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under the lights, baby

Today is performance day. Two performances, in fact. Last night we had dress rehearsal on the stage. I have never ever done this before.

Bright lights. Oh my.  I didn’t know what to expect, and I had been afraid of being blinded and getting a headache like I do if I’m out in the sun without sunglasses but fortunately, that didn’t happen.  We’re supposed to have blackout after one of our dances but it wasn’t very dark, so the effect wasn’t very dramatic and we can just forget about sneaking off stage unseen. haha.

Help! I was so wobbly. I was shaking at one point too while we were holding a position (this has never happened.)  Miss Experience said it was because we didn’t warm-up.  I’m hoping that’s all it was, but I did do a little bit on my own, plus I was warming up and stretching throughout the day.  I thought my shakiness was nerves for being on the stage. Turned my ankle a teeny bit once. Started to go the wrong way on one of the choruses but quickly corrected.

Don’t want to be full of negatives. As a whole, we all did ok!  And today is going to be even better.  Can’t wait!

The little dancers were so cute. One of my best friends has a daughter in ballet and play and when they were dancing to their second song, I ran over to her and said,

“Is this a free dance (as in no choreography?)”

That’s so awesome!  What a wonderful idea. And they were so lovely in their thin, flowing below-the-knee skirts. A free dance wouldn’t work for any age group, any song, or any costume, but this all came together perfectly. And of course even though it was a free dance, they are showing what they’ve been learning in class.

Being in the performance is a little bit different for me than just being a ballet mom who takes pictures at the rehearsals. I hardly got any photos at all. boo! My dad was there with his camera, so hopefully, he’ll share his  photos. (hint hint)

I’m off to conditioning this morning. It will be a good start (well 4 hours into my day) to my day. See some of you in the audience at 3:00 or 7:00.

dancing through a season of grief, part 2

In February, I first wrote about how I am dancing through a season of grief. Last week, the seventh anniversary of my daughter’s death rolled in quickly like a thunderstorm and faded away just as fast.

When I showed up for rehearsal on Friday night, another mom, who has also lost a child, asked me how I was doing, knowing that the previous day had been my daughter’s heaven day.  I had been with my two oldest children for an event at our state capitol since early that morning so I hadn’t had any time to myself until the ride to the studio just then. I had started to cry on the way over so I didn’t really know how rehearsal would go. My friend said that she didn’t know how I could work with this song so much. I said I had always been ok at class and rehearsal, but I really had no idea what would happen that night since I was definitely fragile.

I had a hard time getting through I Can Only Imagine. My body just felt so heavy. The same for How Great Thou Art. I was thankful to sit down while they ran through a song that I wasn’t in. I got out some tissues and just took some deep breaths trying to make sure my silent tears stayed quiet.

When it was time to rehearse I Can Only Imagine again, I just couldn’t get up off the floor. It was actually nice to watch the dance since I had never done that before.  Sooooooooo lovely! But I felt so alone. I resisted the urge to gather my things and leave. It took effort on my part to just stay. I got up for the next song, but I couldn’t lift my eyes. I was still trying to hold back tears. Miss Ballet Teacher kept telling me to lift my eyes, but I couldn’t. She was probably thinking, what is going on with this girl?

Finally, rehearsal was over. This was the first time that I didn’t enjoy myself. Even though it is challenging and hard, I always find the dance enjoyable. When I pulled out of my parking spot, I only got a few feet before the sobs came, so I parked again. I found the song You Raise Me Up on my iPod and put it on continuous play, listening to it until I felt it was safe for me to drive home.

joy really does come in the morning

I lay in bed the next morning, thinking about how much better I felt than the evening before. I was thankful and prayed that the lightness in my spirit would remain. And it did. Conditioning class and then rehearsal went great–or at least in my heart, they went great. I’m just a beginner, you know.

down, skirt, down!

 I decided to wear my skirt tonight to rehearsal. I’ve never worn it to ballet class before. I did happen to wear it all summer long to the pool over one of my bathing suits. Did you know that a dance skirt can double as a swim skirt? Or at least this one can. This is the skirt I ordered nearly a year ago when I thought I needed to wear leo and tights to conditioning class.

You know how you want to do something,  but you don’t do it JUST BECAUSE. And the longer that you don’t do it, then you keep on not doing it because you’ve been not doing it for so long that you’re afraid to START doing it. I realize I’m just talking about wearing a skirt to class or rehearsal instead of my usual pants, but I do this in other areas of my life as well.  So I decided to just wear the skirt already. Rehearsal was on a different night than normal;  we were in a different studio space, so I figured I could dress differently too. Plus it passed inspection by my 7 year old ballerina fashionista which was definitely the most important deciding factor.

So now that I have broken the ice with this skirt, I feel like I can wear it anytime I want. I have some everyday footless black tights so I just slipped those over my leotard (just have to say here that you’ll never see me wearing pink tights over my leotard, only under. This is my rule…however if my black tights had a visible gusset well, then I wouldn’t wear them over or under.  Wouldn’t wear them over because I think gussets are the ultimate in tackiness because no one wants to see that!!!!  Seriously, no one wants to see your gusset.) Also please note that I didn’t wear my footed black tights because I couldn’t bear the thought of black tights in pink ballet shoes. I’m shuddering at the thought.

I digress. So I’m wearing my skirt and dancing, and it twirls. I knew it would twirl a little, but this skirt happens to twirl A LOT. We have several turns in our choreography and I saw my skirt in the mirror and I thought,

“Woaaaaah Nellie, down skirt down!”

I found myself hesitant in my turns because my skirt was flaring out so much and I also found myself putting my hands down to keep it down like Marilyn did when she stood over the vent. NOT GOOD. Not good refers to me being distracted by my skirt, not the fact that is was all twirly whirly. So after a couple times of messing with it after a turn, I just decided to ignore  it, move like I normally do and go with it. Just don’t dance too close to me or you might get whipped by my skirt.

what on earth am i doing? i want to get this right

Eeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkk.

Do you hear that screeching sound? I am neither hurt nor have I seen a rodent. That’s just the alarm going off in my head. How many rehearsals do we have left? Will it be enough?

True to form, I once again did a different thing incorrectly each time we ran through I Can Only Imagine. As I was kicking my leg forward in some kind of a grande battement, I was thinking, where did that come from? WHAT ON EARTH AM I DOING? I was supposed to be kicking my leg back as I traveled. That was a new foible. Seriously.

We learned the rest of the choreography for our second song. Go center first for the chorus. That’s actually something I remember most of the time.  Not all the time. And I’m still not getting the tombe pas de bourre. Still want to start with a balance’. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, if I’m moving slowly and gently in the right direction, it will turn out in the end, but I WANT TO GET THIS RIGHT. Miss Experienced, who I’ve mentioned once before, had a most marvelous idea for the choreography on the last verse of the song. Very cool. I think it was called parasol promenade. Fits perfectly.

Note to self for the future: If you happen to be standing near center stage and you happen to be a tall girl, that’s where you might be told to stay for the ending pose. uh, yikes.  You need to be strong and not wobble or lose your balance. I mention this because I was not strong and I did wobble.

I’ll learn this. Really, I will. Looking forward to Friday’s rehearsal.

step, back, side, front….right?

Step. Back. Side. Front. Is that a tombe pas de bourree?  I can pronounce it. I can google it to check the spelling. But I can’t dance it. I kept doing balances which come second, not first in the chorus of our song. Oh well…I shall try again on Friday and hopefully, it will all be spelled out for me once again.

Can I just say that Chris Rice’s arrangement of How Great Thou Art is so beautiful. Makes one of my favorite hymns I grew up singing even better. And this choreography is so gorgeous. Can’t wait til Friday when the girls will join the adults for rehearsal and Miss Beautiful Ballet Teacher shows us the whole song. I think I might like this one even better than I Can Only Imagine. Is that possible?

In other news, my little Miss started her choreography today for the first time. Was that Vivaldi I heard? Cool. She has never danced baroque or classical for a performance.

exhilarating class and rehearsal

Exhilarating.

“making lively and joyful; imparting strength and vitality”

That’s the definition, so yes, I’d say that last night’s class and rehearsal were just positively exhilarating. Going into it, I was stiffer than usual, but my muscles quickly loosened up (not as flexible as I wish they were, but they got as bendy as I am right now.)

s  t  r  e  t  c  h.  Mmm. It just felt so good. When I got home, I wanted to keep on stretching and moving.

Tonight we were only missing one person for rehearsal; that’s the most we have ever had present.
If we could just have *everyone* there at the same time, maybe we’ll figure out spacing and where everyone should be standing 🙂  I finally feel like I know the choreography to I Can Only Imagine. The second chorus’s choreo ends differently than the first chorus’s. Last night, was the first time I remembered that consistently. FINALLY.  Not sure I’m doing it correctly, but at least I’m not doing it like the first chorus.

Now, it’s just on to the polishing and making sure I point my toe and hold my head and arms the right way and all that ballet stuff that makes the movement look easy and effortless when in fact, it is just the opposite! Friday, we’ll work on our 2nd song.

Going back a few days to Saturday’s rehearsal: it went good, but it was too long at nearly 2 hours. We should have called it quits a little earlier than we did. I forgot half the choreography the last time we went through the song, so my brain had definitely reached the point where it was no longer working.  I had been wondering if I really knew the song or if I was always relying on watching Miss Beautiful Ballet Teacher. Well, she wasn’t there and Miss Experienced stands at the far opposite end so I can’t watch her. I had been planning on asking Most Advanced Teenager to stand in Miss BBT’s place. But oh no! She wasn’t there either. So I was on my own. To answer my question, yes, I had been relying on others to cue my next movement so Saturday gave me the opportunity to learn the song without watching others… Just don’t put this tall girl in the front row.

Update on my purple leotard: the pink spots came out in the wash. phew.

help! my purple leotard has pink spots

After rehearsal, my new purple leotard, which has gone through the washing machine just once, developed pink spots. The discoloration is only in one place, so it must be from my deodorant. Have you ever had this happen?   This has never occurred with any other clothing of mine. Fortunately, the pink spots are only on the inside.

Anyone know what’s up with that? Will it come out in the wash?

breaking the silence with a great rehearsal

I didn’t post about my last 2 classes because it’s, you know, that time of month, and I’ve been in a foul mood, and didn’t want that to come out here, so I’ve been silent. Plus, I’ve had a mild cold–aches all over–not bad enough to keep me away from class, but it did limit my time for writing.  Of course, I don’t mind telling the world after the fact, apparently.

My usual psyche is back, and we had an awesome rehearsal tonight. I’m feeling more confident with the choreography. Hopefully, my movement will become fluid soon and not so choppy. Sometimes, I’m not sure about the steps and my main goal is just to get where I’m supposed to be standing so I can be “on” for the next movement.  So I’m often shuffling, not dancing.

I have to tell you about something from Monday’s class during the barre exercise. We were facing the barre, doing very quick plie`s with releve`s. Then we did a coupe so we were on one foot and continued with the releve`s. Except I started with the wrong foot. I did a quick assessment of the situation and decided not to switch feet, to just go with it. I figured since we were doing individual exercises, that it wouldn’t matter if I was off for a few beats. WRONG. Then we turned and went into an arabesque. Because I was on the wrong foot, I turned the wrong way for my arabesque and was facing in the same direction as everyone on the opposite side of the barre as me. I was facing the girls on my side of the barre. I started cracking up. It’s a really good thing that I was last in line or I would’ve kicked someone in the face.

It’s also a good thing that I can laugh at these things. If I couldn’t, I would never ever go back to class.

an impromptu meeting and rehearsal

I was at the studio today for my daughter’s class and the ladies from my class started walking in towards the end. They were meeting to talk costumes for the performance. I decided to stay. Then we all took our shoes off and were introduced to the choreography. It was fun! I think I’m going to do it. The following was Miss Beautiful Ballet Teacher’s e-mail  response to my telling her that I was feeling God’s leading and what my apprehensions were:

My personal experience and that of other dancers of worship is that they allow their love of God to shine out.  God’s anointing brings the most technically excellent dancer to his knees when he sees those just stretching out in worship. He always goes before us.

Awesome.  Stretching out in worship. That’s what I’m going to do. Stretch out in worship.