Prove it.

It’s funny hearing people tell me how they read my blog and the varying degree of addiction it causes them. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it, let alone understand why people actually enjoy reading such nonsense. Nonetheless, I still write this nonsense. So I guess there’s that.

(Hi, y’all, glad to have ya!)

Before class started yesterday, I leaned over to two of my friends and said, “let’s treat this like an audition and see what happens.” If you remember my previous post, Ms. Munro made a comment that we all do so well at auditions and then slack off in class. So I’ve been running an experiment of what would happen if I took her advice.

The results have been astronomical (Imagine that!) and yesterday seemed to be the best thus far. Not only was I getting corrections, I was getting compliments. And not just ones I’ve heard before, but new ones on things I’ve been really working on. Mrs Alex said my arms were light and that I presented correctly and did the arm transitions well. I even got one by name. We were doing a combination at the barre where we did slow develope’s and ended with a tendu in fondu. (I think. Somethings like that.) it was a nice, slow, even tempo combo and felt really good to do. Everything seemed to click so I really did my best to do everything I’ve remembered being taught as well as implementing the corrections as she said them–heel forward, turn out from the hip, shoulder down, really present, straight knees, and on and on.

She happened to look at me at a develope to the back and my thigh happened to be lifted the proper was as I did the movement and she said my name when she complimented me. Then after even said my name again and that me and another girl were the ones she saw had it correct. Like. What? It felt so good, I can’t even find words for it.

I feel like I have to work really hard to prove myself. To show that I am capable and able to do what they ask of me. That I am listening to and want their direction. That I take this seriously and want to improve. That this is more than just some recreational thing. That this is something much deeper.

I was talking to one of my dance mom friends about some stuff going on and made the comment, “it’s just a dance, I shouldn’t be so upset about it.” And her reply really hit me.

“It’s not though. You spend as much time there as you do your job. And you are emotionally invested. For you it isn’t just dance.”

That brought so much peace to me. I’m so used to being told that I have to be strong. To suck it up and just get over it. To just take it. So used to it that when I find myself with these real emotions through something like this that it translates into “I must have done something wrong.” That I’m not enough. That I have to be better. That I can’t let them see me cry. And yes, I shouldn’t let it get to me enough that I get emotional in front of everyone. Dramatics are uncalled for. But I have to give myself room to be human. And it’s okay to do such.

Yesterday’s class made me feel like I am doing all I can to prove myself. That they see it. That however this cookie crumbles, I have done all I can. And that is something I can be proud of and that no one can take away from me.


(Hi. Hello. It’s me.)

Swan Lake Casting

I’m not a swan.
I’m cast, but I’m not anything exciting or impressive.
I have many thoughts and feelings towards this, mostly of disappointment and confusion. But I’m trying to put those to the side for this post. (As “Fight Song” decides to come on my Pandora)
I’ll make the most of it, like I do every time. I am the cover for the swans, along with a few other girls, but there’s no guarantee anything will come of that.
I talked to Mrs. Alex about it after class. I asked her what I could have done better. She said it’s just a really intense show with a bunch of pointe work and they really struggled with casting. That my name was heavily debated and thought over. She said she knows nothing she says can really help.
I just want understanding, ya know?
I thought I had proved myself with Oz, and with Nutcracker this year. I thought my hard work in class was being seen. I thought the fact they asked me to come to VI’s meant they saw me. And she said they did. She said they see how much I’ve improved and how hard I work. I just don’t understand.

But it is what it is. What can we do about it now? Nothing.
Take my roles and do the best possible in them.
I’m struggling personally because I let myself get hopeful. I let myself believe my friends when they said I did well and I had it in the bag. Mrs. Alex even said I auditioned well, that she was impressed. She said she saw my en dedan turn when I did do it.
I just wasn’t enough.
And everyone tells me there’s always next time.
Except I don’t know if there is.
I mean, technically we never know. None of us. But really, I’m not getting any younger. There’s only so many things my body will let me do, and time isn’t kind. I’ll never see Swan Lake again in my dancing days.
Next year I’ll get Lilac and Snow, because it’s the next in line. It’s not a challenge. It’s not anything that will take more effort than is expected, or whatever.
I just don’t understand.

I honestly feel like I’m grieving. The loss of this role and this dream. The realization that I’ll realistically never reach some of the things I strive for, that my heart longs for.
Not everything is attainable, no matter how hard you work and try.
And you have to find a way to be okay with that.

Progress and regress.

In our V’s class yesterday, we did barre a little differently.
Typically, we do combinations that are quick or complex. Instead, Mrs. Alex had us do simple combinations with a lot of repetition. She had us focus on proper technique, rather than just trying to get through the combination and move on. I really enjoyed this approach, and I think we all benefited from it. It was great to take the time to really think about what we were doing and how we are to properly execute each movement.

I don’t remember exactly what the entire combination was, but there was one where we ended in a low arabesque on releve. I tend to struggle with this kind of thing–once I’m on releve on one leg, my turn out goes out the window. But as I held this arabesque on my shorter, weaker leg, Mrs. Alex came by and said, “Good, Emilee! Great turn out on that standing leg, nice straight knees, good!”

I think I made a face, because I couldn’t really believe she was actually saying these things to me. I looked down to see what it looked like, then tried to see it in the mirror. It felt right, but I didn’t expect it to look that right. I wasn’t really thinking specifically about achieving these things, as I usually do. I was shocked, and very pleased.

I got frustrated as we moved to the center and en dedan turns were there. I wanted to try them, but it just didn’t work. I didn’t know if I psyched myself out, or what. When we were going through, working on recital, there were a few moments when I was away from the others, so I tried them. Sure enough, I couldn’t get up. So I held the barre and tried the preparation. Okay, I could do that. So I tried the preparation away from the barre. I can do that. I tried the turn, nope.
I’m not sure if it’s because these shoes are already dead, or if it’s something else, but the struggle is real. I put it on the back burner, knowing at least I can do the preparation and work on it from there, and that I’m getting around in my pirouettes now. Most of the time at least. They could still use work, but that’s what class is for.
We did a few chaines, too, which weren’t as good as I was hoping, but somewhat better than before.
I’ll take it.

Cast lists should be out soon. I wish I could see it for myself without anyone telling me and no one watching me. This won’t happen. So whatever. It’s possible they could even come out today when I don’t have class, so we’ll see.

Stay tuned!

Swan Lake Auditions

Swan Lake auditions are now behind us.
(we survived, thank God.)

Friday night, Annika and I stayed at the Munro studio after the class I assist to work on a project she has for school, as well as a few things for auditions. She helped me with my chaines and jetes and the darn tombe, coupe, jete which I despise. Most of what I have to work on will take thought and time. She helped me get the feel, which is the biggest hurdle.

Saturday began back at the Munro studio to work the front desk during classes before my audition since everyone else was downtown for the first audition group. I think it ended up being good for me, so I wasn’t just sitting in my house drowning in nerves, waiting for it to be late enough for me to justify being early.
(The struggle is real)
We got there, registered, got our audition numbers, and the madness began.

We did a quick barre in our number order, then put on pointe shoes immediately for the rest of the two hours we had for the audition. Thankfully, I wasn’t in the first group, but I don’t know if that was really a good thing. Our group was pretty level in ability, which meant that there wasn’t really any advanced girls, which seemed to be what it was favoring. (I mean, obviously, it’s Swan Lake.) I think of all the groups, we probably looked to be the least together and able, but that’s going up against some hard hitters, so I don’t think it really worked too much against us as a whole.
There were a few things that were out of my depths, and even things they would have understood had I not tried. And I didn’t think I was going to on two specific things. One was really overwhelming for me in the moment and I got permission to sit it out, which was tough for me to even ask. But I was near tears and knew I was capable of the different steps, my brain just wasn’t wrapping around putting them together for some reason. But, thankfully, Mari is a doll and took a second to help me understand what was happening and I did it on demi-pointe to at least put forth effort. The other part was at the end and my toes were so dead I was afraid to try what they were asking would make me roll my ankle. (Keeping in mind the last time I rolled my ankle was when I pushed it at the end of an audition.) So instead of sitting it out all together, I did it on demi-pointe as well and didn’t beat myself over it.

We started with the different variations. They were pretty fun and actually not excruciatingly difficult. I mean, I couldn’t up and perform them right then and there, but I know I could learn them and be capable of doing them, which left me feeling really good. We had some bits that had turns I couldn’t do, which was really frustrating for me personally. I still tried, and did demi-pointe if I couldn’t manage, but it was definitely frustrating to be incapable when I know I should be able to do it. They were in two different variations, and the very last one, I said, “Screw it, I can’t do it, just do everything else well” and made myself include the sous-sous after the turn in that. Low and behold, the very last time, I got the turn. It was when we repeated it a second time, so I had just done the sous-sous and went in to do the turn again and managed to do it. So I left that segment feeling pretty okay.
 I started hearing complaints that they were saving the swan parts for last, in a “how dare they, what are they thinking?” kind of way, but really it made sense. Swans takes a ton of endurance, and if you can’t do it at the end of audition, there’s no way you’ll make it through performing. We did a core bit where you had your leg in arabesque (really Giselle-y) then switched to three brushes forward, then switched legs, and back to the brushes. If that makes sense. It had a lot of specific head direction, and was required to have your leg at least 90 degrees (consistently) as well as keeping in time with the people in front of you. I actually found this quite fun, and my knee held up for it pretty well. I know I have vast room for improvement, but the point of audition is to show you’re capable where you are, not that you’re perfect.
We then broke into groups of four based on height and did the first part of cygnets.
Thankfully, I’m friends with girls my height, so it was fun to get to do this bit with them. I knew I wasn’t able to do it all, especially with all the pointe work it required and the speed it required it, but I didn’t want to hold them back because of my inabilities. I managed to be able to do what I was able to do well, and the things I wasn’t as good at, I was able to maintain the same height as the other girls as to not throw them off. In the end it was fun! And didn’t leave me hating myself after, so that was nice.

Overall, we survived. And I think it’s safe to say this is the best I’ve felt after an audition. I’m a bit nervous, but I know I did my best and showed them what I’m capable of. I’m not really worried.
Regardless, I’m very excited to be a part. I’m grateful to have wonderful friends by my side throughout this entire process, and excited for this season ahead. I know it’s going to be long, exhausting, and slightly overwhelming trying to balance this, recital, and work but I also know I will be sad when it is all overwith. This is what makes me feel alive.

For the first time in a long time, I love my life. I love everything about it. I wake up and don’t dread anything. There’s stress and complications and things that aren’t perfect, but it makes sense. It has a reason. I’m not afraid of being kicked, so to speak, for no reason or nervous at what the world may throw at me.
I have beautiful people in my life that make the things that aren’t perfect more bearable. I’ll have insurance again soon and hopefully can get back to the doctor to maybe run more tests to see what certain foods are hating me. I’m not afraid of that either, which is nice. I like where I am, and I’m so grateful to get to feel this way.

(post Swan Lake audition)
I missed my friends so much that I stayed for festival rehearsal even though I didn’t have to be there. I love them, and I love getting to be in this environment and among these people.

(Mrs. Alex watching the run through. She’s so incredibly gorgeous it kills me. How she stands there, so poised, then nonchalantly busts out these complex moves with such grace. Gah, I love her. She’s a wonderful human being. I love her heart and how she wants to see us succeed.)

Post Audition polaroid.

Classes

Whatever my stomach is doing, it’s sure having a good time.
I was only able to make it through the first part of class yesterday. I wanted to quit before the first part was over, but wouldn’t let myself. I knew if I could just make it through, I could sit out the second part, and I would be okay. I probably could have pushed it and done the second part, but I didn’t want to do anything halfway. I’d rather watch and really gain something than do a mediocre attempt at something I really need to work full out on.
Mrs. Alex understood, and told me if I wanted I could go home even. I told her I’d like to watch and get whatever in I could that way. I mean, I wanted to go home, but that doesn’t help me at all. And I was there already.
We ended up working on recital the last bit of class, so I was really glad I stayed. Especially with how many classes I’ll miss with tax season coming up. I’m really nervous about how all of that will work out, but I’m trying not to dwell on it too much. I’ve told most of my teachers, and they say I’m the least of their worries. So that’s nice at least. They’re confident I’ll be able to pick it up and be just fine. I have friends in the class that have said they’d help me learn what I missed as well, so that’s wonderful.

It was a bit hard focusing during that last bit of class. I was at the back and the farthest from Mrs. Alex, and everyone was excited about the music and talking or getting really distracted. I was trying to learn the part she was showing us, while having to do it opposite of what I’m seeing, all through the noise and distraction and people getting in the way of me seeing her. I didn’t lose my mind, but near about. I love this class, but sometimes it gets difficult with how distracting some of the older ones can be. Like, cool, we get it. You’re good. You don’t have to have all that we do, but be considerate that this is our class, not yours.

Recital should be fun. There’s so many people. Which makes it complicated. But that’s not really their choice, and I think it’ll be nice how it’s going so far.

Talks of Swan Lake are rampant through the studio. I’m trying to make a point to really use my upper body to show get me in their head before auditions. It seems to be at least doing something, because Mrs. Alex complimented me at one point by name. I got other corrections as well, which was nice. I wasn’t expecting the one when she said my name, and hardly realized it as it was. It was a good confirmation that I was doing what I needed to be doing so I can store that away in my database that what that felt like looks like what they want. I’m nervous. I just want to get it over with, but at the same time, I don’t want to do it. I will, but thinking of it has me all sorts of jittery. I just really hope I can keep a clear head all throughout. That I don’t get anxious or panicky when I see new things.

Here’s to hoping.

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!

Lovely Things

Just a post of some things that have happened this week that I want to remember.

  • Sitting on the floor trying to untangle my yarn to continue to crochet. One of the younger dancers strikes an interest. I show her the stitch and she picks it up immediately
  • Another younger dancer tells me she’s good at untying knots and asks if I would like her help. Turns out she was extremely good at untying knots and got me over the hurdle I was at for a while. The two worked on different sections to master most of the knot.
  • Ayla balling up the other end of the yarn to help avoid knots and get more of the giant knot undone.
  • One of the mom’s saying to me, “You’re a person who always does what they say they’re going to do.” I wish I could remember what we were talking about, but this made me feel like I was the type of person worth being. This is a good feeling
  • Joss being absolutely silly and reminding me of myself at her age.
  • Mrs. Julie saying I am more than welcome to do the VI’s ballet recital piece if I would like to. (The costume is epic. I am so excited.) (Also, I’ll be doing it on flat so I’m more comfortable. She is all for it.)
  • Seeing Ms. Nancy for the first time in 3 weeks
  • Hugging her. (she cried.)
  • Reese remember who Cheyanne and I are, that we played cars, and asking to play with us again.
  • Reese and Cheyanne walking on my back. (There is a polaroid. I’ll post if I can.)
  • Reese jumping up and down when she says our names. (Oh my gosh melt.)
  • Reese cuddling up as I read her a book, leaving before it was finished, but finishing it anyway as I had a good sized group of advanced dancers around me listening.
  • A butterfly named Arthur.
  • Ileana telling me with wide eyes, “You did so good on Monday!! I was so proud like, “aww, go Emilee!” This means a lot since Monday’s lyrical class is new to me, and also the type of class I deep down want to be able to do. 
  • Catherine’s genuine smile and laugh when something is funny or she’s really excited.
  • Mariela being the genuine joy and support that she is. To say I value having her in my life is a vast understatement. 
  • Jazz hands.
  • Walking into the office and having to walk through Mia’s class. I wait until they finish the phrase and try to be invisible, as per usual, when I hear, “*gasp* it’s Ms. Emilee!” and turn to see Ayla with a giant smile on her face. I snuck a wave and snuck into the office, my heart officially a puddle.
  • Everything about the entire Rowland family.
  • Seeing Judy channel all the SYTYCD dancers in Tap class, then take a correction from the teacher and completely nail it.
  • Mariela telling me, “When you lifted it, oh my gosh, it was beautiful.” (After being corrected. Oops I was doing tendus instead of degages.)
  • Elizabeth and Abby always being there with advice and encouragement be it about pointe shoes, sore muscles, or problems in my personal life. Especially when it includes videos of cats or corgis.
  • My baby dancers (okay, they’re not babies at all. But they’re my babies, you understand) hugging me and high fiving and just generally loving the fact that I’m there.
  • Having such understanding and supportive teachers to learn from and help me to grow. 
  • Having such caring friends in class, looking out for me and helping me when I need it.
  • Getting to use the smaller studio on my own after ballet
  • Knowing, at the end of the day, even though the struggles seem insurmountable, I’m in a great place that wants nothing more than to see me succeed.

Personal.

I’ve been having a pretty rough time in some things in my personal life, which hasn’t had too much of an effect on dance, thankfully, but yesterday took the cake.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be in the studio I am.
I had a panic attack during the day, and then the entire drive to the studio. (Hi, being real with y’all.) It was so bad that I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit in the foyer with the kids without questions. I couldn’t act happy to get through like I usually do. I couldn’t fake this. I was too broken. Instead, I went and sat in the office. I walked in and Ms. Munro and Mrs. Alex were there. I told them I just wanted to hide out until class and they looked concerned. They asked what happened and I couldn’t speak because the tears wouldn’t go away from my throat and I had to just sit there for a second. I managed to get it out and cried a little and told Mrs. Alex if I just randomly broke down in her class this was why.

I considered not going to dance at all, but I knew I wanted to be there. This is the day I really needed to go. I wanted to pound my feet into the floor rhythmically, and tap was the perfect solution to that. I was able to be composed enough to play it off (well enough at least) in tap and having the moves to focus on was a great distraction. We worked on this one thing that’s a Moxie Ford with an extra beat. I didn’t it once, and then couldn’t seem to get it again. If I thought about it, I couldn’t do it. It was frustrating. I realized I was on the brink of another panic attack, I guess perpetually, so I had to calm myself down without anyone knowing. Thankfully, it’s tap class, so stomping into the ground is encouraged. Throughout the class I started sort of grasping the concept of the extra step, but I still can’t seem to connect it. I’ll get it eventually. I really want to get better at tap. I like it. I wish I had more time outside of class to work on stuff to improve.

Mrs. Alex’s class went well. Barre felt really good, even if it didn’t at the time. Does that make sense? She pushed us out of our comfort zone, which was great. She showed me how to make my arms more fluid, which I really appreciate because I’ve wondered what’s the correct way to do it versus which will make my arms look lazy and flat. I’m really gonna be working on implementing that.
My toes hurt in pointe, but part of it was that I had worked them so much the day before and they were still a bit raw. Another part was that I put that hole in my toe pad, so they were almost irrelevant. (Except for the space they take up in the shoe that I need.) I have new toe pads waiting for me in the mail, so I should be okay by next class. (If I have time to sew my shoes.)
I struggled across the floor. We did things in center that were new and semi-difficult, and I was able to attempt them, so that was nice. I didn’t do it full out since I’m not 100% sure how okay my knee is right now, but I grasped the concept and I tried. Across the floor I started to feel overwhelmed again. Mrs. Alex was kind and didn’t call me out on it or anything. I really appreciated Adrienne. Everyone else was either struggling just as much, or working on it themselves or whatever. There was one part that was simple, yet I couldn’t grasp it. I didn’t even mark it because I didn’t understand it so I watched to try and figure it out. I was considering not even trying it. Adrienne figured out how to do it, then took the time to come back and explain it to me. She gave me the boost I needed to feel confident enough to try it. She has no idea how much I appreciate that. (And because I’m a sensitive mess right now, I’m crying just remembering her kindness.) (so that’s cute.)
The last thing we did across the floor, I just couldn’t get. It was simple enough, but a bit too fast for me. It involved pique turns, which I had worked on the day before, but knew I wasn’t fast enough for what it required. I tried it to the right, but to the left I didn’t. I took off my shoes. I almost panicked after the time I did try, because I’m all on edge and all, so I went into the corner and just tried to breathe. A few of the girls asked if I was okay, and I just nodded. I couldn’t hid it. But I know I’ll be okay eventually.

Mrs. Rowland told me that I looked really beautiful in class today. Which shocked me with how rough I was feeling. But I appreciate her words. And her constant support. I love that whole family.

I can’t express how much I appreciate the kindness of my peers. They don’t have to be nice to me. They can leave me to figure things out for myself if they wanted. A lot of dancers would. A lot of dance teachers wouldn’t let you sit and cry in the office about things no one has control over. Mine are patient with me, and understanding. They don’t look down on me because I’m overwhelmed, they support me.

I wish I had taken a picture on my phone of the polaroid from last night. It’s golden.

I’m skipping dance tonight. One of the dance mom’s asked me to take her daughter to So You Think You Can Dance in San Antonio since she had surgery recently and can’t. I’m really excited. I didn’t think I’d get to go again, but it worked out. I’ll get home late and more than likely be dead tired, but it’ll be worth it. Plus to get to hang out with Judy will be really fun.

So if you’re the praying type, please be praying for me. I trust God completely and I know whatever is ahead for me is well worth what I’m going through now. I just need to be able to get through it.

Empty studio

Usually on Tuesdays, I’m only at the studio until about 7pm. This is considered early for me, as most of my classes start at 7 and go til 9. (I get there at 5 because it’s just easier than going home, which is far away. And traffic sucks.) Last night, however, I didn’t leave until after 9.

On Monday, Ms. Munro came up to me during barre and asked what time I could get here the next day. She had a board meeting and no one to man the desk after she left. I told her my class was at 6, but I get here at 5 and I can do it if she’d like. She said not to skip the class (haha) but if I could be there it’d be great. I got there, answered the phones, and manned the desk until Julie’s class started.
There were only 10 people in class, which if I remember correctly was about typical of the 6s last year. The kicker? There’s 30+ people on the roll list.

I was able to do yesterday’s class without my knee brace. I took it easy on the fondus, but I really wanted to at least attempt them so I can get used to it and find my boundaries. I’ve noticed if I work hard to hold my hips square, it doesn’t hurt my knee as much. I also noticed yesterday that it looks as though my shin bone is what’s longer on the right leg. Weird, huh?

Class felt good. It wasn’t too hard, but just enough of a challenge. I noticed myself getting better and stronger when it comes to doing fast frappe’s or degage’s or tondue’s. I still have a lot to work on, but the improvement is nice.

After the hour of barre I stay for, I went back into the office. Andie came in and we looked through recital costumes for her three classes she has. It was quite fun. Looking through all the different options and playing around with music tracks and laughing at the same costume that keeps popping up everywhere. The phone rang a couple times while I was there, but none of the inquiries were complex, so that was nice.

Mia’s class in the pink studio ended at 7:45. Julie had her Jazz class at 7:45 until 8:45.
This got me to thinking.
I could go home, or I could be the one to do all the closing up responsibilities and in the meantime, use the open studio to work on my weaker, shorter leg in my pointe shoes.
(guess which one I chose.)

There’s a portable phone, so I took it with me. No one was in the foyer, no one was there to potentially decide to see what I was doing in the studio. (granted there are curtains I could draw if I wanted. I just forget about them.) I put on some music and just let it play. Starting at the barre, working on doing proper plies and finding how difficult it is to releve en pointe when one leg is shorter and gets there sooner. I did plie releves on my shorter, weaker leg, while holding on to the barre. I did it with the longer, stronger leg as well to see the difference in the two. The shorter leg is impossible to do without the barre, the longer leg is possible but still a bit difficult. (Forget trying to releve without a plie.)
In class on Monday, I realized how much I’ve been struggling to do proper pique turns. They aren’t hard, but I can’t seem to go in a straight line, and I want to make sure I’m plieing enough as well as spotting and holding my arms correctly and having proper alignment and straight knees. I wanted to get more fluid in these, so I can do them quicker as was required in Monday’s V’s class that I struggled with.

My left side is impossible to go straight when turning. I worked and worked and worked on it, trying to make sure everything was being executed exactly as it is supposed to be. It was rough.
I worked on my right side, and noticed I didn’t get on my box all the way. I do for the most part on my left side, but the right is lacking. So I worked on this side for a while, trying to figure out why that was happening and what I could do to improve. I did pique passe’s across the floor to get the proper feel of it as well as placement and staying in a line. I kept switching off between sides, working on this and that. After about 20 minutes, I went back to the barre for more plies and releves. I did them really slowly to get a good feel for the motion and make sure I was rolling through correctly, as well as getting a good, deep plie.
I stretched a bit after and laid there, seeing a cool angle of my pointe shoes, hahaha.

Don’t let the smirk fool you, I’m dead inside.
(But the good kind, ya know.)
(PS. Shirt is from an etsy shop run by dancers. TurningPointeApparel. So great)
I took off my shoes in the office, but not before I got my polaroid of the day from that fun angle of my shoes. Not sure if it came out well or not, I haven’t seen it. hah.
My pinkie toe on my left food is doing this fun thing where it rubs the skin off, kinda, so that’s cute.
Then I noticed that I managed to do this.
That would be a hole in my toe pads.
(thankfully new ones are in the mail)
I watched bits of the Jazz class. Seeing them dance the way they did make me feel all sorts of things. Mainly, that I never want to stop dancing. I want to feel how they must feel while dancing. I want to improve to get to that level.

🙂
He’s a blurry one of my shoes. Ribbons out and all. 

Here’s my feet with Mrs. Alex’s when we were manning the desk. Hehe.
Lalalalalala this is my post and this is the end of it.

World Ballet Day

I’m currently watching the portion of the live stream from The National Ballet of Canada.
They are doing their class warm up. So far, it’s fairly simple–all things I am more than capable of doing. It’s quite a large class, and as they pan from side to side, you see many variations of the same movement.
Plie, plie, grande plie, cambre, and 2nd. repeat. 4th, 5th.
Some people cambre forward in 1st, some cambre forward in 5th. Some back. You see some do different flexes and points at different times, or work and isolate specific muscles. You see some stretch different muscles than others, and some put their arms in 5th while most are in 1st, etc.
I thought of class last night with Mrs. Alex. We did this combination that ended in a ponche for our balance. It was on flat, and the arms were a little different. She made a comment that she thinks we can get our legs higher, and had us look in the mirror to see how high our legs actually were compared to what we thought they were. She told us, “I want you to just look at your leg. Not anyone else’s, just yours. I mean it! Don’t look at anyone else! It’s not about comparing yourself to other people.”
It’s about doing what we need, what’s best for us. It doesn’t matter how great or not-so-great the person next to us is. That is irrelevant. You can’t do anything about them. All you can do is work harder where you are with what you have.
If you watch the professionals, you’ll see that all of them aren’t the same, either. They do what they are capable of. If you’re truly a great dancer, no one will even notice if your leg isn’t up to your ear or whatever your neighbor can do that you can’t.

What I love about seeing this company, is you see them dancing for themselves. You can see it in them that they aren’t worried about the person next to them. You don’t see fear, you don’t see insecurity. You see them in their element. You see how seriously they take their art form. There’s something that they fully encompass that sets them apart, and is visible.
That’s what we want to achieve. To focus solely on ourselves and our own improvement. To become so fluid with the people around us that corps work is flawless. To accomplish that musicality.

That’s one of the most beautiful and enticing thing (at least for me) about learning the art of ballet.
We are all working towards the same goal. We learn these same moves in a language that is universal and timeless. It makes you part of a special kind of family, connects you to seeming strangers in a bond that can’t be explained.

I have made some of the most wonderful and cherished friends through ballet, and even more through World Ballet Day. It’s incredible. And really, there are no words to describe it.

Just love.

Here are a few screen grabs from the National Ballet of Canada.
I have more on my phone from The Royal Ballet that I’ll add when they back up and I can access them.
🙂