I am so excited for this year’s production of the The Nutcracker. Not only am I more confident this year, but my dear friend (another adult beginner) will also be performing for the first time!!!! I wouldn’t say that I am a shy person, but I do tend to be VERY quiet when I am around a lot people that I don’t know. Although I did eventually make some good friends last year, I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is to share this experience with an established friend right from the get-go. With out further ado, my roles for our four performances of The Nutcracker are as follows:
December 13th, 21st: Snowflake and Spanish
December 14th, 20th: Snowflake and Rose (Waltz of the Flowers)
I am so happy for the parts that I have been placed in. I performed as a Snowflake last year, but the Rose and Spanish variations will be new to me this year! Our version the Waltz of the Flowers features three parts, the Petite Fluers, the Lilacs, and the Roses. While all the flowers dance together for most of the Waltz, each set of flowers get their own time on stage, which I really love!
Finally, a big Congratulations to all other dancers who are dancing in The Nutcracker!
There are so many ways to demonstrate, describe, and try to explain the same ballet position or step. Sometimes just thinking of a step a new way makes all of the difference in the world. My level 4 ballet/pointe teacher is particularly good at describing steps and positions. She will break apart a step into many pieces, making sure that we students understand every part of the step.
Anyways, while in class a week or so ago, my instructor was explaining what our posture should be like at the barre, especially our upper body. In the past I have always heard teachers say something like “Pull up from the top of your head” or “Shoulders back, chest down” or “Pull your belly button to your spine”. These all served well enough, but I still never felt complete, right…So, we are standing at the barre and my teacher tells us, “Make sure your ribs are in front of your hips”. I instantly adjust to comply to her suggestion and I’ll be damned if I don’t instantly feel completely centered. Like, REALLY centered. Not only did I feel centered, but my core instantly engaged and all of a sudden I wasn’t falling backwards during a balance, which is my tendency. It was a total “AH HAH” moment!
P.S. Nutcracker casting is up, but I’ll talk about that more later!
Last night I had a great class. I always feel better after a ballet class, but last night was amazing. Our regular teacher wasn’t feeling well so, Heidi, one of the company’s principal dancers taught class. She is like a tiny firecracker of pure happiness and sunshine. Not only did I really enjoy her combinations, but she would say things like “I want your feet to talk to me! Talky talky! No, wait, let your feet SING to me!” and “Point, pointy, pointed feet!” and “Not laaa, laaa, laaa, but ta, ta, ta, TA-DAAAAH”
I ADORE nice slow combinations that emphasize working through every single muscle in your foot, but having a small ballerina flit around the room singing “Let me hear your feet!!!” made it so much more fun!
She was an amazing teacher that really wanted you to focus on making each step your best. If you can’t perform a perfect double pirouette, Heidi wants you to only do a single pirouette! If you can’t do a perfect single pirouette, she encouraged you to do a perfect balance instead. I, being on the less experienced side, really appreciated this, because sometimes we are encouraged to JUST GO FOR IT (which of course you eventually just have to TRY new steps if you ever want to get better) but sometimes it is nice to just do a really awesome releve passe instead of a pirouette. I felt so centered after class.
Somewhat of a side-note: I have been noticing lately, and especially last night, that my right foot/ankle/leg are still weaker than my left as far as pure power is concerned. I really noticed it when doing releve passe balance and pirouettes from 5th. When my left side is supporting I feel much more secure and I am able to scoop/spring up to pointe and STICK IT! With my right side however, there is less oomph and I feel like I wobble a bit. =/ Need to work on that.
As you may or may not know, I had Nutcracker auditions last Saturday. I was feeling really confident having had several really strong ballet classes earlier in the week. My ballet teachers reassured me several times that the audition process would be very similar to class. I went in super confident, but left feeling like I had let myself down.
I could go into grand detail about all the minute things that made me feel uncomfortable and analyze all of the steps that I did incorrectly or couldn’t do at all, but I don’t want to do that. It is over. I did what I could and I really hope that the teachers take into account my roles last year and how I perform in class. I decided that I just wouldn’t think about it again until the casting results were announced. Impossible, of course.
Last night, while a few friends were over, my brother, not know how auditions went, said to his friend “My sister is an amazing dancer! She just auditioned for the Nutcracker!”. Of course everyone started asking how auditions went and I said something along the lines of “Oh, well, it went okay. I think I did alright. It could have been better… but I did the best I could at the time and that is worth a lot. Anyways, I will still have fun dancing, even if I have a smaller part”.
Luis, my boyfriend, said that is sounded like I was trying to convince myself of what I just said. And I was trying to convince myself. Just putting myself out there was worth a lot, right? In front of the friends that we had over I was trying so hard to convince myself that just trying out was an accomplishment.
After the auditions I felt like crying. Nothing went as well as I wanted it to and I’m terrified of getting a “lesser” role than I had last year.
Tears were welling up in my eyes as I walked out of the building, but I was determined not to let my disappointment show until I could hide in the safety and privacy of my car. As I walked to my car I passed a teen-aged girl had just auditioned with me and she was weeping in her mother’s arms. She was saying she “blew it” and that she had “totally messed up”.
I realized instantly that she was the girl that I had been following out of the corner of my eye during auditions. She was the girl that I thought danced so beautifully and had done everything almost perfectly. She was the girl that I watched and thought “Man, if only I could dance like her, then I’d get the part I want”. And there she was a few cars down from me, being held by her mom while she sobbed…I was so stunned that this beautiful dancer felt exactly the same way I did that I forgot to cry.
I’m still trying to convince myself that no matter what I will have fun.The thing is, I know I will be really bummed if I don’t at least get the parts I had last year… *Sigh*