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…
“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.”
Quote: Ruth E. Renkel
“Decisions. We can think about things, turn them over in our minds a million times, play out possible scenarios, but really when it comes down to it, you have to go with your heart and move forward. Maybe things will go well. Maybe they’ll turn out poorly. Every decision brings with it some good, some bad, some lessons, and some luck. The only thing that’s for sure is that indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they’d just had the courage to leap.”
It can be scary to make a decision especially if it entails major changes in your life. Sometimes, you are put in a situation where you are given two very different options, and you are forced to choose which path to take. You are not sure which one is “right” and you don’t really know where you are meant to go, so you spend time contemplating the alternatives. Days go by, followed by weeks, and even months. Your gut feeling tells you which path to take, but you are too paralyzed to actually make things happen because you worry that you are wrong and fear the pit of regret. However, you cannot spend your entire life dwelling on the unknown because the truth is that you are never going to be 100% sure of every outcome. It is not possible. You are wasting so many opportunities if you let fear take complete control and if you allow other people to sway your direction in life. Do what you want to do, and go where you feel like you should be. Definitely consider the outcomes, but don’t spend your entire life sitting around waiting because you are afraid.
Make a decision. Make it happen.
Reflection from the week…
*Photo Credits: Claire H.
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
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!
“there’s a universe
swirling inside you.
you have to learn to be
your own earth,
you are a natural
not a natural disaster.”
*Photo Credits: Richard Jean-Louis
College Year 1: OFFICIALLY DONE!
(Casually doing an Arabesque at school…)
I cannot believe that my freshman year of college is actually complete, and I am about one year away from attaining my associates degree in Marketing Management. I have learned so much in the last two semesters, and I am just so thankful for this opportunity to attend this awesome school as a dual-enrolled student. It was certainly a challenge to manage a full college schedule on top of my other responsibilities, and I have no doubt that I pushed myself harder than ever before… I recall doing assignments at 2 AM while Nirvana and Pearl Jam blared out of my headphones, studying vigorously in between rehearsals, hauling a load of math problems to the tutoring center before exams, reading textbook pages for hours in the library, and reviewing papers with friends before submitting them to my professor. It was hard, but this experience really allowed me to grow as both a person and student which is really rewarding in the end. It was a great year, and I am so lucky to have had such awesome people to share it with.
I have a few weeks on break before the summer semester kicks off, but I am going to embrace this sunshine and blue sky while it lasts… Summer vibes are in the air; it’s a beautiful day!
Has your summer break started yet? What was your freshman experience like? Who else is a Marketing major? Do you enjoy bubble tea?
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?