injury and some casting

Hello! So I made the conscious decision to not write last week because I felt it would leave to many unanswered questions. I had once again gone to rehearsals and awaited casting, so there wasn’t much point in sharing that, since it was business as usual. In addition to that I had some injury stuff come up that I thought I would wait to write about until I had a few more answers.

I’ll start with my injury. Since late October my lower back had been bothering me, so I decided to roll it out and see what happens. I have a tendency to get a tight lower back and thought little of it. In addition to that a pinching I feel in my upper back had been getting worse. About two weeks ago the lower back pain had yet to subside and had worsen (so had the pinching). At that point I decided to go to the sports clinic for a prescription for physical therapy. I had talked to my physical therapist already and it seemed like that was all I needed.

At the clinic I underwent a physical exam, had some x-rays done, and was prescribed physical therapy as well as a bone scan. The bone scan was a safety precaution to ensure there was no stress fracture in my lower back pain. I was also told no ballet outside of Nutcracker warm up classes and rehearsals until bone scan results were back.

I went and did the bone scan over Thanksgiving break. I was injected with a radioactive tracker and then images were taken a few hours later. It all went well, I got to see my spine, and my images were taken to the doctor. Due to how my bone scan went, they wanted to do a CT scan as well. I’m honestly unsure of what the CT scan was for and I don’t know my test results yet. Hopefully I’ll be in the know of everything by Wednesday.

In the meantime, I’ve begun physical therapy. I have had two appointments and both have been to relieve tension and get things back in place, since I don’t know the results of all the imaging done over Thanksgiving break yet. I’ve had cupping and dry needling done for the crazy tightness that is my upper back. It seems that my SI joint may be inflamed. In addition to that my ribs were out of place and so was my left hip.

To put simply my whole back was janky. That has kind of been a lot and I’ll write more soon with more answers. For now I’ll wrap up with the exciting news that I was cast in flowers! We find out Chinese and Russian casting later this week. I’ll do my best to fill in by next Monday.

snow and flowers

It began. The tiring and long process of snow and flowers began this last weekend. Going into it I felt ready, maybe not physically, but mentally. Last year I didn’t do snow and flowers, as a freshman I just wasn’t quite ready for it. This year I’m just focused on learning and improving. As I go into rehearsals with no guarantees of casting I’m determined to prevent any expectations from deterring my concentration.

I know I should be optimistic, but this year I’m trying to have a healthy dose of reality too. It can be pretty difficult going into something having role expectations and to not have them fulfilled. I know that is especially the case during Nutcracker. Everyone around me and myself start to get really high hopes and it is more toxic than anything else. I begin to put more weight into it than I should. My mission this year is to just take it as it comes.

Anyways I’m off track, I’m writing to talk about rehearsal. The way it works is nearly everyone or everyone in senior company learns both snow and flowers, but casting comes a few weeks later. It is exciting, fun, and very honestly challenging. It is probably some of the most advanced choreography we have to live up to here. It is fast, continuous, and technically tricky at times. I find myself taking deep breaths as I wait to re-enter stage in hopes it will make breathing on stage either. Yet, I love it. I don’t know what will happen with casting and I will work hard with whatever I get, but these rehearsals are thrilling. I’m so glad I get the chance to run this corps work and learn it even if I don’t do it. It is definitely one of the perks of a smaller company.

Ok, I kind of got off track again, so left me realign. I got to the studios at 9:45 for a 10:00 warm up. Then we got right into flowers at 11:15, by the end of rehearsal at 1:30 I was red-faced, sweaty, and alive. It felt like Nutcracker had come full swing and I certainly wasn’t mad about it. After lunch we picked up with snow, this time sans pointe shoes because our artistic director is very good to us. We finished up by 4:15 and day one was complete. I felt good about it, but was also determined to not get any hopes up.

Day two was a little bit rougher. Sunday morning I was up at 7:00 to get ready and got to the studios at the same time. A bit more tired and a bit stressed about homework I was a bit more worn going into rehearsal that day. It went along the same schedule and I felt pretty good, but definitely had a few slip ups. I straight up fell during snow, but hey I’m not ashamed of it. All in all it was a good introductory weekend to snow and flowers. I am ready to keep working hard because Nutcracker is home. Yes us ballerinas do it every year and it may seem to get a bit old, but it is home to me. Nutcracker is what I know and love, so to come back to it each year feels great.

A little PSA for those other ballerinas out there doing Nutcracker. No matter where you are in the process; about to perform, just receiving casting, etc. keep your head up. It gets crazy, exhausting, and maybe even a little repetitive, but go into it with a fresh, open mind each day. We’ll all got through the Nutcracker madness (even if we fall).

oops

You’re not mistaken. I really did write, yes I know for the first time in over five months. Time has flown by. I guess I’ll just start with an update of what happened since my last post. Well, I went to Ballet Chicago for five weeks and it was a blur.

It was a crazy, extremely busy five weeks and they definitely weren’t perfect. It got off to a rough start when I got blisters the first day that kept my feet stinging for two weeks. I also wasn’t entirely happy with my level placement. I hate to say that because nothing sounds more arrogant than thinking you weren’t placed in a high enough level. This dampened the experience for me to an extent, not having any partnering class the entire summer was disappointing. Despite this there is no denying the teaching was great. Getting to experience five weeks of Balanchine training was so much fun. I learned how to approach counting and listening to music in new ways. Not only that, but the modern classes were the best I’ve ever had.

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after the summer showcase

I wish I had written posts while I was there, but school took over. I’m still a high school student and had to read five books with written assignments. I hadn’t anticipated how little free time I would have, especially with the weekend activities. Frankly, it was exhausting, outside of the school work I had taken on I also took on summer P.E. online. There was so much going on that realistically I couldn’t take time to write. In addition to that I wasn’t sure how to write about the Ballet Chicago experience. It certainly wasn’t perfect and for the first two weeks I found myself seriously struggling with my level. I had to realize that things weren’t going to change, but I should make the best of it. In the end it was a good experience, but I don’t think it is a program I would return to. To be perfectly clear the instruction was very good and I absolutely loved the piece choreographed by Ted Seymour, it just wasn’t the right fit in other ways.

After that crazy summer ballet in Dayton started full swing. Since starting back in September this past weekend was our first off. It began with rehearsals for outreach programs we will be doing at schools throughout the year and quickly drifted into rehearsals for Dayton Ballet’s production of Dracula. Nothing was too difficult choreography wise, but it was a lot of hours. Not to mention this all came in conjunction with school.

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buddy event with DBII junior and senior company members

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backstage at Dracula

To say I’m finally getting settled into things would be gracious. I’m just barely starting to feel like I’ve got my footing. The season has moved by so incredibly quick, Dracula went by in the blink of an eye and now Nutcracker rehearsals are well under way. Never the less I’m tired, grateful, and excited to start writing again. There will be so much to share in the coming weeks with Nutcracker and you’ll hear all about it from this ballerina; the good, the bad, the sleepy, the real life.