Let’s try it. 

Yesterday started off not much better than the day before. My brain was fuzzy and I felt out of my depth. I know it’s the 6 class and many people say I’m more than capable, but yesterday I was feeling my 5.

There were bits I was terrified over but still tried. So that was something at least. I don’t know that I would say I was successful, but I was definitely more successful than having never tried at all.

There was a point when I panicked. And it was stupid. But I was embarrassed and just didn’t have it in me to fully wrap my brain around what was happening, what was being asked of me, and I knew I looked like a fool doing it. Thankfully, Julie is good at recognizing when to push and when to pull back and she pushed until she needed to pull back so I didn’t completely fall apart. (Although I did fall apart more than I would have liked. And felt a prime idiot more than I prefer.) (yay for comfort zones being demolished?) (or something)

After ballet was over, I went into the small studio to break in my new shoes. I waited until then to do it instead of breaking them in in class because I wanted to make sure it was done properly. These are experimental shoes, and I want to give them every bit of a real chance as I can.

They’re the same shoe, just with a harder shank. The hardest Capezio makes, actually. I had the hardest shank before, but now they’ve started making an even harder shank, so Amanda from Capezio in Austin told me about it and I figured I’d give it a shot. They came in, I sewed them that day, and waited for d-day. (So to speak)

I was nervous, so say the least. After the Gaynors bombed because of sizing, I was afraid these wouldn’t be any better and I’d just have to make my old shoes work best I knew how. Which they aren’t terrible. But it seemed something was missing.

I put them on, did a few things to help the arch so they wouldn’t snap, then I rolled up.

I’d say my biggest fear was that they’d be too hard. That I wouldn’t be able to get over my box and it would be so defeating. That I would find myself with the opposite problem of what I had before, and would have to find a way to make it work.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, they seemed to mold to my arch, getting me over my box but not too far. Just enough to do what I need but give me room to work harder. If that makes sense? Anyway.

I went into the office and asked Ms. Munro what she thought. Sometimes people think they need hard shanks but are really just fooling themselves. I didn’t want to be that person. So she had me do typical bit of standing in first, then pushing through the instep, then straightening while trying to stay far over the box. Afterwards she said, “those look great!” And we talked about how people who have naturally higher arches need a harder shank. Which I’ve been told I have, but never really realized it I guess.

So the shoes are a go. Approved by Ms M, and feel great. I went back in the studio and worked a bit more. I did a few of the things to help me lift out of my shoe and then I decided to try a pirouette to see what would happen.

Wouldn’t you know it, it improved substantially.

I was able to hold the position a bit longer, it felt more stable, I was able to fully get around and roll through like a champ. I was on cloud nine.

So I tried an en dedan. And I got around with my leg not even to the front where it needed to be. So I fixed it and it was quite a decent turn. Still better on one side versus the other but that’s typical. I went back to regular pirouettes and the first one I tried was so solid if I would have gotten a bit more force it could have been a double. What. The. Heck. So then I tried a double and completely bombed it because I was thinking too hard so I just laughed at myself.

I worked on chaines and piques and was successful with both, though they need work. I felt like what I see other girls look like. That this must be what it feels like for them in class.

More importantly, I felt hope.

Which is something that has seemed to be in short supply recently. It gave me a bright point among all the stormy clouds that have been keeping me company. Sure things still suck, but at least I have something to help me through.

I’m grateful, for sure, and emailed Amanda from the studio letting her know she’s my hero and asking to order the next pair of magic shoes. I wish I could order more at once, but these bad boys run about $120 each. Sucks to go through them so quickly.

Oh well. It’s worth it to me.


  

Small Studio

I may have mentioned before, but on Tuesdays–now that I stay through both hours of the VI’s class–I noticed that the small studio was open while Julie had the advanced Jazz class in the big studio. I asked Ms. Munro if I could use it to work on things when no one was in it. She was all for it.
So yesterday, Adrienne and I utilized this opportunity last night to work on some things we had seen and also some things we had never truly been shown.
(I don’t really want too many people to do this, because then it could become some kind of class, and therefore require payment for using the studio space. But having someone there to work with is beneficial.)

It was beneficial, too, because Ms. Munro kept popping in and out of the studio to get to the back storage closet, so we were able to ask her questions about the different steps we were working on, and she wanted to see our progress.

We worked on a tombe, coupe, jete step that neither of us had been taught. (Annika and Jessica had worked with me on showing it to me at Feast of Sharing, but I didn’t really know it enough to do it in class when it was one of the things we worked on yesterday.) Ms. Munro explained what we should think about (it’s one of her favorite steps) and a few pointers on it and let us go to town.
While working on this, I realized how terrible my jete’s really are. But now that I know, I can make an effort to work towards getting them better. I think part of the issue is being afraid to plie on my longer leg, since I got so used to it piercing in pain. It has been improving, now that I stay away from grande plies and jumps (which sucks, but if it helps I’ll do it.) (And also, I do them in pieces, so that’s good) but it’s still ingrained in me to be afraid. I have to break through that, and take the pain as it comes but not expect it.

Adrienne helped me tremendously on my chaine turns. I never properly learned them, and have trouble with spotting. We got substantial progress on these (Ms. M popped in and helped a bit as well) so now I don’t look like a fool as much. Honestly, confidence is half the work. If you can go forward without second guessing, you’re more likely to be successful. Now that I know what it’s supposed to feel like, I feel like I can more confidently approach them. (I need to truly get the feel en pointe, though, cause we worked in flat shoes.)

Adrienne worked on really getting the hang of fouette turns. She really didn’t have a struggle–the girl’s a natural. She tried them and succeeded first try, and I was able to film it and show her how they looked. Now she just needs to get nit-picky like the rest. I’m really proud of her. She’s really grown so much since I first met her. It’s as though everything is clicking and she’s really nailing these things. I’m especially glad we got the opportunity to work together yesterday. It helps to have someone there who will compliment you when you need it, and critique you when you need it.
And really, we all need to take a moment to remember where we started and how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.
I may get critical of myself and see how far I have to go, but Adrienne pointed out to me how far I’ve come just since being at Munro’s. We always have farther to go, more to learn, but we can’t forget to remember the progress hard work has brought us through.

Keep working hard, and you’ll get there.

(Oh. and we were working on the 6’s recital yesterday. We had to change a bit of the placement, so I ended up in the front. I half-expected Julie to switch me with Jessica or Adrienne, who were next to me, but she didn’t. In turn, I also ended up in a group of four with Annika, Alex, and Sean. WHAT IS LIFE. so, I really need to work on my jete’s, because I have to do them after the two girls and I don’t want to look like a derp. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to get this opportunity. I’m really hoping I can rise to the expectations, and beyond grateful that she’s starting recital now so I can learn these things while I’m still here, before work takes over my life for a hot second.)

New semester

Classes have started back up for the new semester.
Our first class, the V’s class, was taught by Ms. Munro since our normal teacher wasn’t there.
I really liked this. I love a good Ms. M class.
She didn’t go easy on us, which was good. She corrected my arm placement, which I’ve now been trying to be conscious about. It also made me feel good to know I’m seen. That something subtle and slight is noticed and fixed. Now it’s my job to make sure she doesn’t have to correct it again.

We did pointe, which had a few elements that I normally would get nervous over or avoid. I was unable to do some of them, but not without trying first. Partially was because my shoes are nearing death, so I didn’t want to risk the rolled ankle before auditions. I didn’t walk away from it afraid of these steps, though, so that is a big step for me.
Also, when it came to doing pirouettes, I was actually able to get around. Ms. M wanted doubles, but I was very satisfied in my solid single for now. It can do with improvement, and I definitely need to spot my head more, and get a better plie, but it’s a vast improvement from what I am typically capable of. I will take it, and work harder to make it better.

I seemed to mess up many things that shouldn’t have been difficult, but I just brushed it off. No sense getting worked up over something I know that I can do. It’s whatever.

Ms. Heidi’s class felt really good. We started working with some ideas she’s playing with for recital, and I was excited to see what she’s got going. I was nervous, but I think it has a lot of potential. I wish it could just be the girls that were in class on Monday–the ones who are always there. The piece would look so clean that way. But I know that’s out of our control.
It felt good to let go and try new things. That’s my favorite; when I can let go and just dance. Not think about specifics or how technical it is or if I’m enough. Just dancing because I like to do it. And not being judged on how bad or good I am. I don’t have anyone to impress or anything to prove.

Yesterday’s VI’s class went fairly well, too. My stomach is doing it’s typical hating me ritual, which really puts a damper on things. I tried to push through anyway, and thankfully didn’t have to sit anything more out than I usually would because of my knees. And even so, I’m able to watch those things and mark them and try to sort them out in my head so if I ever do have to do them, I can at least have some grasp of it to be able to attempt.

We started working on recital, which is super exciting. It’s a bit of a stretch for me, as I typically screw up a lot in the beginning of things. But once I have it down, I nail it. So I did my best, wrote down what we learned, and plan to go over it until I have it on the right count and my lines look good.

(I am so excited to be in this piece.)

Instead of working in the small studio, I watched the Advanced Jazz class. It was really cool to get to see them work on something that isn’t so technical. The girls in that class have a lot of talent, some I never really noticed before. But gosh, is it evident now. It made me want to just take a million pictures and capture what I see.
It was cool as well to watch Julie as she came up with all of this. Seeing her mind process and these sections of the dance come to life. Watching a master at work.
I sat there, watching and thinking, “I wish I could do that.” And it was then that I realized, “This is exactly what I do with words.” Whether its words people ever see or not, it’s the same process. My grammar may not always be perfect and sometimes I really like run-on sentences, but the concept is the same.

Words are my dance.

Tuesday

It’s been rather humid here, lately, which causes our floors to be sticky and our barres to turn our hands colors. Thankfully, yesterday’s class was the class I do on flat shoes, so I had less of a risk than the other girls. Consequently, the sticky floors helped me be able to control my turns so I had the cleanest single turns I’ve probably ever done.

There were quite a few challenging elements in class, but most of them were petit allegro which I am unable to do because of my knee. This is great and terrible at the same time. I want to be able to do these things, my body just doesn’t let me, and that is one of the hardest things to accept. To have these visions of things you could potentially do and accomplish, but are unable to because of physical limitations that have little to no explanation. I have to accept that there may be some things I can never accomplish, and others that I will have to work much harder to find adaptable ways to accomplish, which will more than likely take longer. This just is how it is. It isn’t fair, but it is life.

I was able to mark the combinations; to try and get the pattern and rhythm and direction of the movement so if one day I ever can do it, my brain will be familiar. That’s half the battle, right? I flubbed up here and there, but it wasn’t anything dire. Most of it was just human error, which you learn from and do better next time.
Mrs. Julie showed everyone our recital costume, and played with a bit of music and some movements to start getting a feel for what she wants and what we can do. It never struck me to be afraid or nervous about recital until yesterday. What if they have an element I can’t do? I mean, I’m not really worried about it, but I am a bit nervous.
I’m trying not to think about it too much, though. No need to dwell on something that might not even happen. The music we were playing with yesterday was quick, but fit the vision well. I wasn’t absolutely perfect with it, but I understood the bits she gave us and felt confident if she used any of that, I would be able to work on it to get it clean and blend with the rest. 
Even just playing with it all just made me so excited to even be a part of this piece. I mean, four years ago I was the kid crying in the corner, absolutely certain that I would never get those steps that challenged me to the point of tears. That there was no way I could improve enough to be in advanced. It was just too fast, too complex, too much. And here I am, taking the advanced class, holding my own. Sure, I’m in flat shoes, but two years ago I couldn’t even do this class in flat shoes. The thought of triple beats on frappe’s seemed outlandish, same with beating jete’s or assemble’s or anything else. Granted, I haven’t been successful with those yet (thanks knee) but my brain is starting to process how they are executed, which is loads more than I had before. I thought for sure when Instep closed that my opportunity to be in an advanced class had closed with it. I didn’t expect going into my second year at Munro to be told by the teachers that they thought I should take the Advanced class. It never entered my mind before it was put there. And here I am, in this class, no longer a beginner.

As Mrs. Julie was showing the complex, quick, million-beats petit allegro combination, you could hear a groan or two from the girls about what she was asking. Mrs. Julie said, “it’s good for you” and it just kind of all clicked in my head that it is. You could see it on a few girls. They wanted the challenge. They understood that you have to try to improve. If we never try the entrechat six, you’ll never achieve it. Even if you look like a flopping fish your first couple times, that’s what class is for; to push your limits and learn new things while perfecting things you’ve learned. There are times when it’s good to just do clean versions of what you know, and then there are times to try new things you know you’ll suck at. If you do it enough, eventually you won’t suck. Eventually you’ll stop being the new girl panicking in the corner because you just don’t grasp the concept of a scissonne and you’ll become the girl in the advanced class.
We’ll always be learning, if you ever stop learning then you stop growing and why are you really there? Old dogs can be taught new tricks if they want it badly enough.

After class, I went into the small studio. Andie skipped a bit of her Jazz class and helped me out on my en dedans turns en pointe. I started with a few preparations to truly grasp the concept, then tried turning. I wasn’t getting enough of a plie to really get anywhere, and was getting frustrated with how I still “climb” a bit, but Andie said it wasn’t as bad as I was thinking. (Which, she’s the friend that will tell you the truth if it hurts, and won’t tell you something if it isn’t true.) I got the feel for it and the fear began to fade. Afterwards I felt confident enough to know I can try them in class. I still have a lot of work to do with them, and my en dehors turns as well, but that will come with time and work. I also find I turn better in class than when I try it on my own. If I’m looking in the mirror, I tend to fall out of it. If I face the corner, I have better success. (Although I tried the en dedans turns facing the mirror to see what my feet do and better understand it, so hopefully I got the feel enough to do it to the corner.)
(It’s all a balance.)

Today I have my tap class, which I missed a step she wanted us to learn and know for our recital piece. Thankfully, Cheyanne and Judy made sure I was shown the step this weekend and helped me understand it until I got it. I still need to work a little more so I can get a bit quicker, but the hard part is over thanks to them. It’s great having good people in your life.
If I wasn’t shooting a wedding this weekend, I’d be teaching three classes on Saturday. I’m a bit sad, but such is life. Gotta take it as it comes. (I think I’m more sad to be missing rehearsal, being that I can use all the practice I can get!)

(Maybe one day I won’t need to shoot weddings and can be more selective. That day is not today, though, but maybe one day.)

I just like that I love dance again. That I feel good and like I’m going somewhere; achieving something. 

Also here’s my feet.