Last Summer Class.

Although the classes I actually take will carry on throughout the month of July, the classes I teach are finished. The intensive still has a few more days, but I’m not involved in those.

It’s amazing how quickly a month can go by, and how slow it can feel at the same time.

Yesterday started off decently enough, though I wasn’t feeling all that well again. I’m officially at a loss of what to do, and feeling pretty disheartened by it. Healthy foods make me sick, other “foods” don’t like me either. So what am I supposed to do? I have no clue. For now I just eat enough to get by and deal with the pain and discomfort, trying to life as normal a life as possible.
I brought my new Eleve to wear to class, excited and looking forward to it. However, when I went to put it on I realized I hadn’t taken into consideration that the high neckline might not do so well when having to go over my large hips, since the hole for the neck is small.

I almost cried. I wanted to give up. I felt very defeated. Here I am, the size I am, and I can’t help it anymore than I already strive to do–not without invoking worse damage. I have to make myself be okay being the size that I am, because there isn’t much I can do about it. Which can feel rather disheartening when I see people able to just scrounge up some determination and see incredible results. It’s not a matter of me being lazy, it’s a matter of my body not being well and doctors not believing me and me living in immense pain and discomfort every day. It’s a matter of I’m just getting by as it is and nothing I’ve tried has been of any help. It’s a frustrating matter I have very little control over.

Realizing I didn’t have any other leotard with me, and I couldn’t just not go to class since I also had to teach, I struggled through sounds of snapping strings to work it over my hips and wiggle my arms in. No one would know if I didn’t tell them, though it fit a little tight. I walked into class to many compliments, even from Ms. Munro, only letting on to a close few of the struggle I had and that I may end up having to give the leotard away.
(that has yet to be decided.)

Before I left work, something happened that left me feeling pretty crappy. Details aren’t necessary, but tears were a-flowin’ most of the way to the studio. It took everything in me to hold it together and be happy for classes.

The babies were doing really well starting off, one of the younger ones even surprising me by knowing the names to ever ballet movement I showed, including Passe, Soute, Tendu and the difference between it and Pique.  (She’s not quite four.) Abarrane and  I were impressed.

They got super antsy and wild towards the end. I even had to utilize my adult voice powers to get them back to focusing for the last ten minutes. We made it through and they were released. A bitter-sweet sort of deal. I don’t know how teachers do it.

I had gotten Abarrane a gift for helping me out this summer. She has been wanting the Misty Copeland Barbie doll since the news first released that it was going to be made. Abarrane got to meet Misty Copeland not too long ago and to say she’s inspired by her is an understatement. So I ordered her one, which was hard to keep a secret, and hid it in the office until after class.


See, excited is an understatement. 🙂

I got into our class and stood at the Matthew barre again. I told myself being in this class was the best thing for me. I took a deep breath and hoped it would make me feel alive.

I tried to implement corrections I have been given, like making sure I come through first with all five toes on the ground instead of rolling in during rond de jambes, and to keep my arm fully extended in second, and to straighten my knee fully in arabesque. I also tried to keep in mind my alignment and placement like Ms. Clara had told me to help me en pointe. There were moments Ms. Munro looked at me and said, “Good, Emilee.” It’s so great to get corrections, implement them, then to get either further corrections or positive feedback so I know if I’m doing it right.

We came to center and did a few things, thankfully my stomach wasn’t hurting as bad as it had been. (I think getting upset sort of helped “numb” it, to an extent.) We did a combination of balances, into turns; it went something like, balance (waltz) front, balance back, balance side, balance side, balance turn, balance turn, tombe, pas de bourree, sous sous, tombe, pas de bourree to fifth, balance in passe, tombe, pas de bourree fourth, single turn, tombe, pas de bourree fourth, double turn.
Since she asked for the double turn, I told myself I was going to do the double turn. I briefly analyzed where my weak points may be and reminded myself of centering my weight in the plie, and of making sure I use my head to spot twice and I would get around. We did the combination, I did the preparation, the single, then a relatively clean double. (Sure, it can use some work, but dang it I actually did a double for the first time, I was pretty excited.) I think I let out some sort of elated exclamation after doing the double, to which Ms. Munro sort of smile/laughed at me, then we continued to the left. I attempted a double to the left, but my foot does this weird thing I haven’t seemed to break through yet that’s something between a bounce and a hop. I’m not sure if it’s the sensation of the shoe twisting that bothers me or if it’s a strength thing since that’s the foot that gives me trouble. No matter, I was very proud of myself for the day.

We continued on, and we did a jete combination with assambles and the like. Ms. Munro twinged something in her leg and asked me to demonstrate.
Hold the phone. Ms. Munro asked me to demonstrate.
I felt really nervous, was probably a bit awkward, but tried my best.
then of course she corrected me in front of everyone on how I did the jete too far forward instead of in a true second, which was causing me to travel too far. I was glad she pointed it out so I could correct it. She asked me to demonstrate something else too, but I don’t remember what. Then in the saut de basque–which I just recently grasped–she had me go first, and I was clueless on the arms, which she also corrected, so I tried again to do it correctly. It was a very informative class. I feel like I learned so much and in a sense where it’ll stick and retain.

One of the new girls from last week, Allison, came back for more yesterday. I was so glad to see her and glad she’s sticking with it. She has loads of potential and in time will prove to be really great. I’m glad she’s fighting through the overwhelming-ness that is your first few classes.

I won’t make any of the classes next week, due to holiday and being out of town. (We celebrate America’s Independence on Monday, the fourth.) But I’ll post about what happens at the point shoe fitting I have Wednesday! 🙂 Here’s to hoping.

(Perpetually working on that dang turn out. My demise.)


Summer Classes: Last Week

Yesterday was our last Monday class for the standard summer classes.

We only had seven kids in class, and all but one seemed to throw all sense of rules out the window. The one who is consistently good is also the one who is actually pretty decent at ballet. She even retains the French names for moves and pointes her toes the way she’s supposed to. I noticed yesterday that when we did tendus with the right foot, I didn’t tell her anything about turnout (she’s four) but she noticed it on her own and did it. I hope she sticks with dance and continues to love it.

Adult Ballet looked like it was going to be pretty slim pickins, but people showed up right at six or a little after.

Before class started, Abarrane helped me with the different things Ms. Clara from the pointe shoe forum told me to do to isolate my inner thigh muscles and how to properly align myself to not give in to my hyper extension, all the while still maintaining a straight knee. I need to retrain myself to not sit into my shoe by actually using the correct muscles to pull out of the shoe.

Class went well enough. I hadn’t been feeling too good yesterday and still trying to pinpoint why. I felt like the stomach pain was hindering how much I could use my core, but I continued to push through anyway. I knew my body wouldn’t feel good after class, but I knew my spirit would feel rejuvenated, and that’s what I really needed.

I tried to implement the knew things as much as I could without completely shutting down on doing the movements. I know I still have a lot to work on to get it to be second nature, but if I don’t start here I’ll never get anywhere. I got a few corrections from Ms. Munro that were helpful in telling me if I was doing it correctly or not, and was able to expound on trying to find the balance between what I’ve been doing and what I should be doing. There is still much I need to work on outside of class. I wish I could have someone give me private lessons in this to make sure I’m doing it correctly, but I doubt that’s possible. It was quite helpful to have Abarrane there to tell me if I was lined up correctly or not and know if I was actually seeing the correct thing. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t really know what I was supposed to look for. I got frustrated because I felt I couldn’t see what I needed to properly because the bulk of my thighs got in the way and I couldn’t fully understand what to look for. Same with my butt. And I couldn’t feel what I needed to in my left (shorter) leg like my right. It took me back to how I would feel when I first began ballet almost five years ago. I would get overwhelmed because I knew I should be able to do this but I couldn’t figure out how to get my body to respond. Thankfully I read that the shorter leg struggles more with turn out and muscle usage, so I at least had some sort of understanding. It still sucked, but I made myself not dwell on it so I wouldn’t panic.

Sometimes I really hate my body. Like now, when I can’t seem to eat a thing without it reacting to the food negatively. Or when my right hip and lower back or my joints start hurting. I’m not even thirty yet and my body seems to be falling apart. How much longer do I push through? What can doctors do for me that they haven’t already tried? When will enough be enough?

I got my recital pictures in

I may look back and think I’m stupid for being proud of them, but for where I am right now, I’m pretty proud of them. Sometimes I can get caught up in trying to be as good as my peers that I forget that I am twenty-seven. I have only been in ballet for not even five years. I have only been en pointe for two of those years. (two? Three? almost three? whatever.) I still struggle not only with finding pointe shoes that work, but also working against all the challenges my health and body throw at me. So now I look at them and I am proud.

Ms. Clara got back with me about different pointe shoes to try, which I was a little surprised at first that she recommended Russian Pointes, since I had such a hard time with them before. But she explained why she thought they’d be good for me and also to try Bloch Heritage. Hopefully the place I’m going next week will have those there to try. If not, I’ll figure something out this summer.
Also, here’s a bit of attitude in one of my Eleve’s

Summer Class, end of Third Week

These baby classes keep getting better and better. It’s still difficult having the different age groups, but they all remained engaged. I was so impressed when the kids started remembering what not only a pile and releve are but what a soute and echape and other more complex things are. And not where I say the word and they show me, but where I show them and they give me the word. Abarrane and my minds were blown. 

We had eleven in class, mainly younger, one new, one making up a class. She really impressed us. Her feet are always pointed, her knees are always straight, her feet and turned out. She’s just a natural, she gets it, if she wants this she can take it as far as she wants. And she pays attention so well, eyes always in me or Abarrane, soaking in everything we have to offer. The girl is five and her grande jetes are better than mine. I hope she stays in dance so we can watch her grow. 

We had a full class in adult, with two new people my friend Karen recruited 😊 they held up pretty well and really seemed to enjoy it. We had to pull out another barre to put in the center, and I stood at what I refer to as “Matthew’s barre.” It’s a short barre at the back of the room facing the mirror and Matthew stood there every class. I was a bit nervous to be facing the mirror side I usually try to avoid it, but what I found instead had me pleasantly surprised. 

Maybe it was the cut of the leotard. Or maybe it was the pressure of being right in front of the mirror, but I didn’t look as big as I usually do. It was refreshing. I could see the proper alignment, the uneven hip, the core engaged, the muscle tone in the legs, the lack of flexibility in the ankles. All these things are important. It’s important to see the positive things along side the negative so you know what to address, where to improve, and what to maintain. It was encouraging. 

Ms Munro taught our class and actually gave me some really good corrections and insight. In sous sous, my feet were too close together, causing my knees to not straighten as much as they need to. I also still need to elongate my arm in second a bit more. I tried to implement this but went too far, locking my elbows. She corrected that and I was able to feel the balance. These are things I could see with the mirror in front of me and could know what feeling was right, what was wrong, and what it looked like. 

In the center, I noticed I was able to hold my balances longer. More on my right than my left, but both improved. My turn out was better, I was stronger, and overall my performance has improved. It was a good feeling to be able to hold my leg in arabesque while I promenade and maintain turnout. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that I was in flat shoes, but still. I also noticed that when I plie in fourth before going into a pirouette, my weight was too far forward. I tried to make it more centered, telling myself not to anticipate pain in my knee and just go for it. Throw the fear aside. I did that, and guess what happened? I did the turn. A solid single. I could have done a double if I really wanted, but I wanted to get the feeling in my brain and my body so I won’t second guess anything when I progress to doubles. It was like an epiphany. I also noticed an improvement on my chaines, which have been my demise for a while. (Almost five years now. Hah.) 

Yesterday felt so good. I’m excited. I’m hoping to figure out more with my shoes and see what I can do to get them more tolerable. I felt so solid in class. I wasn’t just struggling to keep the pattern of the combination, but to improve upon each step in the process. I felt like I’ve really reached another level in this who dance life thing. I’m not necessarily better, but I have something in my brain that has clicked and a deeper understanding. And now I can think about keeping my eyes up 😂

I’m typing this on my tiny phone screen during a conference on communication. I wanted to write it last night knowing id be here, but I was so tired. So I’m just doing it anyway. I was so excited about writing this post and about the improvements in finally seeing. 

I hope y’all are doing well. I hope you’re fighting for what you love. I hope you know how wonderful you are and that your fight is worth it. You got this. You’re worth it. I love you. (And that is something.)

Summer Classes, Week Three

Last night was the best baby class we’ve had so far.

There were seven of them, mostly younger, and they seemed to soak up every single move and direction. It was impressive. It’s only been two full weeks and I’m already seeing improvement in them. They’re grasping the concepts and trying hard.

Of course, towards the end, they start getting atsy. And there are the few that have a hard time focusing, but even they were doing better than usual.
Having Abarrane has proved vital, once again, helping me keep the wild ones in line and helping with crying little ones. This would be a completely different story if she wasn’t there with me.

I tried breaking in my shoes before class, which made my feet really angry. I haven’t done pointe since recital, largely to help give my right Achilles some rest, and my feet protested. It seemed that everything was harder–the end of the shank dug into my heel, the box seemed to pound my toes, the top of the box was hard even after stepping on it repetitively, and trying to balance put such pressure on my toes like I’d never felt before. I tried to pay careful attention to the details of where I was feeling pain so I can ask about it when I try on pointe shoes the next time. (Hopefully this summer.) If it’s normal, I need to learn to just push through. If it’s not, I need to find a solution. Why are my feet so difficult to find shoes for?

We had two new girls in class yesterday (Shoutout.) It was their very first ballet class, sort of as a bucket list, always wanted to so why not now sort of thing. I’m not gonna lie, I was impressed with how well they followed along. It was all completely new to them and they dove right in and actually did really well. Had they not told me it was their first class, I wouldn’t have guessed it. Plus they took direction really well. Poor things got shoved so much information at once and just soaked it up and went with it. My friend Sara and I told them about ballet apps and dictionaries and YouTube channels that helped us (ABT’s online dictionary, the app Ballet Lite, and the YouTube channel Ballerinas By Night, specifically.) The dictionary has a few videos to show you what the word is, and the YouTube channel is specific to the adult dancer.
They seemed to really like class, which made me really happy. I was so afraid I was getting too excited and would implement false expectations and then they’d hate class, haha! But they really did great and said they’d be back, so I really hope they do come back!

Overall, it was a good class day. I need to work on my ankle strength while still being aware of my Achilles. I wish I had more time to dedicate solely to learning and improving and researching, but that’s okay. I’m grateful to be where I am.


Summer Classes, and new dance stuff!

Yesterday’s class was hands down the best I’ve had so far.
It was ironic, because it was largely made up of three-year-olds, but I think that helped in it’s own odd way. Plus, the two five-year-olds we had are the quiet and respectful two, so it worked out nicely.

Abarrane has proved to be a complete asset to the class. Having her presence there to help keep the kids in line is a large factor in the classes being so successful.
Abarrane, you’re the bomb. For real. Thank you for volunteering to help me this summer, and for being so great with the kids. I love having this summer with you!

It was also the biggest class I’ve had yet, with twelve kids all together. One of them was new, but you wouldn’t know it by how well she did. She is very intelligent and picks up really quickly. I really hope she comes back, we loved having her!
There’s a little one in the Wednesday class who tends to remember more of the proper names for things than the others. Yesterday, I was going with it to see how much she could retain and attempt. Home girl was even able to say works like “echappe” and “grand battement” without me saying them first. I was shocked. Plus, her legs are already perfect ballet legs. The muscle tone is sculpted, (as much as it can be for a 3.5 year old) her legs are slightly hyperextended, and her arches are beautiful. When she goes up into releve and gets to that full demi-pointe, it makes me want to cry at how beautiful it is. And she’s so nonchalant about it. I love it.

The kids are starting to grasp some of the things that seem more complicated for them, which makes me happy to see. They’re also getting better at following the rules, like staying in line and waiting their turn. This is harder with these younger ages as they aren’t in school yet and don’t have this kind of expectation anywhere else but in class. It’s great to see them understanding.

Overall, the class left me feeling really happy. And proud of these little ones.

Matthew taught our Adult Ballet, which made me really happy.
(And I forgot to get a picture again. Next week, Matthew.)

I was really glad because it was some of the stuff that you find in the basis of ballet that I am still really rough on. It gave me a chance to work on it without having to modify down or be obviously working hard on it. It was just part of the class. I appreciated that. He also explained where your weight is supposed to be in a way I had never heard before. From what points of the feet should be on the ground on flat and in demi, to where you should hold your weight in different positions, I found it helped me immensely. He also helped us with our spotting, which I always struggle with. I was able to implement corrections I have gotten from Mrs. Alex and Mrs. Munro as well about where I hold my arms and straightening my knee along with the spotting to better my pique turns as well as my pirouettes. I’m still working on my jetes, but I’m at least getting higher off the ground. Now it’s about working on getting the legs to split in air like they can on the ground.
A constant work in progress.
Matthew also explained the 8-corner system they use in Vaganova style teaching that completely rocked my world in the best way possible. Directions is something I’ve been wanting to better understand all year, and the 8-corner way of thinking helped some things to click. My mind was blown and my heart is grateful.

(Thanks for the great class, Matthew!)

I got my new Eleve in the mail and it is beautiful.


I didn’t get a picture of the back yet, but it is incredible. The colors work so well together, which makes me happy since it was sort of a shot in the dark. Typically id go with a blue instead of the pink, but I wanted to not go with what I normally do. And I love it.

It’s an Isabel style leotard. Here are the specifics

If you can see that top left corner 😂

I also got in my new skirt from Flic Flac, which I was a little nervous about because I hadn’t taken into consideration the over wrap length. But she makes them with a tie that has a bit of stretch to it, making it absolutely perfect. I was also nervous about the length, since skirts tend to not look so great on me, but this is the perfect length to show the muscle tone in my legs while covering up the necessary things. I dance without a skirt in the level classes, but in adult I fee the need to cover up a bit more. Plus I can. So.

I’ll definitely be ordering more once I have some extra money to do so. I hope it’s soon since they’re handmade and take a bit of time, as well as the shipping time from across the pond. But hands down my new favorite skirts.

(Check out her etsy page here.)

A great day indeed.

Abarrane helped me take pictures of me feet in shoes to send to the lady on the forum for evaluation on my shoes. I’m hoping to do that tomorrow or Saturday when I have some time.

I like that I’m excited about ballet again. A nice high among many lows.

Ps. Got a picture with my friend Sara! She came back yesterday for more 😊 it’s so great dancing with her again!

Second Week of Summer

Week two of summer has begun, and yesterday’s class yielded ten little ones.

Thankfully, my dear friend Abarrane offered to help me with my classes, so it was less like herding cats and more like actual ballet.
So much so that I ran out of things to do since I hadn’t gotten that far before and they were all eager. I need to reassess and come up with a more detailed and specific game plan for them, maybe even get into the specifics of what is proper technique rather than just trying to get them to do something. (Abarrane, you’re my hero.)

The great thing with this class is the parents aren’t shy about popping their heads in and getting after their kid. They let me try to get them into order, but if they keep goofing off, they get onto them. It’s a beautiful thing. I need to think of a clearer way to explain things to the ones that have English as their second language. I try to make things as visual as possible so they can grasp it a bit more, but in such a large class it’s a little more difficult. But I have hope. Also, you don’t realize how many big words you use until you say “(bear with me as I try to remember the word. Just know it did not sound like what she thought. Which made it even better.)” and the dancer thinks you said “cake.”

There’s never a dull moment.

I waited around for the Adult Ballet class and tried to utilize the empty studio to my advantage photo-wise, though I was sort of limited on what all I could get since I didn’t have that many surfaces to place my phone on. There’s something serene about sitting alone in an empty studio with the sunlight coming through the windows that settles your anxious heart.

Ms. Munro taught our class, and my friend Sara from Instep came to take a class. It was really great having another Instepper in there with me. It was like a collision of two worlds–two of my favorite worlds–in the best way possible. Sara hadn’t taken a class in two years, yet kept up really well. Ms. Munro seemed impressed with her, which was cool. And made me pretty proud.

Ms. Munro complimented me a few times in class for various things, and has been correcting my pique turns and the way my feet slide back into first in things like tendus and degages. I didn’t start to feel sick until the very end of class when we were doing jete’s across the floor, and even then it wasn’t that bad. The one time Ms. Munro saw my jete she seemed to see improvement, which made me feel good since my jete’s are rough. Past that, she was watching Sara, which I was a-okay with.

I sewed my new shoes, but hadn’t broken them in yet. I took some pictures in them to send to the lady for evaluation, but think I want to get some in my dead shoes too for comparison. Maybe I’ll do that Wednesday, or tonight if I can.

Before I know it, I’ll blink and summer classes will be over. It’s so much fun and I love it so much. I hope I can find a way to be able to still teach classes during the school year, while juggling tax season madness, which is bound to get more insane the more I learn.

If you follow my instagram, I’ll be posting some of the pictures I took with the empty studio here in the upcoming days.

(If you don’t, it’s anothernightatthebarreofficial
Long name. But the other one was already taken so I had to make it work. hehe)

I hope y’alls classes are going really well. I hope you’re learning and improving and remembering that feeling that makes you come alive when you’re there. I hope you never stop trying to be better, and always believe in yourself. And when you’re struggling to, let me know and I’ll give you a good pep talk.


Summer Class Two. 

Today was my second summer class, though the third for those doing the complete intensive. 

I had a baby class which had 8 kids in it–more 3 year olds than Monday–which went well enough. Surprisingly better than Monday, even though most of Monday’s were a bit older. 

One of the little ones kept running around, which lead the others to follow, but her dad came in and got onto her which made my life so much better. (God bless the parents who give their kids boundaries and enforce rules.) 

My favorite little one was there again. I’m so glad to have her in both classes. Even though she is new to this language, and she’s super young, she keeps rather focused and does relatively well. She’s a little ray of sunshine. I love her so much. 

I made it through, hopeful that maybe I can get an assistant (how about it Abarrane?) it’d be a much more efficient class if there were someone to help rope in the ones that stray. 

There was one little girl who was crying and didn’t want her mom to leave, but she was really sweet and actually very into ballet once she got into it and felt a little more safe. She was really sweet. 

I have a few names to learn, and chances are as soon as I learn them the summer will be over. But there’s something about being called by name that makes a difference. It matters. It shows that you matter. 

I waited for our class and read a really neat article posted in an adult ballerina Facebook page I’m part of about a dancer who has chronic pain in her leg. She details the struggle she faces every moment of every day, and describes so beautifully how ballet helps you have a bit of an escape from a world that causes you so much pain. 

(That top paragraph.)

(Here’s the article!)

I like how she describes the way class keeps your mind busy to help you forget about the overwhelming way life can bear down on you. How even though sometimes you feel it during class, you fight it for the further goal. 

Ms Munro taught class tonight, and it went really well. My friend Alex from the leveled classes was in it, which made me really happy, and the new girl we had last week came back! Brand new. Never taken ballet before, and holding up decently enough! 

Ms Munro gave me a few compliments. I don’t particularly remember what on, but I remember being slightly surprised that she was actually speaking to me. But she was, by name, a few “nice, Emilee!” ‘s here and there. One I do remember was when she saw my balance in back attitude. I’ve struggled with balancing often, but I was able to actually hold it. 

I feel like in Adult, I’m able to focus more on the technique of the moment instead of simply the flare. I can think about where my head is supposed to be. I can think about straight knees and closing in fifth. I can think about pointing my foot and making sure all five toes are on the floor when I close. I can pay attention. I can think through every movement. I can try harder. 

Ms Munro also gave me corrections–to pique onto a completely straight knee, to plié before I do many things. They were new corrections. It was nice. 

After class, she complimented my leotard, and told me that I was looking really well. She said my epaulment and my placement and presenting looked really good. Which. Like. Never happens. I mean maybe to other people, but never me. And never after class to me directly. It was really cool. And made me feel really good. 

Adult makes me feel really good. I can take time to breathe and think and try. 

My stomach was hurting really badly during and after class. It typically doesn’t feel all that great but this time it was a bit extreme. I thought about walking out but I didn’t want to do that. It’s only an hour long, but today it felt like much, much longer. 

It was a great class. The other dancers were so light hearted and kind and we all tried hard and did our best. It just left me feeling really good after, in spite of feeling like crap internally. These are my favorite. 

The adult class is a bit intimidating, though, and I didn’t get any pictures of me in my eleve. I felt dumb asking anyone to take it, though I could have even had Ms Munro take it. But I chickened out. Hopefully I can get some pictures later. 

(I did get this one in my bathroom mirror though.)

I still wish I could slim down a little, but I know I don’t have much control over that right now. It’s frustrating. But I can only do so much. Especially with food hating me. I wish I could figure out how to help this, but it seems it of my control for right now. 

I’m not gonna dwell on it. It only makes me feel worse about something I can’t control. 

So I’m gonna think of adorable tiny baby ballerinas and compliments from Ms Munro. 

And my dog. Cause she’s cute. 

Here she is asleep. Hehehe 

Start of Summer.

Yesterday kicked off our Summer classes at the studio.

They offer an intensive with classes in the morning and evening, and alternating on days. (So, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the ballet is in the morning and Tuesday and Thursday it’s in the evening, with classes like musical theatre, jazz, character, etc sprinkled throughout as well.) They have a few baby classes–mornings on Tuesday and Thursday and evenings on Monday and Wednesday–and adult classes on Monday and Wednesday in the evening.

My baby classes are the evening ones (Andie has them in the mornings) which coincides with the adult classes. I’m really glad they do, because that was the class I was looking into taking. I think it’ll be better for me to work on perfecting what I know, rather than trying to throw new and complex things at me. If I have a good basis of what I’m doing, I’ll be able to do the complex things better when they’re thrown at me.

If I told you I wasn’t nervous leading up to yesterday, I’d be lying. I’d be lying a lot. I just wanted to get through the day so I would have all the firsts over with and know what to expect. I felt awkward and a bit scared, but I knew I’d be okay if I could just do it.
My boss let me off early, which was unexpected, so I got there really early. As I sat in the parking lot killing time, I wanted to run. To just leave.

Why am I here? Why do I do this? What keeps bringing me back? I could have so much more time if I didn’t do this. I could get so many things done. Who am I kidding?

Then I thought of all the things I’m fighting.
A good majority of people I interact with know that I get sick sometimes, but I don’t know that they really grasp the severity. Mostly because I don’t think I grasp the severity. Since I don’t have a diagnosis, I tend to just play it off as nothing much to  save face for if I were to ever get diagnosed and it be something simple. What if it’s just IBS? What if it’s my own negligence? But I’ve done everything I can to try and find an answer, and though some things have lead to temporary relief, I’ve yet to find a permanent solution.
I’m sick. Everyday, almost all day now. It’s weird for me to have a time when I don’t feel nauseous. Or exhausted. And if I stop long enough to truly let myself feel it, it can be rather overwhelming. And I know people use those words often, that they’re exhausted, and whose to say that they’re not? But this is falling-asleep-at-my-desk-if-I-stop-for-too-long exhausted. This is moving-hurts exhausted. This is driving-home-is-kinda-scary exhausted. This is I-can’t-do-anything-else-because-I-don’t-have-it-in-me exhausted. It makes using my core difficult sometimes. I know that there are better ways to do things, I know how to do them better, I just can’t all the time without risking repercussions.
Then there’s the issue with my right leg being longer. It causes knee pain which keeps me from doing jumps. It hinders my plie into anything which makes my jete’s look like a joke and certain pirouettes difficult. It causes my hips to constantly be uneven, making it near-impossible to stay square. This gets particularly comical during chaines, as the platforms of my box are at two different levels, which makes you feel pretty defeated. The hip pain can be pretty intense, too. Then it causes two small curves in my back, making balancing complicated since I have to counteract the curve, and differently depending on which side it is. Then there’s the calcified whiplash in my neck and the nerve damage near my left knee both from a car wreck two weeks after I began dancing.
And now my Achilles has decided it wants to give me issues, but I think its largely because the longer leg doesn’t get to fully stretch the Achilles like the shorter leg does when I’m dancing.

But I have to keep going.
I have to keep pushing through.
Dancing is the only time that I have found that most classes I can forget about my stomach, though I am reminded more of my back issues. And sometimes my stomach bothers me so much I can hardly make it through. But most classes I can push through to where that’s not what I remember about class.
I keep showing up because if I don’t, I’m still gonna feel bad, so I  might as well try.

Sitting in the office waiting for class yesterday, I wasn’t sure what I was going to feel. But then one of the Directors came in, hugged me, and asked me how my summer has been. She was thrilled to hear all about Kansas and how great things have been lately. She told me I wasn’t allowed to marry a Kansas boy and move away because I have them, and they love me. (Not in those exact words, it was more of a reaction to me telling her my aunt wants to find me a guy so I can move up there and she saying, “But wait, you can’t go, you have us and we aren’t in Kansas!” and me saying how I told my aunt, “But I have a house” and she saying “and a studio that loves you” or something like that. Anyway.)

There may be plenty of things I don’t understand, but it was pretty cool to know that they care about me there. That they were glad to have me in the adult class.
I felt at home.

The babies were adorable, though a few are crazy at times. It’d be nice to have an assistant to reel in the couple of crazies I have, but I don’t know if I’ll get that luxury so I’ll do my best without. A few of them were really into it and actually showed improvement while we were there. A few had taken class before and were thrilled to be my “helpers.” (And they really were. I was grateful.) I have a little girl from the Ukraine, which I absolutely love. I want to keep her forever. She’s one of the youngest in the class, but actually kept up very well.

Adult Ballet went really well. I was nervous and unsure of how it would all go, but they’re all so very kind and I didn’t feel like an outsider. It felt good to do the movements and I loved hearing Mrs. Alex’s explanations in different ways than we hear in V’s. I did this class on flat, partly because I haven’t sewn my new shoes, but mainly because I wanted to see what my Achilles would do. I was also grateful to be next to a lady who was really good at epaulment, which helped me try harder and also see what it should look like and be able to imitate it. Just being surrounded by positivity and being in that overall atmosphere is enough to make you a better dancer. Mrs. Alex complimented me a few times, once on my feet even, and it was nice to have that bit of affirmation.

Most of all, it was nice to be among such incredible people.
They dance because they want to dance. They don’t take a single class lightly. They put their all into this and strive to be better. They give 110% every class, every movement. And it was really beautiful to watch, as well as encouraging.

Hopefully the rest of the summer goes well. My next class is tomorrow, where I’ll have the babies and then Ms. Munro is teaching. It should be great!

Home again.

I had planned to attend the class we have offered to us tonight.
My dance clothes are even in my car.
I have set aside time to blog about the inevitable good it will do for me.

But I just can’t bring myself to go.

The funk is strong with this one, and even though I know dance will be good for me, and it’s been a week since I’ve been, I just don’t know that I can bring myself to go today.

I don’t want to have to be “on.” To have to care about how my actions are interpreting to the people around me, and on dance days like this, it is a bit more complex. I never know what I’m gonna get. If people will care and ask questions or if they’ll leave me alone.

And right now, I don’t have any answers. I don’t have any definitions to help me explain what is going on inside.

It’s all I can do to get myself out of bed. To head to work and keep it together. To keep my brain from going crazy trying to make sense of it all, or ignoring it and stuffing it down again.

I don’t have answers. I don’t have solutions. I don’t have much of anything at this point. But I have the opportunity to give myself time just be. To not have to figure it out right away.

I find these times to be the best times of expression for me. I tend to get the most creative, write the best poems, create the best paintings/artwork. They aren’t great, but they’re the best for me. The kind that truly gets out what is haunting me inside.

So I think I’m going to skip dance, head to the closest Starbucks, and just read. Or write. Or whatever.
Just be.

I realized while in Kansas that my instagram has surpassed 200 followers! So if you are one of those 200+, I thank you! I’ve met some of the most incredible people through expanding my blog and making it an instagram account. I’ve been inspired by several people and am pushing myself farther than I ever expected. It’s cool to hear from other people who are dealing with the same things you are, who have been where you are and can lend advice, and even people who tell you that you inspired them. How cool is that? I’m a little ol’ nobody from a tiny town in Texas, yet there’s this community I’m part of that stretches across oceans and continents.
Thank you, my friends, for your support and love and encouragement. I’m a better person for knowing each of you.