I did something to my back last week, went to the chiropractor for it on Monday before my adult class, then managed to do something to it again on Wednesday while tying one of he baby ballerinas shoes, and again on Thursday while picking up something I dropped.
We aren’t sure what the deal is, so I went back to the chiropractor today for another adjustment. I told him what was going on and we ruled out sciatic nerve, and he tried a few different things. I got home, and did the same thing again when putting on my shorts.
What gives? How do I make this stop?! Ugh.
Anyway, while I was at the chiropractor, my sweet Haeleigh text me that the cast list was up. We had been throwing around ideas of when we thought it would go up and she told me if it went up today she’d let me know what I got since I was skipping class. (I’m taking the week off dancing and only teaching, hoping it’ll help my back. Of course this happens before bailando. I seem to always be hurt during bailando.)
I got Lilac and Snow!
If you remember from last year’s nutcracker, (I don’t have it linked, my apologies I’m typing this on my phone and am frankly too tired from this muscle relaxer I took to attempt to find it and link it here. Womp womp. Bad blogger.) I really wanted to be Lilac and Snow. I knew it would be a bit of a far fetched hope, but I hoped it nonetheless. For some reason, this has been the role set I have most longed to be. Maybe because my friend Lillian was Lilac and Snow the year before I joined up and I felt like if she could do it, so could I. And I’ve fought to get to this point, rising up the ranks of the roles until finally I am here. I feel like this is proof that I am progressing, even if I don’t always see it or seem to be blinded by the setbacks my body throws my way. (Stomach seems to be doing a smidge better, so maybe I’m getting somewhere finally.)
I’ve observed some role placements over the years, trying to figure out if there’s a method or like a formula to the casting of people in roles. I’ve seen new people thrown immediately into good roles, or started off at places higher than I began, even though they were less experienced at their beginning than I was at mine. I try to make sense of it, when really maybe there isn’t any sense to be made. Maybe it’s not as intentional as I make it out in my head to be. Maybe it’s just timing. Or something.
I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t really care. Not anymore.
I’m proud of where I am and what it’s taken me to get here. (Is that a real sentence? Oh well. It is now.) I’m honestly glad they started me off where they did and I’ve risen to where I am now. It may not be conventional or anything necessarily envy-enducing, but it’s me. It’s something I never thought I’d get to do. I’ve been something new every year, and after this year will have five Nutcracker roles under my belt in three years. How cool is that? And at my age? How cool is it that i was even given the room to grow, instead of being put in one spot and left there? How cool is it that I’m counted among the other able dancers, and not just put as an adult role because that’s what i am? Like. This doesn’t even have to be where i am. If i were at countless other studios, i wouldn’t stand a chance. Yet here I am, in my third Nutcracker, moving up with my level every year.
I’m grateful that they’ve put me where they’ve seen fit and not necessarily where I thought I fit. I appreciate it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been given a unique opportunity to learn and grow in more ways than one, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I owe so much of who I am to Ballet and even more so to the people who helped get me here.
(It’s also 5 years from the day that I posted the Facebook status asking if anyone knew of any studios that would take a “rusty” beginner. That being the understatement of the century. I was terrible. But look at me now, five years later. Getting cast as the role I always wanted to be since I first learned this was even maybe a possibility. And what better year to have the role with the garlands we hold forever than the year after we just finished swan lake. If I can do those arms, I can do anything!)
I’m so grateful to have come to this studio the year I did, in the class level that I did. These girls took me in as one of their own, and we’ve all gotten to grow together and take on roles together. We’ve celebrated successes and encouraged each other in set backs. And now four of those girls are all getting to be Clara this year, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Honestly, it made me choke up and even cry a bit when Haeleigh sent me over the list of who got Clara. I know they’ve worked so hard, I’ve seen their progress and their fights and their hard work. I’ve seen them never give up, even when they had every right to. I’ve seen them rise when they had every bit of reason to cower away and self preserve. I know there are loads of talented girls in our studio, especially right now. And I know this casting could have gone so many ways. But I am so incredibly proud that it went this way. That the cards fell the way they did and that these girls get this opportunity.
I’m also excited for the up and coming girls, who are proving themselves in their own ways. And I’m so proud of their good attitudes and honest excitement at the roles they’ve been given.
And I’m proud of the older girls who are encouraging each other and building each other up after another unpredictable cast list has gone up. Making the best of every moment and determining to enjoy this season.
It’s up to us, really. We decide how this is gonna go, not what role we get. We decide if we’re going to enjoy ourselves. We decide if the memories will be sweet or bitter.
I have the luxury of being older and understanding that time is short and nothing is guaranteed. That we never know which time in the studio will be our last. And I, personally, want to make the most of every second I still have.
So here’s to Nutcracker. To costumes and rehearsals and events and laughter and lessons and memories made. Here’s to the golden years we’re living out. Here’s to writing this chapter in our future memoirs. Here’s to another year I choose to make incredible.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.