christmas time

Well it has been a long week. Since I last wrote, things got a little scary for a time with my injury. I was told that my imaging tests had shown bone erosion in my hip and that the ligament could be pulling away. I had to go get an MRI and wouldn’t know the results for a couple days. It was nerve wracking. Depending on what they saw I may have had to drop out of Nutcracker and surgery could have even been a possibility. I was terrified, I went to the doctor for back pain and now I may need surgery?

Luckily, that wasn’t the case.  I got my results very quickly and was told I could do Nutcracker, this was such a relief. Though, I still don’t know what is going on with my hip. It was very frustrating though, not being allowed to dance at the possibility of there being a more severe injury and I sympathize for anyone who has to wait awhile for any sort of medical answers.

After that scare I began to gradually get back into classes, while it felt great, my back is still hurting. I powered through Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then happily welcomed my physical therapy appointment today. It seems as if my back is doing all the work, all the time, so I began some strengthening today then ended with some needling and cupping.

I’m on the road to recovery, that is what matters. I have a follow up appointment for my hip next week and will be going to PT for my back in the meantime. 

As for Nutcracker, it is exciting to think we will be performing in less than two weeks. We may not perform as much as other companies do, but it is a lot of fun none the less. I’m very excited to be doing Chinese again in addition to flowers! With December here I’m starting to feel the Christmas spirit and I’ll be sure to update about Nutcracker, injury, and more. Happy Holidays!

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.

 

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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!