Summer Intensive Reality

          Summer intensives, one of the most exciting things to do as a young dancer. You get to experience new schools, teachers, styles, choreography, and cities. It is a great way to make new connections in the world of ballet and is a priceless experience you will cherish even after you have finished dancing. In honor of auditions for the tremendous programs beginning I thought it would be only right to talk about theses programs in a more honest tone. While I most definitely agree with what was said at the beginning of this post, there is so much more to summer intensives that are not discussed. Let’s start with the obvious, pressure. There is immense pressure to go to these programs, especially if you want to dance professionally. With ballet becoming increasingly more competitive it is seen that attending summer programs is a must. It is true that you should continue to train in the summer, so you don’t lose what you have worked so hard to achieve, but are big name programs essential. I know from my own personal experience that it feels as if you’re even less likely to make it as a dancer if you don’t attend one of these programs. That just isn’t right. As a young teenager, no one should feel as if they need to attend a program once a year because their future depends on it.
          The second reason why summer intensives are just plain stressful, cost. The cost of these programs is overwhelming. It gives me anxiety to think that for me to attend one of the smaller lesser known intensives it would still cost up to over a thousand dollars to have decent summer training. Yes, scholarships are offered, but that only covers tuition and not the most expensive aspect, room and board. Scholarships are also very scarce making it not even a factor for dancers like me. I work my butt off to be where I am as a dancer and I do well, but I know that I am not the best and I know it is unlikely I will receive a scholarship. Whether scholarships are based off of merit or financial aid, it is unlikely you will receive one that can help you out the way you may need. In addition there are an abundance of other expenses. You must pay for pointe shoes, audition fees, travel, and activity fees for whatever intensive you choose. Some may wonder why you don’t just get a job to pay for it, but that is just near impossible. As ballet dancers, we spend all of our time dancing and have no time to work. The stress of money is extreme unless you are very wealthy or one of the lucky few that get a scholarship.
         Don’t get me wrong I love summer intensives. Some of my most cherished ballet memories have happened at summer intensives. They have provided me with new views and appreciations for the art form. It has been at summer intensives, that I have had ah-ha moments about my ballet career. I just want people that can’t go and feel like they are the only ones, to know that they aren’t. This year I will probably do a very small program because I just can’t afford to go to a bigger program this year. That isn’t the ideal situation, but that is real life because not all of us are the next Dusty Button or can afford it. So if you feel defeated or frustrated about summer intensives this year, for any reason, know that you are in the majority and there are other people going through it too despite what you see on media. Keep working and giving your best effort because that is what will really help you succeed.
This is not a bash on summer intensives, just an honest perspective on them. If you can go to one this summer, congratulations and have fun!

farewell 2017-18 season

Wow. That is all I can say after this season. I can most definitely say things didn’t happen exactly the way I thought they would, but in the best way possible. I have been pushed in new ways this season and I feel I have grown so much. Not only do I think I grew in my dancing, but also as a person.

I am also so grateful for the people from this season. To all of the seniors graduating from Senior Company, we will miss you very very much! I truly don’t think I could have experienced my first year of Senior Company with a better group. It has been a family from start to finish. It was all of DBII and my teachers that made this season my absolute favorite. Now time to talk about the show!

I have written much because it has all been preparation for this, our end of season show! Yesterday was a saddening, rewarding, and exhausting day. DBII performed at the Victoria Theater for their show and it was amazing. Incredible lighting and a wonderful stage crew helped make the performance better than ever. For the first time I am leaving all photos in color because of Barry Burtenshaw’s amazing photography. Check out his smugmug account!

Anyways, the day started early at 9:00 a.m. for a warm up class. At 10:30 we began tech rehearsal. It was a great opportunity to get out the jitters, but we had to move quickly to be ready in time for the actual show. At 12:30 we had our lunch break. Everyone was running on adrenaline and excitement. Energy was high and we were all running of each other’s excitement for the show. At 2:30 it was time for another warm up class. After we quickly got ready, touching up make up and hooking up costumes quickly.

The first act- My role was Swanhilda during the wheat pas and I loved performing it. There may have been a few minor flaws, but I was happy with my performance. It really was all about enjoying it and it was a blast.

Second act began with “Journey”. A collaborative piece with the ensemble, three co-choreographers, an original composition, and a live pianist. It was a fun piece despite the unconventional learning process leading up to the performance.

Following “Journey” was our jazz piece to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. This was insanely fun to perform. Every year the jazz piece is so lively and just brings a whole new burst of energy.


Last but not least was “Happy Birthday”, a series of variations on the song “Happy Birthday” in honor of the school’s anniversary. It brought all of DBII together to finish off the show and ended with a showering of balloons.

At around 6:00 we were done. A whole day spent at the theater and I was exhausted. Overall it was an extreme mix of emotions. I am so proud of the show we put together at Dayton Ballet School and loved performing it. At the same time I am going to miss with the seniors going on to the next great adventures in their lives. Farewell 2017-18 season, you are one that will touch my heart for a long time to come.


Thank you once again to Barry Burtenshaw for all of our incredible photos! Come back next week for my first post after the season.

find a role model

With Dayton Ballet’s season coming to a close I am saying good-bye to some role models that have danced with the company for as long as I have been there. I have always looked up to them it is bittersweet to see them go, but it inspired to write a post about role models. Everyone whether they realize it or not has role models and people they look to and helps shape them in some way. Some people only have one role model, while others have many. For me, I have many people I look up to and that inspire me in my life.

If you feel you don’t have a role model in mind, try to find one. It could be teacher, family, friends, or someone in media you admire. Role models can act as a source of inspiration or someone who gives guidance. Overall you should find a role model that makes you want to be the best you, you can be.

Family- I look up to nearly all of my family, since I’m the baby. Family is like a built-in source for role models.  I realize not everyone is lucky enough to have a supportive family that is why maybe you can turn to friends.

Friends- I greatly admire many of my seniority at Dayton Ballet School. They push me to be better not because I want to be better than them, but because I admire their strengths.

Teachers- Both school teachers and ballet teachers have definitely shaped who I am as a person. I admire their dedication to bettering the upcoming generations. If it weren’t for teachers in my life, I would have missed out on many important lessons, even ones I didn’t care to learn at the time.

Celebrities- The role model we may need at a certain time might not be around. To find the guidance need sometimes you have to look to people you don’t know. Even though you may not be able to talk someone in person or ask them for advice they can act as a role model. Tiler Peck has always been someone I strive to be like in my dancing. I know I have a long way, but if I could get anywhere near her level of expression and clean technicality I would be proud. She pushes me to try my best and that is what matters.

Overall I hope you have someone as a role model. If it weren’t for my many great role models I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you to the dancers of Dayton Ballet and Dayton Ballet School, my teachers in and out of studio, Tiler Peck, my friends, and my family. Seeing how any one can be a role model, think about how you may be someone else’s role model, people find inspiration all around them.

Check back next week!

how to get in character

This season is going by in a flash. It is incredible that Dayton Ballet’s last shows of the season are this weekend and that there is just over a month left of the school’s season. With the season coming to a close the spring show is too. Dayton Ballet School’s annual show allows for many dancers to perform and try a variety of repertoire. I am very excited to do the sweet and simple wheat pas de deux from Coppelia. I have had a lot of fun learning the piece and can’t wait to perform it. Knowing that many schools do a final spring show that often has characters with a lot of depth I thought I’d share my tips and process for performing a character.

  1. Research- Learn about your role. Look up the story they are apart of and how they are perceived. In addition watch videos of other people performing the same role. Try to find key traits you want to embrace, for me I try to play on Swanhilda’s major mood swings. Bringing joy to my steps and then being able to switch to a whiny girl. Drawing on the jealousy Swanhilda is known for to create a dramatic girl, is what I hope to achieve in May.
  2. Don’t Recreate- If there is another dancer who performed the role you are trying to fill beautifully, don’t recreate it. It is wise to try to implement certain elements of a dancer’s performance into your own, but trying to recreate their work will result in frustration only. You will find yourself frustrated if it isn’t exactly like your inspiration’s interpretation and will lose focus on what matters; the actual dancing.
  3. Subtlety- The smallest of actions can form a character. Don’t try to use grand, over the top acting to create a character, but plan little subtleties. Holding you head a certain way, the timing of a facial expression, or how you look at a fellow character are the small things that can make a major difference.
  4. Be One- This may sound silly, but don’t act like your character, be it. Be silly or sad or jealous or excited. If you think of yourself of being your character rather than pretending to be a character then it will read much more genuinely and feel more genuine as well.

Those are my tips! I really enjoy being a character when dancing and having a story, it gives dancing a whole new level in my mind. I hope you found these tips helpful and check back next week!

swan lake

This week was the great task of Dayton Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, if I’m not mistaken it has been a little over a decade since they last performed the ballet. The rareness of this classic ballet being performed in Dayton made it very special to perform  in it even if it was in the smallest of ways.

My job was one as an extra. I stood on a balcony during party scenes fake laughing and pretending to be rich with my friends and it was pretty great. This was my first time being strictly an extra and it was definitely a new experience, so let me talk you through the weekend.

Thursday- Dress! Yay, I got to try on my gorgeous costumes made in the costume shop and practice putting on my dreadful wig.

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Friday- Opening night and the crowd was great. You could feel the energy in the theater, everyone was a little jittery, but very excited. I watched every scene I wasn’t able to watch from onstage in the wings. It was nice to experience performing without the stress of remembering choreography and fearing a certain tough step. All went well and everyone excited to get a long night of sleep.

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Saturday- My Swan Lake work began a little bit earlier than show with volunteering. I’m not sure who put it together, but a program was hosted for girl scouts to come learn about ballet, see costumes, and watch the show. Me and some of the other freshmen taught groups a simplified version of Cygnets and then performed a less simple version for them. It was very tiring, but at the end of the day very gratifying. Then it was time to grab a bite to eat pre-show. Somehow the professionals managed to be even better than the night before with nerves no longer an issue. Two down, one to go.

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Sunday- Last day. I say this in complete sincerity, everyone did their best of the weekend and finished with a bang. It was a sold out house and everyone’s good vibes were bouncing off each other. It all went smoothly and just like that it came to a close.

The whole experience was brief, fast-paced, and amazing. I wasn’t sure how I would feel being an extra instead of dancing, it definitely isn’t as exciting as dancing. I learned something important though, to be grateful for the performing even as an extra. When you are rushing for a quick change and exhausted you can’t take it all in. I am so grateful to have bonded with more people, wear stunning costumes, and just be able to watch and absorb the dancing. I’m so glad I had this fun, fast, and fulfilling weekend to remind me about the joys of being onstage.

I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to come back next week!


are yumikos worth the money

Ooooh, I am very excited to write this review on Yumikos. Yumikos have always been the “it” leotard brand. For as long as I can remember it was such a cool and special thing to get a Yumiko leotard especially considering the price. After going through my experience of the purchasing process and having two Yumikos I thought I would answer the question; Are Yumikos worth the money?

So we all know that the awesome things about Yumikos are the customability, with a plethora of colors, styles, and other adjustments. In my experience I have gone with the high cut leg, I don’t have very long legs naturally, so it is a must. I have ordered both through a yumigirl and on my own. Other than the discount the ease of ordering through a yumigirl is the same as purchasing on your own. The two styles I have gotten are the Tamara and Sofiane styles.

I love these styles, they fit beautifully and the nylon fabric is very comfortable. The range of colors is awesome and I am extremely happy with how the two have come out and how they feel while dancing. I would definitely follow the size chart, I generally wear smalls, but with Yumiko I went with a medium and it was the right decision.

I would highly recommend getting a lining of sorts, especially with lighter color fabrics.  I got the Sofiane in the N-Sun color and even with lining it isn’t perfectly opaque. Delivery, while long, is still very timely. Depending on when you order I think your production time will vary. It seems to me that ordering in the summer is when your order will fulfill the quickest and in fall-winter due to the holidays it will take longer.

I really do like my Yumikos and considering the numerous personalizing options I would say that it is worth the price. These two leotards are most definitely two of my favorites out of my collection.

I hope you enjoyed the brief, unsponsored review and check back next week to hear all about Dayton Ballet’s production of Swan Lake!


four filling breakfasts

I love breakfast. So many people take it for granted or devalue it, but I think you should always try to eat a good breakfasts. I get it breakfasts can’t get boring, you can eat eggs or some sort of carb, but that is why I am here. I think it is better to eat a strong breakfasts and then refuel with a light lunch. I know so many people who skip breakfast and then eat big lunches because their so hungry. I firmly believe that it is better to feel energized and well fed rather than sluggish and hungry for the first half of my day, so no matter what I read I will always start my day off with a breakfast of sorts. In hopes of inspiring you to start off your day right with a good breakfasts I have put together four of my favorite, healthy (relatively) breakfasts.

1. Quinoa Bowl


YUM, YUM, YUM. I love these. I personally eat mine with roasted garlic, kale, sliced avocado, and peppers (not in this bowl), but you can eat your bowl with any sort of veggies. I also throw in a hard-boiled egg and top it off with Garlic Expressions Classic Vinaigrette. I know, I know, salad dressing in a quinoa bowl sounds weird, but it what takes your quinoa bowl from okay to great.

2. Smoothie

So I know this isn’t a very special or different breakfast idea, but it is a goody. I’ll share my recipe in case you want to try it. One banana, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi(not in this one), and kefir from Trader Joe’s. The kefir makes a good liquid for blending and either strawberry or mango flavor from Trader Joe’s is very good.

3. Avocado Toast


Alright, so again it is pretty basic, but I have a pretty unique avocado toast recipe. Obviously toast your bread (either a whole grain or french boule bread) then spread your thoroughly mashed avocado all over. Drizzle a little bit of oil on then top with chopped green onion and sliced radish. Finish your toast of with a sprinkle of salt. Something a little out of the box from your typical avocado toast.

4. Protein Pancakes


I love pancakes, so, so much, but sadly they serve no nutritional value. So after some searching I found a simple and delicious pancake recipe that is just egg, banana, protein powder, and oats from Tastemade. I’ll insert the link to the recipe below. These pancakes are great plain with some pure maple syrup or with some blueberries and powder sugar. Very tasty, very easy, and very filling for your busy day.

pancake recipe

I hope you found this post helpful and try some of these breakfasts. I definitely hope to do a second version in the future so keep your eyes out. Also come back next week for my thoughts and advice when it comes to Yumikos!



So I haven’t posted in two weeks, but it is only because I don’t like to post when I don’t have content. I don’t want to be mass producing blog posts with no value, so I simply haven’t written, but that is no longer.

Today, I’ll give a brief update on what is going on in my life and give my advice on how to deal with rejection.

So, last Friday I went to the Pacific Northwest Ballet summer intensive audition. I really didn’t anticipate getting in, but was curious on what would happen. It was a good class, not my best, but I enjoyed and it was a relatively small group.

I unfortunately did not get in, but that was okay with me. I wasn’t expecting to get in and so it didn’t bruise me too badly. This “rejection” email wasn’t my first and most definitely won’t be my last coming back from an audition. It definitely isn’t fun to get that email that says “we are sorry to inform”, but it is apart of the dancer life. When deciding which topic I wanted to right about this I wondered if I really wanted to talk about rejection. It is a personal topic and affects different people in different ways. Even though it isn’t the easiest topic to broach I’m doing it in this post, in hopes it might help someone else.

First, accepting it for what it is. While I didn’t get into PNB and wasn’t even expecting to, it still stung to tell people who knew I went I didn’t get in. Even writing this post I almost feel a little embarrassed to say I didn’t make it. Accepting what happened is probably the hardest, but most crucial part of the rejection recovery process. Learning to acknowledge your rejection and not hide it from others will help you get over a rejection much faster.

Second, remember your “congratulations”. When someone says no that is the best time to remember the times someone said yes. Think of the times you got a yes after an audition, value that. If you have yet to get a yes be proud that you put yourself out there. Auditioning is a scary thing and the fact that you are willing to go get judged and put into a box of “what we want” or “what we don’t want” shows you are pretty awesome. Realize that all of the yeses and nos you get have real meaning.

Third, try try try again. Don’t let someone turning you down discourage you, go back next year and try again. Work even harder, don’t give up and let a bruised self-esteem stop you. I may not have made it into PNB this year, but I will definitely be auditioning again next year.

I hope this post helped you and I hope you apply it to stuff outside of dance. Take pride in your rejections that show you were brave enough to face the possibility of rejection. Rejoice in your acceptances that further prove how amazing you are.

See you again next week!

audition season

The early months of a new year always bring the all so consuming audition season. I’m not auditioning an absurd amount this year. I have done one in person audition, sent a tape, and I may audition one other place in person if my schedule allows.

Yesterday was my in person audition for Ballet Chicago. There were only seventeen people auditioning including myself, which is rather small. It was at a smaller studio in Ohio and I feel pretty good about it.

The class itself was very invigorating. Ballet Chicago is a Balanchine school (Happy Birthday Mr. B), seeing how I go to a studio with little to no Balanchine work it is very exciting to audition for a Balanchine centered school. If you are at my studio you know that my all time favorite variation (of my not very expansive variation knowledge) would be the one from the  Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. The audition, taught with Balanchine influence, felt so good to dance. I always feel very free in my dancing, but especially so when it is in Balanchine technique.

Our teacher, Daniel Duell, learned are names and addressed directly rather than through numbers. He also took the time to teach us, giving corrections and letting us practice. It was down to earth while still professional. The experience wasn’t stressful, but just exciting to practice a different technique in a new surrounding from a new teacher. It was one of my favorite audition experiences. I will hear back hopefully within the week and am excited to see what is to come with auditions this season.

It was a short post, but I hope you enjoyed it. Check back again next week!


I am no food blogger and definitely not some sort of health genius or dietician. While I am none of those things I thought that today I would share an awesome recipe that I recently came up with. I love me a good slice of pie and one of my favorite restaurants is Old Scratch, a local pizza place. My most favorite pizza there is the Shroom. It is truffly, mushroom love on a plate. Since I can’t always just run out and get pizza from Old Scratch, I went ahead and tried to recreate the Shroom on my own. Even if you don’t like mushrooms, I urge you to try this recipe because I didn’t like mushrooms until I had this pizza and now I eat them on everything.

So here we go, my attempt at recreating the Shroom from Old Scratch.


For my version you will need Trader Joe’s cauliflower pizza crust and bake according to the instructs. If you have no Trader Joe’s near you, you can try any type of crust you want; homemade or store-bought.

While your crust is being prepared you are going to cut up about 3/4 cup of mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic. Once this is done you will mix your mushrooms and garlic up with about a teaspoon of olive oil and pop it in the oven. You will occasionally stir up your mushroom mixture whilst in the oven for a period of five minutes, to get them lightly cooked.

Now that your mushrooms are done, you can put them aside and then grate about one cup of mozzarella cheese. Again you can vary the amount of cheese depending on what you like, none of the measurements need to be dead on for a tasty product.


mushrooms and crust


Now your crust is baked according to the instructions and you are going to spread 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil as your sauce. Following that you spread your cheese, mushroom/garlic mix, and a teaspoon of thyme all over. The final touch is a drizzle of about 1 tablespoon of white truffle oil.

The final step, broil until the cheese is lightly browned!





I hope you give this very basic, but very tasty pizza a try. I know I’m no food blogger, but if you guys enjoy the recipe maybe I’ll make more. Check back next week!

The Best Advice I Can Give You

Wow, it is already 2018. This has probably been one of the fastest years ever, then again I’ve only experienced 15.

This past year held a lot of growth. The Rock was a great experience to grow my dancing and senior company has brought many new challenges for me not only as a dancer, but as a person as well.

I have faced the much-needed action of being back at the bottom of the food chain. After two years of being at the top of junior company going into senior company gave me some forgotten perspective. We all start at the bottom and must work towards the top. I am so happy to be back at the beginning, to take time to grow and get better. I know this sounds like crap, but really, enjoy your time at the bottom. Savor this time where you aren’t the focus and you are just a part of the corps, you still matter just in a different way. Make the most of your time, you get so much more out of a bad day if you keep trying rather than giving up.

It is my biggest piece of advice for the next year; keep trying even when it sucks. It is cheesy and it has been said a million times, but it helps immensely. This last year I learned the hard way to keep trying even when it sucks. A crappy class where I feel nothing is going right is not the time that I want to think positive, but I realized the more I told myself to make something out of those off-days the less they happened. Not even that the off-days wouldn’t occur, but they would go from useless to so much more. Don’t get me wrong, I know this sounds ludicrous, and it is really hard, but so worth it. It does suck when you’re not doing what you know you are capable of, but just telling yourself to try your best despite that, reaps benefits. Classes that feel they couldn’t go anymore downhill begin to teach you new things. You’ll discover new things and realize new ways of achieving your goal (whether it be to point your foot all the way or get quadruple turns) you would have never come across other ways.

Going into this new year, I hope you take this advice with you. It may sound cliché and silly, but it really does work wonders. Whether it be in your dancing or anything else, please keep trying.

P.S. Happy New Year everybody! I know for me this year has been all over the place, but hey, no year is absolutely perfect. I hope everyone got a lot of rest and relaxation as they head back into class this week. Here is to 2018!