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.)


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.

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.

Week two.

Tropical Storm Bill has been threatening the area the past couple days. I wore my glasses to work in case I got stuck here due to terrible rains, but brought my ballet clothes in hopes it would be typical and go past us.

I was right.

This resulted in me doing my first ever ballet class while wearing glasses.
I walked in and the receptionist didn’t recognize me. Granted, my hair was also down and it’s short which people still aren’t used to. A couple of my babies were in the lobby, and Cheyenne walked in shortly after I got there. I hadn’t seen her since recital so I was really glad she was there. I got to talk with her Mom and little sister while she took the tap class before both of our ballet classes. We’re in different levels, so I don’t get to dance with her, but it was just great to see her and her family. Her mom has to be one of the nicest and most encouraging people I have encountered. Yesterday, Mrs. Rowland and I were talking about parents and their support and how important it is. I get that I’m an adult and my parents may not understand why I dance and they may not particularly care to go to all of my shows, but it has taken me some time to really come to terms with this. I also told her about why Mom took me out in the first place when I was younger, even though Mom doesn’t remember it the way I do. (that happens?) She was so incredibly supportive of me and told me they would be at every show I’m in. And I know she means it.
And during class, I looked at the two-way mirror and I saw here there with the other moms, watching me. And it just meant more than I thought it would. I didn’t think I needed anyone, thought I was fine going at this by myself, and I am. No one technically needs other people. But really, you do. To make life enjoyable and to take some of the strain away, you need people. Sometimes this can be life or death and you think you’re okay and you can get through it alone and then next thing you know you’re in your head and no one can pull you out or tell you that what you think isn’t how it is and you forget that things are better than you see them right now.
You need people.
The more people I find I have, the more my heart really explodes.
I have dance friends that love and care about me.
I have older dance friends to look up to.
I have younger dance friends to encourage
And the thing with encouraging younger dance friends, is they encourage you right back. You instill that in them, you’re planting a seed, and that seed turns into a flower right when you need it most.
(Like yesterday when I was really sucking at trying doubles and Ms. Munro was watching me on it and I managed to almost get a good one and one of the girls had been watching me and she made a point to mention that it looked good after. She didn’t have to do that. Such a kind soul.)

Ms. Munro taught our class, so I was a little nervous. My back was hurting and I was wanting to implement what Abby had shown me Thursday but felt the pressure of having Ms. Munro in there. I want to prove myself to her. I want to show her that I’m improving and good enough to do these things I aspire to. I want to hold up the reputation I developed during Oz.
We did this thing at the barre where we lunged forward and did a port de bra forward and then changed the arms for back. She said, “Come on, you’re doing Swan Lake next year!”
Challenge Accepted.
(I was a little surprised she said it in this class, because most of these girls are younger and wouldn’t be able to be in the core more than likely. But oh well.)
So I determined to dance it, not just go through the motions. To show her that I can do this, even when it’s just at the barre. I want to make her notice me. I want to show her I can do this.
We do the combination, and she walks around the room, watching and correcting. She gets to me right when we do the “Swan Lake part” and says, “Good, Emilee! That’s it!”
*drops mic*

No just kidding, but it was still great. There were things that she would tell us to do and the class as a whole struggled so she would work on it until we got it; she wouldn’t move on with it being mediocre. (Thank God.) And every time she watched us each separately, when she came to me she had no corrections. I was doing it correctly. There were a few corrections during class, but nothing trivial.
She had me trying doubles, and working with me getting more comfortable in them. By the end, I had two revolutions and can build from there. She had me working on balance and control. She kept correcting my Third Position arms because I have a tendency to make them wonky. She complimented me a lot, and the group of three I ended up in was with the other two adults in the class. At one point when we finished a combination across the floor that the class seemed to find difficult, she said, “Maybe it just comes with maturity!” because we were the only ones that seemed to get it right.

She also taught our pointe class, which she used to teach us a variation. We learned a doll variation from Coppelia, which I have yet to see, but I recognized elements of from the doll scene we do in our Nutcracker. (which is my favorite.) It was a simple and really fun variation which involved characterization, so of course I had a blast with it.
We had to adjust the beginning part since we didn’t have props. We figured out a way to do it and Ms. Munro couldn’t seem to remember how to do it, so while running it she literally just said, “Just watch Emilee!” after she kept messing it up. (Knowing it one way for so long, then mixing it up, it must be difficult.)

I used a trick Elizabeth told me about, and that I think I remember seeing Lillian use, of stuffing the empty space from my gimpy toes with paper towels. And, wouldn’t you know, it helped. My toes still hurt, but not blinding pain like last time. We also didn’t dance as much, but I was in my shoes the same amount of time and I think that would make some sort of a difference. I’m hopeful.
So I was able to do the variation fairly decently. Except for this really quick part that no one could do well so I just did it on demi. It was a lot of fun.

I was able to do the pique attitude’s and different things and feel stable doing them, which made me really happy and hopeful. All in all, I left the class feeling really good. Maybe all isn’t lost.
I’m keeping up well and improving at a good rate. I’m able to execute the moves properly for where I should be. I’m not cowering away from challenges. And with Abby’s privates, I should be able to continue to improve.

Yesterday was a good day.