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,
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.