Let’s try it. 

Yesterday started off not much better than the day before. My brain was fuzzy and I felt out of my depth. I know it’s the 6 class and many people say I’m more than capable, but yesterday I was feeling my 5.

There were bits I was terrified over but still tried. So that was something at least. I don’t know that I would say I was successful, but I was definitely more successful than having never tried at all.

There was a point when I panicked. And it was stupid. But I was embarrassed and just didn’t have it in me to fully wrap my brain around what was happening, what was being asked of me, and I knew I looked like a fool doing it. Thankfully, Julie is good at recognizing when to push and when to pull back and she pushed until she needed to pull back so I didn’t completely fall apart. (Although I did fall apart more than I would have liked. And felt a prime idiot more than I prefer.) (yay for comfort zones being demolished?) (or something)

After ballet was over, I went into the small studio to break in my new shoes. I waited until then to do it instead of breaking them in in class because I wanted to make sure it was done properly. These are experimental shoes, and I want to give them every bit of a real chance as I can.

They’re the same shoe, just with a harder shank. The hardest Capezio makes, actually. I had the hardest shank before, but now they’ve started making an even harder shank, so Amanda from Capezio in Austin told me about it and I figured I’d give it a shot. They came in, I sewed them that day, and waited for d-day. (So to speak)

I was nervous, so say the least. After the Gaynors bombed because of sizing, I was afraid these wouldn’t be any better and I’d just have to make my old shoes work best I knew how. Which they aren’t terrible. But it seemed something was missing.

I put them on, did a few things to help the arch so they wouldn’t snap, then I rolled up.

I’d say my biggest fear was that they’d be too hard. That I wouldn’t be able to get over my box and it would be so defeating. That I would find myself with the opposite problem of what I had before, and would have to find a way to make it work.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, they seemed to mold to my arch, getting me over my box but not too far. Just enough to do what I need but give me room to work harder. If that makes sense? Anyway.

I went into the office and asked Ms. Munro what she thought. Sometimes people think they need hard shanks but are really just fooling themselves. I didn’t want to be that person. So she had me do typical bit of standing in first, then pushing through the instep, then straightening while trying to stay far over the box. Afterwards she said, “those look great!” And we talked about how people who have naturally higher arches need a harder shank. Which I’ve been told I have, but never really realized it I guess.

So the shoes are a go. Approved by Ms M, and feel great. I went back in the studio and worked a bit more. I did a few of the things to help me lift out of my shoe and then I decided to try a pirouette to see what would happen.

Wouldn’t you know it, it improved substantially.

I was able to hold the position a bit longer, it felt more stable, I was able to fully get around and roll through like a champ. I was on cloud nine.

So I tried an en dedan. And I got around with my leg not even to the front where it needed to be. So I fixed it and it was quite a decent turn. Still better on one side versus the other but that’s typical. I went back to regular pirouettes and the first one I tried was so solid if I would have gotten a bit more force it could have been a double. What. The. Heck. So then I tried a double and completely bombed it because I was thinking too hard so I just laughed at myself.

I worked on chaines and piques and was successful with both, though they need work. I felt like what I see other girls look like. That this must be what it feels like for them in class.

More importantly, I felt hope.

Which is something that has seemed to be in short supply recently. It gave me a bright point among all the stormy clouds that have been keeping me company. Sure things still suck, but at least I have something to help me through.

I’m grateful, for sure, and emailed Amanda from the studio letting her know she’s my hero and asking to order the next pair of magic shoes. I wish I could order more at once, but these bad boys run about $120 each. Sucks to go through them so quickly.

Oh well. It’s worth it to me.


  

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’.

 

Swan rehearsal and fitting

This morning I woke up feeling anxious. 

I couldn’t shake it. One of the girls even mentioned before barre that I didn’t seem myself.  I found myself fighting off panic attacks at the barre and it only escalated into rehearsal. 

I bit my lip until it cracked and dug my nails into my side until someone distracted me with a question. Thankfully. Because I’m sure I would have broken skin without even thinking. 

That’s something people don’t know or realize about me, I guess. The darkness of my past. It typically stays there, but sometimes it can creep back into the present and the fight is exhausting. 

Today was one of those days. 

Only one girl wasn’t there, and another one wasn’t feeling well so she sat out. Ms Munro had girls who hadn’t run it go in so I was marking it from the sidelines. It wasn’t all that bad, like no worse than usual at least. Part of me was grateful to not have to be “on” but the other part of me knows that I don’t have the luxury of getting to be off. Not right now. 

I really appreciated one of the moms coming up and encouraging me. I had really gotten inside my head at that point. Why am I here? Why do I even try? What is the point of it all if I work my hardest and nothing comes of it? Who am I kidding? If I’m not good enough now what makes me think I will be later? Whose to say I’ll even have a later? I was so beyond frustrated and I hated myself for it. The battle was real, and the “dark place” was rampant. But she came up and encouraged me without even realizing what she was doing. Well, part of it I’m sure she did. But really, I was so grateful.

I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be upset or frustrated or bitter or anything. I just want to dance. 

After that point, I stood there and asked myself some questions. 

Why am I upset? Because I didn’t get to be a swan. 

Yeah but you’re still in Swan Lake. Yeah, but I wanted to be good enough to be this role. 

Okay but you can’t change anything now. So what are you going to do about it? Well. I’m gonna work hard and do my best. 

Cause really. Why am I here? What drives me to show up every day, even if I’m not a swan? I do it because I love dance, I love the art form. I love getting to be here and try new things and learn and grow. And aren’t I getting to do that still? 

I get out of this what I put into it. And sure it sucks that some of the other girls don’t even bother to show up or put in effort. But Mrs Alex is right–I’d rather be a good person than a stellar dancer. At least dance is something you can work to improve upon. 

So it can really suck being a cover. It’s hard and exhausting and really emotional. But it’s what I am. It’s what I signed up for. And I made a commitment. I don’t want to go back on that just because the cards didn’t fall in my favor. That would be immature. Now my goal is to be the one they can count on. To do everything I can to know the parts so I can be relied upon should anything happen. I want to put a good taste in their mouth, make their jobs easier. 

Even if I don’t get to dance swan, I can still tell them a lot of my character by my actions. 

They had swan fittings after. We didn’t have to be there but I was to wait for my friend who is a swan. It was cool getting to see them all together. The costumes are gorgeous. I really am proud of how good it’s looking and how well they’re really coming together. I got to actually watch it today. It’s really neat. 

   
    
    
   
A few of my friends 😊

Here’s a few before class. 

   
   

Thoughts and feels lately

I’ve been rather contemplative lately, in a funk of sorts. This tends to be when I get reflective and such, which has only been heightened by the excitement of a domain name, instagram account, facebook page, and everything else that has come about with the blog actually being a .com.

Looking back, I realized this time last year, most people still didn’t know me.
It was largely Wizard of Oz that actually introduced me to everyone in the studio. I knew a few after Nutcracker, but mainly just the girls in Chinese with me. Which was about, ya know, 7 people. Oz added on the Crows, other Winkie Guards, a teacher, (who was our director) Munchkins, their siblings, the dance mom’s, and eventually the other dancers. (I think Crows opened up majority of that.)

It’s funny to see the difference.
How now, everyone knows me. They know my name. They know I’m not in High School, a good deal of them have figured out my story, or at least bits of it.

Honestly, sometimes I can’t tell which I prefer.
Getting less-than-stellar roles is definitely easier when you don’t know anyone. It’s not as personal. The sting is only within yourself and doesn’t typically have other people attached. It’s less to fake until you can work through your emotions. It’s less tears, really.
There’s less confusion about how you rank on level since so many other opinions are now interjected. You don’t have as many people you feel responsible fore; You don’t have to be “on” as much when no one knows you.

On the other hand, there’s less encouragement. Less people who care about your accomplishments and help you when you’re struggling. There’s less support. You don’t have people to bounce thoughts off of, or to ask to watch you do this or that move and see if it’s correct. You don’t have someone there to pull you back to reality when you get caught inside your own head, no one to shoot down the lies you tell yourself. No one to build you up when you get knocked down. There’s no one there to ask for advice. No one to share ballet puns with. No one to read your blog and get excited with you over new beginnings or small victories.

On Sunday, I went with one of my best-non-dance friends to Austin to meet our favorite author. This was my first time to attend such an event, and I was really excited, especially since I felt like I could relate to him in so many ways.
There was a question and answer segment, during which he nonchalantly divulged the wisdom that guides who he is as a writer and a person. During this, he made a comment about how, when writing the final book of this trilogy, he tried to seclude himself to get what he needed out. He went to his parents cabin with hopes and visions of walking around nature, taking it all in, and being able to get the story out. What he found was the exact opposite. Being alone was of no help, and instead he found what he needed when he surrounded himself with the people he cares most about. The ones who encourage him and are honest with him.

It may be difficult, there may be times I want to just be alone, and that’s okay. Especially being largely introverted. But what it boils down to is that I’d be nothing without the people in my life, without this dance family I have found myself among. They push me and encourage me and help me accomplish the things I’ve set out to do. They celebrate my successes and grieve my disappointments right along side me.

Though I’m sure I’ll find myself in days when being alone is what I need, I can’t let myself cut off from the very people who have helped me get as far as I am.

 

I love the people in my life. And I cherish these days that I get to have them close to me. Every year brings new changes–heck, everything could change tomorrow–so while I have them, I want to hold them close and make the most of it.

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.

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!

Nutcracker 2015, first weekend

We made it through our first weekend of performances.

I did Rat Queen and Petit Fleur on Saturday night and just Petit Fleur on Sunday.
My body decided this would be a super fun time to not like food, so that got really cute really quickly. I somehow managed, though, and made it through.

It was a really fun weekend. I did Rat Queen the best I’ve ever done it, though I could still improve more. Jessica is so good at it, it’s kind of difficult to match it. But I didn’t miss anything or fall out of the lift or anything like that, so that was good. I have one more chance to do it, and I’m excited. (two if you count the rehearsal I probably have.)

We had school shows on Friday, which is where I did my messing up. It wasn’t that bad, or all that noticeable, so I just kinda roll with it. The kids are great. One of them told me I looked like a clown, which I got a good laugh out of. (In my petit fleur costume, even.) Some of them just came right up and hugged you, which made me a puddle on the floor. It’s really cool to see their faces light up.

One of the nights, when we came out to begin finale, you could hear a child somewhere near the front gasp and say, “Look! The flowers!” It definitely made the smile on my face real and made me feel good. Sometimes it can feel pretty monotonous, being a petit fleur. It’s nice to be reminded that every role matters from someone who is out in the audience.

The Clara’s for this weekend completely rocked the role. I was so proud to watch them and found myself with chills, even after seeing it for the umpteenth time. They worked so hard and completely embodied the role, you couldn’t help but feel something.

This year, I haven’t really been in the dressing rooms much, which can be kinda lame, or kinda great. It’s definitely great. I love getting to see the hard work come to life, and also get to take pictures of and support my friends in their various roles.
There’s something about show season that is extra special over the regular dancing season. Classes are great and learning and growing is important, but getting to put on a production with your friends who share the same love as you is something hard to describe. This really is my family; the one I chose for myself. They are there to support me and help me when I need it. They laugh with me and cry with me. They love me, and I obviously love them. Even the difficult members, haha.

We have this one life, and this is part of it. It’s not just about accomplishing something, but about all the steps it takes to get there. A story with just a beginning and an end doesn’t make for very interesting reading. What makes it great is the middle–the journey. This is that middle part, the dash between the dates of when we’re born and when we die. We get to choose how to fill it an how we handle the things that come at us. We are creating now the stories we will tell when we’re old and grey, or even just in a few years when we look back on these ballet years. These people are the names we will say to those listening. the ones we’ll write about in memoirs. Obviously, not all of them, but the ones that truly matter to us. You never know who someone is going to become. They could be the next Margot Fonteyn or The Beatles for all you know. Or you could be. Who’s to say that won’t be so? We are living history.

I’m going to be really sad when this show is over, but I’ll look forward to the Spring show. I want to take every opportunity to be with and around my dance friends that I can–they make me feel alive. I think the hardest part of this new job is knowing how much of that I’m going to have to sacrifice, and the reality that my body just isn’t cooperating like I need it to be. I’m trying not to worry about the future now. I’m not there yet. Who knows what will happen between today and the days ahead?

Here are some pictures from this last weekend’s shows and rehearsals.

Lauren, Clara on Saturday night

“foot five” from when I learned how to really tie my shoes.

Abarrane killing it

Eloise, elegant as always

View from the stage

I don’t know why this always twists, but oh well. My feet on the left, Abarrane’s on the right.
I was given these polaroids and decided to take them entirely of Nutcracker things. They came out really well, I’d say.
This one is of me and Mariela. I love it

Dressing room, featuring Sheridan.

Sleeping Shrub

Abarrane and I

Watching rehearsals. In aw.

Shrub and Lauren!

This was from Katerina’s birthday party between school shows and rehearsal. So. Much. Fun.

Dressing room, featuring Adrienne.

Allison as snow backstage

Abarrane

Mariela

Allison, Lauren, and Annika

Lauren and I

Abarrane and Lauren

My sweet Lillian came and got some great pictures backstage. It’s so nice to actually be in the pictures for a change!

Ms. Heidi

(Thanks for this one, Shrub)

Maddie

Gabby

Alyssa as Clara from Sunday night

Elizabeth as Snow Queen

Cheyaaaaanne!

Eloise, Elizabeth, me and Abarrane

Adrienne and me

For real though

Emerson had to drop out because of torn ligaments, but was able to be our Nutcracker at the end of the show! We were all so glad to have her!

Mariela and me

Alyssa and me after her Clara night
Alyssa as Clara

Mariela in Spanish

the angels (melt)

Snow

A girl scout troop from Portland got to meet some of us backstage after Sunday’s show. They were absolutely adorable, and asked questions about the show and Ms. Munro showed them the stage and how the curtains fly in and out and the lights and everything that goes into making the show. Some asked how old you have to be to dance en pointe and how it even happens and what the shoes do to help. I asked if they wanted to feel the shoes, and explained what they were made out of. They were in awe. As they were leaving, one of the adults asked me if it was easier to get en pointe when you’re older or younger. I told her both had their pros and cons. That your feet are stronger when your older, which makes some things easier, but when you’re younger, you’re fearless. Risk is easier. And you have to be able to take risks. I told them I was twenty-five when I started and they were pretty shocked to hear I was twenty-seven and only danced 4 years. I told them about Annika, and how she has only done ballet for 4 years and she’s Clara. It’s never too late. You have to want it and be willing to work hard. 
One of the girls takes classes at Munro, and she was thrilled to get to be on the stage and see everything. We turned around to see her dancing and spinning and just losing herself on the stage, having the time of her life.

This is what it’s about.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nutcracker Rehearsals

Yesterday was our last rehearsal before Thanksgiving break.
Sean wasn’t there, so I just watched Rat Queen while Jessica and Greyson did it the way they would for Beeville. It helped me really get it into my brain. I think I’m confident enough now where I can just go for it and not mess up the order and more than likely get the timing right. Jessica has been great at helping me learn all of this. She is SUCH a good Rat Queen, which I greatly appreciate since it helps me see how it should look. (I’m so visual.)
I had to go and try on the flowers costumes again, which worked out since the other dancer I needed to try them on with got there early, so we were able to do it when Mrs. Jane had some down time, rather than when there was a million people around. Since Emerson had to drop, they had to fill her spot with a couple of girls, meaning they needed another costume. Since mine was the smallest, they needed to move us up so they could use it. I was kind of sad, since that one was my favorite and the girl whose costume I always get had it the year before, but that’s okay. (Besides, I looked at the names in mine and some pretty spectacular people have worn it. So I can’t really complain.) Lauren (who is one of the 3 girls now wearing my old one) said it fit perfectly, to which I said, “you’re welcome. (I love Lauren 😀 )

After Battle scene, they ran through Snow. Since I’m not cast in Snow, I took this time to get all my ticket sales sorted and turned in and catch up on crocheting, while watching and learning. I love getting to watch, especially the warm up, because you get to see things you miss in class. You can see people who do it correctly and compare and contrast them to the people who need a bit of improvement and then think of how you do it and see how you identify with the person needing more improvement and how you can get it to look like the person who is doing it correctly. (Way to go Cheyanne, your pique’s at the barre were so sharp and flawless!)

We ran Act II a few times after Snow. The Chinese are really killing it, which is great. That core of girls are really a group to watch out for. They’re very driven. I was impressed with how well they did the role. (Their private lessons are paying off)

We ran Flowers (did I mention it was all in costume?) and actually did pretty decently. (Well, the petit fleurs. I don’t know about the other two, I can’t really pay attention to all three.) We messed up our ending part, but they weren’t too hard on us because it had changed last minute last rehearsal. Now we have it down, though. The second run through, we managed to not get a single correction, save for what they called out during. (I don’t know if this is actually a good thing, or if it means they just didn’t see us or notice us doing anything wrong. At least we didn’t get a chewing for messing up the same thing over and over!) Another flower was out, but hopefully not the whole show. Her appendix had to come out, which is what happened to Mari during Oz. (I swear, there’s a curse this season.)

At the end, the Nutcracker comes out as they dim the lights and close the curtain. We were all really excited because they are letting Emerson do it! It was so crushing when she had to drop because of her ankle, but this way she still gets to be a part. And she said it’s healing a lot faster being in the boot with crutches, which makes me really happy.

Yesterday seemed to be the day of breakdowns. Tensions were high and drama was inevitable at times and there were people I really wanted to slap around a bit, but you can’t do anything except try to hold your maturity rather than stoop to levels you shouldn’t stoop to. Some of the girls were just pushed to the brink, but they kept going. I just felt bad because once people noticed they cried, then people kept bothering them. I wish there was something I could do to help in these times, but I know sometimes the best thing is to leave them alone. I just love them so much.

I kept forgetting things. Not choreography, but things. Like I forgot my Mustang Tickets at home, and forgot my nude leotard, and then forgot my little notebook of choreography and my crocheting (Thanks for saving me, Rowlands!) and to check out the Rat Queen costume for next Saturday. All noninvasive things in the long run, but still things that would have been better had I remembered. I didn’t forget Judy! Which is great seeing that I was her ride home. I really love that kid. She’s an old soul and really aware and wise and funny. I don’t feel like I’m hanging out with a twelve year old with her. She’s pretty fab.

A cold front came in, which made it super exciting because our company jackets came in! I’m not going to lie, I saw mine hanging up today and thought for a second that Annika or someone left theirs at my house before I remembered that it was mine. I always wanted to be a part of one of those groups that had jackets. To know that I was enough to be wanted among them. To have talent and some sort of place. This all sounds way cheesier than I want it to, but the point being, it feels really good. Never say never. I’m twenty-seven, and am now a member of the Corpus Christi Ballet Company, and that feels good.

(polaroid of my jacket. It’s dark and stuff but I haven’t gotten a picture, picture yet.)

How long will I dance? Who knows. But I know that I’m there right now, and it feels good.

Edit: Here ya go

Blurry, but yessss

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.