Many things have happened lately, yet I find it hard to write about them.

I’m apparently still trying to sort out how to feel with all these changes and how it relates to my relationship with ballet–I assume that will be a balance I will struggle to find for a while as it is continuously morphing.

Still, some notable things are happening or have happened, realizations are being made, and a struggle is being had.

First, and most exciting, my friend Allie and I are planning a trip to London in September! I’m ridiculously excited to get to spend a couple weeks in England with a friend who likes all the same things I do, and also who is considerate of all my health junk. I’ve been to London before, but never for this long. I’ve been there since I’ve been sick with all the stomach stuff, but not yet since the fatigue stuff has come on. I’m still trying to learn my limits, as those are also ever changing, but having made some changes to my lifestyle to hopefully help it not digress any further I’m hopeful that I can still keep living a mostly “normal” lifestyle, even if it isn’t my normal before getting sick. I don’t want to let my illness be my excuse, but also I have to respect my body when it tells me I’ve done too much, even if “too much” seems like hardly anything.

We’re hoping to meet up with ballet friends we have across the pond while there, and also do London ballet things. The downside is, I know I won’t be able to make it through a class. Last year I took barre at Kansas City Ballet, which was an incredible experience I am so grateful for, but I’d be a fool to believe that I could do something like that now, and knowing I can’t take a class in London really sucks. But, I have to listen to my body, and I can still do other ballet things, but it is a reality of how much my life has changed since getting sick. It’s a process.

Still, Allie is hopefully going to take a class, and we hope to get a load of pictures while we’re there. It’s going to be such a great time.

Another sort of reality check was seeing my company’s spring show this weekend. It is the first show I haven’t been in to some degree since I began dancing here, which was a milestone I never wanted to hit. They did Dracula, which I had never seen, but man do I wish I could have been a bride. Their costumes are gorgeous and it was full of my favorite kind of movement, though I know bits of it would have been a struggle for me, even well. At the same time, it was so fulfilling to watch the kids dance. One of them was 11 when I first started there, we were in the same level and danced the same roles in my first spring show, Wizard of Oz. This ballet was choreographed by one of our teachers in house. There was a moment during Dracula when I found myself get tense and focused, you know that feeling right before your cue. I was trying to figure out why I felt such intense emotion of anger and determination until I realized it was music we used in Wizard of Oz as Winkie Guards. I laughed so hard when I realized.

Seeing how much the “kids” have grown as dancers was an absolute joy, as well as seeing some of the kids I’ve taught old enough to be in the shows. I swear, I teared up like they were my own. Then seeing my friends (my age) dance in their roles absolutely blew my mind. I swear, I could watch them forever and I’m so proud of all their hard work in these roles.

I debated going to the show. Not because I didn’t want to see it, but Saturday did me in so much I was feeling pretty rough. I had taught three classes and a private before a yoga private to help my back, then got sick from the time I got home til I left for the show. When i woke up the next morning, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Overall, I’m so glad I went. I don’t think I expected to feel as loved as I did seeing everyone; the dancers, the moms, the crew. Some I hadn’t seen since Nutcracker. It really did my heart good. I sat back, just observing warm up, and thought how grateful I was to still be connected to such an incredible place, even if I can’t dance like my heart craves.

I’m still here. I’m still connected. I’m still wanted.

Our artistic director gave me a hug and told me how well I would have done as a Bride and would have loved the role. It really made me feel good to hear that, like i still belong even if my body doesn’t let me participate. I appreciated it, and honestly it moved me.

We’re coming up on recital next month. The classes feel long as I have gotten into the swing of my new job and my energy is so limited. These kids have sure given me some moments i hope to remember. Like the day we got our costumes, tried them on, and did the dance for the parents in class. One of my dancers, Isobel who’s 4, literally laid down the entire dance. Right there in her spot. It was such a relatable mood. What a hoot.

Another one of my students, in my 6-8 year old class this weekend came up to me, hugged me tight, and told me I was her favoritest teacher she’s ever had.

Then there’s all the spontaneous hugs in general. And all the drawings–I’ve gotten so many colored pictures this year. From Riley and Isobel and Scarlett and Gabriella. Seeing that look on their face right before they just can’t hold back and wrap their arms around me and hug me tight–that’s why I do this. What it makes them feel, the light in their eyes. If I can have some small part in that, everything is worth it, and I hope to do it to whatever degree I can as long as I can.

I’m currently writing out notes to all my kids. I do it every year and try to hand them out the last two weeks of class. I know not all of them will keep dancing, but I hope their experience while they do is a good one.

I hope I counted right. There’s a bunch of kids in these 8 classes, haha!

Recital is mid-May, I hope to have another update around them. And if you live in England and would like to meet up please reach out!

My sweet Haeleigh took pictures for me from their second show I wasn’t able to make. These girls make me so happy