Wizard of Oz–Beeville

Occasionally, our company will take our show on the road for an extra performance in a town called Beeville; about an hour away. It doesn’t happen every year, but this year we were given the opportunity.

I found out quickly that this is met with many complaints; some logical, some unnecessary.
See, the stage is smaller. Like. Baby sized, but the seating is pretty decent. The backstage is tiny and complicated, but operable. The lights are limited. We had to adjust a bunch of things to make it work, but we definitely made it work.

And honestly, what a cool opportunity.
I had heard that the audiences here were always wonderful, and this one didn’t disappoint.
There were times when the wicked witch would come out, and you could hear gasps from the front row. It was amazing to be there and realize that you were becoming part of someone’s memory. That this isn’t just about you, but about portraying something to these people; making them feel something.
We are telling a story, inspiring dreams.
You just can’t feel that from a big auditorium.

One of the backstage helpers commented on how beautifully different this made the show. That you feel the connection with them.
They also don’t get the opportunity to have a real ballet to come all that often. There’s something about taking the show on the road that makes you feel alive and remember why you love doing what you do.

So. Beeville show. How do you even begin to explain Beeville show?
(and now I’m quoting Mean Girls in my head. anyway. :D)
I’m going to attempt my best.

It began with arriving and getting to spend time with dear friends as we watched other friends run their scenes on the stage. I really enjoyed getting to spend time with these people so dear to me.
I took a look around me and realized how amazing it is to have be here, now, with these people.

When I went back into the gym, Some of my favorite munchkins came up to me with this

It’s a drawing that Judy did of four of my munchkin babies. (Dude. Seriously. this girl has mad drawing skills.) And she had them all sign it for me 🙂 It meant so much more to me than I could ever express. I cherish these girls so much.
We did our first run through out of order, trying to work with the ones that needed the most time first. We did the Winkie Guards and the finale and got it all set. I took the typical inventory of Crows to make sure I wouldn’t have to dance it, when I realized one was missing. I asked Mrs. Alex, and she said she hadn’t seen her either. I asked the rest of the Crows and they said she had text one of the dancers saying she was either going to be late or not make the rehearsal.
We were about to do the show from beginning to end to get it all worked out before the performance at 7, so I went to ask Mrs. Julie what I should do. 
I didn’t even get to finish my sentence when she said, “You’re a crow. Any other questions?”
I can’t properly describe how elated I felt inside, but also how difficult it was to keep myself composed until I was back into the gym. 
I get to be a crow? Really? And no one is sick or hurt or anything? I get to do this, I really get to do this? 
I tried to not get my hopes up in case everything changed. It’s possible she could show up and then everything will change. But one thing is certain.
I at least get one more time.
On a stage.
With these girls.
In this dance I love so much. 
I walked back to the gym with the other girl that went with me to ask and when we got back to the locker rooms we were using as dressing rooms, all the older girls in there were asking what happened. When we told them what Mrs. Julie said, they burst out in applause and cheers. They were so happy for me! Some of these girls I only knew in passing, and they were so happy for me. I can’t even express what I felt. How was this happening to me? How was such a good thing happening to me? 
So I went back in the auditorium with my camera to watch before we went on. I didn’t want to be late since it had been a while since I danced Crows. I wanted to be ready. Adrienne helped me go over which direction this part was since I had done both and wanted to make sure I got it right. 
We ran it, and it was the first time I did the entire thing correctly! I think I got it right a couple times at the beginning when we were still running at the studio, but never this side of the role. I always switched something. I got off stage elated, then went back into the chairs where my friends were and where I had left my camera with them. 
Abby managed to get some great pictures of us, even with the rough lighting. Here’s a favorite
I think there was a better one. But it’s hard to see on the little clip. Anyway. It’s what I call “the fish.” hahaha.
I got to talking with Abaranne (sp?) and by this time, the knowledge of me dancing Crows had gotten out. I talked to her about how I’m so used to being overlooked and how everywhere else if you were a good understudy you always stayed as an understudy. I was never the cool kid or the popular kid or the kid everyone thought of first for things, unless they needed something. I was always just the nice kid. She told me how here, they see your dedication and remember it. That hard workers don’t go unnoticed. She and many, many others had told me how they loved watching me do Crows. That I brought so much to the part and did it really well. I told Alyssa how it was such an honor to just be considered among them, let alone have multiple people–and not all of them do I know well–telling me that I look good dancing this part and that I keep up with the rest of the girls who have been dancing years more than me. To hear from these very girls that they liked having me in the dance and seeing how proud they were of me. I would walk into the room to ask a question or something, and they would erupt into, “Hey Croooow! Woohoo! Look at that Crow! Get it girl!” and a million other things. I felt like a queen. Like I mattered. Like I had value. I can’t get over this!
When we were doing Winkie Guards, I caught wind that the girl I was filling in for showed up. I tried not to worry about it, but I really wanted to dance this role. I actually didn’t hear of anyone who didn’t want me to. So after we finished, there was 30 minutes until a meet and greet with some VIP’s and I wanted to know which costume to put on. I asked Mrs Munro first because Julie looked a bit worn and she said, “I think whoever blocked it on this stage is who should dance it. Tell Julie I said that!” So Andie and I went to ask since this person affected 3 different roles. The other two were shared, but it was impossible for the girl who shared them to do both since they were in the same scene. They taught the character role to Andie so if worse came to worse we would have it worked out.
(Oh my gosh I’m so sore. Okay, anyway.)
Mrs. Julie first said the girl would dance the original roles, then Ms. Munro piped up and mentioned how complicated that would be since she wasn’t there to rework it on such a small stage. Julie told us to tell the girl that she would do Miliner, and Melanie would do Emerald and I would do Crow, but Andie spoke up and said it would probably be better coming from her, so she told us to get her and Melanie and bring them back to the stage. So we all were on the stage and Mrs. Julie told us and I tried to just keep my mouth shut and be respectful because I’m sure this would be painful for the girl now not getting to dance. I didn’t feel bad to be taking the role that was hers, because it’s not my fault. I’m just doing what I was cast to do and that’s to fill in when needed. She wasn’t there. I felt bad for her, but I didn’t feel guilty. 
I waited a little as she walked out ahead of us, as I’m sure she was upset and everyone knew I would love to jump into Crows given the chance. so I walked back to the dressing room and was so grateful that I left my nude colored tights in my dance bag since I had considered leaving them since chances were slim I would need them. And I was so glad my character shoe purchase was warranted. 
I ran into Mrs. Jane, the costumer, and told her, “Mrs. Jane! I get to be a Crow! The costume has a purpose!” and she hugged me so tight and was so excited for me. Genuinely excited. I felt so good.
I went to get my costume and shoes and tights and everything on for the meet and greet when my friend Lillian came in and told me the girl had left so it was going to be how we had rehearsed it. (This means Andie would need my shoes.) I got dressed and went to ask the girls if I was missing anything and they all began hoopin’ and hollerin’ and making a fuss over me and it made me feel so good. Even the non-Crows. I felt so good. They were all so proud of and excited for me. 
It’s really nice to do something and succeed for yourself, but to have such a support system like this is unlike anything I’ve ever known. It really means more when you have people who love you to share it with.
We went out to the meet and greet and I’m in my Crows costume and so excited. Cloud 9. So excited that my introvertedness didn’t even phase me. When time was up, we went back into the gym and dressing rooms. I got to tell my Winkie Guards that I was getting to dance Crows and they were so excited for me as well. Especially the Mom’s. They knew what this really meant to me. 
We took some fun pictures before the show started with a bunch of different ones I love. 

Okay, so some of these were after this next part. But whatever, I got excited okay?
Mrs. Julie, Mrs. Alex, and Ms. Munro gathered all the cast together in the gym. (Well, all the cast in the gym.) Mrs. Julie said that there were a few dancers that went above and beyond in different areas that they wanted to recognize. 
First up, Alexis and Whitney
These munchkins worked so hard and really stood out. They lead their lines and danced with such passion, it was inspiring. I was so proud of my babies.
Next up was Hannah Hooper

Hannah is a complete rockstar. Not only is it a joy to watch her dance, but she is completely dedicated. She was at every rehearsal and filled in when a Quadling was missing and even got to dance the Quadlings at Beeville. I was so proud of her and so happy that she was able to dance it on stage at least once. She’s the youngest of the Quadlings, being two entire levels below most of them, but she really held her own. You wouldn’t know that she wasn’t right up there with the others. And you never see her without a smile. What a joy 🙂 I was so proud.
Next, they said my name.
Since I had my camera, I took this. Everyone laughed 🙂

This was my view. 🙂 
The entire gym literally erupted in applause and cheers when she said my name. They weren’t even smiling because I was taking a picture, just because they were so happy for me. I got the “Impact Award” and it says, “Given to a dancer who is influential in creating a positive work environment and being an inspiration to others.” It took everything in me not to cry. I have never felt so loved in my entire life. I’ve always wanted to feel that way, and hoped that maybe one day I would, but I never expected this and honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better group. These people support me and love me and value me. They see me and like what they see. They don’t just see what I can do for them or how they can use me, but rather they see potential in me. They help me cultivate it and maximize it. I have no words to express how truly grateful I am to this beautiful group of people. I love them with every fiber of my being and they each hold such a special place in my heart. I’m nothing without them.

Next they called out sweet Monkey, Olivia

We were the two that weren’t allowed to answer questions during corrections. She got the most improved award and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She really dedicated herself to this role and did her best every rehearsal.

 Next they called out two of the munchkin boys. this one for the smile award for being such a joy, and the other for being such a huge help in keeping the boys in line. He was sick and couldn’t be there, which was sad. But I was so glad to see all these kids get recognized for working so hard.

Some of the Mom’s and some of my friends got great pictures while I was up there, but my phone hasn’t backed up yet so I can’t access them. I’ll include them on a master picture post whenever they do.
What an honor. How blessed am I to be in such a wonderful place with such beautiful people who love and support me. And getting to do what I love so much, and getting to be myself as I pursue this crazy dream of mine. And meeting such marvelous people along the way to do life with. gaaaaaah, I’m so happy!!
Well while I was on cloud nine and taking the silly pictures with the girls, I turn to my left and see a sight that actually brought me to tears.

Mariela came! 
I couldn’t help it, I cried. I’ve missed her so much and it was so good to see her alive and well. And what a surprise! I was really wishing she was there, especially with all the wonderful things happening. It didn’t feel right without her. Then she was there and I was just so happy to see her and she brought roses for all the poppies and emeralds and me. My heart was so full. The munchkins were fanning my face to keep me from crying, it was cute. My heart was so happy. I can’t express how good it was to see her. 
I got to tell Elizabeth that Mari was there and about the award. She was so excited to know Mari was there and doing well and was so proud of me for everything I had accomplished. It really meant a lot. 

These two really have a special place in my heart. One I can’t find the words to describe. They have accepted me and been so very supportive of me in a way most can’t be. They didn’t see me as my level, but as an adult who was passionate about the same thing they are. They have celebrated every victory and been encouraging every step of the way. Having them in these memories is one of my favorite things, on and off the stage. I’m seriously brought to tears by their kindness simply in being who they are. 
It was so cool to have Elizabeth so genuinely excited when I told her that I got to dance Crows, and how excited she was after watching me. And to have her so thrilled for and proud of me when I told her about the awards. 
It was beyond okay hold on crying and I can’t find words  anything I could have ever hoped to have Abby so supportive every step of the way in this dance. From the first rehearsal, and even before, she made me love being a Winkie Guard and even more getting to dance along side her. She made me feel so valued in ways I could never thank her enough. She encouraged me and lifted me up and told me wonderful things she would hear being said about me which hands down has to be one of the greatest feelings in the world. Even just tonight she messaged me before going to bed and asking me about the awards and how she wished they could have been there for it and how I was so deserving and all these things that mean so much more to me than I could ever express. Who am I, ya know? I’m just this simple person who no one seems to notice and these people see me. She said that she and Elizabeth were beaming the whole way home that I got to be a Crow. Like, seriously, how nice is that! Even after the show, they were still so supportive. They care so much about me and I can’t express how much that means.
I started to feel pretty light headed toward the end of the show, but I just tried to breathe deeply and keep my head level. My monkey was overheating half way through so I tried to help her keep calm. She didn’t want to quit, though. Not even the bows which she could have sat out of if she wasn’t feeling up to it. I was so proud of her for sticking it out. Not to mention how well she did! That’s my girl right there.
The whole way home with Lillian we just talked and sometimes just made sounds when I couldn’t find words about how exciting this day was. How wonderful is it that we even have this opportunity? We get to be a part of a ballet company even as adult beginners and with such wonderful people we literally couldn’t ask for better. I was extremely happy that she was able to be a part of the show, especially since we didn’t think it would be possible after she broke her foot. We didn’t think it would heal in time. But she was there and it wouldn’t have been the same without her. It was the icing on the top to get to spend the drive back gushing with her over this wonderful thing called ballet. I couldn’t have asked for better. Lillian is a gem, and when my phone decides to download the pictures, there will be the fabulous one of us as well 🙂
Mrs. Julie is a rockstar and a true treasure. She is a genius in putting this show together and how she handled everyone and everything. A true inspiration. I’m honored to have been able to be a part of this show and under her direction, let alone to now call her my friend. She is a quality person; a diamond. 
I’m still on cloud nine and it’s almost 2am.
I should sleep.
The real world begins again when the sun rises.
Until then, I’ll revel in my one last dreamy night of perfection, squeezing out every ounce I can get of this perfect day.