The final bow of Nutcracker 2015

Sunday marked our final show of The Nutcracker for our 2015 season.

Cue tears.

For some reason, after Saturday’s show, I felt so good about going into Sunday. I didn’t know why, but my confidence was soaring. I guess maybe I finally felt confident in what I was doing–possibly because I had done it before already?–or maybe it was because it was the last show. I don’t know.

At warm up, the day started off well when I saw my favorite teacher, Ms. Lori. She moved to Austin and teaches up there, but came down to see us on Saturday and Sunday. She is so freaking wonderful; the type of person you can hope to be. She really teaches in a way where you learn something every class, and meets you where you are but doesn’t leave you there. You’re better after being with her.

Warm-up also started off really well, particularly due to the freaking awesome Rat Queen/Maid presents a la Andie.

We all wore them during warm-up, and Jessica and I proceeded to zoom around like we were superman.
It was so much fun, and really helped me to keep up my moral, and not give up from feeling sick.
(Why is that so common on show days?)
Julie did our warm-up, which included a really good stretch. Mariela and the fellow Insteppers and I know it as the Joffrey Stretch, but they call it something else. As we did it, (bring the leg up to passe, grab the heel and extend out, bring it out to second and get a good stretch) a few girls at the barre next to me all freaked out at the same time over how high my leg was. It was really funny. Their eyes got really big and they said things like, “Dang, Emilee!” I didn’t really realize how high it was until they commented. It felt so good, and really shocked me, because it was really high.
Later, we did grand battements in center, and again my leg decided that was the day to go super high. I was able to maintain control and turn out while doing this as well. It felt really good.
Turns sucked, but I laughed about it. Jetes were really fun since we were wearing capes; it made us look like we were flying.
I got ready for the show and came downstairs with my camera, as usual. Jessica and I had our capes on to get pictures in costume (see above.) Ms. Munro saw us and asked me, “Are you wearing that on stage?”
I looked at her, because she didn’t say it like, “You’re not wearing that on stage, are you?” But rather like someone had a really good suggestion and we just hadn’t told her yet or something. I looked at her and asked, “I mean, can I?” She commented on how cute it was and said she thought it would be great and, “Let’s ask Alex!” Mrs. Alex came over and Ms. Munro asked her, to which she said, “I think it’s cute, and it goes with the costume. I don’t see why not!” 
I GOT TO WEAR THE CAPE.
Now I felt really empowered. Like a security blanket of sorts. No matter what happened on stage, I was wearing a cape and therefore immune to disaster. 
Jessica helped me pin it so it wouldn’t fall off in partnering, just in case, but we had to pin it over the Rat head. This made things a bit tight, but it worked. The partnering bit went alright, I probably could have been a bit more solid, but Sean is a rockstar and makes me look so good. 
My shoe came off in the jetes again, but my ribbons were tied well (thanks Elizabeth) so the shoe just came off the heel and stayed on enough to get through. 

(Lillian got these gems of the incident.)
(Thanks Lillian 🙂 )
I didn’t forget anything, and was even able to grab the cannon ball, which I heard Ms. Munro praise from the wings. This made me feel really good and like I actually succeeded in the role, rather than just merely getting by. 
When we finished, Ms. Munro commented on how good the cape looked on stage. I said, “it made me feel like I could fly in my jetes!” To which she responded, “You did fly!” 
My eyes went something like this O.O
My mind is blown. I never expected her to say that. ahh!!
After the scene ended, we stayed in costume to get pictures with my sweet mouse, Addison, and my rat family

Colin had to go to the bathroom, so he missed the family portrait.
It’s funny how you can tell which rat is which, even with heads on.
Addison was the mouse we picked up and carried. She is an absolute sweetheart!
It was really difficult coming off stage and not being able to take the head off and breathe. Remember, the cape was safety pinned over the head, so I had to keep myself from panicking at the fact I couldn’t get air. Greyson saved me, though, after a few minutes. All was well.
(definitely worth it.)
The rest of the show went smoothly, except it seemed to be the day everyone slipped. A Chinese, our Sugar Plum, even Clara, mostly in the the same spot on the stage. They recovered extremely well, though, and no one remembered it even happened. Signs of a true professional.
Flowers went well, also. I was able to get nail the corrections I had been given, and Isabel and I got the timing right on the finale, so I felt really successful overall.

(I can’t remember how to get this to rotate, but my sister took it from the audience 😀 )
I don’t know exactly what it was about this season, but now that it’s over, my heart feels so extremely full from having lived it.
I wouldn’t have expected this in the beginning, seeing how there seemed to be more drama than usual and everyone kept getting sick and hurt. But it turned out to be one of my absolute favorite memories.
It’s probably due largely to the people.
I have realized, now more than ever, that I have such wonderful, incredible people in my life.
Those that encourage me, celebrate with me, listen to me vent. Those that are kind and loving and fun. They make this experience something I cherish. Without them, it would just be us going through the motions.
Dance friends really are the best friends, and basking in this after show glow is my favorite thing right now. My fellow dancers are what make this what it is. From the youngest cherub to the oldest company member, I couldn’t be more grateful. 
It’s also heart warming to have friends who support you and come to watch. 
I wish I could express what it means, but words fail me.
My heart is so full.
Now, friendship isn’t about gifts, but I did receive some from cherished friends that really hit my heart. Every single one of them means more to me than I could ever say. They really didn’t have to do that, yet they took the time out to think of me and choose to do something for me to make me feel special. And it did. It really did.
What a wonderful season of memories, growth, and hard work.
Until next year!

4 years ago

Yesterday was my first class after my “week off of life.”
I know a week doesn’t seem like much, but it can really do you some good if you utilize it well.

When I first started dancing, I hated when something would happen that would cause me to have to take extensive time off from dance. In fact, it was actually 4 years ago tonight that I got in the car wreck that could have left me in far worse condition than it did. I had just begun dancing again a few weeks before. I was heading home from church, (which was on Thursday nights) waiting to turn into my alley when I was hit from the passenger side and my car was slammed two lanes over. 
I still don’t know where the car came from. It was all very confusing for me as it was literally the exact moment I took my foot off the brake and was intending to turn after two cars passed. I assume those two cars passed, because they were cars and no one else was hit except for me and the truck that jumped my hood and came back off my car. Somehow I got the blame for this whole ordeal, and it was all pretty traumatic, but I typically play it off. After all, I’m okay. It shut down the entire street and my friends I was just with turned around to come make sure I was okay. My left leg hurt and I could feel a mass, but of course I was in skinny jeans so I couldn’t see. I turned down an ambulance ride, knowing it’d be ridiculously expensive, and sat on the curb. Some lady I don’t know came from I don’t know where to check on me. She stayed with me until my friends got there which I appreciate more than words could ever say. I was terrified, and she brought me peace. (Thanks, lady I don’t know.) I literally walked back to my house, as this all happened so close to home. My friends that came back around to make sure I was okay had a new friend with her who was conveniently knowledgeable in medical things. She looked at my leg and suggested an x-ray. Shana told me to get some things and that I would stay the night with her. I told her I would be fine, but did what she said anyway. She took me to the ER in Portland, since it’s a smaller town (The town she lived in, across the bridge) and we would more than likely get in and out a lot quicker. I got signed in exactly at midnight, and my hospital bracelet says 11/11/11. (I still have it.)
They did xrays and said I was okay and gave me some anti inflammatory medication and the usual. I went back to Shana’s, skipped work the next day, and stayed there until my mom came for me the next day. (I didn’t realize how much I needed the love and care and concern Shana gave me until I was in it. For that I am eternally grateful.)
My leg bruised up pretty badly, and I have some marks from where the seatbelt was. Miraculously, the airbags didn’t break my nose. My face was actually completely fine. (If you want the full details of everything God told me and showed me and how He spared me, just ask.) (It’s pretty cool.)
I don’t know if it’s because I was wearing pants with elastic at the knee, or what, but I ended up developing nerve damage in that spot that I felt after the wreck. It’s on the inside of my left knee, and is typically fine. Unless it’s touched. Then my knee will hurt for a solid day. (Not too bad, considering everything that could have happened. Like, ya know, slamming my head into the left window like I should have, or the airbags jacking up my face, or messing up my ankle on the brake.) (When my Dad saw my car at the towing lot, he was speechless. Literally. He was chewing me out a bit as he walked up to the car, and then was at a loss for words when he saw it. He said that the only part of my car that wasn’t completely bashed in was the driver’s seat. But I’m okay. I walked away.
My camera on my phone at the time really sucked, so you can’t really see all the detailing. This was the day after when my mom had picked me up

The hospital bracelet (again, stupid camera)

This was a few days later, after I was back home. I stayed at my parents house until Saturday night I believe. So this was Sunday-ish. (I was back at work Monday.)
The numb spot is actually more-so that bit of normal skin among all the bruising up top.

My lovely boss’ wife made me cookies. I love her. (Cora, you’re a gem)


(I don’t have the pictures of my car accessible yet. Apparently my phone only backed up pictures I took then, and not ones I also saved. Shana got the pictures of the car, thank God.)
Time is a funny thing. It’s crazy to think that was four years ago. How much has happened in four years; the places I’ve gone, the people I’ve met, the people I’ve lost, the changes that have occurred, the things I’ve learned. It seems like a blink, but filled with one thousand years.

Needless to say, I had to take off two weeks of dancing after the wreck. I was so upset. I had just begun again and couldn’t afford to take off two weeks. I had already paid for a November I wouldn’t get to be there for. But life happens. You have to take the highs with the lows.
Since then, I’ve rolled my ankle, screwed up my knee and needed PT, had my gallbladder removed, strained my foot, gotten really terrible sunburns, (yes, plural) and probably more things I can’t remember. It seemed I was out for a week every few months there for a while, and though it was frustrating, but I started noticing a trend; I’d come back better.
Now I’m sure there’s some science behind this, but whatever the explanation I’m really grateful for it. Going back to class yesterday, I was a bit nervous. I was hoping that it would be a good class, but I wasn’t sure if a week was enough to really help me. Would I just come back stiff and regretting having taken the time off? Would it really help me at all? Are my feet gonna be so angry I’ll want to throw my pointe shoes out the window?

 I decided to go into class hopeful and see what happened. After all, I had two successful Nutcracker rehearsals before. That should count for something, right?
I loved seeing my Rowland’s and My Cortez’s.  They were two families I actually felt myself missing while I was at home. I swear there’s magic in them.
Ms. Catherine was sick, so Ms. Munro taught our class. There weren’t all that many students there, either, so I found myself excited. There’s just something about a good ol’ Ms. M class that can do you good.
My hips did feel sore, but thankfully Ms. Munro gave us combinations to help with that. We did balances in second, and back coupe, and other things I normally struggle with that I actually surprised myself with being able to hold. Ms. Munro saw two of them and complimented me. The first time, it was even a tone of surprise, like she was impressed. It felt really good. She worked us pretty well and I was a bit nervous I’d be too shaky to really do anything en pointe.
To my surprise, I was able to do everything except for the turn I know I can’t do yet. Thankfully, it was in a combination that I couldn’t do anyway because of my knees, so I just worked on stuff myself at the barre. I found myself holding balances longer, actually getting onto my box most of the time, doing releves I typically have issues with; I even did a really nice pirouette on my bad leg! My good leg wasn’t doing pirouettes for beans, but that’s okay. I marked them instead and got good clean preparations instead. I also felt myself able to roll through my shoe really well. This gives me a bit of confidence mentally. I watched Catherine and Adrienne on the turns I can’t do, trying to get a good understanding with them. I don’t want to try them before I’m ready so I don’t frustrate myself over nothing. Watching helps. I don’t know if it’s the lack of strength I’m still trying to gain up, or if it’s my short toes, or my jacked up knees, or what. They aren’t happening yet, but I hope to have them happen soon. And the fact I got that good clean pirouette on the one side made me feel really good.

I left feeling great, and really encouraged. That was really nice and hadn’t really happened in a while. I also think the people who were in class helped that as well. I didn’t feel judged or inadequate. I felt safe. I hope this is a growing trend that will continue to be this way and continue to get better. 

Success.