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!


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