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

4 years ago

Yesterday was my first class after my “week off of life.”
I know a week doesn’t seem like much, but it can really do you some good if you utilize it well.

When I first started dancing, I hated when something would happen that would cause me to have to take extensive time off from dance. In fact, it was actually 4 years ago tonight that I got in the car wreck that could have left me in far worse condition than it did. I had just begun dancing again a few weeks before. I was heading home from church, (which was on Thursday nights) waiting to turn into my alley when I was hit from the passenger side and my car was slammed two lanes over. 
I still don’t know where the car came from. It was all very confusing for me as it was literally the exact moment I took my foot off the brake and was intending to turn after two cars passed. I assume those two cars passed, because they were cars and no one else was hit except for me and the truck that jumped my hood and came back off my car. Somehow I got the blame for this whole ordeal, and it was all pretty traumatic, but I typically play it off. After all, I’m okay. It shut down the entire street and my friends I was just with turned around to come make sure I was okay. My left leg hurt and I could feel a mass, but of course I was in skinny jeans so I couldn’t see. I turned down an ambulance ride, knowing it’d be ridiculously expensive, and sat on the curb. Some lady I don’t know came from I don’t know where to check on me. She stayed with me until my friends got there which I appreciate more than words could ever say. I was terrified, and she brought me peace. (Thanks, lady I don’t know.) I literally walked back to my house, as this all happened so close to home. My friends that came back around to make sure I was okay had a new friend with her who was conveniently knowledgeable in medical things. She looked at my leg and suggested an x-ray. Shana told me to get some things and that I would stay the night with her. I told her I would be fine, but did what she said anyway. She took me to the ER in Portland, since it’s a smaller town (The town she lived in, across the bridge) and we would more than likely get in and out a lot quicker. I got signed in exactly at midnight, and my hospital bracelet says 11/11/11. (I still have it.)
They did xrays and said I was okay and gave me some anti inflammatory medication and the usual. I went back to Shana’s, skipped work the next day, and stayed there until my mom came for me the next day. (I didn’t realize how much I needed the love and care and concern Shana gave me until I was in it. For that I am eternally grateful.)
My leg bruised up pretty badly, and I have some marks from where the seatbelt was. Miraculously, the airbags didn’t break my nose. My face was actually completely fine. (If you want the full details of everything God told me and showed me and how He spared me, just ask.) (It’s pretty cool.)
I don’t know if it’s because I was wearing pants with elastic at the knee, or what, but I ended up developing nerve damage in that spot that I felt after the wreck. It’s on the inside of my left knee, and is typically fine. Unless it’s touched. Then my knee will hurt for a solid day. (Not too bad, considering everything that could have happened. Like, ya know, slamming my head into the left window like I should have, or the airbags jacking up my face, or messing up my ankle on the brake.) (When my Dad saw my car at the towing lot, he was speechless. Literally. He was chewing me out a bit as he walked up to the car, and then was at a loss for words when he saw it. He said that the only part of my car that wasn’t completely bashed in was the driver’s seat. But I’m okay. I walked away.
My camera on my phone at the time really sucked, so you can’t really see all the detailing. This was the day after when my mom had picked me up

The hospital bracelet (again, stupid camera)

This was a few days later, after I was back home. I stayed at my parents house until Saturday night I believe. So this was Sunday-ish. (I was back at work Monday.)
The numb spot is actually more-so that bit of normal skin among all the bruising up top.

My lovely boss’ wife made me cookies. I love her. (Cora, you’re a gem)


(I don’t have the pictures of my car accessible yet. Apparently my phone only backed up pictures I took then, and not ones I also saved. Shana got the pictures of the car, thank God.)
Time is a funny thing. It’s crazy to think that was four years ago. How much has happened in four years; the places I’ve gone, the people I’ve met, the people I’ve lost, the changes that have occurred, the things I’ve learned. It seems like a blink, but filled with one thousand years.

Needless to say, I had to take off two weeks of dancing after the wreck. I was so upset. I had just begun again and couldn’t afford to take off two weeks. I had already paid for a November I wouldn’t get to be there for. But life happens. You have to take the highs with the lows.
Since then, I’ve rolled my ankle, screwed up my knee and needed PT, had my gallbladder removed, strained my foot, gotten really terrible sunburns, (yes, plural) and probably more things I can’t remember. It seemed I was out for a week every few months there for a while, and though it was frustrating, but I started noticing a trend; I’d come back better.
Now I’m sure there’s some science behind this, but whatever the explanation I’m really grateful for it. Going back to class yesterday, I was a bit nervous. I was hoping that it would be a good class, but I wasn’t sure if a week was enough to really help me. Would I just come back stiff and regretting having taken the time off? Would it really help me at all? Are my feet gonna be so angry I’ll want to throw my pointe shoes out the window?

 I decided to go into class hopeful and see what happened. After all, I had two successful Nutcracker rehearsals before. That should count for something, right?
I loved seeing my Rowland’s and My Cortez’s.  They were two families I actually felt myself missing while I was at home. I swear there’s magic in them.
Ms. Catherine was sick, so Ms. Munro taught our class. There weren’t all that many students there, either, so I found myself excited. There’s just something about a good ol’ Ms. M class that can do you good.
My hips did feel sore, but thankfully Ms. Munro gave us combinations to help with that. We did balances in second, and back coupe, and other things I normally struggle with that I actually surprised myself with being able to hold. Ms. Munro saw two of them and complimented me. The first time, it was even a tone of surprise, like she was impressed. It felt really good. She worked us pretty well and I was a bit nervous I’d be too shaky to really do anything en pointe.
To my surprise, I was able to do everything except for the turn I know I can’t do yet. Thankfully, it was in a combination that I couldn’t do anyway because of my knees, so I just worked on stuff myself at the barre. I found myself holding balances longer, actually getting onto my box most of the time, doing releves I typically have issues with; I even did a really nice pirouette on my bad leg! My good leg wasn’t doing pirouettes for beans, but that’s okay. I marked them instead and got good clean preparations instead. I also felt myself able to roll through my shoe really well. This gives me a bit of confidence mentally. I watched Catherine and Adrienne on the turns I can’t do, trying to get a good understanding with them. I don’t want to try them before I’m ready so I don’t frustrate myself over nothing. Watching helps. I don’t know if it’s the lack of strength I’m still trying to gain up, or if it’s my short toes, or my jacked up knees, or what. They aren’t happening yet, but I hope to have them happen soon. And the fact I got that good clean pirouette on the one side made me feel really good.

I left feeling great, and really encouraged. That was really nice and hadn’t really happened in a while. I also think the people who were in class helped that as well. I didn’t feel judged or inadequate. I felt safe. I hope this is a growing trend that will continue to be this way and continue to get better. 

Success.

Lovely Things

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

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

Personal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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