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!

Theatre Week, Night One

The favorite part of any Corpus Christi Ballet dancer is undoubtedly theatre week.
It’s when we take our rehearsals from our downtown studio to the Selena Auditorium and do everything on stage.
This is when it really gets real. The lights, the costumes, the stage, the audience, the wings and curtains and back drops and everything.

Last night was our first night of our first theatre week.
We rehearsed for the Saturday show, so I was Rat Queen. We only did partnered things in costume, so that landed me in the Rat Queen onsie and head. Hah.
I didn’t mess up any of the order, but it definitely is a bigger space to do it on, and way more difficult when you can’t see a darn thing.
I got critiqued for looking blank right before the lift (I had never done it in costume before and was like AH! but made it work. So. Warrented.) and for not grabbing the canon ball, since it had flown to the front of the stage and I had the perfect opportunity to get it.
That thing somehow manages to blend in with the stage, because even looking at the ground, I didn’t see it. This was also at the time that my left shoe had slipped off my heel, yet managed to stay on my foot, so I was going through the bit trying to work out if there was a way I could get it back on and also thinking of what was coming up that I would need it all the way on for. Turns out, no one even noticed and I made it work.
The partnering is a bit shaky, which makes me sad. Because I love to do it, and would probably look a million times better if we weren’t in these giant costumes with these huge heads, but that’s okay. Sean is great and makes sure I don’t hit the floor, so that’s nice. I think I’ll go over it with him once before we do it again to make sure we get the feel. We have first school show, so hopefully we have time to even do this. Regardless, we’ll make it work. I just want to do my best and prove I wasn’t a mistake being cast as Rat Queen. Mrs. Alex smiled at me, so that’s good. She knows I’ve never learned partnering before rehearsal.

There were many feel-good moments during rehearsal. I absolutely love being surrounded by so many people that I love so deeply. Especially in this time in my life where I’m surrounded by so much new. I didn’t realize how much I really thrive off of having something familiar near me until this week. My new job is absolutely wonderful, but there’s so much to learn and I suck at asking questions. I’d rather observe to learn, or just go with it, but there are things that I have to ask on and I feel kinda stupid and embarrassed. I gotta suck it up, and I will, but it still sort of shakes me.
Though, if that’s my biggest issue, then I’m doing pretty darn well. I’m trying not to freak out about tax season madness, since right now things are so low key. I’ll take it when it comes and do my best to make it through. I just want them to be glad they hired me, not feel any sort of regret or anger.
(Part of this is also probably from being so used to getting yelled at so much. Now that I’m not, it’s kind of a huge adjustment. A good one, but still takes time.)

I also learned how to properly tie my pointe shoes yesterday. (Thanks, Elizabeth) I never really understood the concept of why people would wrap one ribbon first, then the second, but she explained it and now I feel like a whole new world has been shown to me. I’m extremely grateful to have people in my life that are willing to help me fill the gaps where people assume I know what I’m doing.

Tonight is night two! WOO!

Be good people.

Just something I have noticed.

Being a petit fleur isn’t particularly an “impressive” role.
It’s not Clara or Sugar Plum, it’s not Dew Drop or Snow Queen.
These are obvious.
But it’s also not Russian or Arabian, or even Chinese. 
Which is kinda funny, because most of the time when people dance Chinese, they’re a smidge bitter, considering you’re only on stage for like a minute and a half maybe.
But what people neglect to see in that is that it’s still a character role, and therefore still one that kids see as a favorite. It’s funny and light-hearted and quite entertaining. That’s what’s remembered.
And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. It’s not that people are trying to be rude, but it’s just how it is. Bigger roles have bigger privileges. 
We did a meet and greet after Beeville last night. I sort of hung back a bit, which was opposite of last time, but more true to what is actually normal for me, if that makes sense. People were going up to the Sugar Plum and the Nutcracker, Arabian and Chinese, even some of the higher-ups flowers, but rarely to us. 
It was fun to get to step back and see the people meeting my friends; the way the kid’s wide eyes lit up at the sight of them and the smiles on their faces when they got them to sign their program. 
When we were “backstage,” (in the gym near the theatre, which had room for all of us) I saw one of our family friends with her daughter who was an angel. When they are at our house, Chloe never really speaks to me, but she was completely thrilled to see me backstage. We took pictures and I asked if she was excited and everything else. While we were there, different dancers would come up to me for a hug or a high five. This has become sort of normal to me, but it wasn’t until Jennifer made a comment that I really realized it. 
They don’t care if I’m some big-named role, although if I am they definitely celebrate it with me. All they care about is me. They celebrate my successes, whatever they are. They enjoy whatever my role is with me, as I do with them. Each and every role, no matter how big or small, is important to the production. It may not be flashy or impressive, but it matters. 
And that’s what truly is important. Not only that you can dance, and dance well. Not just that you rise up in the ranks of the roles, but that you are a good person. 
Like our Sugar Plum from last night. Not only is she freaking talented and captivating, she’s also such a kind person. She’s honest and passionate, she’s kind and considerate, she’s the type of person you can watch and want to be like when you grow up–not just as a dancer, but as a human being. 
And that is what truly matters.

That time I saw the Houston Ballet.

Once upon a time, Elizabeth and Abby invited me to go to the Houston Ballet with them since they caught wind that I had never seen a real ballet before. We planned it for months and the day finally came when we all piled into the car (along with Mrs. Jane) and headed to Houston.

Great conversation and many laughs keeping us company, we made it in good time and waited around a little bit while taking in the fact that we were actually there. (That was mainly me.) I let myself get excited since this was actually happening and we were in the lobby and the stairs are huge and magnificent and it was raining a little spit but the sky was still sunny and it was coming straight down instead of slanted like I usually see it. It was beautiful.

After it stopped, we went outside to get a picture in front of the theatre. Including my polaroid of the day.

This stance started at the Wizard of Oz photo day and has followed us as sort of a joke. I had pictures of them each doing this on their separate shoots, which I edited together, but never with me in it. Perfect opportunity, right?
Little did we know it was a predecessor.

We walk back inside and a man in a white polo with a radio comes down and says,
“There’s been an incident on the stage and the show has been cancelled.”

WHAT?!

After the initial shock, we stood there listening to what he was saying to the other workers on if it seemed there’d be hope to stick around. He told them to lock up the entire building, so we accepted our fate.
Another worker told a man that there was a fire alarm that opens these vents on the stage that were open when that rain came through and it got all over the electrical cords and lights and they just didn’t feel like it was safe to turn it on.

Darn you, rain! Why were you so beautiful if you were so evil?!

It was very sad indeed.
But thankfully, I was with great people.They also understand that sometimes things happen to help us avoid other things that could be potentially harmful or whatever and the trip didn’t feel wasted since we like spending time with each other and there was plenty of that in the car up and back.
(Elizabeth is such a great driver, I was really impressed. Especially in all the rain we went through and all the construction. Not all my friends are good drivers. She is. This does more for me than people realize.)
(I was bummed because it was one of the principal dancers last shows and I’ve always wanted to see a show where someone retired because I’ve heard it’s magical.)

We stopped for lunch before heading back and the skies could have fooled you that rain was ever there.
It’s funny, because this is why I typically don’t let myself get excited for things. (See: opening line of this blog and the concept of this blog.)  Sometimes things seem to happen that keeps me from doing the thing I’m excited about. I’ve had to learn to deal with this over the years, as unfair as it can be, but honestly I think I’m better for it. And I understand that sometimes there are unforeseeable circumstances that it’s keeping me from. (That one time the plan I would have been on went down. That time I missed the car wreck. That other time I missed the car wreck. That other other time I missed the car wreck. You get the picture.)

The drive back was just as great as the way up. I laughed harder than I have in a long time, and many inside jokes were made (inflatina, anyone?) plus encouragement given nonchalantly. Not to mention the endless, “remember that one time we went to the Houston Ballet?” to which I could honestly reply, “It’s the best professional ballet I’ve ever seen!”
I also got to tell the story of why Mrs. Jane means the world to me in a light manner and not one that seemed stupid or anything. So that was nice.

At the end of the day, I’m truly grateful that I was with people I like, and that the Houston Ballet wasn’t the one thing of the whole trip that was good or exciting. It wasn’t a complete loss.

They’re showing Manon around my birthday.
Do we dare?