to be over.

We all got ready and got side stage. We pumped each other up and went over certain parts and got in line and went for it. Let me tell you, that first entrance onto stage is a feeling I’ll never forget. I may not have gotten to do bows, but I got that entrance, and it was everything. Absolutely everything.

I knew I had a few problem areas that I always seemed to struggle with. The first being in that part Lauren does that I hadn’t done since the first few rehearsals. Ileana went over it with me and I finally got it today. Going from there, I went into the right placement after the pose, not getting mixed up on who I was doing and awkwardly running across the stage like in rehearsal. I had the correct foot, I remembered to switch my arms *most* of the time. Going into the finale, I started preparing myself for it. I went over the steps in my head and pumped myself up.

“You got this. You can do it. How do you know that? You’ve done it before.” and I remembered a conversation I had with a friend this morning about how your words have power. “You’re not gonna mess up. You’re gonna get this right. You know what to do. You can do this. You can do all things. Through Christ. He strengthens you. Even in something like Swan Lake. And I could use strength right now in every literal sense. Who says you can’t do this? Decide you can, and you can.”

And I did.

I did it. I did the finale, I had the timing, I didn’t mess up.
I did it.

There was a point in the very last part of it before we pose again that I semi-rolled my ankle, but I didn’t mess up like I usually do. I did it en pointe. I was lifted. I did the correct leg. And the near-roll wasn’t until the second to last one, so people were in front of me which made it less noticeable.  I could hardly contain my excitement. On the day it mattered most, I did it. God helped me, and I did it.

Sometimes you can really hold yourself back by doubting yourself. What do you have to lose? Try it and surprise yourself.

(There was a point during these chugs we do that I got caught on a passing swan. It was pretty funny to me. Anyway.)

We finished with the runs, which I also pumped myself up for, and feel I did decently. I ran off stage, following my fellow swans, and completely exploded in excitement when we got there. I was so excited. I was sad it was over, but so elated that this even happened.

This was real life.
I danced in Swan Lake.
I was a Swan in Swan Lake.
I danced the role of Swan in Swan Lake without screwing up.

We all got group pictures together during intermission, then I went upstairs to change for Act III. When I got back down stairs, we got group pictures as Court Ladies, and I got more polaroids from the second part of show, including the Black Swan tutu.

Act III went really well. Mia killed her part, as did Michael–our Prince–and everyone seemed to just really be on point tonight. (also, shout out to cygnets. You guys did so incredible it took everything in me not to cheer from stage.)

From there, I helped the girls in quick change get back into swan for Act IV, then went back upstairs to change into Swan so I could see my parents in my tutu.

I caught the end of Act IV from side stage, and really tried to take it all in. It was perfect. This show is magic, I swear.

I got to see my family afterwards. They got me flowers and bought me a shirt and program. Dad said he would have taken out the swan with the cross bow if it were him. Hehehe, I love him. I was so glad to have them there today.

I also got to see my friend Bailey, and my sweet Ayla and her friends for her birthday. (Her birthday is actually tomorrow. She’ll be 8!)

Afterwards I had dinner with my dear friend, Annika, and went to see a movie with the true MVP, Maddie.

Overall, it was such a success.

And it’s funny. Because before cast list came out, I dreamt I was made a swan cover. Before I even knew Swans would have covers. But then after it came out, I dreamt I was made a Swan.

Both happened. And even though I didn’t understand while it was happening, I think everything happened exactly how it needed to. I was able to learn and to grow. I better understand myself and have learned so much about myself. I’ve learned how to be a better person. I’ve learned a greater level of respect. I’ve deepened friendships and seen true colors, which does my heart well. True kindness came out this show. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Here are a few of the little details I’m going to miss about the show.

  • The way you could hear everyone’s pointe shoes hit the ground at the same time, completely in unison.
  • Hearing the person next to you breathing just as hard as you were. This isn’t a movie. It’s not just a story. These aren’t robots. We are each people, humans in our own right, coming together to pursue this mutual thing we love.
  • Whispering bits of encouragement to each other on stage.
  • Walking backstage, from stage right to stage left, in costume, behind my friend, realizing this is real life and not just a dream.
  • Standing in line on stage in that swan costume, sandwiched between two of my dear friends, realizing this was really happening. I was really doing this. This was reality.
  • Everyone pulling together to help each other during quick changes.
  • Lucy coming over to me before we did Act II first show and telling me, “You did it. You’re a Swan. You deserve this so much and have worked so hard. This is your time to shine.” (what? No, these aren’t tears in my eyes)
  • Mari and Adrienne texting me encouragement
  • The feeling you get being under the stage lights
  • Reactionary commentary during Act I and Act III.
  • “Mom? QUEEN?!”
  • Laughing with the little villagers
  • Seeing your friends watch you from side stage.
  • The way the lights shine on the faces of the crowd
  • Warm ups
  • Pushing myself harder than I ever have before, working harder than I ever have before, and accomplishing more than I ever have before.
  • Standing there in that line in that swan costume thinking, “I thought “How will I ever be able to do that?” and here I am, doing it.”
  • Friends whispering bits of help to me when I struggled to get different parts right.
  • Hearing the comments from people on what they thought of the show
  • Random strangers congratulating me 
  • Signing programs 🙂 
  • My friends genuine excitement and support of me. I’ll never get over that. Thank you all so much. Seriously. Each and every one of you mean the world to me.
  • Realizing what an honor it has been to do this show.

And now, here’s some pictures from today.



Swan Lake, Show 1

I find it ironic that the song low key in my head this last week just started playing when I started writing this. 

(Seven Swans, Sufjan Stevens)


Last night was our first show of Swan Lake! 

I ended up getting there super early, but he door was already open, so it was really convenient. Usually we have a bit of time after warm up to finish make up and stuff, but Ms Munro wanted to run Act II for those of us who were newly into the role. We greatly appreciated it, let me tell you. 

Since I was there early, I was able to get my hair and stage make up done easily. There are six of us assigned to the one dressing room I’m in, which could maybe comfortably fit three or four, so being able to really have time to breathe, spread out, and not rush was really nice. 

One of our teachers, Brian, did our warm up. I really love when he does them because he gives us things simple on the brain but that are very effective. He’s also really funny in the theatre surrounding, and for some reason I tend to do my best turns at the theatre. It was his last time leading warm up with us as he’s moving, so that was really sad. He always uses fun, new music, and this time he threw in a little Prince as well. 

There was a man with a video camera filming parts of our warm up. No one seems to know who he was, though. At first we thought maybe from one of the news crews but we didn’t seem to see anything from them. There was a point when I was finishing turns and he had that thing pointed right at me, Ms Munro smiling behind him. Talk about nervous. 

We finished and ran swans and then went to get ready. 

I had gotten a text from my co worker saying that she and my boss were coming to see me! I don’t know what I did to work at a place so wonderful, but I greatly appreciate them. I was so excited! They’ve been so supportive this entire journey, even though they’ve had a family member in the hospital. 

I also had a friend from my old studio I used to take classes with who came with her mom and sister. (We got our pointe shoes at the same time 😊) Her other sister is in Act I with me, and I love her so dearly. 

There were two of my fellow adult dancers there last night as well, from my old studio. Two of my biggest supporters and biggest fans. 

Also my co worker from my old job came down from Houston to see me. I hadn’t seen her since about October and she was the first to buy a ticket from me. 😊

There were also my friends from the other ballet company in town, Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, who were in the audience, my dear Frances and Clara. I met them in September at the dance festival my old teacher helps put on at our local university, Bailando Dance Festival. 

Plus my friend from a local young adults ministry, whom just recently got back into dance herself! I’m really proud of her and she came to see the show as well! 

It didn’t feel like a show day. It felt like just another rehearsal.

I realized I hardly had any pictures with my friends, so I had to change that. Here are a few before curtain with some people I love 😊 I still need to get more. Hopefully that happens today! 

When the overture started playing and Rothbart and the Swan Queen were in place, it started feeling real. The lights came down, the scrim went up, and we all got into place. Lights came up, and it was a go! 

We had a blast. Hunts Woman is a really fun and light hearted role, mixed with the great costumes and incredible hats, the whole thing was fabulous. I really like my costume, too. It makes me feel like I’m being someone I would never really get to be in life due to just time. It’s one of my favorite things about theatre–you live a thousand lives. 

Act I ended and we rushed to quick change for Act II swans. This is when I really felt the nerves. Backstage, we all pumped each other up and encouraged each other. I told myself that I was gonna do great. That I was going to remember every step and placement and was going to run correctly and wasn’t going to flinch and it was going to be great. 

The music started, and the swans started running on. This is my favorite part of the whole show–you can fee the unison with all of us and it’s just an incredible sight and feeling. To be part. To get to do this. I can’t describe it. 

There were bits I messed up, but overall I feel I did well. I remembered the parts I usually mess up and didn’t feel like I had any spaced out moments. So that was nice. The finale was a little rough for me, but I’ll do better today. 

I told my friend Abaranne how I would rearrange the letters in the Exit sign to form new words to help keep my mind off my calves burning and keep me from flinching. She told me she was going to give me an epic word to use. So she gave me xylophone, which I first had to figure out how to spell, haha! But during the one part that really hurts, I made a good 10-15 words, so it was beneficial. She’s giving me a new word today. Hehe 

I feel like Adrienne did her best she’s done with the duet part she was given this week. I was very proud of her. I am at a good place to get to see most of it while still keeping my head in the correct position.  

Act II ended, and we went into intermission. I asked Mrs Jane if it’s okay if I put my swan costume back on after to go out and greet everyone, and she said she didn’t see why not. I don’t have a head piece, as I share with Hannah, but that’s okay! 

Act III is fun, especially since I get to wear a big, pretty dress. Once again, living a life I’ve always wanted to live, if even just for a moment. It’s like I’m fulfilling these little childhood dreams I never thought I’d be able to fulfill. It’s so much fun!

After Act III, I helped get the girls in one of the quick change rooms out of their costumes and into swans, just in the nick of time, then I headed upstairs to change back into swan. In the stillness and quiet of the dressing room, with only the Act IV music playing from the stage, it was a moment hard to describe. Like something out of a movie. 

Life may be hard. It may really suck sometimes and hurt a lot. But, moments like that. They make it worth it. They make it incredible. 

At one point in the dressing room before one of the Acts, the girls made a comment on how doing this show is such a once in a lifetime thing. And they’re right. Some dancers never get to do Swan Lake, and here we are, doing it. Here we are, as Swans. 

We are living the dream. 

I went backstage to watch the last bit of Act IV and it looked so good. 

And just like that, the ballet is over. 

It’s funny that people think it is long, because being in it, it feels so short. 

We all went out to meet people, where I got to see all my friends. 

Here’s Sarah an Liz, my fellow adult dancers who are two of my biggest supporters. I love them so much. They are there for every up and down all along the way. 

Here’s Frances and Clara, my sweet girls from Concert Ballet. They were both Clara in the Nutcracker this year and did a wonderful job! It’s so much fun to have friends who also dance and are so excited for you. It fills your heart with such joy that is difficult to describe. 

Here are my sweet Roberts girls. Hanna and I were in class together and got our pointe shoes together and now she’s in college and I miss her loads! Her sister, Clara, was a top notch tapper and has recently gotten into soccer and is super great at it! I love them so much. They saw me and we freaked out and Hanna told me how proud she was of me. And like, I knew she meant it. She’s been there the whole time (same with Sarah and Liz) and seen the struggles and knew me at the very beginning of this journey. Their mom was also there, and near about cried and hugged me so tightly. I love this family. So so much. They’ve been nothing but supportive. It really means the world. 

Here is my sweet Aimee. We used to work for the same company, which forms a bond no one can ever break or try to compare to. It means so much to me to have her in my life. 

Here’s my dear Ileana. She and I have been in the same class since I started at Munro, and has been so supportive of me and super helpful this week. She even had a dream I became a swan, and look! I’m a swan! 

Here I am with Ileana and Annika! Swan friends!! 

This adorable couple found out about our show from the news cast Ms Munro did on our local tv station. They had everyone they could find sign the program, which is really really cool. They were super supportive and adorable. 

Here’s my friend Mariah! She got back into dance this last year and I’m super proud of her! It’s so cool to hear how she perceives everything and remember where I started. She’s going to be in a dance production this Wednesday and I’m so excited for her! 

Here I am with my friend Elizabeth. She has been so supportive and kind to me since the day I met her, especially throughout Swan Lake. I’m really proud of her and all her hard work as Odette. She’s so talented and works so hard. 

I hope to get more pictures with my friends tonight. They mean the world to me. And I’ll post a blog hopefully tonight about today’s show and also the little things I never want to forget about this show. 

It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m really going to miss this show. 

Selena Week, Night 4

We had our last full dress rehearsal last night. 

After the school show, I took my friend Lillian home, called my family and told them about becoming a swan, and picked up my friend Annika to get lunch and do some running around. We came back to her house to just hang out with the rest of the time we had. I fell asleep, which almost never happens during the day, and woke up a bit confused and nauseous. (Which is why I don’t typically sleep during the day.) 

We get to rehearsal and my dressing room is locked. I go in with the swans until they get it unlocked and realized I couldn’t find my flat shoes. I thought I had put them in my bag, but they weren’t there, so I assumed they were in the dressing room. It wasn’t unlocked before warm up, so I went down with only one shoe on. Mrs Alex noticed and asked and I just said, “well, you see” and she laughed, knowing it was a story. 

After warm up, the dressing room was unlocked and my shoes weren’t there. Thankfully I don’t need them for the show, so I just kept going and figured I’d worry about it later. 

I put on my make up and sprayed my hair and got everything ready for the quick change them got my costume on for Act I. I set my hat on top of the shelf in the hallway where my costume was and realized something else was up there–my shoes. Mystery solved! I swear I keep losing parts of my brain, seeing as I completely forgot my pointe shoes in the green room the night before and didn’t even think that they may be missing until I was driving over the next day. Thankfully, they were there and I apologized to Mrs Jane. Then laughed to myself at how spacey I can be sometimes. 

At warm up, we found out one of the other swans had to drop due to injury, so another ugly duckling became a swan. 

I was really proud of the remains covers. They have had a really great attitude, when it could be so easy to become bitter. One in particular who had been the cover for the part that came open to needing someone and didn’t get picked. I knew it’d be a tough blow for her and my mheart went out to her and I was curious to see how she’d react, on guard with words of encouragement and empathy should they be needed. 

When it came time for quick change, I ran into the green room towards where my costume was set out and immediately feel hands starting to undo my costume for me. I had no idea who it was as Mrs Jane was on the other side of the room. It was the very girl who wasn’t picked to be the cover for the swan, among all the swans, doing what she could to help us get on stage for the role she worked for and didn’t get to do. 

Her level of maturity impressed me substantially. She got out ten swans in time for the second Act single handedly, was on guard with pins and anything else we’d need, and even after Act II, was willing to help with anything needed. 

And that, ladies and gentleman, is how to be a cover. You work hard, even though you might not get it. And when people get the part and you don’t, obviously being a bit disappointing a second time around, you do your best to help where you can and are needed. You do the parts you are cast for with a great attitude and with professionalism. 

I am so proud. Proud isn’t even an adequate enough word. 

We did the show and got corrections. After warm up today, we’re gonna run Act II to help us two that are in new places, which I’m grateful for. There’s still a few parts that I’m a little rusty on, but the girls have been so helpful to me. 

I noticed yesterday that the more I do the part, the easier all the standing gets. It still hurts like crazy, but way less than the beginning of the week. I hardly needed to use my distraction techniques. 

My left shoe seems to be giving me trouble. It seems that the shank sways, which I’ve been told will always happen and I just have to learn to deal with, twisting my foot awkwardly into the shoe and making things a bit more difficult. I’m hoping to get to road trip up to Austin sometime back to the Capezio store I order my shoes through and see what they think. I’m not sure if there’s a way to get that shoe a little smaller or what use need to do. It’s on my shorter let and my smaller foot, but I don’t know if it’s small enough to warrant a half size down or if it’d make things worse. Regardless, I’m grateful this part is feeing better, especially since the first show is tonight. 

I’m also incredibly grateful for all the other dancers who have been so kind and helpful to me throughout this show. It’s been a pretty emotional time, and stressful at points, but honestly, it’s made me a better person. I’ve learned and I’ve grown and I’ve improved, even if I still feel a bit behind. I have to take into consideration the fact that I’m just now doing one set part, and if I had done one consistently, I more than likely wouldn’t be struggling so much at this point in the game. But even so, parts I’ve messed up have been improved. I know I still have more to improve and only the spontaneous rehearsal to fix them all before the show, but I’m gonna do my best to use it and get that much better. 

I need to take more pictures. Fail me. 

(The top is from the meet and greet, compliments of the dance moms)

Selena Week, Night 3/ School Show 

Yesterday we ran the full show in costume straight through. 

I did Act I, then quick changed into Swan for Act II for Lauren’s part. After Act II I took my Hunts Woman costume upstairs. Ms Munro came upstairs and told me to have Hannah do Act IV swan. She had ran it more and it would work well. I agreed and asked her if my runs were any better. She said a little, and showed me how to do them and broke it down a little more for me. My friend Andie was in the audience and was able to tell me what the diff rbetween do was in me compared to everyone else that made me stick out in a bad way. So that helped too. 

I had actually asked one of the other girls if I should ask Ms Munro if Hannah should do Act IV since she had run it so much and her ballet runs are so much better than mine so she would look better overall. This way, I didn’t have to, haha, so that was nice. I’m glad it worked out that way. 
When I took the tape off my feet, it was a little more painful on the right one. I realized when I got home that a blister had formed right where the tape ends, half under and half not, so when I took the tape off it popped it. So that’s cute. 

I got to the theatre this morning and Mrs Alex saw me and asked me how I was feeling. I told her I felt great. I had slept and my feet were good and I was good. She said, “I think we’re gonna keep it how it’s been. It worked really nicely that way.” I asked to make sure Hannah was doing school show and she said yes, and I said great and we went on our way. It was casual. Yet so profound. 

I was excited. It means I can use more energy in Act II since I won’t need to conserve it for anything else. It means I am an Ugly Duckling that became a Swan. It means I get to be a Swan for sure. It means I get to feel what it feels like to work hard for something and get to see it to fruition. It means so much. 

And I’m so glad it’s not just me. That another cover also gets to feel this. Gets to also be a swan. Gets to wear the costume and feel the feelings and wear the headpiece and everything. I wish it could be all of us, but at least it’s more than just one. 

Honestly, being in rehearsals really makes me feel what a privilege this is. How quick it can all be gone. How everything can change in an instance. How none of this was guaranteed to happen. 

And I agree that splitting the two Acts between two people is better. It looks so much cleaner. It’s so good. This is good. I feel way less pressure which is nice. 

I called my sister and told her to get tickets. I called my mom and told her. Then I called my dad to see if he wanted to come. He said, “Thats great! When is it?” And I told him and he said, “I definitely want to go! Looking forward to it!” 

I almost cried. It means so much to me. 

School show was fun, the kids are always so great. They marvel at you and hug you and take pictures with you and give high fives and think you’re the greatest thing in the world no matter what role you are. The diplomacy of everything goes away. It’s stripped down solely to the purity of why we all got into this in the first place. 

One of the girls from the studio came up to me and hugged me. She was a monkey last year in our scene and this year she’s in the first Act. It made me so happy. Another one of the first Act girls took a picture with us. I said, “hey, I know you! I see you all during first Act!” Cause she’s in front of me before I go on. It was sweet. 

We have rehearsal tonight. I’m excited. I hope my foot feels better but I think I can push through regardless. I kinda forget about it once I get going. So that’s good. 

I decided in the stands when my legs are dying, to distract myself I’ll treat it like conjuring a patronus in Harry Potter. You have to think of your happiest memory, focus on it hard, to make the patronus charm work. So I focus on every detail of my happiest memory to keep from fidgeting.

It works 🙂 

A couple side stage Act IV shots 😍😍

Selena Week, Night 2

Do you ever have those days where you feel defeated and find yourself thinking, “Why do I even do this?”

That was last night for me.

And it wasn’t even that it was necessarily a terrible day, or that rehearsal was horrible. I guess I’m just hard on myself.

It started when I find out the girl I had covered the night before is on crutches. I try not to be super nervous about what’s to come. Company is supposed to be in costume, so I go to put my Act I costume on as we wait to find out who gets to do Swan. Originally, there were upwards of 5 people missing, so we all prepped our swan costumes for Act II just in case.

We didn’t find out until the Act II overture is playing who would be whom. We have so little time to get all the details of the show worked out, including set pieces and props and blocking and spiking and quick change areas and everything that we have to make use of every moment. So we were ready, just in case, and went from there.

Ms. Munro asked who had been doing the spot, then asked who were the girls behind her. (The two behind the four in that one formation.) I told her it was Abarrane and Adrienne. She shouted for Adrienne, found her, and we discussed how we could switch Adrienne and Lauren’s spot for that duet part.

I was absolutely thrilled and relieved. I knew I couldn’t do that part justice. I knew Adrienne is more than capable. She is an absolutely incredible and beautiful dancer, and more than capable of doing the part. This was honestly best case scenario for this situation. We are the back up plan, in case Lauren isn’t able to dance, but we are hopeful that she can get off the crutches in time.

I gave Adrienne a crash course on the duet, confusing her a little on the tour jetes (sorry, boo) and asked her what line she goes to and we went for it.

Adrienne blew it out of the water. I was so beyond incredibly proud. She had never run the part in her life, was just told the combo and a vague explanation of the weird timing. Ms. Munro was very pleased, and I was so so so proud.

I got a correction on the runs again. I’ve tried picking them apart and trying to understand them, but I just can’t seem to do it correctly. I am really frustrated with myself, because they shouldn’t be this difficult, and I don’t think it shows that I’m trying. I’m extra frustrated, because this is one of those details that bother the crap out of me when they’re done wrong. I feel like such a hypocrite, but I don’t know what to do to understand them. A few of the other dancers helped me try to understand them and correct them, but they’re still rough. I don’t know if it’s the fact that my shank is so thick on the part of the shoe I should be running on, or what, but regardless, it doesn’t matter. I should be able to do this.

My arches felt like they were on fire and I was rather stumbly yesterday. I couldn’t seem to get firm footing anywhere. I didn’t fall over, so that’s a plus, but I was once again super mad at myself.

We moved on to Act III, which is where I have the costume with the giant hoop skirt. Mrs. Jane, our fabulous costume lady, suggested I use the quick change area in the green room so it has more space and she can help me get out of the hoop. It worked so well that I was actually one of the first people dressed and ready. I hadn’t done Act IV in a long time, so I was a bit rusty, but managed to get into the right place and figure it all out. This is the Act where we have tons of runs and bourrees, but I love this Act because it’s so pretty. My shoes decided it was the perfect time to die, and my ankle was trying to roll when I tried to push through it, and I could feel the bruise on my big toe and the nail cracking. I decided, “Screw it. I have new shoes I can sew for tomorrow, but this isn’t worth the risk.” Well, Ms. Munro saw me go to demi for those few counts and corrected me on it. I told her my shoes died and I’ll have the new pair sewn for the next rehearsal. She had this look on her face like she was immensely disappointed in me. I felt crushed. I felt like I failed. And like, I don’t blame her for anything or anything; everything she has said is accurate, it’s all things I need to fix and work on. I’m just mad at myself that I’m not better. Why is it that everyone else can get these things and I can’t? Why do I suck at something as simple as running? Why did I decide to come down to demi instead of doing really lame bourrees in releve, even though they were really lame and terrible? I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but disappointed in myself because I should be farther.

I’m YouTube-ing ballet runs to try and figure out how to do this so I can show that I’m not just blowing her off or being disrespectful or not trying or anything. I have to remember to get to my highest demi, and point my toes as I run, but not have my weight too far back or forward. I’m also a little nervous it’ll break my new shoes in the wrong place. The pair I had on last night were completely broken where that demi hits. So much so that when I take them off, they bend the opposite direction. I also separated the shank from the shoe for the first time ever, so that was something. I’m gonna look into a longer shank, and if that would be beneficial at all.

I forgot to eat last night, so I woke up sick this morning. I’m hoping it doesn’t screw me over for rehearsal. I really want to do well. I don’t want to be the clear struggler.

Pray for me, y’all.

Selena Week, Night 1

Being that I work at a tax office, we are given the day after Tax Season ends off.
That means, this year it was the 19th.
I was able to be productive at home and running around hitting up the bank and post office and places I typically miss simply because I work when they’re open.

I had woken up a smidge panicked because I realized that the girl I had covered this weekend could potentially not yet be up to par. I really didn’t want to mess up her part or any of the placement or the runs or any of the sections I’ve been corrected on a million times. I debated actually marking it since it’s possible I could do all of that as her spot, only to end up being someone entirely different.

Instead, I laid there and envisioned each section I have trouble with. I picked apart the details of it and got the visual in my head of me pushing through and doing it well. If I tell myself I can do it, I’ve won half the battle, right?

I get to rehearsal and get a text from my friend saying she is indeed out again that night. I was really grateful to have the heads up so I could mentally prepare myself for what was ahead of me.

We started with Act I and went through the entire ballet. I’m not sure if it’s the props on stage, or working with where the light falls, or what exactly but the stage felt extremely small. Maybe I had just gotten it in my head that it would be larger than it really is, but we went with it. It works, and we actually did a really great run through without marking it before we started. There were a few kinks to work out, but all in all it was well done.

We moved on to Act II, and Ms. Munro had the girls who had done the parts of the missing girls this weekend be the ones to do them for rehearsal so that it was someone who was familiar with the part. I tried to stuff my panic and tell myself that I had this. That I knew what I was doing and was capable. That I could push through.

The Act started off really strong. I went the right way and stayed behind the correct people. We got to this part where there are three different sections, each with alternating directions of similar steps. The section I was part of this time has four girls in a front line and two in a back line. This whole time I thought that two of the girls in the front line went one way and the other two a different. So I’m going to town, doin’ my thing, when I hear my friend next to me whispering the steps.
I asked the girl I was filling in for after rehearsal and we laughed about it. Oh well, now I know. If I do this part again, I’ll make sure to go over it with the other girls beforehand so I know the correct thing.

We got to the part where she has a duet with another girl. The steps themselves aren’t excruciatingly difficult, but they are slow and controlled and technical. It’s also loaded with releves, which I struggle with as it is. I told myself I could do this, and I’m giving it my all, when my calf decides it is the perfect time to cramp up and I can’t seem to get onto my box to save my life. I try to press on, try to keep time with the girl next to me, try to tell myself I’ll do better the second time around. It was such a hot mess. Probably the worst I’ve ever done it. And I can tell myself, “It’s okay, you’re a cover” but if something happened and I ended up in this spot for a role, the audience wouldn’t know that. They would think this is what we have to offer. And the girl who’s roll I’m covering is such an insanely gorgeous dancer. Trying to do it justice is nearly impossible in comparison.

I tried to just press on and shake it off. (Hey, Taylor Swift.) I was taking deep breaths as we stood in this line, trying to remain calm. We were standing on the leg that had the cramp, and I knew I couldn’t fidget, so I did my best to just press through. My calf and arch were hurting so badly, it was all I could do to not move. I tried to distract myself like our teacher said on Monday  and started thinking about the details of the stars in the night sky to take my mind off of it. I made it, and when we were in our ending pose and me and the other girl from the duet are standing in releve in back with our arms in first arabesque, we subtly laced our fingers to help support each other to stay en pointe for the entire time.

I also ended up messing up this one part I always seem to screw up. I was disappointed in myself, but just made a mental note to work on it. I tried doing better with the runs, but I don’t know that it came off as any better.

We moved on to Act III where I have more of a character part. We changed a bit of the blocking, which helped us a ton, and went for it. As Mia, that night’s Black Swan, rehearsed, I studied the way she runs. So much so I let my face break out of character cause I was so focused on figuring it out and trying to apply it to my own runs.

They had whoever did Act IV this weekend do it last night as well, so I was out for swans. I was super grateful but at the same time wished I could have done it. There’s this one part I’ve never done en pointe and I really wanted to try it. But it’s okay. I was proud of the girl who did do it, she’s grown so much throughout this show.

I don’t think I have ever actually felt my muscles so much after a show. I planned to take my foam roller to work with me to have at the show, but went off and forgot it. I did, however, remember my nude leotard. So that’s a win.

Thankfully, my boss has a foam roller at work, so I’ve been going to town on my muscles here. I hope I have my foot roller in my bag because my arches are screaming.

Today is another day and another rehearsal. Some of it will be in costume, though I am not sure how much of it. we’ll go with the flow of it and I’m sure it’ll be a great rehearsal.

I’m looking forward to sleeping on Saturday before we have the show. It’s gonna be glorious.


Here’s when I realized I was wrong. Hahahahaha

Before my calf cramped up. Like. This leads into the duet thingy.

(Sorry those are sideways. Couldn’t figure out how to flip them. I also didn’t try too hard.)

Standing with my friends. Arch dying. I made it.

Thanks, Maddie, for getting so many great snaps of rehearsal!! I really appreciate it 😊

Thoughts and stuff. 

Yesterday’s class was another small one. I, personally, liked it, but I know some girls prefer there to be more people. 

I was actually able to make it through the entire class without freaking out over or avoiding anything. (I didn’t jump, but only because my knee has been hurting again. Not terribly bad, but I don’t want to make it worse right now.) 

I was nowhere near perfect. I’d hardly even say I was decent. But I attempted things I’d never tried before, and pushed past excuses in my head of what I can and can’t do and just tried. It wasn’t always successful, but sometimes it was. That’s better than before. 

Our teacher gave us a good pep talk about Swan Lake, though I wish more would have been there to hear it. Still, it’s good to hear it from someone new, that we have to push our hardest and try our best even when it feels like we’re dying. We have to be on our A-game, because if you relax in the slightest, the audience can tell. And there are some who have it together the whole time, but they can’t carry the entire ballet. It’s up to everyone to do their best. 

I woke up a little panicked about the prospect of one of the swans not being able to dance and getting thrown in. Can I handle it? Will I screw up? That’s the hard part about being a cover. You could work on one part and think you’d get put in for it, and end up being an entirely different person and have to work on a different part. I just don’t want to get put in and completely screw up. I don’t want to not be confident and compromise the quality of dancing because of it. Worse than that, I don’t want to go forward in confidence and be completely wrong and just mess everything up. This isn’t rehearsal anymore. We start on stage today, and this is where the going gets tough. No more room for error, and I don’t want to be the one falling behind. 

Honestly, that’s what I feel like. I mean, I know I’ve improved since rehearsals began, but I still feel like I’m just behind everyone else. I feel like I’m not quite there, even with the improvements. I’m proud of myself, but I want to be able to do more. I want to push harder. I want to understand everything better so I can go at it more confidently and not cause any of the teachers to doubt me. Because, let’s face it, I can be pushing hard and get complimented at barre every rehearsal, but that isn’t necessarily what they’ll remember of me. They could simply remember my faults and where I lack rather than how far I’ve come. And I’ve seen it not be this way for everyone. And I don’t know what goes on in people’s heads. But I’m just afraid that is what would end up happening with me. 

The thought of watching Swans from the wings instead of doing it with everyone stings my heart a little. It’s like when I watched snow this last nutcracker. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m super grateful to have been Rat Queen, but there was something about being left out of snow. And I know it’s an intense part and there were so many people and it was a bit complicated this year, but I still couldn’t help but feel that I fell just short again. Although, it’s different this time, because I actually know the choreography of Swans and I don’t for Snow. 

I’m just so nervous. I don’t want to get put in and not be able to do it well enough. I don’t know how to try and prepare in case I do have to go in. I guess we’ll see where there’s are at rehearsal tonight. 

I can’t believe this show is almost over. It seems endless, and here we are staring show day in the face. 

Sometimes I wish I were different. Sometimes I wish I weren’t me. That I were better. That I were stronger. That I had started earlier or didn’t have so many issues or was able to understand things better or whatever. Sometimes I wish a lot of things. 

Recital is coming up, as well, and the dance I was most excited about it starting to make me nervous. I just got the choreography for the parts we were leaving open in case one girl showed up, but we just heard she’s not so I’ve had a class and a half, essentially, to learn it, and I think one run through each of the two classes. And I think there’s only two classes left. And I have to be so on my game with this. Not to mention, I have two entirely other classes I’m in recital for, and one isn’t even finished yet (show up to class, people.) I guess I feel a lot of pressure right now. 

There’s a lot I don’t understand. A lot I don’t think I ever will. But ya know, I think it’s impossible to fully understand anything. There’s always so many factors that you just can’t know. It’s funny because I used to obsess over what people think of me, and I’ve realized recently that I forget to think about it now. But in that I’ve realized that people could have opinions of me I never hear. They could say it to each other and form opinions or what have you and I be none the wiser. And if you know me and are reading this and think you know what I’m referring to, you’re more than likely incorrect so don’t even try. There’s just tons of stuff going on in my head and making a vague attempt of writing it out on a public platform seems to be the only way to process it currently. Yeah, good luck trying to understand that concept, too. 

I am excited for tonight. I’m excited for this week. I’m excited for recital. Especially now that work is going to larglely calm down. Regardless of what happens, it’ll be good. I’ll learn, I’ll grow, and I’ll continue to improve. The one thing that I really like is that even amidst all these nerves and uncertainty, I still largely feel peaceful. I may be trying to understand this that or the other, but in a way that betters me. Like when a good friend tells you a bit of a painful truth. I can’t make excuses and just get bitter or resentful. I need to take the corrected as direction and not rejection. At least I’m still getting corrected, right? 


This weekend is our last weekend of rehearsals. 

Tuesday begins “Selena Week,” the week of rehearsals in the Selena Auditorium theater we perform in. We were off last weekend because of Fesrival, so now it’s crunch time. 

It seems that people are getting hurt and sick now, which is really unfortunate. One girl hurt her quad, another her toe, another her ankle, another her back, and another was just out sick. Three of the girls had to sit out, so covers were in their places. 

I’m not gonna lie, today made me feel on top of the world. Getting to do the swan acts in costume, doing this ballet I’ve worked for weeks on, surrounded by the people I love. It was so fulfilling. Plus, I was able to give my phone to one of the girls who had to sit out and she got the picture I really wanted. So now I have a picture of me in a scene with both of my dear friends. I wish I would have known so I could have told my mom to come watch, but that’s okay. I was able to get a picture of me in the costume for her and she’s pretty happy about it. 

(Okay, I’ll post it here.) 

(Thanks Lillian for taking it!)

Some of the girls told us how much respect they have for us covers, cause they realize how difficult it must be to be someone different each week. It’s really nice to hear such compliments from our peers. 

One of them who ended up injured came up to me after we ran Act IV the first time and told me, “okay, I was watching you, and you are such a beautiful swan.” She went on to tell me what it was like for her to get to watch it and how she felt, and she said it with such passion, you knew it wasn’t something she was just telling me to make me feel good. I can’t tell you what that means to me. 

I was the cover for one of the more advanced girls, including her more advanced part. I had done it before as her partner, so having to invert it was a bit difficult. But the girl covering her partner and I kept timing pretty well together, even if we were off the music. Hehe. I felt like I was doing a pretty rough job of it, but at least I knew the direction of where she was supposed to be and could make it easier on everyone else that way; having someone in the space. 

But even though I felt like I looked really rough, that’s not what my friend saw. She didn’t see “Emilee, the cover.” She saw, “Emilee, the swan.” 

After we finished Act I, we were putting on our shoes for Act II while Ms Munro was talking to the younger ones. I saw one of them watching me from a sort of side glance as I wrapped my toes in tape, got my toe pads situated, put on my shoes, and tied my ribbons. She’s a sweet little one who works her hardest in every class and rehearsal. To her, I wasn’t the cover. I wasn’t the reject. I wasn’t lesser. I was the big kid, the girl in the pointe shoes that she aspires to be. I was something. I was a swan. 

Moments like these are what make all of these rough and exhausting days worth it. I cherish them. 

When I was standing in the back during one of the Acts, I was able to watch one of the “older girls” during one of the roles she has. She was smiling and working her very hardest. She was nearly glowing. It didn’t look like she had done this day after day, enough to be sick of it. It looked so natural to her. 

On top of that, you’d never know the pain she was actually in. You would never know about all the different things she has to push through. 

So many times, people will sit out at the slightest things. Now this is clearly conditionally, and I’m not talking about the people who know to listen to their bodies and not push too hard to make things worse. But there’s those few that will push through, come to rehearsal, show up and show out. And I have the utmost respect for them. Along with the ones who are hurt and do have to sit out, but still come to rehearsal to be present, to be aware of changes, to help whoever is in their spot, to still be involved. 

As I stood there, watching this one girl dance her little heart out, I loved knowing that she was the first person to talk to me when I came to this studio. That the sweet heart I saw that day is the true person she is deep down inside. I also believe it shows in her dancing. 

Today left me feeling satisfied. I’m exhausted and it feels so good. The costume wasn’t a waste and if I never get to dance the role of swans again, I am okay with that. 

Here are some more pictures. 


In the absence of privilege. 

I have missed quite a few classes lately, though not as many as I originally expected. 

Most of the girls were at RDA festival over the weekend and a few days in the week, so we didn’t have rehearsals.  I missed last Tuesday, didn’t get to teach Friday, and missed this Monday and Tuesday. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go today, but since the class starts later, I was able to make it, even after having to stay late at work. Thankfully I got everything done in time. 

It was weird being surrounded by people who have been essentially dancing non stop for the last week and I haven’t had pointe shoes on for a week and a half. The classes I did make, I had to skip pointe because of the blister I got from last rehearsal. I was really hoping I’d get to make class tonight simply to be able to do pointe and a really good barre, so I was grateful to have that. The good thing about being surrounded by a load of girls fresh from festival was all the little tips and tricks they come back with. Cheyanne really helped me to know how to tell if your leg is directly behind you in tendu (your thighs should still be touching at the top) and same for front. I even got a compliment from Mrs. Alex on it when we did the right side after Cheyanne pointed that out. So it works 😂

Mrs Alex also had loads of good advice which I really appreciated. She also corrected my head placement for arabesque, which is one of the things I really want to learn and know this year. (Along with the arms and different positions. I find as an adult coming in to this, there’s certain things that you just miss by not having all the years rising up the ranks.) 

It felt good to be in class today. I was a bit nervous, since I’d hit a sort of stand still here recently, that I would have a rough night of it, but it all seemed to go really well. I have loads to work on, but I was able to do more and better than I expected. 

It’s a sort of trend I’ve noticed with all the different times I’ve had to sit out for a week or so for this injury or that sickness or whatever reason I was out of town. When I come back, everything I had been cramming into my brain before seems to click. 

I held my core. I kept my back straight. I stayed on top of my hips. I pulled up from the knee caps. My legs were straight. I maintained turnout. 

Obviously there are moments when I didn’t, but I seemed to notice it more. I tried harder. I worked harder. 

It’s almost like we don’t know what we have until it’s gone. We find ourselves in this routine and rhythm and forget to think about these things we know and are reminded that we need to do. But once we’re away from it, once we have to take a step back and then return and remember to think about the things that were becoming second nature, you remember how important these things are. How vital to proper technique and execution it is to work on the fundamentals and challenge yourself. 

I need to find a way to get my grand battement higher. I know you’re supposed to think of using the muscles underneath instead of strictly the quads, but even in doing so it still doesn’t go as high as I’d like. I probably need to roll out those muscles more, but even so it seems like somethings missing, or there’s something I just can’t reach. 

It’s good to have moments where you take a step back. Give your body a moment to breathe so you can come back and take it to the next level. 

I remember when I was only able to take one class a week. I dreamed of one day taking classes more days than not. This notion seemed so impossible, and I cherished every day I was able to come to the studio. I was a hot mess and pretty terrible, but I felt like I could breathe. Even when it was a really rough day and I couldn’t seem to get anything right, I loved it. 

I don’t want to lose sight of that now that I’m in the studio 4 days a week without rehearsal and 6 days a week with. I don’t want my privilege to overshadow the point of everything. I want to take a step back, and come to it again with new eyes and remember the things I forget when it becomes routine. 

I want to remember that any class has the potential to be my last, and I shouldn’t waste it. 

I missed my girls. I missed being in the studio. I missed being in pointe shoes, even though they were a little off today for some reason. 

It was good to be back.