Be a swan, not a chicken 

My family lives in Kansas near the Missouri border and my cousin is getting married tomorrow, so we drove up on Thursday (through terrible storms and tornado warnings) for this momentous occasion. 


My sister and I planned to do a bit of shopping Friday since the outlet malls are literally a five minute drive from my aunts house. I had heard that Eleve, a dancewear company, had one shop and it was in downtown Kansas City, so I brought it up to her. I wasn’t 100% sure we would get to go, but she made it happen. 

Guys. Its leotard heaven. 

The website is really great about having details on how to get to their shop. They tell you the address, as well as where their parking lot is. There are signs showing you you’re in the right place, but even if there weren’t, the directions online are enough to get you there. 

The store front is actually a furniture store of some kind, and Eleve is off to the back part on the side street. There’s a sign there instructing you to press the buzzer on the left and if it didn’t open the door to call them and someone would answer and let you in. 


I pressed the buzzer. It didn’t work. So I called. They were really nice about helping us get in. You walk two flights of stairs (I guess it’s technically just one flight? Whatever.) and you come to this heavy metal door 


It felt like we were in some super fancy fashion district or something. 

You open the door and ta-da! You’ve entered heaven. 


(Featuring my sister.) 

We were greeted by a nice lady who showed us where everything was. On the right is all the leotards. She showed us what was the kids section, and on the left is the longer skirts and specialty things. 

After taking a second to realize this is reality, I got to looking. 

I was nervous that they might not have much in my size already made. I often get nervous going into big named dance places, afraid I’ll be judged as I don’t look like a dancer. When I confessed this to a friend she told me, “be a swan, not a chicken!” I held to that and went for it. Obviously I’m grateful I did. 

On the right side, they had a row of mediums on top, a row of large on bottom, a top and bottom row of skirts–patterned then solid–a top and bottom row of smalls, and then a top and bottom of kids sized leotards and skirts. 

On the left side was the men’s section, along with the longer skirts and other various things. 

I found two leotards I really loved and decided to try them on. I was still nervous they wouldn’t quite fit. The measurements are perfect everywhere but my hips, which fluctuate anyway. I held my breath and went for it. 

And they were perfect. And I was so happy. 

I tried on a skirt, since they’re similar styles to the ones that are currently all the rage at my studio. Super cute, but they way they’re cut made me too nervous that they’d make my hips look worse to take the risk and spend the money on one. I was right. It fit, but when it inevitably found its way to my waist instead of hips, it looks awkward. Which was great to know! I’ll stick to wrap skirts. But these would be super cute on my friends. And they’re a great price and coordinate with the leotards. 


These are the two I got 😍😍😍

The lady that helped us came forward coincidentally at the perfect time. 

The way the layout works, the sewing machines are behind the front wall, if you will, and behind the stand alone wall is where they keep all the fabrics in organized bins. It’s also where they cut all the fabrics. 

She introduced herself as Jessica, the one who had responded to my email asking if they were closed for Memorial Day, and was shocked that I was ready so quickly. I told her I had creeped the website and knew was I was looking for. 

She was really nice and rang me up, then told me about the 10% off they were offering currently. I told her I was from Texas and my aunt lives close so we came by and she told us how she loved when people came from out of town, especially how they’d post somewhere about it and all their friends would be jealous. (Hey friends 😉) I told her about my blog and how I definitely had loads of friends who wished they were also there. She told me that if I wanted to make a custom order, doing so in store cuts productions time to two weeks instead of six weeks if you were to order online. So of course I wanted to. She showed me where the different fabrics were and told me to take a look around. 


Emily was back there, working on a few things, and was also nice as can be. They were focused. And it made me feel at home. 

I decided on a Sally with 


On top and a lipstick pink on bottom. 

I’m so excited. 


Jessica finished ringing us up, and told me I’d also qualify for tax free (I don’t know how but I’ll take it) (I think that’s what she said at least. Anyway, it was a slick discount) on top of 10% off and free shipping. I was on cloud nine. 

She wrapped it all up for me, gave me their card, and I was so elated I almost went into a bathroom instead of the exit door. 

I posted about it on Instagram, to which they liked and commented. 

They’re such an incredible company, and the quality of their leotards is top notch. Plus the fit is fabulous. I’m so happy, y’all. 

(You should check them out if you get the chance.) 

I still can’t believe I got to go, and I’m so excited for my custom order to come in as well. Nothing but love and respect for Eleve. (My phone isn’t doing the little accent mark. Ugh.)

I’m at my aunt’s house which essentially is like a Jane Austen novel come to life. 


I also took this picture, which I had taken before in September of 2014. 


And now my family is back and I’m gonna spend time with them 😊

Enjoy!

Community. 

I hesitated for a while about making my blog more public. It’s never really been a private thing, being that it is on the Internet, but I never really told many people about it either. Somehow, word started picking up, or google searches happened, or something, and I started noticing an uptick in views. People from different places all over the world were coming to read my words.

Why? What do I have to say that other people would actually care to read? I’m sure much of it is long, drawn out, and boring. Heck, most of the views may have just been from spam sites or something.

But then I started getting comments.  People were pausing to take time to tell me their thoughts or their stories.

I decided to take the next step and give it a .com. The name inspired by a shirt I found, I transferred over here to WordPress, made an Instagram and Facebook page, and just let the interwebz do its thing.

Now I’m not internet famous or anything, but I do get hits on the site. Some for more than I’d ever imagine. I hardly know how to navigate this new domain like I did my old one, but it doesn’t seem to hold it back much. I’ve had a few posts that blew up like the time I went to So You Think You Can Dance?’s tour or the time I got to go again. Or even the time I won a pointe shoe fitting through Capezio. These are interesting topics, though, and therefore cause wide interest. A few of my Swan Lake posts garnered a bit of attention, which really meant a lot to me.

I started hearing from these people I’ve never met who had followed my story and cheered me on. And even as recent as my most recent post, one I didn’t think would matter much, one I almost didn’t even post, I’ve had positive feedback and encouragement. One from a favorite dance mom from our studio offering advice on how to find solutions to my pointe shoe problems, another from an instagram friend doing the same, both helping lead me in a direction that looks hopeful in helping me find answers to my problems and knowing where to go from here.

I took a risk making this blog so public. I sacrificed the security in anonymity and the safety in being to fully express like I used to. But what I’ve found is a sense of camaraderie I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’ve found myself in a community of people just like me, willing to stand beside me and help me chase this dream of mine. I’ve found friendship and people who won’t let me give up when all seems lost and impossible.

And that is a gift that is priceless.

(And now I have a buddy to take class with whenever I can get up to seeing my best friend in Dallas! How cool is that? This introvert is extremely grateful.)

We’ll see where things go from here.

My Dad, sister, and I head to Kansas tomorrow for my cousins wedding this weekend. Hoping to get to go by the Eleve Dancewear store in Kansas City while we’re there. Doing things like this always makes me a bit nervous as I feel I’m judged for not being a “typical dancer type.” I’ve gotten quite a bit of backlash in the past and found myself with an underlying fear of it. Still, I need to be a swan, not a chicken, and just go for it. Screw the haters and prove I’m just as capable. And give myself room for learning. I may not be where I want to be, but I’m quite farther than where I started.

Give yourself a break, Emilee. Progress takes time.

Summer Thoughts.

Sometimes I don’t know how to put into words what a class makes me feel.

I have plenty of words, but I guess they aren’t the ones people really want to hear.
And it has nothing to do with the class itself–that was wonderful. It was the type of class that gives you the good slow basics we need and don’t get enough of. I was absolutely dripping in sweat like I haven’t since the days of my old studio. (Instep, may it rest in peace.) It was a small class, which are also my favorite. Everything about it was wonderful.

But I kept seeing my faults, all the ways I don’t measure up. I kept smacking the giant brick wall of impossibilities square in the face over and over. How much of this can I take before I give up? How much can I actually push “impossible” and expect results? There are unchangeable factors that are out of my control. Short of a miracle, there’s nothing I can do about the fact that my stomach gets sick for no rhyme or reason, and that my legs are different lengths causing loads of issues of its own.

I’m doing what I can to try and alleviate as much of the stomach issue as possible, including recruiting my co-worker to help with my food issues. (hopefully it’s effective)
I go to the chiropractor every other week for my hip/back issues, but really there’s only so much we can do about that. My hips can’t be square en pointe, and it really throws me off. That facet of it is something I’m sure time will help me adjust to, but yesterday I noticed the things I haven’t been doing fully correctly are due to the uneven-ness, and when I fix it, the resounding pain in my shoulder and neck is ridiculous. Not even a sharp pain, just a low, subtle, pressure-y type pain. Like a tension headache versus a piercing one. Not enough to put you out, but just enough to be annoying. But for me these things aren’t just annoying, they’re infuriating. How much can I push this? How much is it worth it?
And what about my shoes? They die too quickly for me to afford them, let alone for how long they take to make. I’m working on strengthening my ankles to help with that, but something has to give. The shank snaps where the ball of my foot hits when I have to do runs or anything on demi, vastly shortening the life of my shoes. It also affects me in trying to promenade. My shoe shifts to no end if I can’t do a firm demi pointe to get around. I need to sew my elastics tighter, but too tight and my feet fall asleep.

How much of this do I really have control over? How much of this is feasible? What will just take time? Should I even keep pursuing pointe? I can’t imagine not, I love it so much, even if it cracks and bruises my toenails. I want to get to a dance store to see if there are any shoes out there that would work better, or ways to make mine last longer or something. One of the principal dancers in our studio has feet similar to mine, so I kinda creep when she gets new shoes to see if they’d work for me as well. She’s tried a few recently, I need to ask her how they’re going for her. I won’t be back in Austin until October, but am going to Houston in July, so I may try and get fitted there and see if anything works. The plus side now is that I actually know how shoes are supposed to feel, whereas before I was going strictly off what people told me. Things can get lost in translation pretty easily. It’s one of things you have to feel to really know.

I just can’t imagine my life without ballet now. It keeps me sane, really. It makes me feel alive. I love it so much. Why can’t my body just cooperate and conform to it? Why are all these years and classes not translating like I need them to? What else do I need to do?
I’m trying to rework how I manage my time to fully benefit me instead of just getting by. There are too many things that I just can’t sit back and ignore anymore. If you want something to change you have to have action attached to it.

So, I’m feeling all the feels and trying to navigate through all of the things in my way. Evaluating what’s before me and how to go about handling it. I guess we’ll see where it takes me.

 

Visual. 

Today I drove almost an hour to see two of my baby’s last recitals before they move. 

(Keep in mind that one of these “babies” is in my class. And way better than me. So.)

They take classes at our studio, and also a smaller studio that is actually comprised of studios in three different small, local towns. I think I actually might have taken my first ballet classes when I was 6 at one of them, but I am not sure. Anyway. 

Their recital was themed Peter Pan, with every dance going along the lines of the greater story. 

It was really cool being on the outside in. We performed Nutcracker at this small town, high school theater this last year, as well as Wizard of Oz last spring. I was inundated with memories of these past shows, all while knowing the end of this one would mean saying goodbye to one of my favorite families of all time. 

I was actually really impressed with how good all of these girls feet are. Every single one of them looked good in their shoes. I was told that they dance in their shoes almost the entire class, putting them on earlier than we do. And you can see the difference. 

Everything else was about as much as you would expect from a small town on a tiny stage. It’s amazing how you see the same things no matter where you go. There’s the tiny adorable little ones, there’s the obvious stand outs, there’s the ones that work super hard and would have serious potential in the right hands. Then there’s kids that you could judge one way or another, then you hear their story and are completely shocked. There’s the kids you wouldn’t believe have only been dancing as long as they have based on their skill, or there’s no way they’re that young because they light up that stage. (Or can’t believe they’re that young because they’re so dang tall.) 

I found myself studying the feet of each girl, gleaning what I could from how each of them danced, whether it was good or not so good. You can learn from each person. How do they get that high in their jetes? What is it they’re doing that makes the line look cut? Do I do that? And if so, how can I keep my line from being cut like that? These sort of things. 

You can learn a lot if you let yourself. 

My favorite part was seeing how these dancers completely lit up on the stage. They did their darnedest with these complex moves and you could tell they get good doing it, which made it enjoyable to watch. 

I recognized a few faces I didn’t expect to see. Some of my red soldiers from this last years Nutcracker were on stage. One was Michael, one was the Crocodile, another was a fairy and all were in many various different dances. I was able to say hi to one of them, Sarah, and she said, “you remember me?” 

I often find myself getting nervous that people won’t remember me, instead of pushing through that bit of nerves to show them that I remember them. And hearing her say that, it taught me something. Reminded me, rather. I heard myself in her voice. And I was glad I said something. 

I got to hug my babies and take pictures with them. Including this Polaroid 

And I made the ones I knew that I saw sign my program. 

Their mom got all the pictures on her phone, so stay tuned for after she reads the post and sends them to me, and I’ll add them 😊

There was a moment I took a picture with Sarah, the youngest little, but my hair got into my face so I did this hair flip thing before posing for the picture. It hit me like a slap in the face. Like a flash back, but then I was the little and I was hugging the “big kid” I looked up to and wanted to be just like. And I saw her, she did her hair flip before taking the picture, and I was completely in awe. And is go home with a heart full of hope of my future and dreams of what my life could be. And now, here I am, 27 and the roles are flipped. Yet, I’m still very much the 10 year old version of myself. 

I don’t think we ever truly grow up, and I think those that try and stifle their childhood versions of themselves, and shove it down until they can’t see it anymore, are the types that spend the most time trying to define themselves. Maybe they had a terrible childhood. Maybe they didn’t like who they were. Maybe they didn’t know who they were, I don’t know. But I feel like 98.7% of people have the same childlike heart until the age of 6, and if we can remember that version, stay true to that version, we’ll have a more fulfilling life. 

Anyway. I don’t even know if any of that made sense, but whatever. I’m in this really contemplative state. 

The show made me want to come home and work on technique drills. (So I did.) I want to do more, I want to try more, I want to be more, but I feel kinda lost in direction. 

There are many thoughts in my head. Many hopes in my heart. Many questions only time can answer. 

I’ll be posting a Capezio haul sometime this week, hopefully. I’m going to Kansas on Thursday for my cousins wedding. I have class tomorrow (more than likely) and they have class Wednesday but I don’t know if I’ll go seeing that were leaving on our 14 hour drive early in the morning the next day. 

Here’s some pictures I do have, as well as some I snuck during the show ❤️


Goodbyes suck and I miss my girls already. But I was so glad to get to see them dance one more time before they go. And especially to see Sarah dance en pointe for the first time. Theyre coming to visit in June so hopefully I’ll get to see them then. And thankfully technology is a thing so we can keep up with each other. 

This year has had a lot of goodbyes, and left me feeling weird with all the change. I’m eager to get summer going so maybe I can get back into a flow. 

(And every time I see the sign and the elephant and the cookie jar my babies gave me, I’ll smile. They’re always with me.)


(If you’re reading the blog now, congratulations! You read it after Jacie and above are the pictures from her 😂)

Pre-Summer?

It’s funny to me how what I end up writing and how I end up wording things can vary based on how I write it. If its on paper, it’s one thing, if it’s on a computer, it’s another, if it’s types on my phone, it’s a completely other thing. 

Anyway, irrelevant. 

There aren’t classes since its summer, but they are offering a few to the older dancers, just to keep us up on it all. 

The IV’s were invited along, which ended up being good since the class was so much smaller this time. They work hard, too, and focus, so that was really nice. But, of course, it’s gonna be the ones who really want it and work hard who will come to voluntary summer classes. Some of my fellow adult friends were also there, which made me happy to see them. Eloise was the lone VI in the class. 

I thought Matthew would be teaching his class as well, or at least taking it, but he wasn’t which was sad. Though Ms Munro taught, which was good. I like having a good Ms M class. She really grills ya and works with you. I was poorly placed between two good, younger dancers, so I wasn’t seen as much, but I still got corrections and really tried to implement them. It was complicated when I was limited due to ailments. I felt really stupid, but there isn’t much I can really do about it. I wish I could make my left leg grow a quarter inch. Just a quarter inch, that’s all. 

My right hip has been hurting, as well as my right knee. I sat out of one jump sequence, but did the second since it was more glissades than actual changements and stuff. A tiny bit easier on the knees. (Enough to risk.) we learned a new thing, but tough luck to try and type it out. She hardly said the proper term (it had a long name) and there’s no way I could remember it, let alone try to spell it. (Though I do need to learn French, especially since I have a friend in France.) I was able to do it, though, and it had a beat in it. It was actually a fun step, and for the first time I could actually feel myself beating my thighs and not just trying to get the ankles to cross. I still need to work on them, but it felt good to be able to do them. 

I’ve been getting pretty sick again and can’t seem to figure out how to combat it. It was becoming problematic in class and hindering me from doing as much as I should be able to do. I push through so much that I forget that how sick I really am sometimes, and it’s hard to do anything about when doctors keep saying your tests are perfect, and you can’t afford to go for more extensive testing. Food sucks. And it hates me. And it’s a real problem to try and dance if you can’t eat anything without getting sick. And then it makes me dread it. It’s a terrible cycle. Anyway. Some days are better than others and yesterday was just a rough day. I was flubbing up the combinations and my technique started lacking and I couldn’t hold my core right. It was rough. I made it through and did the best I could,  but I know I can do better, and it’s frustrating not being able to do your best. 

Summer schedule is out and the teacher schedule came out yesterday. I will be teaching two 3-5 year old ballet classes this summer, which is really exciting. It can be a hard class to teach since they’re so itty bitty, but it can also be a fun class. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, it’s possible to be successful with it. (Plus I’m sure the other teachers who have been here a while are glad to be shot of it.) My boss is letting me leave a little early to make the class on time, which is exceptionally kind of them. I really work for great, supportive people. 

Since the baby classes I have are on Monday and Wednesday, and the advanced summer classes are Tuesday and Thursday, I’m going to do the Adult classes this summer. I’ll be there anyway, and it really is a long way to drive for just 45 minutes. Might as well stay for class. And it’s a long way to go for just one class. Plus, I feel like being in the adult class will help me solidify some of the things I’ve missed out on from moving up the ranks so quickly. I haven’t grown up in this, but I come with a higher maturity than the youngers (by default) making what I lack almost invisible. I should be able to do it, right? Plus they’ve just had more time than me. I feel I should take a step back and work on perfecting what I know before I try to learn more. Plus, having a solid foundation will make learning new things that much smoother. More attainable. 

We’re having Monday classes too, now, so if you’re level IV or higher classes Monday start at 7. We’ll keep having the Wednesday classes as well. 

Summer should be good. I’ve got a funk to work through and health things to try and figure out, but I at least have hope. 

I still get to dance, and that is a good thing. 

Throughout this summer, I’ll really be evaluating my life and what is best for me. I went hard this last year, and I want to be able to get the most out of my days without compromising what’s important. Also without giving up what I love. 

Recital, Second Show 

(They got the fire out 45 minutes before I had to leave for recital. 7 different fire stations came to assist so my house is still standing. Yay!)

Another season is in the books. 

Which is weird, really. 

Many things are changing, which are difficult to have to handle and stuff, but we’ll take it as it comes. 

Recital got rolling, we ran the girl-only version (plus Sean) of sixes since it was different only having one out of three of the guys in the piece. 

Saturday was a way shorter program than Friday, and it seemed that almost all of the baby classes ended up on Friday as well. I largely got to sit back and wait to dance, then just stand around and watch the dances. It was fun, really, especially hanging out with my friends backstage. That’s some of the best. 


(Hehehe)

I felt like sixes was better on friday, but it seemed everyone else felt better Saturday. Oh well. 

One of my favorite people is moving, making yesterday’s show her last one with us. (At least for now.) I’m excited for the potential the new studio she’ll be dancing at gives her, and how much she can grown being there. I’m grateful she’s moving to a place they’re familiar with, having lived there once before (and moving for her dads job.) I’m grateful for having her for the last two years, and knowing that we have a friendship where distance doesn’t matter. They’re family. It’s gonna be rough having to adjust to not having her mom there to avoid people with before class, or taking one or two of them home on long days, or following each other home until my house when they keep going the extra bit to their house. The mutual middle of nowhere ness. I’m gonna miss hugging and laughing with and encouraging each other all throughout classes and the season. It’s gonna suck. But it’s good for the family, which makes me grateful even if it’s hard not to be a little selfish. 

So this post is largely an I-miss-you post to the Rowland’s, and that’s okay by me. 


I love you, Cheyna. 

Also, have some pictures and boomerangs from back stage 


It’s been quite the season. 

I’ve learned and grown more than I’ve ever expected, but I still have far to go. 

Summer starts in a couple weeks, and before that we have classes available to us on Wednesdays. 

I’m uncertain of what I’ll take next year, seeing as there is a change in teachers as well with some moving and all. 

We’ll take it as it comes. Work and hard and move forward. 

Recital, First Show

I was super nervous going into the show yesterday. I had never felt so unprepared going into a performance. I found myself clenching my teeth throughout the day which was giving me a headache. 

It still didn’t feel like show day, even standing on that stage. How is it that the dances I have been so concerned about and are such a big deal one moment will be completely irrelevant the next. 


We got there and started getting ready the best we could before all meeting downstairs at 6:30. The sixes had a warm up with Julie, where she told us of the time Paloma Herrera was on that very stage as our guest artist. (WHAT?! Why was I not dancing as a kid?!) we started on our backs in a “starfish.” Laying with our hands and feet in an x. 


Deep breathing, then moving our feet through to the ankles to sort of move the body, causing it to relax. We rolled up and forward, and eventually getting up and doing further things to warm up. I really enjoyed it. We went over the end of our dance to try a change and see if we liked it at all or if it was effective. It was, so we made the change and decided to meet there at intermission to go over it again. 

The show got rolling, but not before Ms Munro introduced all the teachers and assistants and graduating seniors. I was told about it last second as I was running around getting babies together and making sure everything was ready for the show. I saw my parents in the audience, which I was grateful to be able to do so I knew where to look during the show. Then I took this, 


My parents areeeeee,


There. 🙂 

I was glad to see they were able to get seats in their favorite row.

 I was upstairs with the babies like last year. We had some great volunteers, which was extremely effective. Without them we’re nothing. Or at least things get super complicated without them. They got everyone in order, took some to the bathroom last second, and comforted crying little ones. We took them down in their dance order and sat them down until their turn. A few girls only had themselves with a group of about 15-19 kids, and they kept them together and in order and quiet. I was super impressed. There was a moment when one dance ended and we didn’t know where their group leader was. I was walking near them when Ms Munro asked who was in charge of them. No one answered, so I grabbed the hand of the front girl and said, “welp, I am now. I can take them” and counted the girls and lead them upstairs. Thankfully, it was a group that was in the room I was in at the beginning so I was aware of them. By the time we got to where their parents would pick them up, the volunteers had caught on, so I was able to go back down watch my babies dance. The other dance I was helping with (the one with a bajillion littles and only one Mia) was hilarious. They were 3 & 4 year olds, one just walked forward and twirled until she got dizzy. It was hilarious. Then they all just stood their when they were finished dancing and I was glad I remembered one of the girls names so I could get her attention and tell her to follow the girls. It was hilarious. 

I was so proud of my tiny babies. (Okay, they’re all six now. Whatevs.) they did so great and were so cute. A few were crying before (those were M.E.’s babies 😉 ) but they got out there and danced. M.E. and I were talking about how much potential there is in that class. I really hope I get to watch them grow into beautiful dancers, because if they keep with it they’re bound for it. And it gives me chills to know I’ve had a part in that, even if it’s just a small one. 

I followed them up to their dressing room to hug them and tell them how great they did. A few of them didn’t have their moms them and asked me to help them change. They don’t trust many, so I stayed and helped. Then I saw a mom come up, realized it was intermission, and realized I was late. I said bye to the girls and ran down three flights of stairs to backstage, right as everyone was coming off from running Julie’s ballet. So I ran up another two flights to our dressing room (one flight? However you want to count it) so I could get ready for Mrs Alex’s ballet and get everything for my quick changes together. 

I was freaking out a bit, the feeling of not being prepared weighing heavily. A fear of missing something or forgetting something looming. I got ready, got all my stuff together, and went down to the stage left quick change (thanks Elizabeth!) to set up. I almost forgot to set up for the second one, forgetting I wouldn’t have time to between. 

We got everything together and waited side stage, watching the dances before us.  The pointe shoes I had for ballet V’s hurt my feet immensely in weird places, but I hoped it’d be like Swan Lake where once you got started dancing you’d forget about it and worry more about the moves.  I didn’t do as badly as I thought, but still messed up a few times, including the notorious part of the develope, shasay, jete where I developed the wrong leg. Every. Time. Oh well, it could have been worse. 

I found a way to kneel without putting too much pressure on the welt that has developed from falling, so that was exciting. I managed to do all the pique turns and, thanks to Cheyanne in front of me, got the arms right. The turns were a hot mess, but they were done. 

I didn’t realize until we were walking off that I had to cross the back of the stage for the quick change. There was a crowd of people in the wings I had to run though (thankfully they were considerate) and I ran through the back walkway and the lights went out. I couldn’t see anything stage left and stumbled over a pile of poles that were  back there then stumbled into the dressing room. Nina, the other girl in the quick change with me, found her way in as well and we stumbled through the darkness until the next dance started and the lights came up. Annika found her way in to help me and I changes tights and costumes while she took my hair out of the bun, brushed it out, and gave it a side braid. We made it out in time, and I was able to find the girls and tell them about the pools of light and how they were marked for us to find them. 

It wasn’t until we were waiting for the black out that I realized I hadn’t gone over the dance that day, and hoped I didn’t forget anything. I decided to just go for it, trusting my instincts and the fact that I did it correctly at rehearsal. Surely muscle memory will kick in, right? The music started and the lights fell onto each of us in turn as we started and connected on to each other. I got up a little quicker than usual to catch on to the trio, which worked out so I wasn’t late there since one of the other girls was missing and we had to compensate for her spot. I did the part with the trio and it was pretty rough, but that’s okay. It was across the back so I don’t know that anyone knew really. Or cared. We kept going, and I didn’t forget any of the combinations (yay!) and changed the last bit like I was supposed to. So the only time I’ve ever done the dance fully correct was during the performance 😂 but it felt good. I really wish we had a lyrical class that I could take. I’ve always wanted to, but never knew if I’d be any good at it since it was new and id never attempted it before. But I figured I had tried tap for the time and ballet was new to me once so why not? I’m really grateful to have been a part of that dance and that class. 

Once again, we exited the opposite side I needed to be on, so I had to run around again. There was at least a blue out so I didn’t trip over anything. Annika was back there so I got to switch tights while she tried to get my hair in a bun. It looked like a beehive, but dang it, it was up and sprayed and it didn’t fall out. 

Andie saved my life by running by the dance store here in town (shout out Avant) and picking me up some black ballet flats. They were the perfect size and I was able to do sixes probably one of the best times I’ve done it, though I didn’t hold the partnering as long as I was supposed to. Still, it went well. 

When it was all said and done, I went backstage to get all my stuff from quick change, and as I was walking with the arm full, one of the moms asked if I was okay. It was crazy that there was this surge of adrenaline, just to have it end as fast as it began. Sort of a somber feeling. I dropped my stuff upstairs then went out to find my parents. 

I found my sweet Hanna first, and hugged  the heck out of her. Her little sister dances with us and it just makes me so happy to still have that family actively in my life. I love them so much. 

We went downstairs and I found Emerson and hugged her. It was so good to see her, too. It’s weird not having her in class, but hopefully she heals quickly and will be back to us. 

Adriennes mom came up to me and hugged me and said, “Oh my goodness, Emilee, that second dance you did, you were so beautiful. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you! I had to come and find you and tell you. That is your style of dance. I mean, you do ballet well too, but you come alive in that.” I was left speechless. To have my friends mom tell me such kind things, honestly, it was like a dream come true. I want people to feel something when I dance. I want the depths of me to come alive in stage. People may not know my story, but they can feel something and take what they need from it on stage. That’s my goal. And it happened. 

I found my parents after that


(Thanks, Hanna, for the picture!) 

And they were happy. It made me really happy that they came. Dad ended up getting free parking for being a veteran, which was really cool and so appreciated since he’s had trouble with his knee lately. They told me they could see which one was me and that I did really well. Mom liked the lyrical and dad liked the advanced ballet. I just loved having them here. 


Now there’s a brush fire close to our house. So hopefully they can get it under control and I can still make tonight’s performance. It’s looking like it should be, but still uncertain. 

Recital Rehearsal, Night Two

Last night, I only had one dance to rehearse for Saturday’s recital performance. I would have only had dances on Friday, but the Advanced dances are both nights, so I have the Advanced Ballet, which had it’s rehearsal yesterday.

I sharpied my shoes, remembered my black tights for the costume, and was ready to go.

I got there super early and watched the other dances ahead of mine. We were relatively on time this go through, so that was nice. I really liked the dances I saw yesterday. They were clean and the dancers were showcased well. I didn’t see all of them, mind, but the ones I did were lovely.
And the little kids are absolutely adorable. As always.

I hung out in the audience with a couple of my friends and one of the little dancers. I know her Dad from my old job, and had met her before. She is so cute and makes any day brighter. And her giggles melt hearts.

I went up and got ready for our piece about 15 minutes before we had to be on. Plenty of time as I just had to put on the costume and lipstick. We figured out the complicated belt thing, (Thanks, Alexis!) put our shoes on, and headed downstairs. I was still early, so I went to the sound booth where my friend Andie was and talked to her a second as I did some releves to warm up my feet. Before the second run through of the dance before ours, I asked Adrienne for some help on one part, and then we went back stage to wait for our turn.

We walked it once to get the spacing right, got the light cues going, and ran the last part before going for it.

I know someone said it, but I don’t think we truly realized how slick sharpied shoes are. We were all slippin’ and sliding, trying to adjust to having the wings to run in and out of, compensating for the bigger space, and still remember the dance steps and in order and at the right timing now that we couldn’t see each other.

Real Talk: I struggled. Hard.
It’s one thing to do it in our studio, it’s another entirely on this stage, with these costumes, and so fast.I tried my best to do it all, and to do it en pointe, but it just wasn’t happening. I literally stepped on one girl, then was on top of her at one point, and always seemed to be a half count behind on everything. I looked like I had no idea what I was doing, though I know the steps well. I just kept going, doing what I could, hoping I was blending in enough for no one to notice. I smacked one of the guys twice, and almost kicked another girl. Nearly rolled my ankle (thanks for dying, shoes) and at the end of the dance, I actually fell. Hard. Then with the windows in our tutus, I got caught in them trying to get up. It was a hot mess and we couldn’t help but laugh our faces off at how ridiculous it all was. We ran it again and got a bit better. I was able to do the ending better–and without falling–but my knee was hurting pretty decently. There’s a nice welt there now with a pretty decent bruise, and it’s slightly to the left of where I have nerve damage. (The spot that was touched in Nutcracker rehearsals, which caused me to not be able to dance well the next day from the pain it caused.) I was nervous that would happen again today when I have the three dances to do. Thankfully, it didn’t, but the knot that’s formed may get nasty as we are on the floor and we kneel quite a bit. Ugh. I kneel on that leg for a while in Ballet V’s. This will be fun.
My whole body hurts to an extent, but not as badly as I thought it would. Still reminds me that I am, indeed, an adult, and getting older sucks in this aspect. Still, worse things have happened to dancers who have had to carry on. It’s not enough to take me out so I’m grateful for that. And I wasn’t the only one to fall. I saw a IV’s ballet dancer fall (And get right back up so you hardly even saw it, except that I was watching her specifically in the moment.) and one of the other VI’s was dropped. It’s almost as though yesterday was Friday the 13th instead of today.

I was thoroughly embarrassed to have fallen. I had even made sure I was warm, and tried a few things I wasn’t sure about while we were waiting, yet I still got chewed for not being warm and being unsure. It was general, but eye contact was made and held. I was frustrated and mad at myself, because I know I did what I needed to do, yet I was still being reprimanded. But it doesn’t do to make excuses. This is one of the hardest things for me. I want people to have full understanding so the wrong taste of me doesn’t linger in their mouths. But that’s out of my control. People will make opinions of you and keep them and there really isn’t anything you can do about it. I’m just nervous this will screw me for casting next year. But all of that is out of my hands. This year was the big year, next year will be good no matter what happens. There’s no one set thing really in mind or in grasp. I have hopes for Nutcracker, but they’re logical hopes. It should be well within reach for me. I’m not really worried. I plan to keep working hard over the summer to keep improving.
Thankfully, no one seemed to see that I had fallen. I felt like an idiot for all the freak out things I said afterwards. I’d never fallen on stage before, and only once before in class and that was at my old studio. I had forgotten to be afraid of falling. Yet I did. On stage. In front of everyone.
I have to move forward. I’m seeing about getting black flats (thanks Andie) and doing it in flat shoes. It was a bit over-ambitious to think I could do it en pointe. I know I’m capable, but I hadn’t done it in class en pointe. I’m more confident not having to think about what my feet are doing and I feel I’ll be able to make the piece look nicer if I do it in shoes I’m used to. (Plus, Mrs. Julie already said it was okay if I did it in flat shoes.)
I want to be proud of what I do in this dance, not hanging my head that I tried and failed. I tried. I admit defeat. No one will notice if I do it in flat, but they’d notice if I was behind or messed up or fell. I don’t want to make the dance fall down a notch because I’m being stubborn.

I ended up taking pictures in my costume, which I’ve never done at this studio. My parents don’t really care, but then they ask for a picture of just me in costume, so I got some yesterday and they can send them to Grandma and my Aunt Mo or whoever. (they seem to think it’s cool, hehe) I wasn’t happy with them at first and was a bit down on myself for thinking I could take one that looked decent. Then the girl there helping helped me out and we got a good shot. I was truly grateful. Slightly embarrassed, but it was just a long day.

The VI’s Jazz has to be one of my favorite dances. They were last of the night, and it just makes me so happy.

Tonight is our first show. Ms. Munro said falling is good luck, and it means you’ll return to that stage, so she said for me it means I’ll dance next year. So that’s encouraging at least.

This post is a rather choppy account of yesterday’s events. I know I’m missing some fun memories in this, but my brain is kinda fried.

Anyway, have some pictures


(That last one is compliments of Cheyanne’s snapchat.)

 

Recital Rehearsal, Night One

Yesterday was our first recital rehearsal.
Well, you only have two if you dance on both nights.
They split the dances between Friday and Saturday night and try their best to keep you on the same day if you’re in multiple. The only pieces that dance both nights are the advanced classes.

I was grateful to practice, but was a little bummed knowing I won’t get to truly know how fast these quick changes are until I’m doing them. And they’re immensely detailed.
I’m really hoping it doesn’t throw me off mentally and make me forget anything. Especially being surrounded by so many people I know. Gotta keep myself centered.

I got there around 5:30. My babies didn’t rehearse until 6:00, so I had some time. The other teacher I assist had a class before ours that had 17 dancers (all 3&4 year olds) so I followed her with them and helped her out. Ours was right after, but we have another teacher and assistant with the class as well so that helped out.

They are so freakin’ cute, I can’t stand it.
It’s so fun to watch their faces light up on stage. You can see how proud they are of themselves and how good it makes them feel. I hope everyone can feel that way in life.
We walk them out to their parents afterwards, and two of my littles had my hand the whole time. One of them let go, but only to hug onto my leg. Cue melted heart. I love them so much, and there really is loads of potential in their class, as M. E. pointed out, which is really excited to get to watch.

We got to see a few of the younger level’s ballet pieces, which are always really fun. Some of them get so into it and you can see it all over them that they are so proud of what they’re doing. I hope they never lose that. I hope they never stop working hard on something they’re proud of. It really makes a difference in how it comes across to the audience, in the best way. And honestly, it inspires me to let go of the fears of opinions and just dance the best I am able and be proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished, not what I lack in comparison to anyone else.

We had our Ballet V’s first. We walked through and marked it really quickly first, then ran it through twice. I had jet glued my shoes that died during Swan Lake rehearsal in hopes it would help them be usable during recital, but I was mistaken. Maybe I didn’t glue them correctly or something, but it was a rough run through. It’s frustrating because I know I can do the steps, and I know I can do them better than I am, but my shoes are so dead it’s a struggle. Thankfully the dance is short and I can suck it up enough to get it done. I just hope I don’t hear comments about it.
My boss had gotten back to the office later than expected. First thing she did was grab my costume and take it to her house to alter. Twenty minutes later, she returned with a perfectly altered costume. To say I was impressed would be a vast understatement. You couldn’t even tell a seam was there unless you knew before hand. It made all the difference in the world, I was so beyond grateful.

We quick changed into our Jazz V’s, with more time than we’ll have. By far the hardest part was trying to get different tights on while being so immensely sweaty. It was stressful. Mixed with so many people in the dressing room and so many voices, I had to hold my breathe a few times to keep steady. But it was fine. I knew we’d get done in plenty of time, but I wanted to see how long it would take me to do to help prepare for Friday. We waited until the ballet was done preparing, then went on stage when she called for Jazz. We went through and blocked the entire thing once, then waited offstage for the cue. That’s when she realized her other Jazz class was supposed to be on, not us, and we got chewed for not knowing the order. But really, how were we supposed to know? Each dance had a certain amount of time to work, and with the time we took to get changed, when we came down we thought for sure they had already ran the other one, since we were able to see both runthroughs and some of the blocking for the ballet. Plus, she called for the Jazz, and no one else was backstage. How were we to know?
Whatever. We moved forward and waited on the wings, using the time to go over stuff we needed to work on. We ran it twice, and got corrections. I was a little frustrated when we were corrected verbally for the entire auditorium to hear when she was shouting as she was walking from the light booth to us. I was called out by name for being off on timing, which literally never happens, and so I asked in what part. when she told me I was late at the end and she was freaking out when I wasn’t where I needed to be for my cue, I asked her how she wanted us to count it because it was never fully clear and I don’t think we had ever done it correctly. We went over it, and she gave more corrections, but none were direct, they were general. I tried to figure out if she was talking to me or not in one specific one, and laughed when my friend sent me a snapchat from the audience of the exact moment referenced and realized it was me. But it didn’t look bad, just not what she wanted I guess? So now I’m trying to figure out how to fix it because it’s really indirect.
I asked if I looked down too much because I realized my eyes were down a lot. She said that it wasn’t too much, as long as it made sense for the movement. Since I was following my hand, it worked. We tried to figure out how to fix the ending to make it on the correct timing, when I vaguely remembered her telling me the first time we ran it to only do the move once the second time (I know that means absolutely nothing to you, but whatever) to get the correct timing. There was confusion of doing it once on both sides, and now I’m confused on what fits the music, though yesterday I heard the music change on the second run through where I thought I was supposed to be farther. If I only did it once on both sides, I’m afraid I’d end up early. But what if I’m still late?
The good thing was that everyone followed, and we all stayed in timing, and we have plenty of extra music to where it didn’t really matter when push came to shove. If you didn’t know, you didn’t know. It was frustrating feeling frustrated (hah) over a dance that makes me feel good. Almost like the fun of it was taken out due to conflicting technicalities. Whatever. I just really want to have one recital dance I’m proud of, and this was the most promising.

I stayed to watch the Advanced Tap, even though we were running way late and I needed to get home. I have a lot of friends in that dance and knew I wouldn’t get to see it this weekend. While they were waiting to go on, I was talking to my friend Annika who was telling me what she thought of our Jazz piece. It really meant a lot to me to hear, especially after such a rough run. I know she doesn’t tell me things just to make me feel better, which is the best kind of friend to be honestly. I was grateful.
Their Tap piece was so cute I wouldn’t stand it. I literally had my hands on my face and was giggling. It’s so great, the type of tapping that is what makes the style of dance so great. And they looked like they were having so much fun, which made it even better. I was really proud of the younger girls as they killed it just as much as the older girls. Made me really wish I could have kept up with tap.

We have rehearsal again tonight, where I only have my advanced ballet. So that’s nice. We’ll see how I do en pointe, and hopefully I don’t screw up royally at the difference. Or just screw up at all. We have to do it the two different ways since one night we have all the guys and the other we only have one. I’m most nervous for the super fast pique turn circle (fast to me) and the soutenue develope’s that are sprinkled in there for me. Hopefully I don’t freak out and just nail it.

My neck hurts from painting the shoes, and today it’s spread to a different part of the neck, though the part that hurt yesterday is better. I’m a hot mess, man.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday. I didn’t get any in Jazz, which is really unfortunate since I won’t have time to get any tomorrow. Oh well, I guess.


The first is the little class I’m now helping with. The pink tutus are my babies. Obviously us older ones are my friends and I. Group picture compliments of Andie 😊

I did get a Polaroid of Annika and I in our Ballet costume 



Please excuse my pathetic fifth and look at our pretty costumes 😂

Also, I’m giant 😂 I forget I’m so tall since I’m the short one at work, until I see a picture with my friends. Haha! Oh well. I can reach cabinets they can’t. Hehehe

 

Colored Pointe Shoes.

At the beginning of the semester, our Advanced Ballet teacher told us her vision for our recital piece. The costume is unconventional, and she wanted to complete the look with black tights and black pointe shoes.

(My apologies for the crooked, terrible quality picture.)

She told us to let her know if our parents weren’t up for it since coloring a pair of shoes can potentially be an expense we may not be able to do. She told us how we could save the pair we were in right before they were dead to have so we could color them, or we could have on pair, dance our V’s ballet and color them before VI’s. (With a friend’s help, of course.) No one spoke up, so we were given the go ahead to color our shoes on Friday. I originally didn’t do this recital en pointe, but didn’t have time to get black flats (since I thought it would be done away with, and forgot to order some just in case) so I worked on it Monday before class to see if I could do it. There’s one part that’s a bit fast, but if I can tell myself I can do it, I think I can make it through.

I looked up different methods for coloring shoes–shoe polish, special paints, spray paint, etc–but ended up going with the original suggested method of sharpie.

 

I was a little sad, because these were the shoes I did the Swan Lake shows in, but they are my most not dead shoes, so they’re my best bet.

I jet glued two old pairs in hopes they work for V’s. Because they’re super dead. No guarantees, though. eep.


Here they are with one done. Ahhhhh 


And both. 

It took about 30 minutes per shoe. I would suggest wearing gloves, though Dawn soap helps get it off your hands. I would also suggest doing it at a table where you can sit right, as I woke up with a terribly sore neck this morning. 
 

They look really good. The color is smooth and not splotchy. 

I got the sharpie brand Pro king size, and was able to get both shoes with one marker, though I bought two in case. (And have the second with me.) this is what was suggested to me, and I believe it made a difference. Especially having the chisel size. 

It was difficult on the pleats and the elastic, but it worked. If you can dye the ribbons and elastic separately, do it. But if they’re already sewn it’s possible to make it work with sharpie. May just need a few extra coats. 

And here is a time lapse of doing the one shoe. It took 29 minutes and some seconds originally. 


(Song: Something in the Water, Brooke Fraser) (ps she and her music are incredible. So  check her out!)

Cameo by my dog, Honey, whose tail knocked the video down a bit. Haha! 

There you have it, folks 

Our first rehearsal is tonight, though it doesn’t involve all my quick changes. I’m very nervous about those. But. I’ll make it work. I have no other choice but to make it work. 

Stay tuned for updates