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. 🙂