Saturday, December 27, 2014


   Though this year, like every year before it, had rough patches and bouts with depression, it was definitely one of the best I've ever had. I thought I would make a list with all of the accomplishments and awesome things I've had happen over the course of 2014. I want to do this every year, maybe making a blog for the year and adding as awesome things happen.

  • Though Johnny and I had our first date on December 15th of last year, most of our relationship happened this year. He has changed my life for the better, and I couldn't be happier. Also, we did the adult thing on January 1st Hi. *Tries not to say we brought the New Year in with a bang. Or 5.*
  • I met Johnny's daughter, Ariel, in February, I think. She was two years old at the time and is now three and a half. I love her to death.
  • Johnny got me a gym membership again and it's a lot of fun to go workout with my love.
  • Johnny took his first ever dance class! Actually, he took modern and ballroom in the Spring. He wanted to get into some of the things I'm into and he had never been onstage before. At the end of Spring, my hopeless dance partner for the chacha just couldn't get it and kept dropping me so I taught Johnny the dance and, though he was nervous as hell, he did it! I'm so proud of him. He ended up taking Dance Production and Tap 1 in the fall and did marvelously.
  • February 15th, I auditioned for and was hired as a ballet instructor at a local dance studio. I teach Intermediate Ballet there.
  • In October, I think, a friend of mine that was working at the dance studio quit and gave me her class. She wanted someone who had good technique to take over (awesome compliment) so she gave me her Littles (5 to 8 year olds). I am so glad it happened, though I feel bad that she quit. I do love those kids.
  • I choreographed my first numbers! I hadn't choreographed a whole song before and now I have, and I have found that I really love it. I started a number (Step In Time) in the summer but had to switch gears to prepare for the Christmas show, so never finished it. Now I have choreographed a Littles dance to Christmas, Don't Be Late, and choreographed to Hello for my older class. I got to come up with costumes, which was difficult at first, but once I narrowed the Hello costume down, it all fell into place. The other costume was harder, because since they were dancing to the Chipmunks, something classical looking wouldn't fit. But as it was a Christmas show, neon colors didn't work. I ended up making them costumes that made them look like candy canes. Too cute.
  • Backing up a little, I got to do my first partner dance in the Spring. The Chacha. Because I'm not thin, I usually get looked over when it comes to partner dances, since the girls usually have to be lifted. There was only one lift in this one, at the end, and Johnny did a great job with it. It's not all about weight. If you use your core, weight can be overlooked. If you don't hold your core, then even if you're thin, the guy has to work a lot harder and it can look sloppy.
  • Back to fall. I got into my first small number dance in the hard Dance Production class. We did a beautiful lyrical dance to The Only Exception. Only nine women made it into the number. It was originally six. Three of the girls partner for the second half, but the instructor let three more girls in so that more got the chance to do it. It's one of the most beautiful dances I've ever done, and also one of the most technical and difficult, which was the reason for auditions.
  • I got another lead in a number! I've had one other lead before, as the devil in the Danse Macabre number in 2012. This time, I was Elsa in the Frozen number! It was a lot of fun, though frustrating at times. The instructor kept changing the choreography as we learned it. She would teach us (Anna and Elsa) a section one Friday, only to change the whole thing the next Friday. It made it difficult to remember, and I usually remember choreography easily. In all, I'm really glad it happened. That, and Ariel's reaction to it was so adorable. From what I was told, when I come out onstage (to Let It Go), she gasped and said "Reeka is Frozen??" She has been calling me Reeka since she couldn't pronounce Erika when we met. IF she tries now, it's Eggika. So cute.
  • I live with Johnny and while it's not always perfect, I still love it. He puts me in check and lets me know when I'm being ridiculous. lol. Sometimes I really need that.
  • I have had my first dance concert as a teacher. I have gone over parts already and still need to write a blog just on the show, but it's something I will never forget.
  • I have babysat my nephew quite a few times and I love that. I love him so much. He's already got so much personality and I love seeing how much he's changed just over a couple of weeks. The other day, on Christmas, he grabbed a phone and put it the wrong way to his ear and if someone said "Ring ring, ring ring!" He'd say "Ho?" ahahaha. Can't quite say "Hello?" but it's cuter this way anyways.

    I'll add more things as I think of them but just typing these up has made me smile. It really has been a great year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Class Number Struggles

     It's proving to be very difficult to keep consistency with students at this studio. I started out with my Intermediate Ballet class, which I should possibly just call Ballet since I end up with beginners or students of all levels. I really don't mind at all. I do like the complexity of more difficult choreography and barre work, but I also love seeing a student who has never taken dance (or not since they were little) grow and grow.

   I started my first class by just teaching my boyfriend, J. As I said in my previous post, he partially took my class so I could figure out how to fit everything into just an hour. The next week, I had a girl come in and take it on a whim and loved it so much that she signed up for the month. Jean kept coming, so that was great. I think I may have just had her for a few weeks. Then a friend came and brought her twin sister and their friend. I'd danced with all three in ballet classes before. T was with me for months, as was Jean. Then another of T's friends came and she was there for months as well. T was most advanced and en pointe. Jean and T's friend, Jenn, were both basically beginners. Neither had ever danced so it was interesting trying to manager the different skill levels. T and Jenn were adults and Jean was 16. It was mostly kept at a more basic level but some of the steps in the dance were more advanced (saut de basques, tour jetes, beat jumps, etc).

   So anyways, first Jean dropped off because she got a summer job. I was bummed out because she was my first beginner to teach and I was thoroughly enjoying watching her progress from week to week. Then I had to switch the class time to two hours earlier and I never saw Jenn again. Then around a month or two later, I lost T as she was transferring to a university over an hour away. I had no students for around a month and then a 20 year old I was in a musical (Hairspray) with in 2011 messaged me about wanting to take my class. She hadn't danced since she was 6 so she's basically a beginner. I am loving teaching her. She takes corrections well, is super quick with learning the terminology, and has passion and drive. I just need more like her! I heard I should be getting a 12 year old who is moving up because of the age group so I'm happy for that. My next dance requires at least 4 so I hope to get the very least!

   Now on to the Littles! When I got the class handed down to me, there were two students - Lydia and Dalia. Lydia is seven and Dalia is six. My first day teaching, Lydia was absent but I had little Dalia. She was so cute and sweet! She had good focus and good technique/knowledge of the steps for her age. There was a three year old that dropped in that day to try it (even though it wasn't her age group) and we played games that I combined with ballet steps and they seemed to have a blast.

   Lydia is a little firecracker. She knows the technique and picks up everything quickly but she is always trying to test me. She'll start out doing rond de jambes right and then when she thinks I'm not looking, will just kinda move her leg a little and squint at me with a little mischievous smile on her face. She keeps me on my toes (ha), for sure.

   I have since gotten two more students. Lilly is seven and though I have a difficult time keeping her attention sometimes, has passion for ballet that astounds me. I put on some music and she immediately recognized it as being from The Nutcracker. The same happened with music from Swan Lake. That makes me happy since she's so little. Her grandma also tells me that Lilly gets up at 5:30 in the morning every day, puts on her classical music, and practices barre and stretching, and so on. Good kid, that one.

  Samantha, I fear, has come and gone. She was five and transferred from another class into mine but I haven't seen her in three weeks now, so I don't think she's returning. It's so frustrating. And I haven't seen her or Dalia since the class before Thanksgiving.

   I choreographed a little dance to Christmas, Don't Be Late when I had three students, because there are three Chipmunks and had them all (in turn) doing a soutenu turn when each Chipmunk name was spoken. "Simon" - Lydia, "Theodore" - Dalia, "Alvin...ALvin...ALVIN!" - Lilly (on the first mention). When Samantha came to us, I just had her between Dalia and Lilly so timing-wise, it still worked out. Now that I'm down to two, there is too much time. I told them to do two soutenu turns now but it still doesn't quite work, but we will have to deal with that since the show is Monday.

I have lots of flyers and now that this show is about to come and go, I can get back to plastering any place I can think of with them. I have held off for the last month or so because it would be too little time for someone to learn the respective dances. So I'm crossing my fingers that I pick up more students! I want to keep my classes. I absolutely love what I'm doing.

Littles, Biggies, dance in general

     So, it's been quite some time since I've written (bad Erika!). Life has been pretty crazy hectic so blogging has been put on the back burner. I really need to make it more consistent.

     I begun working at a dance studio in February. Or, rather, I was hired in February, but began actually teaching in March. I started out teaching Intermediate Ballet for ages 12 and up (adults included). My first class was just my boyfriend. He signed up to take a class partially so that I can figure out how to cram everything -- warm-up, barre, across the floor, center -- into just an hour. I'm used to taking hour and a half long technique classes. Also, he wanted to take ballet. It took a few classes for me to iron out how to manage just an hour, but eventually I got it.

   I ended up, at one point, having three full-time students. By full-time, I mean that they paid for the month and got four classes, one class a week. My first dance was to Step In Time from Mary Poppins. It was okay, but I was starting out with choreographing my own dance and that song was familiar to me. I never finished the choreography because my students ended up dropping due to work and the class time changing, which was a real bummer.

   A friend of mine was teaching a Littles ballet class (ages 5-8) and after a couple of months, ended up quitting and giving her class to me because she likes my experience and level of technique. So that's really awesome because now I have two classes and the kids really are darling--most of the time. Ha. That age range is a little tough.

 We currently are at the end of rehearsing for our upcoming show that's December 22nd, so I've got two pieces in that show. It's so exciting! I absolutely love choreographing so it's very exciting that my choreography that I've worked hard on and ended up totally loving is going to be seen by tons of people! My Littles are doing a dance to Christmas, Don't Be Late--that Chipmunks song--and they have so much fun doing it and look ADORABLE. My sole older student and I are doing a duet to Hello by Evanescence. This one took the most work, as I really didn't want any repeat sections and wanted to pour some emotion into it, therefore making it slightly lyrical. But it's my class and my choreography so I was able to take creative liberties. I'm very excited for this show.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ugly Cygnet

Smooth floor, bare thoughts
I'm dancing across the floor
Never needing more
Worries go out the door

Meeting all the wrong
People at the barre
Ready to watch me fall
Though I can only give my all

Whispers taunting
Grabbing at my back
Trying to attack
Watch the porcelain crack

Screaming shouting
Falling to the ground
Eyes are growing round
I'll give you your crown

This swan princess
Wasn't meant to be a queen
Good job being mean
You've just killed my only dream