The studio isn’t open again until Monday, meaning I’ve had a good couple weeks off from dance. 

I work full time, so I’ve still been at the office. It’s been nice having so much off time, which has been a frustrating reality. 

I love ballet. I need ballet. Literally. It’s the thing that keeps my health as good as it is, apart from whatever this autoimmune thing is. And teaching the babies makes me feel alive. I love them so much. But having this time of just work has put me in a weird place. I’m able to get way more done in my personal life, but I’ve also found myself to be way sadder. Dance makes me feel alive. 

I had a dream like we still had one more Nutcracker performance and I had to dance Snow. And I was freaking out because I didn’t know if my body could do one more show. I hadn’t run it, I hadn’t prepared myself. I freaked out. I woke up before I could dream how the dance went, and if Nutcracker taught me anything, it’s that I screw up if I overthink things. But reality is i don’t know how my body is going to let me keep going. 

Spring is going to put a huge load on me. Tax season, Snow White, teaching, recital… thinking about it stresses me out and I honestly don’t know how I’m gonna do it all. So I just don’t think about it, and take it day by day. 

I went home early from work yesterday. I started feeling sick after eating and faded fast. I came home and slept for almost two hours, which is highly unlike me. I woke up this morning hardly feeling any better. I had put off calling about the referral to the rheumatologist, but felt bad enough to where I actually called. The lady at my doctors office knew me by the sound of my voice, even though I’ve only spoken to her one other time. She’s on top of everything, and told me how she had actually just called the office she was referring me to the day before. The lady who handles referrals is on vacation until the 3rd, so I have to wait until then to find out when the appointment will be set, which will probably be a few months from now. Ya know, probably falling during tax season. I’m really hoping I don’t have to put it off until after tax season is over, since that would be May. 

Life is overwhelming. I don’t really know how I’ll get through all this, but I know I will. Cause I have to. 

My house may end up a mess, the dishes will probably pile up in my sink, and I probably won’t get to cook as much as I’d like to, but I’ll get through somehow. 

My ankle still hurts. I rest it for a while, but have done some warming up here and there so I’m not completely screwed when classes start up again. Maybe it’s largely the cold front we had come in last night, but who knows. 

I’ve gotta find music and choreograph dances for my babies sometime this weekend. I was supposed to get it done yesterday, but I hardly got out of bed. I’m better today, but not by much. Stupid body. Ugh. 


Nutcracker 2016: Week Two

I really was terrible about blogging more than just a long, drawn out roundup at the end of each week. This makes me kind of sad, but at the same time I feel most of what I would say would be redundant.

I am glad to think back on my blog posts from my first Nutcracker and know they are more detailed and more frequent. It was a new world and I experienced it for the first time full of wonder. But now I’m a seasoned veteran, or whatever, and some of the details have become routine. (Though I still find myself staring up at the vast ceiling backstage, and getting chills looking into the audience.)

Hopefully I’m not too redundant in this post, the two weekends have already begun to blend and I can’t seem to remember what I’ve actually written and what I’ve merely thought of writing. If I repeat, my apologies.

We didn’t have rehearsal last week until Friday. Our Cavalier came in that week and worked in the mornings with our Sugar Plums, but the majority of us didn’t have to come in until the weekend. He’s incredible, too. Everyone was super impressed.

Our company is in Corpus Christi, which if you keep up with the news (and it’s been reported all over, including viral facebook videos) you’ll know we’ve been the latest city to have struggles with contaminated water. There was a chemical that is used in asphalt leaked into the water system, so we managed to have a full water ban for four days, leading up into the weekend. It posed quite the problem. Grocery stores sold out of water clear up to an hour’s drive away in all directions, with other cities and even states (shout out to Tennessee, who sent us water, even though they were the victims of insane wild fires) shipping water to help us out. I live outside the city, so thankfully I could shower and wash laundry and dishes and cook and anything else, but I was one of the few. Most of the few of us opened our homes to other dancers and friends to use our water until it got figured out. One of the dancers had to go to Houston for a dr appointment, left early because of the ban, and came back with cases and cases of water for the cast. Bless.

We managed to keep most sickness at bay, though a few dancers got hit hard on rehearsal days. They managed to make it through the shows, though, which was super impressive. One of the guys even made a daily ritual of handing out vitamin C cough drops during barre warm up. Take no risks.

I tried my best to be rested and hydrated so I could be at my top for this weekend, specifically for Saturday’s run of Snow. I flubbed a bit up in rehearsal Friday which made me so mad, so I ran over it a bunch before show. And, of course, I managed to still mess up anyway, although it wasn’t the part I was messing up. It was the part before. And it wasn’t a huuuuge mess up, but still I was pretty disappointed in myself. Especially because I know I can do it. I was frustrated because I don’t know what I was doing to keep causing me to mess up. I usually don’t have this problem. Like in Flowers, I have no problem there. I messed up a few things at the beginning, got corrected, fixed it. Bam. Why was Snow so different?

I also managed to actually fully kill my pointe shoes for the first time ever. I usually merely kill the shank before they become useless to me, but this time I actually softened the box! I was so proud, and nervous at the same time, as it happened in the middle of all the bourrees of Flowers on Saturday, and I still had one more show on Sunday to squeeze out of them.

My whole body was in pain like I’ve never felt before by the end of the night. I don’t know what I did more that day that I don’t usually do to cause it, but dang. I know I still hadn’t caught up from all the lost sleep the week before, but seriously, it was ridiculous. I slept so hard that I woke up with this intense knot in my shoulder. I wore out four friends trying to rub it out before the show. Mrs. Julie, who is directing our spring show, did our warm up yesterday. I loved it, and not just because she played the greatest Christmas song ever to be written. (“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by N*SYNC, of course) but because she does combinations that are simple, but warm us up quickly and effectively. I was grateful to only be Lilac, it made me feel way less pressure. Plus, Lilac is my favorite role I’ve ever danced. I knew I could just enjoy it.

I got pictures of the Clara’s this weekend as well, and helped with the Rat Queen’s props, which made me feel really good. I appreciate getting to be able to help.

Backstage shenanigans are my favorite. Just being surrounded by dancing and dancers, in incredible costumes with pointe shoes (or, more often, super fluffy socks) on my feet. The lights and the sounds of it all. The pointe shoe army on the stairs, the ominous smell of hairspray every where you go, every detail that comes along with it. This year, i was even dubbed the barre master. (Because i often helped get them out and apparently it was evident that I had theatre training cause I knew what I was doing. Hahaha)

My parents came to watch me this year, as well as some dear and cherished friends. One of my friends I’ve known since we were toddlers. She recently moved back home when the Marines transferred her husband back here, which is unheard of, but I’m not complaining! She’s been gone most of the time I’ve been dancing, and was able to see me dance for the first time. It’s so cool having friends like her and others who support me in the things I love.

Our cast party got cancelled, due to the water ban, but a few of us went out to dinner after the last show, which was tons of fun.

It’s fun to hear what people who aren’t in ballet think of everything. My friend who came Sunday was telling me he even noticed how our Cavalier would spot the four corners as he turned and how impressive it was. It’s also fun to hear all the different people’s favorites and how much they vary. It really makes you feel like you’re part of something big and that you’re important. I love it.

I also had kids take pictures with me, a few even asked for autographs. And I’m not really anything big and impressive, (though my costume is LEGIT) but sometimes you can forget that to the audience, that doesn’t matter. You’re on that stage. You’re in the shoes. You’re living the dream others are only dreaming. You got out there, put the work in, and are now reaping the rewards.

May we never forget what first got us to take that leap into pursuing the things we love. May we never forget why we do what we do.
May we never forget the privilege this is.
May we never forget the wonderful memories being made here, while we have them to make.

Seasons come and go, things change year after year, and now we’re staring down the barrel of the beginning of a new year entirely, further proving that. Who knows what 2017 will hold; who knew 2016 would hold what it did? We can only move confidently in the direction of where our hearts lead us and take things as they come, knowing each new day becomes part of the bigger stories of our lives.

Make it one worth reading.

And now, some pictures!

Wednesday class ❤

New skirt from FlicFlacDance on Etsy! I’ll link it here once I get a chance. Stay tuned.

My babies

Extreme stretching

Ileana; Clara Saturday night ❤

My cousins on the left and parents on the right ❤

Catherine; Clara Sunday night ❤

SO many graduating seniors this year

Our wonderful door guard lady!

Nutcracker 2016: Week One

I really wanted to do a night-by-night post of Nutcracker this year, but that really didn’t happen.

It’s probably a good things, as it may have been redundant and/or boring, so I am instead doing an overall synopsis filled with top memories and stories.

(This could be a long one, brace yourselves.)

We made it through the rehearsals on Wednesday and Thursday, and I was able to go to the school shows on Friday(!!!) I was only in finale since the school show is shorter and doesn’t have Snow or Waltz of the Flowers, but I really wanted to be there anyway. It’s so much fun, and seeing the kids afterwards is one of my favorite things. It reminds you of why you do it. You remember what it was like to be the kid watching the older dancers on stage and wanting nothing more than to be like them. Reality can cause those dreams to lose their luster if you let them, but if you remind yourself of where you came from and what you were fighting for, the sparks of magic make their way back to you.

I took pictures with kids and let them feel my shoes and asked them what they thought. I saw my cousin, Lauren, who was there with her school and a few of the girls from the studio, which made me happy. Seeing the magic and wonder in their eyes touched something deeper inside of me. It’s hard to explain. Kids have a magic all their own–the trick is to find the ways to hold on to bits of it as you age.

We had a couple hours off before we came back for rehearsals for the weekend’s shows. I went over to a friend’s house to hang out since I live so far away. The closer we got to rehearsal time, the sicker I began to feel and by the time we got to the theater, it was so bad I actually said something to our assistant director. I didn’t want to sit out and I didn’t want to put flat shoes on–I wanted to run snow in shoes and costume on stage so I would have more of a sound mind going into it Sunday. I couldn’t make it through barre. I was too nauseated to do as much as cambre forward, which was pathetic and frustrating.

It reminded me of that rehearsal where I almost passed out during snow and found myself completely spacing out. I was hoping it would be the same as then where endurance found the feeling to lift. Thankfully, by the time Snow came around, I was feeling well enough to dance. I warmed up my ankles best I could and went over the part backstage by myself. This really helped me to have clarity of mind on what comes next so I could be confident in what I was doing. A few of the girls joined in and we were able to help each other remember details of parts we were unsure of.

We did the run through without the fake “snow” and all went well. I was able to do the parts I struggled with pretty decently, which made me feel way better going into the weekend. Our director even noticed and complimented me on it later that evening. That made me absolutely glow. Like all my hard work was worth it and everything would work out just fine. We ran the other cast of Snow, then carried on to second act where I was Lilac. Everything went well and I was sufficiently exhausted.

Nutcracker is the season of sleepovers for us, and in being such I managed to get 5 hours of sleep at best the last three nights straight. Needless to say, I was worn out.

Saturday, I had my babies to teach since this past week was the last week before we close for break. The girl who teaches the class before mine asked if I could cover it, meaning I had to be up an hour earlier, but I did so. Good thing, too, cause no one showed up for her class, and she also lives out of town, so she would have had to drive all that way for nothing. The teacher in the other studio said we could have combined classes, but it’s all good. I got to talk to some of the Mom’s of a few of the dancers I love. One asked me what classes I teach. Her daughter was in a class I subbed last week and apparently she absolutely loved me. It made me feel really good. I was so happy to have my babies in my classes, and even got my very first teacher gift! And it was from the dancer that truly makes me love teaching. I don’t think they’ll know how much that meant to me. I wish I could adequately express it.

After my classes, I taught a private to one of the dancers in our adult class. Mark my word, this girl is going places. She’s a force to be reckoned with and has improved so much in so little time.

We had warm up for our first full show at 6:15. I was able to do the whole thing, which made ma happy. We had really fun combinations across the floor that made me feel good, and for some reason I always seem to be my best during these times. Maybe it’s the pressure, maybe it’s the giddy feeling of doing shows–who knows. I ain’t complaining, haha!

The show went really well. Although I heard of a few people slipping, I didn’t actually see any of it happen. I was only Lilac that night, so I had it easy. Everything felt really good, and I hope it looked good. I was able to have my friend Hannah help me with a few details and timing and we worked really hard to pull it all together. Honestly, without her I’d be a hot mess! So much of who I am is due to help from other people, even as a dancer. I wouldn’t know snow without Hannah, Katerina, and Adrienne. I wouldn’t be able to do the snow circle without Emily. I’m nothing without my teachers who help me every week. I have the moral support of countless friends, some that aren’t even local. They make me a better person.

A couple of my friends from my old studio came to see the show. They’re literally my biggest fans. They make time to come see me every show and I don’t think I could ever thank them enough.

I also got asked for my autograph! That was fun. These adorable girls were so excited and I took tons of pictures with people. Even being “just a lilac,” I was there living my dreams, and showing people that their dreams are possible. (Lilac has been my goal role. Mission Accomplished.) A little girl I used to teach who’s from my church was there as well and she was so excited afterwards. It completely made my day. She’s three and she remembered me and wouldn’t stop talking about how she saw me on the stage and all about the Nutcracker. I had to mop my melted heart off the floor.

Sunday was my first show as Snow. Warm up started off promising, but as it carried on I began to feel a decline in my health. I tried to keep my mind clear of worries as I wanted to just fall apart from the overwhelming pressure of everything I was feeling. I couldn’t afford to fall apart. I was Snow. This is what I had worked for. It was now or never.

I did what I did during rehearsal, and went over it all before hand. I cleared my mind, and kept my incredible fluffy socks from my secret santa on until the Pas before us so my achilles wouldn’t hurt as badly. (Bless whoever my secret santa is.)

Snow began with the lead doing their little bits. There’s six of them, and as soon as the third did her part across the stage, a HUGE pile of snow just fell in the front corner of the stage, much like a video that’s making it’s rounds where it fell on top of the dancer as soon as she walked out. Thankfully, our dancer had just crossed, but you could still see the terror on the faces of the snowflakes as we knew the whole scene would be danced in the stuff. The Clara that night had a great time of it, and it made for some incredible pictures. We went on and did our best to keep morale high. A group of the new snow’s were praying multiple times before we went on that we’d all stay upright. I love them.

I kept my mind focused, and realized the snow was just forward of where I do the snow circle step, so I felt a huge relief in that I wasn’t doing pique turns right in the stuff. I did the circle, got down correctly, was so happy, then realized I couldn’t get up. My body wouldn’t let me. It was as though my muscles refused to have anything to do with it. I got up anyway, a tiny bit later than everyone else, but not horrifyingly noticeable, although it was noticeable. When I exited, our director asked if I was okay. This made me feel really good as I could tell she knew it wasn’t intentional or really anything I could control. I told her I was and ran to my next entrance wing. I popped my ankle and continued on. The next time we were on the floor, I struggled to get up as well, but I was in the back and at least knew it was coming so it wasn’t as bad. Overall, it wasn’t what I was hoping for, but it definitely couldn’t be worse. I am content. (Though I don’t know that I’ll watch the DVD for a while.)

After the show, my director saw me in the hallway and asked if I was okay. I told her how I was getting referred to a rheumatologist and how we’re pretty sure it’s something auto immune. That there’s good days and bad days, and I just have to do the best I can as we try to sort it all out. Her concern really meant a lot to me. So often I’m confronted with people who just don’t get it, being as they don’t know what it’s like to feel sick all the time. But she didn’t see my flub as negligence, but looked at it in concern for me, the dancer. I love her so much.

I’m sad to know that Nutcracker is almost over. I love shows so much, and try my best to just soak up every moment and detail. The way the hairspray smells in the dressing room, the sound of an army of pointe shoes coming down the stairs before our scene, the look on the faces of the kids I teach as we see each other backstage, (and the Dad of one saying, “There’s your teacher!” and seeing her face light up) the sound of the tech guy’s cues, the way the stage lights look reflected on the faces of the audience, and how no matter how you feel towards someone, if they need help with a costume, a dancer automatically stop what they’re doing to help.

My polaroid camera broke on Friday night, so I had to get a new one Saturday in order to try and get polaroids from throughout the shows. Polaroids are my favorite. There’s something about holding the picture in your hand, and not simply trusting a file stored somewhere to hold your memories for you. And also the pressure of only having one shot. It comes out how it does, which is more true to the moment. I love it so much.

Here are a few of the pictures from the first weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to get more this next weekend. Resting up and doing all I can to be my best self for it.


Nina; Clara on Saturday

Maddie; Clara on Sunday 

Lauren got some incredible pictures of Snow! (Also. Note the huge pile)

My babies. (Please note the feat socks. They’re incredible.

Sarah and Liz–my biggest fans 

Adult ballerinas, for the win! 


 So happy 

Theatre Week: Night One

Somehow it is December, even though it feels like early October. Yesterday was our first night of rehearsals in the theatre, leading up to our school shows (tomorrow) and our first weekend of full shows.

This year feels different for some reason, I’m not sure if it’s me, or the fact that it is indeed a different year, or if I just know more people this time, but I’m trying to just take it all as it comes and enjoy every moment.

I feel like I can gauge myself and my growth on a ballet season timeline. Specifically, I feel things more deeply in the winter, and Nutcracker is a prime target of this so it all tends to coincide. (I hope that makes sense. My brain is laggin’) It’s interesting to see which roles I look at one year thinking, “I don’t think I could ever do that,” only to find it as my role the next year and there I am, in fact, doing it.

This is my first year as snow. It’s my second year in Waltz of the Flowers, but as a different flower from the time before. (I love flowers. So much.)

Now I’ve known it to be common place for me to completely screw up my parts on the first stage run through. I still haven’t figured out why I do this, exactly, but it happens. My first year, I completely marked a turn instead of doing it. Like. What?!
This year has proven to be just the same (Though I don’t remember it being as bad last year or during Swan Lake. Or Oz for that matter. Regardless, I was a hot mess yesterday.

I wasn’t in the cast that got to do a formal marking, and maybe that had something to do with it, though I tried my best to pay attention to where my share was. I managed to somehow slip (which was actually completely unnoticeable) right before the circle-to-the-floor step that I’ve been working on to try to improve (and had finally mastered) which threw me off mentally and caused me to completely suck at the step I had been working on, as well as the next step after. It was terrible. I tried to play it off, but really it was embarrassing. Thankfully, one of the girls in my cast had a video of it, so I was able to watch it and see exactly what I did and where I really need to improve and push myself. (My jete’s are a joke, y’all.)

Now I can make excuses all day as to why I can’t do this, or why that is a struggle, but really, anyone could if they wanted to. And honestly, I was the worst in the video overall, which actually made me feel oddly good in some ways. Everyone else is really working hard and doing so well, it’s going to look great. It also makes me want to work harder to keep up. There’s tons of things I wish I could change about myself to be better, but I can’t control them so what I can do is work with what I have and push myself. Here’s what it all boils down to. It’s now or never.

I was much more confident going into Flowers. It’s my favorite role and as long as I go over my trouble spots before, I don’t have an issue.
Until, ya know, I had an issue.

If you want reasonings, surroundings were different, and people were marking, and it threw me off because things didn’t look the same and I was relying on that since my brain was already proving to be fried from the day, but really I should know better and be able to adapt even if things go weird. (Which I have before. So what was my deal yesterday? And I messed up my favorite part! How does that even happen?!) I ended up running offstage when I definitely wasn’t supposed to, and didn’t even realize it for a few moments. Then I see everyone else on stage, in their poses, and I’m like. Welp.
I waited until it was our time to move again into a bourree circle and just ran on like it was totally normal and joined back in. I didn’t mess up on the ending part I had been messing up lately, so that’s good. But seriously? What the heck?

I’m hoping now that all those mess ups are out of my system, the shows will be better. I still feel bad though, if we’re being honest. I’m not up to my own expectations and it makes me mad. I should be better. I should be able to keep up. It shouldn’t be this much of a struggle. So I’m going over and over the dance in my head, hoping it’ll become second nature and I can do the dance justice and also not let my fellow dancers down.

I have my follow up appointment to go over my bloodwork tomorrow, though I got my results in the mail yesterday. There’s abnormalities in one of the tests that shows an auto immune issue with leanings towards Lupus. I’m being referred to a Rheumatologist for further testings and to see about an actual diagnosis, but just to know that I’m not crazy and there’s something here to go off of makes me feel so good.I’m getting closer to having an actual reason for why I’ve been feeling so terribly and struggling so much in life.I’ll keep you updated on that.

Tonight is night two of Theatre Week. I don’t know how much dancing I’ll actually do in it, but I’ll be there for support nonetheless.

Soaking up all these moments while I have them.

1983 World Disco Dancin’ Finals. 

This weekend i stumbled upon a video of the World Disco Dancin’ Finals. The video was from 1983 and I ended up watching almost the entire thing. 

It really drew me in, at first to see if it would get more ridiculous as it went in (being that the 80s were quite a bit of time ago) but I stayed because you could see the talent and passion in these people. They were committed, and some were really, really good. 

Japan won in the video i watched, and i did a bit of googling to see what this competition even was. (Which is actually how I found the 1983 video because I originally began with 1982. Anyway.)

The video was actually posted to YouTube by one of the contestants. He made it to the top ten (from Ireland) and as I read the comments I learned that his dad actually made his costume. Really impressive, honestly. He also said he was in his early 20s and now he’s married and has kids. A few other contestants had commented, updating on their lives, and commenting on how much fun and what great memories being on the show gave them. They spoke of where they were now and what they remembered of each other. USA spoke of being nervous as heck which made her stiffen up. There were comments from people who remembered the original broadcast fondly and even how fun it was to see the old commercials. (What was uploaded was recorded by Irelands mom on their vcr recorder) We learned that the contestant from Jersey who I believe was third (and super talented) died shortly after the show at the age of 24. Her sister had commented on how grateful she was to have that. 

Before reading the comments, I would watch these dancers, see where they were from and what their occupation was, and realize that they were real people. They were passionate, doing this whole dancing thing in their spare time from school or work. They were having the time of their lives and doing what they loved. They were all there, from all over the world, united over this universal love–a language that knows no bounds. 

I thought of where I am in life and how unique it is. I thought of the friends I have from literally all over the world all because we love this same art form. I thought of what the last five years have held for me and how much I have learned about myself. I thought of the opportunities I’ve been given and the experiences I’ve gained and the cool stories I have to tell. I thought of videos I, too, can show my children of the cool things I’ve done with my golden years. I thought of how different my life would be had I never decided to pursue this, even though I began so late. 

What wonderful memories I’m creating, even when it’s exhausting and painful and my body is trying to tell me I can’t do this. What wonderful people I have in my life now, and some I’ll have forever. What wonderful experiences I get to have as my own; ones I never really dreamed would be possible. 

My heart is so full.