Friday, December 15, 2017

Fall Dance Show and Loss

     So, I totally suck at keeping up with this thing. My bad. This semester has been an interesting one. I took Intermediate Ballet (Intermediate, or II, is the highest level our college goes up to in any performing arts classes), Modern II, and my usual two dance performance classes. I did nine dances in the show, as usual. This feels so dry coming out. I have some big, awful news to put in the second part of this blog so I think my fingers are trying to race ahead to that but I will try to slow down.

First, I missed a week at the beginning-to-middle-ish of the semester due to an evil sickness that wouldn't just let me live in peace. It grabbed me and fought and I fought and I eventually spartan kicked it into whatever hell it came from. I really hate missing classes but I always feel like whatever choreography the class learned when I wasn't there always feels foreign and not solid. Anyone else?

I got good places in the dances this semester. I swear, when I started dancing, I was in the back of every dance in L's classes and somehow, mid-to-front in N's classes because I had ballet experience before taking her performance class. In N's class, we started doing a Grinch dance I have done twice before, so I was put in the front. Funny enough, I had previously done both directions so it really didn't matter what side I was put on. haha. not that reversing is ever a bad thing, but you know how muscle memory is...

Then we started working on our Danse Macabre dance. I had also done this number twice before. The number opens with two grave robbers. They steal from it and then some demons (beginners) come out and mess with them. The first time I did this number, I was a demon. Anywho, the demons chase the robbers around until a devil pops out under an archway. Hullo...das me! I did the devil part last time in jazz shoes (as per the teacher). This time, I was delighted to find out I would get to do the part en pointe! My first pointe lead ever. After 7 years of pointe and 13 years of ballet, I finally got a pointe lead. I was so psyched! So the devil eventually has the demons throw the robbers to the ground and we do some steps together (demons in jazz shoes, me en pointe...the choreo is purely ballet but with more sharp movements). Then some angels and a lead angel come out. The angels are more intermediate girls in ballet shoes and the lead angel used to be in flats but was en pointe this time as well. The angel has soft, fluid movements whereas my movements as the devil were more sharp. Sometimes we did the same steps (hello, a million pique arabesques) but the hands were different. And I had a pitchfork. Heh. So anyways, then the robbers have to choose between good and evil, I get stabbed in the ass with my own pitchfork and good wins.

So, yeah.

We also did a lyrical angel number, so I was an angel and a devil in the shows. lol. I missed another week towards the end and was put in the front in that time and she added that number in the last month so I was still trying to remember choreo during tech/show week. haha. But I got it and that's all that really matters.

The last number we did in N's class was a ballet number and it was fine. I didn't love it and didn't hate it. It did have a penche with my more favorable (read: flexible) side, so that was great. It's also the only time I've ever had a penche in the choreo that wasn't to the side. The beginner row knelt down in a row and us more advanced girls put our hands on their shoulders and penche'd down so that my working leg was over my head.

In L's class, we did a jazz number to Lady Gaga's Just Dance and it was exhausting! Her dances often are, especially jazz, but whew. It had lots of double axles, jetes, and a calypso for us in the advanced section. Speaking of that section, the entire class does two front pas de bourrees, alternating, and then the rest go offstage while 6 of us (3 on each side) do a back pas de bourree into a back pas de bourree turn and prep and then plie chaine, releve chaine, plie chaine, double axel, chasse, step, developpe jete, and then turn into a calypso. That calypso out of the jete is just as hard as it sounds. And naturally, the last night of the show, I totally spaced and messed up, doing two calypsos. I have no idea what came over me, as I have known the choreo for months. But there it is and now I am so embarrassed by it. >_< Whyyyyy

We did a gorgeous waltz/lyrical number (some people just did lyrical but some went to a partner and waltz'd in between). It was possibly my favorite number. It was just gorgeous. There was one turn that was pretty hard at first but then I got it and loved it. You prep the left leg in 4th front, then inside turn, with the right leg in second attitude, arms in an open 5th. Then you bring the right leg into retire, and as soon as you've made a full turn, layout. Try it. It's super fun. But challenging because the whole thing is on demi pointe. I love complex turns.

Another number we did in L's class was a modern thrash number. I say thrash because that's what it feels like and how L describes it. It was to a rock/metal song. Everyone was split, half in shiny gold camis, half in shiny red camis. The two sides fought each other and threw each other around. I was in the front in this and it was the first time being in the very front row in L's class with the whole class onstage. I'm normally in the second row most of the time but it was me and one other girl in front for the whole number. It was great. I love these kinds of dances because I get so into it and it's cool watching the video later and seeing my hair fly around. hahaha. The hardest thing about this number was the counting. The way L teaches, some songs go by words and some by counts. This one was all counts, which I prefer, but it was difficult because we learned quite a few parts when I missed class. Oh well. It still went great.

We did a tango and basically every guy had two women, switching back and forth. I like tango. I feel like I pick it up fairly easily. I took ballroom dance so that helps but some ballroom is harder than others and for me, tango is easy. I like how dramatic tango is. haha.

The final number was our swing number. It was 3 numbers that I edited together (i was even credited in the program, which was nice!) Rock Around The Clock, 13 Women, and Shake Rattle and Roll. So yeah, it was like 8 minutes long because a couple were cut shorter but it still felt long because swing is fast and exhausting. I ended up in the front, another first for swing. I've always been in the back. But I work hard and know how to do swing so it was finally noticed so yay! The guys, again, alternated between two women. It was a really fun dance and ended  with us "falling" to the floor in our groups of three (basically I fell onto C - guy -  who fell onto E - the other girl...Trust Fall style). It was the show's closer and fit perfectly because we were exhausted at the end. hahaha

So yeah, that's about it. Oh! No it's not. So, a two weeks ago, one week before dress rehearsal, I was doing the modern thrash dance in rehearsal. Me and the girl that fight in the front row in the number basically hold arms, do a grapevine and then a tour jete while still holding on and then let go and turn out of it. Then she goes to the floor and I face her. Well, somehow we ended up with me in front of her instead of next to her and I tripped and fell on top of her. I immediately felt pain and couldn't stand right away. it swelled up really fast and I could barely walk the next day. It ended up okay by the show. It still hurt to dance, though not bad, and was slightly swollen still but I still did my numbers, including pointe. Since the last show Sunday, I have been doing nothing much besides being sick and resting. So I have no idea why but it's SUPER swollen now. I somehow hurt it in three spots: the joint above the big toe, the front-side of the ankle, and the calf almost behind the knee. They are all still bothering me but my entire foot is now swollen. Before the shows, only the ankle was swollen. So, that's a thing that's going on and I have no idea what to do about it. Any advice? I'll take it.


Okay, now onto the other thing I was going to talk about. I know this thing is super long so bear with me please.

Along with the great things this year, there has been an absolutely horrible event that has happened. I lost my dad last month. My family and I are still going through an entire range of emotions over it. Let me back up.

     Back in the late spring/early summer of this year, my dad randomly had a giant cyst sprout up on his thigh. He went to the doctors and they first gave him some medication to try to see if it would shrink away. When it didn't, they scheduled a surgery to get rid of it. He had the surgery and rehab for it but he changed. He turned into a completely different person in that time. He was always a very loud, obnoxious person who would joke with everyone, tease everyone, but also make everyone feel like family. The person he was after his surgery was quiet, withdrawn, and like a ghost in the room. He no longer was loud, he no longer had any interest in people, including his wife, kids, and grandkids that he had previously treasured. It was just so bizarre. He lived with my mom and didn't even really talk to her. It was just bizarre and we were just waiting for him to come back. The real him. We will never have that back because on November 1st, a few days after my mom's birthday, she found him not breathing. He had taken his life. Loss is already such a hard thing to go through but when someone takes their life and they're close to you, you start wondering what you could have done differently. If you could have done something, anything, to have been able to save him. As hard as it is for me, I can't imagine what my mom must be feeling. I would give anything to take her pain away, to have him back. I want her to be happy and she is really depressed and I just wish I could do something.

It's not fair.
None of this is.


It's been an interesting year full of good and bad. I really hope 2018 will be better but I feel guilty going into it without my dad. It's not okay. I'm not mad at him. I don't think he was weak. I don't think he was selfish. I think he was depressed because of a chemical imbalance. I'm not a doctor but none of it adds up so that could be why it happened. We'll never know. And it sucks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

So, It's Been FOREVER

Um, my bad.

So, things have been crazy busy lately. Like...insanely busy. I'm on break from school though for the holidays and the Spring semester doesn't start again until February 13th. Praise The Doctor.

Things have been going...fine, I guess. Not bad, not excellent, just fine. I am back to teaching at one studio. The management at the "new" studio was interesting. The owner was sweet as pie but her assistant, the artistic director, or whatever her title was, didn't seem to like me and I'm really unsure as of why. It wasn't a good fit. I didn't have many students there, and I liked the "kids" I taught, but the Artistic Director (AD) wasn't happy about my moving one girl up to pointe even though she was beyond ready. Apparently, the old teacher told the Pre-Pointe class that she would move them all up at the same time and I don't understand why. One girl was around 12 and definitely wasn't ready. She was getting there but I'd have had her in Pre-Pointe another season or so, probably. One girl was 18 and the AD didn't seem to like her at all. The girl was very sweet and had incredible technique. I did all of the usual tests (pencil test, strength, core test in center, etc) and she passed all of them. Apparently, she was told she wasn't flexible enough by her old teacher. This kid was pretty flexible, though not as flexible as the other girls there. I don't see why that should be a reason to hold her back. Anyways, it was a bummer, but I wasn't really at easy there and felt like AD was just pissy about me moving the 18 year old up, even though the owner was totally fine with my decisions and supportive. I had gathered that AD was a big donor to the studio and cares more about competition and I care more about good technique than competition. As I said, it was a bummer but not a good fit for me anyways. I'm much more at ease at the studio I've now been at for almost 3 years.

So! Things have been going alright in the college dance world for me. I've had decent parts. Not always the parts I want, but that's because of my weight solely and that sucks. I get the villain parts because of it (and Teacher N has basically made it clear that's what is holding me back).

I've started really buckling down again on working on it. I started a bullet journal for 2017 and it's really helped with my tracking progress with everything, as I can tailor it however I like. What made me gain weight in the first place was my depression and eating disorder. I've gotten a little better but not as good as I'd like. It's just not my way to wake up, eat, and eat little bits every few hours or so. I'm more of a not-eat-all-day-then-eat-and-throw-up person. I have gotten better with not throwing up for years now but it's still hard to not just wait til I get home at night to finally eat. I make myself so that I can dance though, but it's not enough, so my body is storing fat. I'm working on it.

I had some fun dances at the college. Didn't have any pointe in the Spring show but did again in the Fall one. I had to get my pointe back up where it was before and I'm still working on it. Not where I want to be but that's life. ha. My favorite number from the fall semester was a piece about suicide. The song was For My Help and the number was amazing. My spots in Teacher L's class are getting better. I was in the second row for that number and I was thrilled because it was my absolute favotite and one of my favorite dances ever. I do well with emotional and even more so when I can connect so much. I put my everything into that number. It was just incredible.  I was also in the second row for her jazz number and it was one of my favorite jazz numbers ever too. The song was Telephone by Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce. Music for jazz tends to be shallow pop but the number was just fun. I had a front and center spot in her modern piece so that was awesome. I was in the non-partner section but sometimes I really don't mind being a partner if I'm in the front. I felt I did well with that number. I'm really feeling myself with most genre these days. I just love dancing.

As for the studio, everything is going fine there too. I would say it's fantastic if we could get class numbers up. It's not in the best area and get flaky parents too often. We had to have our show at a college the studio owner goes to and it was around an hour away so I lost students due to that. That caused me to have TWO WHOLE NUMBERS I had to pull from the show because parents didn't want to make the drive and pulled their kids out, which was devastating. One feel-good thing for me is that the studio owner (SO) and I get along well and she knows I know my technique and likes my choreography so she has been taking my classes. I'll be honest--I have a lot more training than she does. Her father had the money to buy a studio that was going to be turned into a furniture store. She had only taken Ballet Folklorico before this. She is really good with the little ones though, and I honestly don't love teaching babies. So I'm super psyched that she is taking my classes because it gives me more people to teach and it helps her as well. She hasn't had much technique and if she looks better, the studio benefits. She really is a sweet person though and is getting much better at being the owner. I'm proud of her. :)

SO performed in my Ballet 5 number in our winter show and did pretty well. I need to work on ballones with her but other than those, she really did well. I had three students in the number. One was male and is excellent at Dance Improv so I ended up getting him a job teaching it there. I also had this fresh face that started in the fall. She is 18, and super energetic/bouncy. She is my spirit animal. haha. And then SO made three. I used music by the Transylvanian Orchestra and it really fell together nicely. It was difficult but they did really well with it. :D

Lastly, my stepdaughter (5) is now taking jazz and tumbling. She had had around a year and a half of ballet and tap but was leveled up into the next age group this fall, around the time she started kindergarten. Every other kid in ballet was also on the competition team and the class was much harder and she wanted to try tumbling, so she was switched into jazz and tumbling. Well, I'm happy to say that that little one is really maturing lately, and with that, has also really expressed missing ballet. So me and her dad added ballet back into her schedule. So now on Wednesdays, she has 30 minutes of ballet at 4, a half hour break, and then 30 minutes of jazz followed by 30 minutes of tumbling. The break is needed and gives her time to chill before going back in. It works out nicely and she is doing really well! I give her little tips with encouragement and then she tries so hard and gives me a thumbs-up through the window. It's really adorable. I just love her.

Well, that was long as hell, so I'm calling this done right here. I hope everyone is well. I want to do a blog with 2017 goals so stay tuned for that, if anyone even reads this. haha.

-Bearika Ballerina