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!

Bailando 2015

This weekend marked the 16th annual Bailando Dance Festival at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi.
It’s, I believe, my 3rd year to attend. My old dance teacher from Instep, Jilissa produces it and it’s hosted by the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet with TAMUCC. There’s three nights of performances, and master classes on Friday and Saturday. The performances on Thursday and Friday are adjudicated based on their choreography and the favorites are put through to the Gala performance on Saturday. Its a great opportunity for choreographers to learn and grow and get insight on how to broaden their thinking.
This years performances were amongst some of the best we’ve seen.
I get to take pictures of the performances and classes, which is really cool. It’s also great because I get to sit in on bits of every class, even if it’s not a style I’m particularly versed in. I learn a lot, and I’m really grateful for it.
I got to take a couple classes on Saturday, the Beginner/Intermediate Ballet with Orlando Julius Canova and the Intermediate/Advanced with Mel Glouchkova.
They were the first classes of the morning, so there weren’t too many people in them. I was glad to take the class and to get corrections from these people who don’t see me every day. On top of that, it was great getting a compliment on something I never knew if I did correctly or not. Orlando told me to watch as to not overcross in my ronde de jambes when they go back, which I never realized I did, so I was able to really watch and think about controlling it better. He also told me to keep my right shoulder down. I figured it was from the back being crooked, one leg longer thing, but I never really noticed how drastic it is. You can actually see it. I tried thinking about keeping that shoulder down, which is actually kind of difficult. The alignement helps me, but its as though my right shoulder is perpetually shrugged a bit. Working to get it even was actually a bit uncomfortable, so I’m not sure if it’s something I should actively attempt to fix or if that would make things worse.
I wish I knew if this could or would ever be fixed or if this is something I just have to deal with the rest of forever. Or even what the heck caused it. All of these things seem to still be up in the air.
There were moments I felt sort of stupid in his class, but I tried to just let it roll off my shoulders. I felt awkward and got a bit embarrassed, but as long as you play it off no one seems to remember. So, whatever.
It was a great class.

Mel’s class was a little more on the advanced side, which I appreciated. She had us do a lot of direction changes, which threw everyone off a bit, but once I got the hang of it, I got it. I struggled a bit in this class, but I think my brain was a bit off for handling it. Still, I tried, and I liked it. I only did barre in her class since I did the full thing in Orlando’s–jumps and all–and my knee was over it. I’m hoping removing the fluid will help and that we can get that done soon. Why is my body so complicated?
I took pictures of the rest of the class, and watching helped solidify the combinations that I struggled with, so that was nice. There were a few things I wanted to work on at home if I can remember them. Maddie came to this class, which made me really happy to have someone from my studio there with me. 🙂

Overall, the event ran really smoothly. I brought Jilissa the “Leslie treatment” (A big Fiji water and a bag of Reese’s) and she hugged me so tight, which was cool. I love getting to help out (we got staff shirts this year!) and knowing that Jilissa can breathe a little easier knowing she can leave me to handle things when she has to be somewhere else makes me feel really good. I’m glad I wasn’t in the way.

At the beginning of the Gala, Jilissa and some others came out and greeted everyone as well as thanking the people who made it possible. She had the choreographers stand up and I saw Ms. Lori was there!! I was so excited I could literally feel my heart getting lighter. Jilissa kept looking in my direction while she spoke to where I wondered if she could actually see me. I tried to keep my face pleasant and encouraging to help give a good audience vibe when she then asks me and the other volunteers to stand up. (By name. She thanked me by name. In front of everyone.) I was in the third row from front so I don’t know who else was there. I didn’t know what to do with my hands or anything, and never really know how to handle those sort of things, but she’s never done that before. Even before that, she seemed really grateful to have me there. It was nice, especially considering she had plenty of people helping without me. Then to have her personally thank me, it was just so nice of her. I love Jilissa so much and have a great respect for her.

At intermission, I was able to go and say hi to Ms Lori before she left back for Austin. She asked about all the girls and told me to send her love and asked about Nutcracker. She was so excited to hear I was Rat Queen, which meant the world to me. She is truly a wonderful person, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have her in my life, even when she’s far away.
Ms. Munro was sitting next to her and introduced me to a man with her. She then went on to tell him how helpful I was and how much the younger ones love me and all these other really kind things. I’m standing there like, what? compliments? what is life? what do I do with my face? Do I say thank you? Here, have a sarcastic comment because I don’t know what else to do. And it was really nice.

I’m thoroughly exhausted, but my heart is full. I was sad to see this Bailando end. I got to see Abby and met some new friends from Concert Ballet, Frances and Clara, who are both going to be Clara in their Nutcracker. If I don’t have rehearsal I’m going to go see it. 🙂

Here’s a few pictures from the weekend!

Dance Au Deum

Ugh, I love this so much

Jennifer Mabus’ class

My new friends! 

Islaaaaa!

And sweet Lindsey

This piece was done to a strobe light and it was incredible

Misha is goals

MARI YOUR FACE SLAYS ME

Jessica, my fellow Rat Queen! This was her first piece to choreograph herself and she got great critiques! I’m so proud 🙂
I love watching my friends dance. I’m not one to really cry, but if I did it would make me cry. Even without tears, seeing them moves me.