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.


  

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!

Nutcracker Rehearsals

Yesterday was our last rehearsal before Thanksgiving break.
Sean wasn’t there, so I just watched Rat Queen while Jessica and Greyson did it the way they would for Beeville. It helped me really get it into my brain. I think I’m confident enough now where I can just go for it and not mess up the order and more than likely get the timing right. Jessica has been great at helping me learn all of this. She is SUCH a good Rat Queen, which I greatly appreciate since it helps me see how it should look. (I’m so visual.)
I had to go and try on the flowers costumes again, which worked out since the other dancer I needed to try them on with got there early, so we were able to do it when Mrs. Jane had some down time, rather than when there was a million people around. Since Emerson had to drop, they had to fill her spot with a couple of girls, meaning they needed another costume. Since mine was the smallest, they needed to move us up so they could use it. I was kind of sad, since that one was my favorite and the girl whose costume I always get had it the year before, but that’s okay. (Besides, I looked at the names in mine and some pretty spectacular people have worn it. So I can’t really complain.) Lauren (who is one of the 3 girls now wearing my old one) said it fit perfectly, to which I said, “you’re welcome. (I love Lauren 😀 )

After Battle scene, they ran through Snow. Since I’m not cast in Snow, I took this time to get all my ticket sales sorted and turned in and catch up on crocheting, while watching and learning. I love getting to watch, especially the warm up, because you get to see things you miss in class. You can see people who do it correctly and compare and contrast them to the people who need a bit of improvement and then think of how you do it and see how you identify with the person needing more improvement and how you can get it to look like the person who is doing it correctly. (Way to go Cheyanne, your pique’s at the barre were so sharp and flawless!)

We ran Act II a few times after Snow. The Chinese are really killing it, which is great. That core of girls are really a group to watch out for. They’re very driven. I was impressed with how well they did the role. (Their private lessons are paying off)

We ran Flowers (did I mention it was all in costume?) and actually did pretty decently. (Well, the petit fleurs. I don’t know about the other two, I can’t really pay attention to all three.) We messed up our ending part, but they weren’t too hard on us because it had changed last minute last rehearsal. Now we have it down, though. The second run through, we managed to not get a single correction, save for what they called out during. (I don’t know if this is actually a good thing, or if it means they just didn’t see us or notice us doing anything wrong. At least we didn’t get a chewing for messing up the same thing over and over!) Another flower was out, but hopefully not the whole show. Her appendix had to come out, which is what happened to Mari during Oz. (I swear, there’s a curse this season.)

At the end, the Nutcracker comes out as they dim the lights and close the curtain. We were all really excited because they are letting Emerson do it! It was so crushing when she had to drop because of her ankle, but this way she still gets to be a part. And she said it’s healing a lot faster being in the boot with crutches, which makes me really happy.

Yesterday seemed to be the day of breakdowns. Tensions were high and drama was inevitable at times and there were people I really wanted to slap around a bit, but you can’t do anything except try to hold your maturity rather than stoop to levels you shouldn’t stoop to. Some of the girls were just pushed to the brink, but they kept going. I just felt bad because once people noticed they cried, then people kept bothering them. I wish there was something I could do to help in these times, but I know sometimes the best thing is to leave them alone. I just love them so much.

I kept forgetting things. Not choreography, but things. Like I forgot my Mustang Tickets at home, and forgot my nude leotard, and then forgot my little notebook of choreography and my crocheting (Thanks for saving me, Rowlands!) and to check out the Rat Queen costume for next Saturday. All noninvasive things in the long run, but still things that would have been better had I remembered. I didn’t forget Judy! Which is great seeing that I was her ride home. I really love that kid. She’s an old soul and really aware and wise and funny. I don’t feel like I’m hanging out with a twelve year old with her. She’s pretty fab.

A cold front came in, which made it super exciting because our company jackets came in! I’m not going to lie, I saw mine hanging up today and thought for a second that Annika or someone left theirs at my house before I remembered that it was mine. I always wanted to be a part of one of those groups that had jackets. To know that I was enough to be wanted among them. To have talent and some sort of place. This all sounds way cheesier than I want it to, but the point being, it feels really good. Never say never. I’m twenty-seven, and am now a member of the Corpus Christi Ballet Company, and that feels good.

(polaroid of my jacket. It’s dark and stuff but I haven’t gotten a picture, picture yet.)

How long will I dance? Who knows. But I know that I’m there right now, and it feels good.

Edit: Here ya go

Blurry, but yessss

Last rehearsal before theatre week!

Yesterday was our last rehearsal in the downtown studio. The rest of them will officially be in the theatre and it doesn’t feel like this is even possible that by this time next week, Wizard of Oz will be a memory.

I don’t know if I’m ready for that.

(I am ready to be able to go to bed and not have the super buzzing-bee-cartoon-character-type music in my head all night, though, so there’s that.) (ps. that’s what the Winkie Guard Solo scene music sounds like.)

(anyway.)

We were supposed to run it twice, but were only able to run it full-through once.
I got to do the Crows one last time, as one of the girls who is usually there wasn’t. I’m not sure where she was, but the poor girl has been sick for a while and dancing through it so maybe that’s it. I just hope she’s feeling better, poor girl has been working her butt off for this show. Of all the girls I’d have to jump in for, she and one other would break my heart.

Before and after Crows I ran the first scene with the girls in hopes that we would be able to show Julie that we mean business and are working hard. They were really showing some great improvement and I was proud of them. I think the hardest part during these studio rehearsals is their struggle with distraction. There are so many people and movement and things going on that if you aren’t completely focused, you’re bound to mess up. It’s even happened to me. The front people can’t afford this.
Sadly, one of the front girls messed up so they both got switched in the scene. It was a tough lesson to learn, but it happened anyway. The girls that got moved forward will do the part well. They know it through and through and I think the bout of necessary confidence will be great for them.
Most everything else seemed to show great improvement.

During corrections, we got chewed because a lot of the girls weren’t paying attention. (not all, but enough.)
It’s no wonder those are the ones that don’t know what’s going on most of the time. It takes a toll on everyone.
It’s exhausting to have to be the one to hold up the group, and I wouldn’t be able to without the couple other girls that are very aware of what is going on. Knowing I can bounce things off them and we can come to a conclusion is what keeps this scene afloat. If they would just do confidently what they know, they would shine. But I understand it’s hard at that age, especially with so many people watching and it being such a risk.

I sent a few of the pictures to the company principals when I got home (even though I’m kinda not supposed to?) and got to talking with my friend Abby.
She said this:

I told her how there are times I just want to shake some of the girls and scream “SHE JUST SAID WHAT YOU’RE ASKING ME LITERALLY TEN SECONDS AGO PAY ATTENTION.” But that’s not allowed. I then mentioned how nice it was to hear it, too, because before when I was involved in dance or theatre, to do what I’m doing here was a guaranteed way to get yourself stuck as an understudy. Instead of seeing all your hard work and taking it into consideration that you’d be a good person to rely on and cast in the role in the first place, they saw you as a solid back up to have for if the leads flaked like they were prone to. (yet they always seemed to pull it together for the show. All glory, no work ethic.) It’s really nice to know that working hard to make sure things still run smoothly in case something happens isn’t going to get me permanently benched, but instead will help me in the long run.
She then said:

And this is when I melted into a puddle.
For the first time in a really, really long time I actually feel like I belong somewhere. That who I am is enough just as I am. That I’m not a failure or lacking or a disappointment, but instead a valuable asset. That hard work isn’t being ignored.
(Ps. I have really great friends that are there for me when I need it and quick to celebrate me when things go well. To have such people there for the highs as well as the lows is something I cherish. You people make the world go round.)

Work for what you want.

Yesterday I seemed to be struck with a new dose of determination.
I don’t know where it came from,
I’m not sure what brought it on,
But I would be okay if this became a new normal.

My legs felt like jelly in a way I can’t remember feeling in a long time. I wish I could do this every day so I could get better that much quicker. But, I am grateful for what I do have. I know all too well that all of this can be on hold in the blink of an eye.
I did everything I could to not stop in the middle of a rep. I wanted to push myself and actually do the whole thing.
No room for quitting.
And wouldn’t you know it, I did. I was able to push through and do all of each of the things I set out for.
By the time we got to pointe, my legs were wobbly beyond reason. But I refused to let it stop me.
If I use the excuse I have now, when will I get better? Will I ever? How much longer will improvement take?

So I pushed through. I did the releves, I did the bourees, I did every single one of them. And if I did have to stop for this reason or that, I didn’t quit. I stopped long enough to put my shoe back on after it slipped and got right back to it. Even if it hurt.

I watched my technique in the mirror. I tried to make improvements as I went, tried to make sure I was doing the best I knew how and retrain myself in areas I faltered.
I know these moves. Now I need to clean them up.

Now, there were things that I’m behind on and just can’t do. So, I didn’t risk it. I was a little disappointed in myself at first, I wanted to try it at least… But, then, I realized that I was the only one of us new pointers still in my pointe shoes. Everyone else had taken theirs off or just didn’t put them on for whatever reason.
I just did what I was able to do. Everyone else was doing pique turns with a pique move I can’t remember the name to (where you pick up both legs–one at a time–as you turn) and I know I’m still trying to get my pique turns down. So, I just did pique turns. I worked on those. I could have gone to the barre and done the whole combination, but I didn’t want to cheat of of the piques I’ve wanted to work on for so long.

It took me a little longer than everyone else, but I didn’t want to stop halfway, ya know? I wanted to get better. Jilissa pointed out different things to work on as I went, which I was so grateful for. I really want to get these down. I want to get better. I want to be able to do this. And I know each thing I learn will in turn help the new things I have yet to master.

As I got across to the left side, McKenna said to me, “Remember when you were too afraid to go across the floor at all?” I was thinking she meant starting pointe, but she meant in the beginning.
I remember those breakdowns. I remember those stark moments of paralyzing fear. I remember her kindness in pulling me out of the corner to help me out and meeting me where I was in my knowledge.
I remember.

And now look at where I am.
Going across the floor confidently on pointe shoes, even if I knew I couldn’t do the move fully. Even if I knew I was behind.
Being behind is irrelevant, as long as you keep going.
You have to have the confidence in yourself to know that as long as you keep trying you’re gonna get there.
If I would have given up back then, I never would have made it here.
If I never would have began, I’d still be living in regret.

Instead, I’m moving in the direction of my dreams, getting a little closer each time I tie those ribbons.

My friend Sarah said something in the hallway before class. She told us how she was turning over a new leaf, that she was going to make a point to practice every day. Because she wanted to get better. She said she was a picture of a beautiful dancer with her leg up by her face that said something to the effect of, “Don’t wish you could be her, work to be like her.”
This should be the mantra for all of us.

Work for what you want
Don’t give up, you’ll get there.