This semester was harder than I ever expected, but I learned more life-lessons within the past sixteen weeks than any of the other semesters combined. Looking back, I am not really sure how I made it through everything, but I couldn’t be more thankful for the experiences that helped me become who I am today despite the challenges.
I always use to tell myself that nothing is impossible and that I could do anything I set my mind to if I was determined enough. This helped me achieve great things in the past, but this semester humbled me to realize that some things truly aren’t possible. I was pushing myself harder than I ever had before, and I was setting unrealistic expectations for myself. This year, I took a full semester at the college through dual-enrollment while dancing full time as a professional trainee ballet dancer. Though I had done this before, my academic courses were more difficult this time, and the demands were a lot higher. I was only getting about five hours of sleep every single night just to keep my feet on the ground, and the exhaustion/stress really started to take a toll on my health.
I learned that “you can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”
The problem was, I was trying to give 100% effort at both school and dance because I didn’t know where I would end up or what I even wanted anymore. A professional career in ballet is extremely competitive, and universities are also highly selective; I needed to be perfect at both. It was about mid-October when I realized that something had to change because I physically couldn’t do everything anymore, and I was wearing myself out… I had some big decisions to make. After thinking everything through, I decided to no longer pursue a professional career in ballet after Nutcracker which was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever had to make. Even though it is a huge change in my life, I know that I made the right decision, and I did what it best for me. Since then, I am so much happier, and I passed all of my classes!
Through it all, it truly was bittersweet to walk off campus for the last time knowing that some of my friends wont return in January… From the coffee shop shows, Friday morning laughs, “flying squirrel” (inside joke), study groups, and hot chocolate chats, I couldn’t have hoped for a better group of people to hang with. I made some great friendships, and I am so thankful for all of the wonderful memories! It certainly wasn’t an easy semester, but we got through it together. The Fall semester is officially complete. I can’t believe it, but we did it!!
Just like that, Nutcracker 2019 has officially come to a close, but I would do anything to go back and relive my moment as the sugar plum fairy…
I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to dance such an iconic role, and it was truly an honor to perform. My second show on Saturday night was better than I had ever expected, and I can’t recall time where I was that happy onstage before. I was overcome with joy, and I truly danced my heart out which doesn’t happen everyday. I am not sure how my dancing was physically, but I think that last show was one of the best ones I have ever done. If anything, it is definitely something that I will remember for a very long time.
However, I am going to be honest and admit that it was not an easy weekend for me, and this Nutcracker certainly had its hiccups. I was in a lot of pain as my muscles kept seizing up in the middle of my dances, my Achilles was hurting, and I had a really bad cough that was a constant struggle. Also, slipping onstage during the pas de deux of my first show was far from the debut that I had envisioned.
Despite the circumstances, it truly was an incredible experience, and I am already missing that theater. It has been an amazing journey to get here, and I have made so many memories that will last an entire lifetime. Thank you to everyone who came out to support me and also everyone who encouraged me backstage. The entire cast danced beautifully, and I am so lucky to have shared that stage with such a talented group of artists. This was truly a dream, and I will always remember Nutcracker 2019…
It is that time of year again, and casting for the Nutcracker has officially been released. This is the ballet that inspired me to begin dancing again as my seven-year old eyes peered up at the stage in complete astonishment. I watched as Clara journeyed through the snowy forest and into the land of sweets where she was greeted by a sugar plum fairy and handsome cavalier. My heart soared as I watched them fly across the stage, and I knew that I wanted to be just like that when I grew up.
Ten years later, I am preparing for my own debut of the very role that I had idolized… I could not be more humbled to announce that I have been cast as the sugar plum fairy. This is my last Nutcracker before graduation and possibly the last one that I will ever do, so I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I never thought that I would ever get this chance, so I am incredibly honored. I am going to do the very best that I can, and I hope to inspire the audience as I once was.
I am also looking forward to dancing in mirliton and the snow corps de ballet. Rehearsals have already begun, and I am getting very excited for the big day to arrive! This will certainly be a show to remember, and this is something I will never forget…
Have you ever seen the Nutcracker? If you are dancing, what roles did you land this year? Do you have anything exciting coming up? Thanks for reading!
Excerpts from two beautiful ballets filled the stage last week as dryads instantly transformed into a kingdom of shades.
Right after floating through the dream scene of Don Quixote, I only had a few seconds to recover before jumping into the first shade variation of La Bayadere. I had performed it before, but I forgot how physically demanding it was especially in addition to the corps de ballet work. It is one of the fastest variations that I have ever done, so maintaining precise execution of each step, despite the fatigue, is an incredibly challenging endeavor. However, the encouraging cheers from the audience gave me so much energy, and I finished stronger than I ever had in rehearsal. When I hit my final pose, I couldn’t hold back the giant smile that radiated from my face… It was a great show!
I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for me, and I am so blessed to have such a loving, caring, giving, inspiring, and amazing father. The past few years have been filled with memorable adventures that I will cherish for a lifetime, and I am so grateful for all of your support to do what I love. You have shown me that I can do anything that I set my mind to, and you have taught me so much throughout the past seventeen years. I learned that superheros truly do exist because I am looking right at one… I love you so much, and I hope that you have a fantastic Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s Day to all of those super awesome dads out there!
Today, I watched these two young gentleman accept their hard-earned diplomas and graduate high school with honors…
The three of us go way back to kindergarten at the bus stop where we poked at rollie pollies, chased caterpillars, climbed trees, and allowed our imaginations to run wild every single day. We spent countless afternoons circling around our neighborhood on bikes and scooters, eating popsicles, and drawing with the sidewalk chalk. We use to play lots of games after school, but I will never forget our ultimate favorite, hide-and-go-seek, even though we would always get too crazy. We spent every holiday, birthday, and special occasion together and supported each other through orchestra concerts, dance recitals, band events, and other hobbies… always together.
They are like brothers, and they mean more to me than I could ever express. At times, I know that I can be like an annoying little sister who never lets them forget it, but I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. They made my childhood so memorable, and they will always have a very special place in my heart. I know that they will achieve wonderful things, and I am excited to see what the future holds for them. It has truly been a blessing to watch them grow into the amazing people that they are today, and I am so thankful to have them in my life. I want to wish them both good luck in college, and I have no doubt that they will be very successful no matter what.
Congratulations, and I love you both so much!
The 2018-19 season has come to a close, so I took some time to revisit all of my adventures from the past several months…
I remembered the exhilaration of dancing the Snow Queen pas de deux in The Nutcracker, and flutes of Act 2 came floating back to me from when I took the stage as a Mirliton. My heart became warm as I recalled performing the Sugar Plum Fairy variation for the seniors at the assisted living facility, and I smiled at the memory of pure joy on their faces. I recalled working with the choreographer of “Flight” and being part of its debut in January as well as the Balanchine-themed “Spiral.” Both of these creations were brought to three separate stages as we popped in and out of the city this year, and each experience was uniquely special. I shivered at the flashback of February and all of the stress that accompanied those long days of overtime at the studio. Alice in Wonderland definitely kept us on our toes as we raced against time to put the entire ballet together, but the performance was worth every moment. Shortly after, we dove into The Little Mermaid where we spent over 13 hours in the theater on a show day, and the contemporary repertoire marked the successful ending of this very busy season.
I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that I had, and I cannot thank everyone enough for the tremendous amount of support through it all. I especially want to thank all of my followers for joining me this year, liking my posts, and leaving such positive comments. It means so much to know that my friends, family, and readers all believe in my ability to succeed, so THANK YOU!
How was your dance season? Do you have any questions for me? Any special post requests? Happy Summer!