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…
2019 flew by, and I am shocked that the new year is right around the corner. So much has happened this year especially within the past month, and I have a lot of catching up to do. Here are some of the highlights of October…
1 ) My mom is pregnant again
I never expected to hear this, but I found out that I am going to have another sibling in April! I am very excited to meet the newest addition to the family, and I am looking forward to all of the wonderful memories that will be made.
2 ) I took my SAT and applied to two universities
This was very stressful because I decided to wait until senior year to take my SAT, but I completed it at the beginning of the month and met the early action deadline for two universities. I should hear back very soon, so I am getting very anxious. I still have a few more to send though…
3 ) I choreographed two contemporary/modern solos for YAGP
I was asked to choreograph two solos for dancers competing in the Youth American Grand Prix this season, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity. It was truly an honor to work with them, and I am absolutely blown away by their talent. I honestly felt like I was rehearsing two young principal dancers… I know that they will go far, and I am very excited for them to showcase their skills.
Also, Nutcracker is less than a week away, and we will be back in the theater in just a few days. Sorry I crammed all the updates into one post, but I hope that you are all doing well. Happy November!!
What have you been up to recently? How was your October? Do you have anything fun planned this month? I would love to hear from you guys because it has been bit since my last post. Thanks for reading.
It’s been awhile.
How have you guys been? I know this isn’t the first (unintended) hiatus that I have taken this semester, and it probably wont be the last if I’m honest. However, I really hope that you guys stick around because I am not abandoning the blog! Life has just been quite crazy lately…
I have spent more hours in the school library than I can even count, and chemistry is definitely proving to be an “adventure.” I like all of my classes and professors a lot, but the work load/studying is much more intense and time consuming than previous semesters. I also took my SAT this morning, and I am beginning to narrow down universities that I want to apply/transfer into. I am really anticipating the score because it was my first time, and I really wonder where I will end up… On the other hand, I forgot to tell you guys that the college, where I am currently dual-enrolled, has selected me into The National Society of Leadership and Success!! I am incredibly honored to be a member of this reputable program, and I am so humbled for the opportunity.
Lastly, The Nutcracker will be brought to the theater in one month, so that is quite nerve-wracking. Rehearsals are well underway, but there is still a lot of work that has to be done! I will be sure to keep you all posted, and I hope that you are doing well. Also, an October playlist will be released very soon, so keep an eye out for that…
What have you been up to? How are your classes going so far? Are you a member of the NSLS? Are you planning on watching or dancing in The Nutcracker this season? Thank you for reading this super long post if you are still there!
*Photo: Flashback to last year’s family trip up to the apple orchard.
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!
I spent my long weekend in the mountains of North Carolina where I embraced the peaceful solitude and experienced the traditional artwork and culture of the great Cherokee Indians. It was nice to leave all the stress behind so that I could recharge to tackle another crazy month. I will admit that the lack of phone service during the trip was a struggle for me, but the beautiful weather, scenery, and memories definitely made the trip worthwhile. I especially loved exploring the cultural district of Cherokee where I watched some of the native dances and admired all of the amazing artwork. Hand painted bear statues decorated the town, and the detailing of this one in particular caught my eye. It was also fun to peek inside the small shops and see all of the beautifully handcrafted jewelry, baskets, and pottery.
Hiking up Mingo Falls was another highlight of the trip. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the waterfall to be as big as it was, so I was really surprised when I saw the view. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I am so glad that I was able to see it.
I hope that you all had a Happy Labor Day! I have lots of exciting content that will be released very soon, so I hope that you stick around. Also, Nutcracker casting came out last week, so I will reveal that very shortly as well. Have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading!
How did you spend your holiday weekend? Have you ever visited Cherokee, NC? Do you enjoy the mountains? Are there any special post requests?
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!
“A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!”
I have a love/hate relationship with the winter season, but I always end up looking forward to it every year… The snow transforms our ordinary town into an enchanted world where young eyes sparkle with excitement. It brings families together for an adventurous day of snowman building and hot coco drinking by the fireplace. This season is so memorable and amazing. Wishing you all a beautiful first day of winter 2018-19!
*Photo credits: Mandy E. (Nutcracker 2018 “snow”)
We are switching gears at the studio as we begin to prepare for our February production if Alice in Wonderland. The Nutcracker, snow, and peppermint offerings have been replaced by a giant Cheshire cat, mushrooms, and small cups of tea… Right after the busy weekend in the theater, casting was released, and we started to learn the first few dances of this ballet. I am looking forward to performing as Alice’s sister, maid, and deck of cards lead. I am so proud of my friend who was cast as Alice, and I cannot wait to watch her shine on that stage. It is going to be a great show, and I am excited to watch this magnificent story unfold.
Last night was even more magical than I imagined as I finally got to perform the role that I had admired ever since I was a very young ballerina! I couldn’t have asked for the snow pas de deux to have gone any better for the shows, and I am so incredibly thankful for my snow king who supported me through it all. Despite the 14 hour-long day that was spent in the theater, this production generated so much positive energy within me, and I really wish that I could rewind the clock to do it again. Even after I came offstage, I could not stop smiling as the sound of applause filled my heart with so much happiness. However, the curtain has officially closed for the Nutcracker, but we will be back in the theater in a month for our production of Alice in Wonderland. I heard that casting will be announced within the next week, so be sure to keep an eye out for it! 🙂
I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend!