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.

Personal.

“Emilee’s a good dancer I dont know why she doesn’t think so cause she is”

My friend sent me this quote from her sister last night.
Why is it that my first response–after how adorable her sister is–was “Who said I though that?” But then I realized that I probably didn’t even realize I said it. It may not have been so many words, but more so my actions and body language. I responded with, “Am I really? Cause I don’t really feel like much of one.” Which was how I really felt, when I am completely honest with myself.

To which she tells me
“I mean I don’t tell ya just to make ya feel good.”

And that’s the thing. This friend won’t tell me something just to make me feel good.
She’s honest. Even if it isn’t pleasant.
And that’s one of my favorite things about her.

So if she sees it, and her sister sees it, why do I have such a hard time seeing it?

I struggle. Especially en pointe. I was too afraid to do the 5s class en pointe because I knew I was behind. There were some things that were just over my head and I didn’t want to risk it. My extensions aren’t as high as I would like and I’m riddled with health issues that keep increasing in number and severity as time goes on. I’m inexperienced and falling behind those in my 4s class. (seriously? How are these girls doing doubles en pointe? I can’t even do two on flat! and I struggle with one en pointe! What gives!) I’m not super talented like my other friend who literally makes people cry with her expression as well as her incredible technique.

I’m awkward and overweight and scared of everything.

Yet these people say that I’m good.

And when I hear that, my initial response is, “Yeah, well they just think that because I know how to fake it really well. It’s not that I’m actually good. I’m just good at making my face seem like everything is okay.”

I really want to improve.
I want to learn more.
I want to practice.
I want to take privates and get more confident.
I feel like if I were more confident and more stable in my footing then maybe I would believe them.
If my thighs were a little more trim and my arms were tone again then maybe I’d actually look the part.

But why am I this shallow?
When I’m the first to shut it down in someone else if I hear the same thing? Because I can see something they don’t see in themselves. Why don’t I believe it when someone does the same for me?

I’ll let you know as I figure it out…

Today is the first recital day. I dance tomorrow, but I’m helping with the kids today.
I’m excited and sad that this year is officially over.
I’m a little nervous for what next year will actually hold, and uncertain of these summer classes.

But being around everyone yesterday, dancing this beautiful piece, I know that dance isn’t something I want to give up.
That concrete stage actually felt the best on my feet than anything, and I don’t know how that makes sense.

I’m just praying my shoes don’t die tomorrow. Because my new ones won’t be in until August.

I have a lot left to learn; about ballet and about myself and about this world I live in.
I really want to believe them when they tell me these things.
Ironically, this friend’s sister is the one I saw dancing that first made me believe that I could do this.
I saw her and thought, “If she can do that, maybe I can too.”

Please be patient with me. I’ve got a lot of demons I’m fighting.
I’m learning.