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!!
I am officially a senior… I feel really old when I say that, and it sounds a little freaky if I’m honest. I still can’t believe that I have actually come this far, but I know that my journey is only just beginning as I decide where I want to go from here. Auditions for professional dance companies are quickly filling up my calendar, and college applications, research, and tours are going to keep me busy for the next several months. I have reached a very confusing and stressful time in my life as I make major life-decisions that will determine my entire future in both dance and school.
The possibilities seem endless as I attempt to narrow down the perfect fit for me and figure out what I truly want to do with my life. For years, I had always seemed to know exactly what I wanted and thought I had a plan to get there. However, I am quickly realizing that life is much more complicated than I once thought because things are constantly changing, and new opportunities are always arising. Out of seventeen years, I think this just might be the biggest and most determining one yet…
Here’s to another awesome year, new memories, and lovely faces. School has officially begun, and I am almost to the finish line for high school graduation. I just have to get through a few more classes…This will be definitely not be an easy year, but it is SENIOR YEAR so bring it on!! I am ready, so let’s do this!
What was your senior year like? Do you have any tips to narrow down universities? What have you been up to lately? Thanks for reading!
“I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do. I learned to suspect that anyone is capable of living a lie. I came to believe that other people- even when you think you know them well- are ultimately unknowable”
*Photo Credits: Richard Jean-Louis
“They keep saying that beautiful is something a girl needs to be.
But honestly? Forget that. Don’t be beautiful.
Be angry, be intelligent, be witty, be klutzy, be interesting,
be funny, be adventurous, be crazy, be talented-
there is an eternity of other things
to be other than beautiful.
And what is beautiful anyway
but a set of letters strung together to make a word?
Be your own definition of amazing, always.
That is so much more important than anything beautiful, ever.”
“He said to me, ‘you’re perfect,
and I want you to be mine.’
But I felt I wasn’t worthy,
and to be perfect, I need time.
I knew it would be worth it,
and I could be better if I tried.
Then he got tired of waiting,
and I watched my chance go by.”
*Photo Credits: Richard Jean-Louis
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.