Photo day 

Here’s some pictures from photo day yesterday


  
  

  
  

  
  
  
  
  
  
One of the dear moms asked if the covers could take pictures just to have. Mrs Alex was gracious enough to offer her time and we were able to. It was fun to flip around and goof off with these girls. I love them. They make it fun.
I have lots of thoughts and feelings, but I don’t think it necessary to share them here. So I shall leave you with these pictures and keep truckin’.

 

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.)

Daily Auditions

During warmup at rehearsal on Saturday, Ms. Munro made a comment.

She said that during auditions, we really present and give our all and look our best, yet when we have class and rehearsals, we do less than that. She said we should do our audition-best all the time. Pushing our limits and working hard every class is how we will improve.
These words were mostly met with grumbled excuses of how 10am is so early for a Saturday and glazed eyes spacing out on who knows what. 
But I took that.
I thought of the girls that seem to get every role.
Of course, they’re talented, but so are these ones that get overlooked. What’s the difference?
I watched during rehearsal, and saw how those were the girls smiling through rehearsal–treating it like a performance. I know this isn’t always easy, especially in the learning process. But it is possible to give a little more to try and make it as much of a show as you can. 
To treat it like an audition.
So I decided I will do just that.
From now on, ever class, every rehearsal is an audition.
I’m gonna try and keep my brain clear, so I don’t freak out. I’m going to tell myself I can do these things. I’m going to work even harder outside of the class room. I’m going to do everything I can to show them I want this; to better myself.
Yesterday’s class is the one day I can get away with slacking off, but I didn’t. I determined to implement this immediately.There were moments I faltered, but I tried to use every opportunity to add in extra and really give my all. Of course, there are limitations–especially for me. But I worked around the limitations, pushing them as far as I could, to get the most out of class possible.
I found myself sweating complete buckets, but also doing things I typically can’t do and trying things that would scare me. I made it through combinations I usually struggle with and even saw improvements on some of my steps, once even getting a “Good!” from the teacher who doesn’t really compliment. 
I was even able to do an en dedan turn on my bad side, though that shoe felt better for some reason, making risk a little less scary. Curious to explore to find out why.
A humorous part of class was when we did a combination across the floor. I was doing pretty alright until it got to chaines. I tried on the first side, and honestly tried on the second side, until–ya know–I forgot my left leg is shorter and had my hips squared which meant the floor wasn’t where I expected it to be and it felt like when you miss a step walking down stairs. Pretty hilarious, especially since I didn’t get hurt. Hehe
I had a friend text me after class saying that I looked really good in class yesterday. Coming from her, I know she means it, which means so much to me, and fuels my fire even more.
(Hannah’s feet on Saturday)

Beginnings

It is clear that learning a part as complex as the Swan corps is way more difficult as a cover than as an actual swan. I sometimes find myself wondering if the girls know how lucky they truly are to have their place set and sure, not having to worry about what the other groups are doing.
I was Abarrane for part of the rehearsal Saturday since she had ACT testing in the morning. It wasn’t too difficult, since she was the opposite of Adrienne, except for the bits I couldn’t remember. Oops.
But that’s okay. We got it fixed and worked out and all is well.
When Abarrane got there, I tried to watch for the people I know will be out coming up, and it got complicated. They are each something different. Then I come to the realization that even being this proactive won’t guarantee I’ll get the spot if someone drops. It could be a matter of height. These other covers are dedicated to learning it as well.

Instead of being overcome by bitterness, fear, and jealousy, I approached the girls with an idea: Let’s for some kind of group as the covers to make sure we enjoy this instead of just sitting on the sidelines sad. “Let’s be so cool the other girls wished they were us.” Haha.
Catherine and Maddie came up with a clever name–The Ugly Ducklings.
In the story, the ugly duckling tries so hard to be like the swans he sees, but just can’t be. (Until he grows up and realizes he was a wan all along, just needed a little growth.)
We want to make shirts. It’s gonna be great.
The girls are excited about it, as am I. We even have a fun little hand sign thing.
It still stings a bit to not be a swan. Seeing and hearing the other girls get so excited for costume fittings and photo day and all, knowing I just have to watch from the sidelines again. But it is what it is. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Instead, I had Ms. Heidi look at my shoes, and asked her what she thought. I’ve been told I don’t pull out of my shoe, but I don’t know what else to do to be better about that. She was able to explain what I need to think about, and give me some things to try at home to help me get better. It’ll take time, but if I start now it’ll be very beneficial.

In her Jazz/Lyrical class, we had a new girl, Valerie. She paired her with me since my partner wasn’t there to work on recital. I taught her our bit and we did it side by side instead of mirrored. I had no idea that the only dance training she had was dance class in high school. She took the adult ballet and said it was really fast, but she wanted to dance so she’s gonna stick with it. She really liked the Lyrical class, which was good. She picked things up really well and was able to just go with it, even though she didn’t know what half the stuff was. I was really impressed. She told me how she wished she would have started dancing younger, but was excited to start now. She’s from Austin, and down here for school. She seems like a great person, and it was fun to actually have someone in the class understand my cultural references from when I was a kid. (Lookin’ at you, Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century.)
Valerie is going to do recital, so Heidi was trying to think of how to work with the new numbers. She might have Valerie take my spot, and teach me a new thing entirely, thinking it may be easier to learn since I won’t be here a lot from work coming up. Which is exciting, but also a bit nerve wracking.

It was refreshing having Valerie in class. It reminded me of what I felt when I first started–that bit that can get lost in all the striving and stress. I still have a ways to go, and loads to learn, but I’ve come so far from that first anxiety-ridden day. And it’s not all about hitting one certain goal, it’s about the process. It’s about every day, working hard–not just one show or role. It’s about being better today than I was yesterday. If I can do that, I am successful.

(Repeat to myself when I’m starting to feel the sting again.)

Retrospect

Yesterday, a friend I’ve known since Instep made a comment.
She said she was talking to a girl who was part of her dance group at the local university (I took pictures of them back when they were still in school) around Nutcracker and how impressed she was when she told her I was the Rat Queen.
You see, these girls knew me when I was first starting out.
They were in those classes where everything was hard and I was struggling.
To hear that she saw the improvement and was impressed, and even proud, made me feel so good.

I was looking at my blog today, and saw how they auto-filter spam comments, so decided to look through and see if anything exciting showed up.
Turns out I had a new comment from a post in September that I had somehow missed.

And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
I went back to the post and re-read it. Of course, it was the one where I really stopped to remember how far I had come in the last four years. As much as I hate to accept that this is only as far as I am, I can’t let myself believe that this is nothing.
I was really quite terrible in the beginning, but I kept working on it, and never gave up even when I really wanted to. Something in me wouldn’t let me throw in the towel.

And here I am, finding myself in one of those situations again where throwing in the towel seems easier–less embarrassing.

I couldn’t let myself if I tried.

Even with the thought of “I should just quit,” there is a fear in the back of my mind of the day that will inevitably come when I have to hang up my pointe shoes and stop dancing. I don’t want that day to come. I don’t want to just work and go home. I don’t want to ever not have a studio to go to.
I don’t want to stop dancing.

When favor falls on the opposite side of my fence, and when the bar is just a bit too far from my reach, I have to keep myself going. I’m more than a role or a label or a certain level.

I dance for me.

And really, thank you, dear readers, for your comments of encouragement. They do more for me than I could ever express.

Since I couldn’t find the first picture, here’s a side-by-side of my attitude in September 2014 versus July 2015.

Nutcracker Orchestra Night One

Yesterday was our Orchestra rehearsal and first performance.

It takes some getting used to, having the live orchestra. Some parts end up super slower than you’re used to, and some end up super fast.

There’s something magical about having the orchestra; these two expressive art forms coming together to make a production. It gives you goose bumps.

Rehearsal was sort of rough for me, personally.
The night before was wonderful, but then ended the complete opposite. I was very conflicted–coming off this wonderful high of good friends and memories, then snow balling into this complex mess. I tried to just let it roll off, but it struck a cord and more emotions than I realized I had suppressed all surfaced, leaving me to figure out how to come out of it all and try and sort it.
I tried my best to keep going, but was only semi-successful.
Thankfully, I have wonderful friends that will just let me be and treat me normally until I am normal again, as I saw at the beginning of rehearsal. When I felt the panic rise up in the middle of rehearsal and I couldn’t find the presence of mind to get through the combination, no one asked questions or looked at me too funny. When I couldn’t keep it down anymore and found myself actually feeling all the things I was trying to avoid, I had people there who love me and would just support me, even if I was being super vague. They were so kind and caring and genuine. These are top notch people.

We rehearsed the Sunday show with the orchestra, which meant I did Rat Queen. As soon as I put on the head and was “alone”–safe behind this mask where no one knew what my face was doing–I broke and sobs were unavoidable. I managed to pull it together to dance, but almost missed my cue with my brain all spacey. I felt terrible, because I made it complicated to partner, but Sean pulled through, supported me, and actually made it look to where no one noticed I almost fell. He’s the greatest partner I could have ever asked for.
My shoe fell off again in the jete’s, but that’s okay.

There was a moment when we were on stage for Flowers that I could see out into the audience. There was a little girl I couldn’t recognize watching the Dew Drop Fairy and trying to imitate her movements. Twirling and pointing her foot and swaying, my heart melted. This is why we dance. To make the people feel something that begs them to dance, too.

I wasn’t able to eat enough to avoid getting sick, but thankfully I’m not snow so I was able to run off in enough time while they were rehearsing to get my costume off before I got sick. Victory.

I hung out with Melanie and her sister in the time in between. It was really fun. Low key, calm–my favorite kind. We got back fairly early for show warm up, which was good.

Mrs. Jane stopped me as I walked through the green room.
She gave me a little red box, which I knew upon seeing it what was in it and it took everything in me not to ugly cry.

She made me an ornament to look like the Rat Queen, complete with Rat head. 
I had posted a request, half jockingly, for a Rat Queen ornament, expecting to pay for it but not really because I didn’t know if she would have time to even think about making one. When everyone who ordered their ornaments got one and I hadn’t, I figured she wasn’t able to do it. It’s impossible to find Rat Queen nutcracker things, because most shows don’t have a Queen, just the King. Plus I got a Chinese one last year, so I wanted to keep the tradition. It meant so much to me that she took the time out to think of me and make me this.

Now, I know I’m not the only one she did this for, but she didn’t have to do it for me. It was so very timely and meant the world. I managed to keep the tears from falling while in front of her–with much jumping and distracted humming and laughing–but wasn’t so lucky when I opened it in the dressing room and actually saw it. I love and respect Mrs. Jane so very much, I don’t even have words for it. To have her think of me means more than words can say.

That really helped me shake the funk. 
The show went really well. Annika is an insanely talented dancer and person and completely shined out there. To say I’m proud is an understatement. 

(there are more pictures, but my phone is currently being really complex. I want to throw it out the window.
I also technically met Margot Fonteyn’s niece last night. She actually asked me to be in a picture with her, though it was more of a right-place-right-time sort of thing. Someone from her family married into someone from Margot Fonteyn’s family, and she told us a few stories about how surreal that was. She also danced in San Francisco, which is pretty cool, and now she’s a News Anchor. Life is a funny thing. 
My heart was so warm after the show, being with my friends all doing something we love so much. I don’t know what was different about last night to make me feel this way, but it was really strong this time. 
Ironically, I found myself feeling later that I’m just subpar. That I just seem to barely miss the mark to be where I want to be, and always a year behind. I try not to think about it, or let it get to me, but it’s there. And I know I’ll keep growing as long as I’m able to dance, but it just kinda stings a bit. 
This is how it’s been most of my life. I was great at theatre as a kid, but didn’t have the connections to be put into anything when I got into public school like the other kids. Instead, I was the “responsible one” so I wouldn’t get cast in the plays so I could assist the director. Which is cool, but sucks. Sometimes it happens in dance since I’m the one that’s good with kids. Like. Okay, cool. And I love them. But still. But honestly, I don’t know if my dancing is enough to move past that anyway. I’m not really anyone that stands out. I hardly blend in. And I’m grateful to be dancing, and sometimes it is a huge fight with all the opposition I have and my new job makes me terrified that I won’t be able to dance as much, but I still try. I do what I can. I just wish I could do more. I wish I didn’t have to sit out so much because of things I can’t control. I wish I could properly learn these moves expected of me so I could do them, even though it seems the other girls can bs their way through and figure it out on their own. I don’t know that I’ll get to be a swan. And that makes me really sad. But I have to accept the reality; that more than likely I’ll just miss the mark. 
In the midst of feeling this, my friend told me of a really nice thing her boyfriend commented on while watching the show. It made me feel like I’m not foolish to keep pursuing this thing that I love, even though it “doesn’t do anything for me” and “won’t get me anywhere.” I can’t make a career out of it, It’ll never be the thing that pays the bills. 
The reality of life is kind of upsetting right now, even though I have  a good life. I feel selfish and stupid saying that, but my heart feels like its wings are clipped, and that leaves me feeling empty. I don’t want to just be suffocated by life demands. I want to feel alive. I want to really live. 
I’m insanely grateful for the wonderful people I have in my laugh. The ones that make me laugh until I sound like a dying goose; the ones that listen to me when I’m really upset about things I can’t control; the ones that comfort me without even realizing how healing it is to me; the ones who love and support me–subpar and all.
This is my family. 
These are the ones that have my heart.
This is what it means to be loved.

This past week

Mrs. Alex wasn’t in class on Wednesday, so we had a sub. I ended up sneaking out towards the end, embarrassed by the fact I couldn’t do what she was asking. She was teaching more on the advanced side and I could do it—or at least try it—on flat, but on pointe it was impossible. It is a bit frustrating to have the class taught to a level farther than what we are capable of (and more so when most of the class is the lower level) but I understand with subs its hit and miss. (And not all the time.) She didn’t know me. She didn’t know I’m an adult and incapable of “just try” ing like the younger girls in my level. They rocked it and learned and tried, but I can’t do that. My body doesn’t always let me. Or it’s an addition onto something I have yet to master, even if the other girls have. Which I just have to accept, and know when to pick my battles. It was okay, I know where I stand and know what I need to do and have a plan on how to achieve it.
I had to miss Saturday’s rehearsal due to a wedding I was booked to shoot. It was laid out oddly, so I was actually able to swing by the downtown studio for a bit of the Rat Queen rehearsal. I was really grateful to get to see it one more time. It also worked out as Ms. Munro needed a couple pictures for the Beeville shows and I had my camera on me and was able to get them.
Sunday’s rehearsal went relatively smooth. We figured out a solution to the missing Petit Fleur issue (we being not us, just to clarify. Mrs. Alex and Ms. M are rockstars. Especially with how chaotic this year’s casting has become) and were able to help Ileana learn the extra role and Hannah and/or Nina did well switching spots (so well I couldn’t tell who actually switched.) Now we should be able to clean it up.
They didn’t have the air on, and there’s this fun thing my body likes to do where if I get too hot, I get sick. (My sister is opposite. If she gets too cold, she gets sick) I tend to have to be able to feel air blowing, but I try not to think about it because sometimes if I don’t think about it I can trick my body into not reacting. But it went a little too long Sunday, and I felt it hit while we were at the barre. I tried to ignore it, but by the time we started running rehearsals, my face felt really hot and Mariela said I looked red. This is a good sign, because if I’m pale it means fever, so I knew it was probably just the being-too-hot thing. I had to step outside for a bit to feel the air flow, and still felt pretty crummy. I knew chances were once we started dancing I’d forget about it, so I tried to hold out. Elizabeth showed me where in the studio you could feel the air blowing most so I stood there during corrections. Everyone was a bit hot, and Elizabeth found one of the Spanish fans to fan herself with after running Sugar Plum. She came over and stood next to me so I could get some of the air too, which I really appreciated. She is so good to me.
(Sometimes I sit back and am blown away by the quality of people I have in my life now. I got so used to having people who leave me or just want to use me that to have kind people who stick around, it’s still kind of shocking at times. I’m super grateful.)
We had another flower roll her ankle. I haven’t heard yet what the final verdict is, but hopefully it’s something she has time to come back from and can still dance in the show.  I got home that night and was putting stuff away in my house when I misjudged and hit my toe on a suitcase. Ten years ago, I hit this same toe on a suitcase wheel in Paris and broke it. I hobbled around Paris and London when we continued on there. It was super cute. It’s the toe next to the pinkie toe, which always blows my mind. Why this one? Why not the toe farthest on the end? How did that one escape injury again?(Maybe because it’s hunched over from when it too was broken when I was 13 and hiked on it not realizing. *shrug*)
I’m not going to lie; I sat on my bed and cried. I was terrified it was broken. That I, too, had become the next victim of the falling flowers and would have to be replaced by God-knows-who since we’re officially out of spares. It didn’t swell, and the bruise is only on top, so I convinced myself to calm down and got an ice pack for it. In the morning, you could see it was bruised, but only a little bit. I can bend it, but I could bend my pinkie toe as well when it was broken. I could point my foot, so I decided I’d go to class and at least try barre and see what happened. I told my teacher, Ms. Catherine, and she said, “You just can’t catch a break, can you?” I wanted to thank her.  So often these things will happen and my head tells me that I’m just being dramatic and should push through things and suck it up, when really I should take my time with them, even if it seems to be all the freaking time.
I could releve, but only if my weight stayed completely over the big toe. I could plie, but gingerly where I kept pressure off of it. I could point my toe, but only if it was slow enough to be careful so I ended up doing half the stuff rather flexed on that foot, and nixed the releve on the other. It was frustrating.
I skipped the second half of class, afraid of jumping on it, and skipped Jazz V. It made me sad, but I’d rather be safe—especially with Nutcracker at risk.
With perfect timing, I received my shirt I ordered from Marissa Milele which says, “Never Give Up!” When I emailed her to order it she told me to send her a picture, so I had one of my friends get a picture of it and send it to her.

She’s so great. So kind and encouraging. And I love this shirt. I think it’s a mantra I can really get behind.

I’m still going to class tonight, mainly because I told Adrienne I would help her work on fouette’s after ballet. Plus, I can watch and learn that way. Get it in my brain and all. 
Hopefully my toe will be okay by the weekend on next week. It really doesn’t look that bad. 
All else fails, if I can hike on a broke toe, I can dance on one right?
(Kidding.)
(Maybe.)

(also, just re-read this and it reads really funny. Like it’s just notes of what all I really wanted to say. I’ve been in a funk, I guess, and keep embarrassing myself. So anyone who encounters me right now, my apologies. I’m a mess and not saying the right things and blah)

Tuesday

It’s been rather humid here, lately, which causes our floors to be sticky and our barres to turn our hands colors. Thankfully, yesterday’s class was the class I do on flat shoes, so I had less of a risk than the other girls. Consequently, the sticky floors helped me be able to control my turns so I had the cleanest single turns I’ve probably ever done.

There were quite a few challenging elements in class, but most of them were petit allegro which I am unable to do because of my knee. This is great and terrible at the same time. I want to be able to do these things, my body just doesn’t let me, and that is one of the hardest things to accept. To have these visions of things you could potentially do and accomplish, but are unable to because of physical limitations that have little to no explanation. I have to accept that there may be some things I can never accomplish, and others that I will have to work much harder to find adaptable ways to accomplish, which will more than likely take longer. This just is how it is. It isn’t fair, but it is life.

I was able to mark the combinations; to try and get the pattern and rhythm and direction of the movement so if one day I ever can do it, my brain will be familiar. That’s half the battle, right? I flubbed up here and there, but it wasn’t anything dire. Most of it was just human error, which you learn from and do better next time.
Mrs. Julie showed everyone our recital costume, and played with a bit of music and some movements to start getting a feel for what she wants and what we can do. It never struck me to be afraid or nervous about recital until yesterday. What if they have an element I can’t do? I mean, I’m not really worried about it, but I am a bit nervous.
I’m trying not to think about it too much, though. No need to dwell on something that might not even happen. The music we were playing with yesterday was quick, but fit the vision well. I wasn’t absolutely perfect with it, but I understood the bits she gave us and felt confident if she used any of that, I would be able to work on it to get it clean and blend with the rest. 
Even just playing with it all just made me so excited to even be a part of this piece. I mean, four years ago I was the kid crying in the corner, absolutely certain that I would never get those steps that challenged me to the point of tears. That there was no way I could improve enough to be in advanced. It was just too fast, too complex, too much. And here I am, taking the advanced class, holding my own. Sure, I’m in flat shoes, but two years ago I couldn’t even do this class in flat shoes. The thought of triple beats on frappe’s seemed outlandish, same with beating jete’s or assemble’s or anything else. Granted, I haven’t been successful with those yet (thanks knee) but my brain is starting to process how they are executed, which is loads more than I had before. I thought for sure when Instep closed that my opportunity to be in an advanced class had closed with it. I didn’t expect going into my second year at Munro to be told by the teachers that they thought I should take the Advanced class. It never entered my mind before it was put there. And here I am, in this class, no longer a beginner.

As Mrs. Julie was showing the complex, quick, million-beats petit allegro combination, you could hear a groan or two from the girls about what she was asking. Mrs. Julie said, “it’s good for you” and it just kind of all clicked in my head that it is. You could see it on a few girls. They wanted the challenge. They understood that you have to try to improve. If we never try the entrechat six, you’ll never achieve it. Even if you look like a flopping fish your first couple times, that’s what class is for; to push your limits and learn new things while perfecting things you’ve learned. There are times when it’s good to just do clean versions of what you know, and then there are times to try new things you know you’ll suck at. If you do it enough, eventually you won’t suck. Eventually you’ll stop being the new girl panicking in the corner because you just don’t grasp the concept of a scissonne and you’ll become the girl in the advanced class.
We’ll always be learning, if you ever stop learning then you stop growing and why are you really there? Old dogs can be taught new tricks if they want it badly enough.

After class, I went into the small studio. Andie skipped a bit of her Jazz class and helped me out on my en dedans turns en pointe. I started with a few preparations to truly grasp the concept, then tried turning. I wasn’t getting enough of a plie to really get anywhere, and was getting frustrated with how I still “climb” a bit, but Andie said it wasn’t as bad as I was thinking. (Which, she’s the friend that will tell you the truth if it hurts, and won’t tell you something if it isn’t true.) I got the feel for it and the fear began to fade. Afterwards I felt confident enough to know I can try them in class. I still have a lot of work to do with them, and my en dehors turns as well, but that will come with time and work. I also find I turn better in class than when I try it on my own. If I’m looking in the mirror, I tend to fall out of it. If I face the corner, I have better success. (Although I tried the en dedans turns facing the mirror to see what my feet do and better understand it, so hopefully I got the feel enough to do it to the corner.)
(It’s all a balance.)

Today I have my tap class, which I missed a step she wanted us to learn and know for our recital piece. Thankfully, Cheyanne and Judy made sure I was shown the step this weekend and helped me understand it until I got it. I still need to work a little more so I can get a bit quicker, but the hard part is over thanks to them. It’s great having good people in your life.
If I wasn’t shooting a wedding this weekend, I’d be teaching three classes on Saturday. I’m a bit sad, but such is life. Gotta take it as it comes. (I think I’m more sad to be missing rehearsal, being that I can use all the practice I can get!)

(Maybe one day I won’t need to shoot weddings and can be more selective. That day is not today, though, but maybe one day.)

I just like that I love dance again. That I feel good and like I’m going somewhere; achieving something. 

Also here’s my feet.

"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.

Hi it’s been a week.

I have managed to make it through this week of classes.
We were off on Monday for Labor Day, which was good considering something bit my feet (again) and they swelled up and I couldn’t walk on them until Tuesday.
(Such a wreck.)
I had my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. I also showed her my bites and she was pretty shocked by them. She said if it happens again–especially before Nutcracker Auditions on Saturday–to just walk in and they’d be able to give me antibiotics and a steroid shot to help.
I like this lady already.

Tuesdays class went really well, I felt. My feet held up and my knee wasn’t too bad and my stomach was typical.

Wednesday I had been asked to sub two classes. A 4/5 ballet and a 9-12 ballet.
The 4/5 ballet felt like madness, but mainly because there were so many girls. They were pretty rambunctious and my music decided it didn’t want to work. I made it work though, and got through, and the kids seemed happy.
The 9-12 ballet was my favorite by a long shot.
I walk in and half the class was girls who were monkey’s in Oz. I opened the door, they saw me, and their faces lit up and they ran over to me to hug me. Talk about making me feel like I’m Taylor Swift. My teacher’s daughter was in that class as well. She’s a quiet type, but so incredibly sweet and kind, and seeing her face get excited when I walked completely made my day. I love this little nugget!
I worked them pretty hard, and they kept up really well. I saw them implementing corrections and really trying hard. They’re such a serious bunch, which is great. I made my typical sound effects and stuff, which made them laugh so that was great. (hehe)
One of the girls I didn’t know, Mona, really shows potential. To say I was impressed is an understatement.
At the end of class, I had them working on pirouettes. Just simple, from fourth, across the floor. I did it with them and by the end of it, man, I was landing beautiful turns. And my knee didn’t hurt. And life felt great.
They were rock stars and did so great in class. I love them.
Mrs. Alex told me she asked Elizabeth what she thought of class. “She makes funny faces and funny sounds, but I like her!” Score!
Next I helped assist Mia’s class for one of the other girls who couldn’t make it. She ended up only having 6 girls and it was a 3/4 class, but I was glad to do it because I had never seen a 3/4 class. They do it very differently from how we did it at Instep, but it works really well for them. I want to try and implement more of those styles when I teach that level, so I’m trying to remember the format she used. The girls stayed quiet and followed along, and it was just great. (Probably helped that there were only 6 kids.)

By the end of that, I’m dead. That morning had not been kind to me and the repercussions were still evident.
But I still had my own class to get through. And my last one before auditions, at that.
I warned Mrs. Alex about it beforehand, just in case. And I was kinda scared at this point. I felt faint and nauseated and weak. Just standing up left me dizzy and my vision fading. How did I expect to make it through ballet class?
Still, I did the 200 crunches she had us do. (Most I’ve ever done. And I was so sick. How. I don’t know. I’m just. What.)
We did the barre work, and I felt my brain starting to space. Thankfully, I had Emerson in front of me for the left side. It was a good little buffer having her in front of me so if my brain lagged, but body did it anyway.
A few of the things got me twisted up, which Mrs. Alex saw once when she complimented me right as I messed up. It was pretty funny though, and I think it actually happened twice. She was watching me, though. Which was great. And it all felt great. I remember standing there thinking, “why can’t I just be well? Why does this have to be a struggle? It doesn’t have to be.”
We put on our pointe shoes, and I joined with the premise that I needed to work on turns before Saturday.
By this point, I felt like I could fall over at any moment. And not even because my muscles were worked or whatever. It wasn’t a matter of laziness, but of my body just giving out on me.
Still, the first combination we did across the floor brought improvement. I learned and grew and was able to do more than usual. The second combination included turns, and my right side (which has my good knee) is actually looking better. Enough to feel okay going into Saturday. My left side is still weak, but at least I know what is holding it back. I can take the steps to improve on it. (And hopefully we won’t do that side at auditions. Fingers crossed.)
After that, I sat out. I told Mrs. Alex, and she made the comment that I was doing really well. I said, “imagine how good I’d be if I wasn’t sick.” without even realizing I was saying it. But I mean, really.

Mrs. Rowland made a comment about how she doesn’t know how I do it–how I push through. The way I see it is that I don’t have a choice. If I don’t push through, I’ll never get any farther than I am right now. What it comes down to is this is going to be a process to try and find a solution. It’s been a long term problem and it won’t be resolved over night. I don’t have any more time to waste so I can either sit it out when I don’t feel well and never do anything because I never feel well, or I can fight through it and just know on the worse days I may have to hold back a little.
I’m hoping I can start to feel better and soon. I’m hoping this won’t be forever, even though it’s all I ever remember feeling anymore. I’m hoping that maybe there’s hope. But until then, I’ll push through until I can’t anymore. I’ll do my best and leave no excuses.

I still forget that most people don’t know I’m sick, and those that do are pretty new to the knowledge. It’s nice to know that I’m doing my best and that my best is more than enough. Ballet has been rejuvenating for me in my life, showing me that I’m not all the things people have told me I am–weak, lazy, making excuses, dramatic, faking it, etc. That this really is something I should take care with and give myself the room for humanity that I need.

I have found myself in a beautiful place among such supportive people. Sure, no one is perfect, but this has been the greatest bit of humanity I have ever experienced. And for that I am grateful beyond words.

And now, enjoy an old picture of Cheyanne from before I knew her.
I creeped this shot after class one day because there was just something about her that just stood out and I couldn’t not document it. Now she’s one of my dearest friends 🙂