Oh, here’s some new stuff! (and pictures!)

We had an event for the Nutcracker on Saturday where some of us dressed up in costume and did a story time, inviting people to come to the shows. Barnes and Noble gave a portion of the profits to the company if the customers mentioned us at check out. Cool, huh?
Going as Rat Queen terrified half the children and intrigued the other.
There was this one little girls, couldn’t be older than two, who was completely taken with the Rat Queen. She was my absolute favorite thing, I wish there were a way to get a copy of the pictures from her mom! Haha. I don’t know how the Disney Characters do it, since they aren’t allowed to take any pictures.
I also saw one of my favorite little dancers from my old studio, Noelia, whime I hadn’t seen since our last recital at Instep. I took off my head and her mom remembered me and Noelia did after a bit. It made me so happy. She is dancing at Ballet Academy, which I’m glad to hear that she’s still dancing. She absolutely beautiful and incredibly talented, not to mention such a sweet girl.
There were two different times for the Nutcracker story time. Jessica was gracious to let me have the first slot so I could be done in time for a photo shoot (that got rained out, unfortunately) so I gave her the suit for the second part. It was such a fun time.

We had a local promotional event at the Lighting of Lamar Park here locally, and I got to be the Rat Queen for it, as well. (Which is fab since it’s cold outside and the Rat Queen costume is nice and warm) My dear, sweet Ayla was there as the mouse, so we walked around a bit together. It was quite the hit, seeing the “big mouse and little mouse.” I even made one girl scream when she commented on Ayla’s costume and I turned around to see her and she wasn’t expecting it. It was pretty hilarious.
Surprisingly, less were afraid of me than weren’t. I took tons of pictures with kids and sometimes other characters as well. We passed out candy canes and having the giant head sure did make it easier to give face to the local news station reporters.
I saw another one of my babies from Instep, the other one I had yet to see that I missed to terribly. Isabella was there with her Mom and Brother, and I introduced myself before taking off my head to talk to them. Her Mom was thrilled to see me, and remembered me right away. Isabella took a second, I’m sure also taking in the fact that there was a human in this rat suit, haha. Her Mom told me she hadn’t been dancing since Instep closed and I told her about Munro and the classes there. I told her about the class I assist and to check it out and that Mia was the teacher and the times and all. She was so pumped. I really hope to see Isabella at the studio!

I also got to see my friends Ryan and Lauren, who had a table set up with their two books they’ve put out recently. One is a book of photography and the other is a children’s book; both incredible.
(http://www.amazon.com/dp/1943842116/ref=cm_sw_su_dp)
They have been really dear to my heart and also such good, cherished friends to me over the years. I love seeing them and seeing how God is using them to make a difference in the world.

I got to hold on to the costume from Sunday until the event on Tuesday. I realized Sunday night that the Black Swan tutu is part of the Rat Queen costume and that it was in my closet. I text my sister and asked if she could get some pictures of me in it on Monday, and she graciously obliged. 

                                                   
So that was fun.
The costume was a little big, since I’m not wearing the giant rat suit underneath, but we made it work. I really like how they came out, and I’m glad to have these for if one day I can’t dance anymore. Plus, I think it was good for me to see that I don’t look like the image in my head while in a real tutu. (this is just me being real, here. My story, I can say it if I want.)
Obviously, there’s a few “bloopers” or whatever. My dad’s German Shepherd was chasing my cat who decided to saunter over to us. They also decided that right behind us is the perfect place to do this chase. Hah
My Achilles has been hurting, especially since this last cold front came through. I asked Ms. Heidi what I should do about it, and she showed me some different things to do to help it. Sometimes stretching it can make it worse. I was glad she said that, because that’s what I was feeling, but didn’t have any proof of it and didn’t know what else to do. Hopefully it’ll start feeling better. It is fine when I don’t dance, even in the interim. Between steps and combinations. 
My ankles were really weak before dancing. I used to hurt it just by stepping on it wrong, but I could never figure out what was “wrong” exactly. I hadn’t felt it in a while, but when landing a grand jete at rehearsal, I found it again, and my ankle–and Achilles–started hurting. It pops quite often as well. 
I woke up this morning to a text from my cousin. It was pictures of her double jointed fingers, asking if I can do the same. I told her I can, and sometimes in different ways, and told her how I can’t point straight because my fingers curve and how my knees and elbows hyper extend. She told me that she was diagnosed with hypermobility. That it’s genetic, and can actually cause gastrointestinal issues. 
Bingo.
It’s been quite a day of learning and discovering. 
I’ve learned much over the last few weeks, having more time to myself. I wish I could have written more before I hardly have any time at all. 
New things, and I’m sure they’ll be good–just different. I feel good about them, a bit nervous. 
I’m sure it’ll be good. 
It already has been. 

Updates (and pictures, hi)

I haven’t been posting as much because life is pretty overwhelming and sometimes that can spill over into the dance section of life.
I know much of this is temporary, so I’m trying to just get through the best I can with the least casualties.

A few updates, though:

Yesterday in the Jazz V’s class, I was paired with one of my little nuggets, Rachel, whom I haven’t seen in forever. We were given a set amount of time and a set piece of music to choreograph to. Our piece ended up being the only one largely praised. The main bit of corrections was things that would get better with practice and was in our original intention, so that’s cool. We came up with the concept, which we both kinda had separately and came together to put it together. I had to rely heavily on Rachel since I haven’t only taken last weeks class and haven’t had much Jazz before. Rachel had great ideas, and we put it together and made a pretty spectacular piece, if I do say so myself. Rachel isn’t shy, which makes it so much easier to work with–especially in a time crunch. I was really proud of us.
They started passing out the recital forms, and I asked Heidi if I could be in the Jazz V’s piece. I was going to mention it’s okay if not, or if she didn’t think I was quite up to it I understood, but her eyes got wide and she was really excited I asked. She said “We could definitely use you, you’re a solid base” to which I started singing Meghan Trainer, and laughing because I’ve always been a solid base my whole life so it’s no surprise. She then commented on how I bring something to it with my depth and acting abilities. I told her this is the kind of dancing I really want to do, but haven’t had a class like this that will take me where I am instead of expecting me to be more. And I hope soon that I can even learn more complex things, if my body allows.

Speaking of my body.
I asked my chiropractor yesterday about my back. He agreed it looks worse, and told me how they’re trying to get different lifts in and when they figure out where they ordered them from last time (the person who did the ordering left) he’ll get me one. He also said my back will always be like this. I’m contemplating a second opinion, but the hard part with that is affording a second opinion. I asked two of my dance friends if they knew of anything I could do to better dance with this issue, but they didn’t know much either, and also suggested a second opinion. My friend from Instep has scoliosis, so I messaged her and she gave me some solid tips on how to improve my turns when it’s a struggle to stay square, so that’s nice.

We had our Nutcracker pictures on Sunday. I was there for 8 hours. It was exhausting and I ended up pretty sick. So that was cute. But it’s okay, and the pictures came out good so that’s nice.
Here are a few fun ones that are on my phone. A bajillion more on my camera.

(we laughed at this one for a good long while)
I’m taking next week off of work to essentially avoid everyone ever. Hah. But really I need to get things in order with my house so I’ll feel a little more at ease. I don’t have time to do it on weekends until after Nutcracker, so that would be January. Also, I have pictures I have to edit and more on the way, so I don’t want to get too held up with that. I decided, also, to take the week off of dance to really maximize my productivity time. I plan to come into town twice to drink coffee and do endless editing, plus Shrub’s birthday but the rest of the time I’ll be invisible. (This doesn’t apply to the chosen few who are amazing and hopefully get to help me with stuff. Aka, the Rowlands. I love the Rowlands. Also maybe Elizabeth. Cause she’s fab. But that depends on scheduling. And obviously Shrub’s birthday.)
I think this will be good to do a total reset. I know already there are certain things I really don’t want to go back to, but this is life and I have to face it. It’ll be okay. I’ll make it through. Even though it’s may not be right or fair. Nothing lasts forever.
(Now I’m singing Wildest Dreams. This is the opposite of a problem.)
(Also, happy first birthday, 1989.)

I have wonderful people in my life that I am extremely grateful for that have really carried me through this difficult time in my life. I wish I could explain what they truly mean to me.

"I can stay."

I think my shoes are dead, but I don’t have time to sew new ones. I might figure out time somehow. I guess I kind of have to, huh?
Yesterday was our V’s class, which I really like, but it was a bit of a struggle. My pirouettes are still lacking and our teacher was getting onto us for them. She said we should be able to do doubles at this level. I struggle to even do doubles on flat, let along en pointe. I know most of my issue is my knee and back problems, and I’m working to try and improve, but it takes more time than I wish it would. Still, I’m seeing slight improvement, so that’s something I guess. I really need to get into my new shoes so I’m not afraid of rolling my ankle. Yesterday it was more that I landed hard and felt the weak spot my ankles have had for as long as I can remember. I haven’t felt it in a few years, so it was a bit of a shock. (It’s okay though.)
My knee held out and I was able to do everything else. My main issue is the unevenness of my legs and the lacking strength in the left. Siiiiiiiiiiigh.
Class ended and I put on my shoes to leave when one of my “babies” wanted me to watch her do something in the Jazz class. I did, then Heidi asked if I was going to stay. I told her not yet and as soon as I said it I thought, “But you know, I’m probably okay enough to stay.” So I watched what they were working on as they marked it. There were only five girls and it needed a sixth, so I asked Heidi, “Do you need another person? I can stay.”
I’ve been wanting to stay for this class. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite, but I do love how it makes me feel. I’m not overwhelmed. I’m not in someone’s shadow. I’m not the obvious beginner. I’m just me, and that’s enough.
I am challenged, though, which I appreciate. Just enough of a challenge. Plus, it’s all new to me, but it’s a new I’ve been wanting to experience for a while. The dance we did yesterday was the kind that makes you feel something. It wasn’t overly complex, though there were elements I struggled with. What I like about how Heidi handles this class is that if you can’t do something, you do what you can. She doesn’t pressure you into pushing for more if you know you can’t. It’s more about getting out of your comfort zone.

I think I’m gonna try and start staying, now that my stomach is doing alright. I hope to get more figured out with my back and knee so I can do even more. One thing is for sure–I was really grateful to get to take that class and just let myself feel and show it through movement.

I have many other thoughts from yesterday, but I’m going to keep them for myself.

My friend Amelia took this while I was putting on my shoes yesterday. It may seem simple, but it really means a lot to me. So many times I’m the one taking pictures of other people and no one really does that for me. Not that they have to, not at all, but it kinda weighs on the heart when you look through these great pictures and these candids and you’re in none of them. But it’s not really something you can just ask someone else to do and hand over your camera. There’s something special that is caught in an unexpected moment. Amelia did that for me, and I treasure it.

Titles are hard.

My brain is pretty clouded due to a pretty rough day yesterday, but I really want to write about class because it was wonderful.

Abby taught our first class, the ballet class.
The only class I’ve ever taken with Abby was the first Variations class, but I have watched several of the classes she taught before mine during the school year. It made me want to join the class, even though it was two levels below me. Heck, I learned just from watching! Needless to say, I was really excited to take her class.

She has a really good way of explaining things and why they’re important. She’s able to show them in a way that is clear and easy to understand. I noticed I felt the same in her class as I did in Ms. Priscilla Nathan-Murphy’s class. She would correct us directly on what we needed to fix, and help us understand how and why. I think it also helped me having had that private lesson with her, to implement the corrections in a class taught by the one who corrected me. I don’t doubt that the other teachers are capable of correcting me, because they are, but she’s looking for the specific things she knows she’s shown me and can pick them out easily if I’m not doing them correctly. It was like the private lesson was continuing in a corporate setting, and I was able to take what I had learned and apply it and know if I was applying it correctly or not.
It felt good, and I noticed improvements in my turn out and my balance.

My friend from instep, Annabelle, made it back in town from college in time for class! It was so great and so much fun having her back in class. She just got back from an incredible dance missions trip to Panama and is trying to get as much dance in as she can while she’s home from college this summer. We haven’t danced together for about two years now. It felt like home. There would be random moments during class where I would get random bursts of excitement in realizing this was reality and I could look over and see Annabelle and it made my heart so happy.

(Annabelle was the first dance photo shoot I ever did.)

Second class was taught by Ms. Heidi. We ended up learning the Scarecrow variation from Oz, which was fun. I was really hoping to have a normal pointe class taught by her, since variations class is only Thursdays and I wanted to see what she would see and correct in me (especially since her feet are amazing) but Scarecrow was fun. I really appreciated how she showed me this one part I wasn’t too certain on how it was done (and neither were many of the girls) in the beginning. I still didn’t fully master it, but learning an entire variation in a short class is hard for me anyway. I got the releve part that was hard down and that’s what I really wanted to master, but it probably helps that I had seen it during rehearsals and took pictures of it since it stuck out to me. I ended up doing most of the variation on flat. We had broken up into levels, doing different things based on how advanced we were, and she focused mainly on the 2s, and somewhat on the 3s, so us 4s kinda got left with questions. We asked if she could do it wish us, since the parts that were different for us weren’t gone over as well and sometimes complex, and she said she really wanted to watch. I don’t remember if she watched or did it, because I was just focusing on listening to her call it out and trying to make it fluid. Ms. Munro was watching, too. I didn’t really like how I felt after doing it, but I think the variation would be fun with more time to work on it. I tried to work on doing characterization to make up for what I couldn’t do or attempt, and did the part at the end that she really wanted us to try. So I left feeling satisfied, at least. And I did my front splits for the first time! Not perfect, but I was flat over so whatever.

After class, Annabelle was telling me how much she loved being there. I was a bit nervous because she was in such a zone that I couldn’t tell if she loved it or hated it. It was a good zone and she loved it. She commented on how much she loved that Abby explained the different moves in ways that were easy to see and understand. She really liked her. I don’t know if she’s ever done a variation class, but she liked the challenge it posed yesterday. (poor girl, her pointe shoes are dying.)

I just want to go on record for this next thing. I know I’ve blogged about it before, but seriously.
Hannah Hooper and Ileana just have that thing about them. That inner grace, where you just can’t take your eyes off of them. Their dancing is so clean, even when it’s still a work in progress. It’s beautiful.
It’s what you hope ballet to be when you see it.
I can’t wait to see where these girls go from here. Absolutely beautiful girls, not just on the outside. Their hearts are pure gold and they are filled with such character. You can tell they want to be there. I love it.

After class, Abby made a comment to me that I did really well. That I did everything she wanted to see at the barre, but she didn’t want to keep commenting on it since it would have been so often. It made me feel really good to know that I was improving and that I was utilizing the corrections correctly. Annabelle told me I have improved so much, which really meant a lot coming from her. She was there when I first started out–panicked state and all. It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come when you’re looking at the process day by day instead of start to finish.
But you have to start if you want to ever finish.