13 hours in the theater. 6 quick changes. 3 performances. 2 dress rehearsals. All in 1 busy day.
I glanced at the bruises forming on my feet, and my body was overcome with a state of pure exhaustion. It was my eleventh hour in the theater, and I stood behind the curtain listening to the constant murmur of the crowd as they made their way to their seats. The final show of “The Little Mermaid” was about to begin, and I was minutes away from tackling another ballet with the very little energy that I had left. It is expected that every performance has the same quality, and the audience deserves the same experience every show because tickets all cost the same. This is where it gets challenging and stressful for us, dancers. At the end of the day, fatigue and aching muscles must be concealed by bubbly smiles and seemingly effortless movements which is extremely difficult. I don’t think the audience ever truly realizes what actually goes on backstage, and the beauty of this art form can be very deceiving by the graceful image that we portray.
All in all, it was great to be back in the theater, but I think ballet officially kicked my butt.
What did you do this weekend? Have you had any performances recently? Are you ready for summer?
During a live performance, nothing is promised, and the audience experiences something new each time the curtain rises. They are able to witness the real-time mishaps and slips that cannot be undone or edited out. Each show is simply an unparalleled mystery to both the dancers and audience members because it is never certain what the outcome will be regardless of the repeated choreography. Even though dancers try to maintain a professional image, we are just like the people in the darkened theater clutching tickets in their palms. We make mistakes. We fall. We have off days just like everybody else. No matter how hard we strive for perfection, we will never be flawless, and that is reality.
Saturday, we took Flight, a guest-choreographed modern piece, downtown with peacock feathers perched delicately in our hair. To be honest, I am quite disappointed with my performance. It was an incredibly stressful night as things continuously went wrong, and I had to endure that defeated feeling as I took a bow. This piece will be performed again later this season, so I am hoping that we can redeem ourselves. As of right now, we must move on because it is going to be a busy week in the studio as we prepare for Alice in Wonderland in three weeks! I will not waste any more time thinking about the past. We have a ballet to learn. 🙂
I see the elaborate tutus hung on the racks and admire the glittering tiaras set in careful stacks. The props in the basket are so very sweet. This show will definitely be a treat!
It is hard to believe that opening night for “The Nutcracker” is exactly one week from today, but I am looking forward to performing in the very first show of the 2018-19 season. I am so humbled to have been cast as the snow queen because it is one of my favorite roles in the entire ballet. As much as I love it, the snow pas de deux is has been very challenging physically and mentally as I try to get as close to perfection as possible. I want to leave the audience in awe this holiday season and perform to the best of my ability. I have one more week. Wish me luck!
It is so easy to forget why you love this art form when you sacrifice so much of your life inside of a studio with your feet cramping, muscles burning, and sweat dripping in your eyes. It is so easy to forget why you love this art form when you think about how many things you have missed out on by not living a “normal” life for a dream that you may never even reach. It is so easy to forget… until you step onto that stage to dance for hundreds of people and hear their applause… until you experience an injury that prevents you from being able to express yourself for weeks… until you are offered a job contract that allows you to do what you love and not sit in an office all day long… until an audience member warmly touches your shoulder after a performance and tells you how grateful he/she is for sharing your gift…
The fact is, I hear negativity every single day whether it is inside of my own head or from other people expressing their personal unhappiness. I have begun to realize that dance is a mental battle, and it is something that continuously challenges people both emotionally and physically. I have known so many people who have stopped fighting for this dream and have had thoughts of “what if I didn’t, where would I be now?” for the rest of their lives. Do not ever forget why you started dancing, and do not ever forget that magical moment that lit up your young eyes when you discovered it for the very first time. Always remember the power that dance has to heal and change people’s lives, and never allow your current emotions to put out the flame that burns deep within your soul. Remain true to yourself, and have faith through it all.
No matter how defeated you may feel at times, never forget this art form… It is part of you. It IS you… Do you really want to let it all go?
I know that this post was significantly longer than my typical posts, but I just felt like the world needed to read this because these words have been lingering in my head for quite some time now. Too many people in my life have incredible talent, but they are quickly loosing their passion; I don’t ever want that to happen to me.
Photo credits: Richard Jean-Louis
I had to share this lovely post by Rêveuse. If you like this, be sure to stop by and like the original post before liking my re-blog. Thanks!
“Self-respect is about having the courage to stand up for yourself when you are being treated in a manner that is less than what you deserve.
People will give you as much respect as you give yourself. Self respect is everything.
Don’t lower your standards for anyone or anything. No relationship is ever worth sacrificing your dignity or self respect for.
Never compromise your values to please other people. Believe that you are worthy of being treated well.
When someone treats you like you are just one of many options, help them narrow their choice by removing yourself from the equation. Don’t give part-time people a full time position in your life. Know your value and what you have to offer, and never settle anything less than you deserve.”
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. — rêveuse
~Note: The photo attached is mine and was not featured in her post.
With lots of twists and turns (literally), this past week was definitely an adventure. From taking my college dual enrollment exam to setting my very own choreography on a group of outstanding dancers, it definitely put me through a lot of stress.
Despite of all it all, I am absolutely elated to know that the hours of late-night studying/ preparing actually paid off, and I have exceeded the standards on my college entry exam. I am really looking forward to starting this upcoming school year as a dual enrollment student at the college, and it is going to be an awesome experience to take on-campus classes (working around my studio schedule).
Nonetheless, I also learned that choreography is much harder than it may appear to the eyes of the audience. A dance takes a lot of work to create, and there are many moving parts to keep track of at one time. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with such talented peers, and I appreciate their patience and ‘flexibility’ tremendously. It truly is amazing to see a vision actually come alive. I am very pleased with the result of this piece, and I think that it will definitely be something that the audience will remember…
Wishing you all the best!
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”
In late December, I did a photo shoot with the incredible photographer, Richard Jean- Louis. It was such a fun experience, and I am glad that I am able to share more of this shoot with all of you. If you like this, be sure to check out my previous post Standards.
Photo Credits: Richard Jean- Louis