Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas with the Roommates :)

Photo: I ♥ Christmas, my friends, cookies and presents!!!! Thank you guys, you all made me feel at home!!!!! 

I can never ever get enough of the Christmas season. As soon as a speck of snow hits the ground, my radio is immediately turned to the Christmas station, I whip out my dorky, Christmas socks, and, being the shopaholic that I am, I start looking for gifts for my family and friends. Some would say it's a little bit over the top. I say, to heck with them! There is only one time of year that you can wear ugly sweaters and obnoxious holiday themed earrings and get away with it! We've gotta milk it for all it's worth! It's all about the reindeer nail polish, the red and green eyeshadow, and the excessive santa-hat wearing :) Oh, and singing Christmas carols whenever humanly possible. Hmm I think I may have a little bit of  a Christmas problem here... oh well!! Maybe someday a long time from now, an over-educated shrink will tell me the root of my holiday obsession. Until then, I'm sticking to my very exaggerated holiday spirit :)
This year, my Christmas came a little bit early. First of all, I live with some of the nicest and most generous girls on the planet :) and boy am I thankful for that!! We all decided that Christmas could not wait another week, so we all planned a mini gift exchange for our little group of 5 for the Monday before we all left for home. You should've seen us the Friday before our Trainee House Christmas; all frantically running through the mall, searching through every store and secretly asking our other roommates if they had any idea what each of us wanted for Christmas. It was a hot mess. Not only is it hard to shop for people you've only known for 4 months, but it makes it massive amounts worse when you're on a very short time limit and a super tight money budget. Thank goodness we were all at the mall at the same time! I ran into a few of my girls while figuring out what to buy and they were a great deal of help!! At one point, we were all in Forever 21, coincidentally enough. So I had to hide in the corner until they were all gone and I could check out with all my cute little trinkets for each of them :) And of course, I double bagged everything! You can never trust one bag to conceal the surprises inside. I've learned that lesson first hand... thank for ruining Christmas, Kaitlan. 
After a somewhat stressful, but way fun weekend of shopping and running around the mall like a crazy, Monday night finally came, which meant only one thing: CHRISTMAS!! haha :) My Italian roommate was so cute; she went to the store in the morning to buy all sorts of cookies and hot chocolate mix. And my roommate, Haley, also whipped up a batch of her favorite whtie macadamia nut cookies. um yum. We boiled 5 cups of milk and made our hot chocolate while a few of us created a crepe paper Christmas tree on our wall. That was quite the sight! haha Green crepe paper in the shape of a tree with a yellow paper star on top, white, twinkle lights stranded across the wall and bows stuck on for the ornaments. I must say, it was the most creative tree I've ever seen! I guess when you're too poor and lazy to haul a real tree home from the grocery store, you've got to learn to use your resources :) We all sat around our little coffee table, drinking our hot chocolate and stuffing our faces with cookies. I don't think we even hardly talked! We were too busy filling up with empty calories as fast as we could; we all knew that once we had finished eating, we could open our presents all sitting under the homemade tree. 
Photo: Happy Birthday @lalicemin!!!  You are so fabulous and amazing! I'm so glad we are friends! Love you so much and I hope you have a wonderful day! Can't wait to see you when I get back ☺ xxx
This is Laura, the tree artist, with our homemade tree :) Isn't it awesome??!
When our mugs were empty and we had made a pretty good dent in the plates of cookies, we started the gift exchange :) Laura started by closing her eyes and waving her hand over the big pile of gifts until we told her to stop and grab the one under her hand. haha I don't know who came up with that present-picking method, but it actually proved to be quite efficient :) Before opening each gift, we got a picture with our unopened present, then we ripped off the paper and screamed for a little bit, then ran over to the roommate who gave us the awesome present, giving them a huge hug, then you got a picture with the OPENED present. hahaha!! This seriously happened.. like the entire time. haha it was awesome :) Opening presents takes alot longer when you have to pose for two pictures and give a great big hug to your awesome roommates! And they really are the best roommates ever!! They all spent way too much money on me. I ended up with new pajama pants, a cute scarf, a new cookbook (thank goodness for that!) and cute Christmas cupcake liners. I think they were trying to send me some sort of message to cook and bake more?? And I sure got the point! The next day, I whipped up some red velvet cupcakes for my dear Laura, whose birthday was on the 21st (HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, LAURA!!). And maybe with this awesome new cookbook, I'll start eating something other than sandwiches and cans of soup for dinner ;).
It really was the best Christmas ever!! Thanks, guys, for everything and for creating such an unforgettable night :) Love you all!!
Photo: Christmas party!!! Love all our presents!!! ❤ @hjenn140 @lalicemin #kaitlan #nathaliacrazybrazilian #christmas #mustache #lovemyfriends #loveit #divas #bejeweledcorset
Us with all of our presents :) Just a little bit crazy ;)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Going Nutty

As December rolls along, all dancers know it means the Nutcracker also comes with it, of which most, if not all of us, have VERY mixed feelings about. It's sort of a love-hate relationship.. it's not really the Christmas season without Nutcracker, although you end up going crazy after hearing the same, over-played, dreadful music for 3 months on end. And, let me tell you, those usually are the longest months of the year. We started rehearsing for the Nutcracker at the beginning of October, and the show runs through the end of December, so you can only imagine how one can memorize the entire ballet, as well as learn to sing every single piece of music, in those 3 months. And, to make things worse, radio stations find it amusing to torture us by playing Nutcracker music all too frequently on our favorite Christmas radio stations. It's simply dreadful. Every dancer who has done the Nutcracker knows exactly what I'm talking about. But, then again, getting to experience such a magical ballet for a quarter of the year is some kind of heaven. Every night is a different story as new dancers enact different roles. And, when you are lucky enough to be apart of the cast, you have this awesome opportunity to paint your face in stage makeup, put on a beautiful costume, and perform. There really is nothing like it. Unfortunately, many of us trainees didn't get that chance.. darn you company unions and contracts!! Oh well, I think I can last one year without the Nutcracker stress :)
Even though I wasn't technically apart of the production this year, I got the awesome opportunity to be an assistant and an understudy for a couple parts. I was casted to assist with the Oriental Servants, who dance in the opening of the second act for a few minutes. As a part of this job, I went to all the rehearsals and performances, learning the choreography and going in when one of the servants was absent. You should've seen what a nervous mess I was at every show, going in their dressing room every 10 minutes until I knew all 6 of them were present and well enough to go on stage. "Are you guys are here?? Are you guys all alive?? So I don't have to go in for anyone tonight??" I'm sure they were all sick of hearing my pressing questions after 3 weeks of it :) Sure, it would've been awesome to be able to perform for at least a few minutes, but when you've never rehearsed a piece and you're expected to do it perfectly, it's a little bit stressful to think you might have to just go out and do it.. in front of hundreds of people.. not to mention your maybe future boss. Ya. Just sayin..
I was also lucky enough to be casted as an understudy for Waltz of the Flowers, which was an amazing experience. Me and 11 other trainees got to go to the company rehearsals for either Snow or Flowers! Talk about being the same room as insane good dancers. I will be the first to admit I basically spent those few hours a week staring at all of them with my jaw dragging on the floor.. let's just hope none of them noticed :) We didn't get to do very much in those rehearsals; in other words, we had to stand in the corner and do our best to blend into the walls, which wasn't very hard considering our white leotards matched the white walls pretty well! I guess that is one plus for being forced to wear the most unflattering color on the face of the planet. It's pretty rough when you're in the same room as all these incredible dancers and you're just standing there.. in this ugly leotard.. feeling all "ya, I suck. Pretty much." haha it's a great self esteem booster :) But other than that, I loved it! Because of this crazy contract the company is on, they are only allowed to bring 6 un-paid dancers into the room, and we aren't allowed to dance. I don't understand it myself, but I'm just hoping that it will all pay off in the long run!
After a long few months of rehearsing, we finally got to the theater, which meant even more work for us trainees. We were expected to be at the theater for every performance, all month long. For the most part, we put makeup on about a million little kids and then stood in the wings during the show, making sure everything was going smoothly and sending kids out on stage at the right times. At times, it got.. repetitive, to say the least. Makeup assembly lines for an hour, then two hours of running around getting kids into position and standing in the wings. But, it was really nice to watch almost every show. And it's a very different show watching from the side than it is from the front. I got to see what happens behind the scenes of a real professional show, which was the greatest experience of all. I just can't wait until I get to be in those dancer shoes! Let's hope that day comes soon!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving at home :)

Ok ok, I admit it! I've totally been putting this off... for awhile.. and by awhile, I mean 3 weeks. Whoopsie! So what if Thanksgiving was almost a month ago! But, everytime I get on to write, I just think, "My name is Kaitlan Smallwood, and I have an over-writing, rambling problem." I don't know if any of you know this, but I have to devote at least a 2 hour period of time when I blog just because I can't seem to shut up and let my 2.5 readers get back to their much more interesting and important lives. I know, it's a problem..
So, Thanksgiving! I was lucky enough to sneak home for a week at the end of November to spend this joyous, sweatpants holiday with the family. And thank goodness for that! Right now, Ballet West is doing their Nutcracker. All month long. Yes. All month. And, being the spectacular understudy that I am, I have to attend every single show and help out back stage with putting makeup on the little ones and making sure they all get to their places on time. So, I guess, in retrospect, I've gotten really good at putting lip liner on children! There's a plus :) It actually is really fun being backstage for it all, though. I get to experience the entire process and product of a real company show. It's thrilling to see the stage managers hauling around props, and professional dancers huddling around the space heater in the wings, and the little kids bouncing off the walls with excitement. I guess I should probably explain: The trainees were mostly all casted in small roles, all of which are only on stage for the beginning of second act. And a few of us were only casted as understudies for these smaller roles. My official title is a Servant's Assistant, meaning if one of the "Oriental Servants", who have a small piece in the opening of second act, goes out, then I am the one to fill the hole. But, otherwise, my job is to make sure the show is running smoothly. I usually just end up watching the performance from the wings and drooling over how beautiful all the company dancers are.
Anyway, back to the point! I was lucky to be able to get the week off from doing Nutcracker up in Ogden, Utah, where the company was guesting. The whole family was at home, which was so so nice since that sort of thing only happens every couple of years or so. The only one we were missing was Wade, whose still on his mission in California, and boy do we miss him! 9 more months :) So, I flew in to Colorado on Monday morning before Thanksgiving. It's funny how you just kinda jump back into where you left off at home. You feel like you've been there all along and there's people who you know and love, and there's mounds of food in the pantry, and there's a queen bed upstairs with your name on it, and you know exactly how to get places. It's just an awesome feeling; being at home :) We basically spent the week either sitting around at home in our pajamas, or at the mall, frantically trying to buy gifts for family members. Every year, we do a secret santa among all the kids in the family, and since we aren't all going to be together for Christmas, we decided to do the gift exchange the day after Thanksgiving, which also happened to be the day we were celebrating my sister's birthday. The whole secret santa thing used to be simple.. until we all grew up and we are more picky about what we want, plus it's twice as difficult to buy a gift for a sibling's spouse since you really don't know what they like. So, it got pretty complicated. I had to go back to the same store at the mall 3 or 4 times to make exchanges of items and to buy new things and to return others before I finally got it right. My person was Jessica, my older sister, and if you know her, you know she knows what she wants, which puts quite a bit of stress on a person whose trying to shop for her. I ended up following her around H and M one day to see what she thought was cute and the next day, I went back and bought it all.
It was so nice to have a few days off from dancing, even if we didn't do anything that exciting. Although, the mall gets pretty entertaining when it's packed with crazy shoppers the week before Thanksgiving. I did go take a ballet class at my old studio, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, and saw a few of my old teachers and friends. It's always nice to see all of them again! But, I do admit, the nice, big studios I dance in now are a much better upgrade than what I used to dance in. I can't imagine how we even danced in there when I was younger!! It was also so great to hang out with my cool niece and nephew. You never really understand the phrase "Kids do the darndest things" until you're an aunt, because, seriously... kids just do the darndest things! haha. My niece, Whitley, is really talking now, but just to the point where everything she says sounds like gibberish. I think I had to ask her 4 or 5 times what she said before I finally understood the point she was trying to put across. Thank goodness for moms who understand the weird, toddler language :) And my nephew is walking now. He just looks like this little man, strutting around the house in his droopy diaper like he owns the place. He's gotten really good at the car engine sound, which can entertain him for limitless hours, as long as he has some kind of toy vehicle in his possession. I love kids :)... just as long as I don't have to change their poopy diapers... or deal with them when they are grumpy.. or hungry.. or crying..
Thanksgiving day was a blast! We had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast (home cooked breakfast for the win!!!) and then we got right into cooking dinner. You wouldn't think it if you'd never actually prepared Thanksgiving dinner, but it literally takes all day long. I even had to take a couple "laying on the floor for a few minutes to rest my body from relentless cooking" breaks. So, the girls were in the kitchen, wearing ridiculous aprons and frantically trying to throw together a meal, and the boys sat around a little table, putting together a puzzle. Of all games to play before Thanksgiving, they picked a puzzle.. what are we,80?! haha And occasionally, we switched off from 80 year old puzzle table to kitchen. My dad obviously had to deal with him turkey every now and then! We made every dish in the book: stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, jello salad, pumpkin pie, turkey, pumpkin dip and crackers, vegetables, and last but not least, rolls! The best rolls on the planet! I still have no idea why we made so much food.. I mean, I guess that the whole family was there, plus we invited the missionaries over for dinner, too, which was pretty great. Can't complain about something that's easy on the eyes sitting right across from me haha! The meal was a complete success, as usual. I don't know how my mom got to be such a good cook, but she is definitely teaching me her ways one of these days before she loses her mind and all her talent is lost or something.
After a very filling dinner, we took a digestion break and continued on our puzzle, as dorky as that may sound. We also had a bit of a ping pong tournament upstairs. I mostly just watched.. and dodged ping pong balls coming at my head, but it was funny to watch these guys getting all competative over a dumb game of table tennis. Boys and their competitions :) Once we felt like we could stuff some more food down, we had pumpkin pie and my famous pumpkin cupcakes for dessert. It turned out to be a really fun day! And I'm so glad that my parents flew me home for the week so I got to enjoy it with them :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ballet West for Kids

After a performance weekend, you expect to go right back to routine: getting up everyday for ballet class and then rehearsing the rest of the day. And, honestly, after a crazy week in the theater, there's a certain comfort in settling back into that routine. But, as luck would have it, we went straight into our touring week!! And I have absolutely no complaints about that :) I'm sure I've told you about our rehearsals for Ballet West for Kids, our mini Nutcracker show for elementary schools around Utah. We've literally been rehearsing for this since the beginning of the year, so we were well prepared, but I don't think we were prepared for what it would actually be like out there in Nowhereville, Utah.
We left bright and early Monday morning.. you can imagine how much of a joy I was at 6 in the morning. Thank goodness it was a good hour drive to wherever we were going! The minute I got into that van, my head hit the head rest and I was out until we pulled into that first elementary school. Although, napping in the car is never quite successful or satisfying, but you take what you can get! Only 6 trainees got cast to dance; three girls for Clara and three girls for Rag Doll/Chinese for the three groups of people going out. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of those lucky 6, but I was asked to go with one of the groups on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as an understudy in case anyone got sick or injured and to help with set up and take down at each school. I was happy that I at least got to go! It's always fun traveling with the people you work with. You get to know them in a different way than when you just take class with them or rehearse with them everyday.
Let's just say, when you're doing the same thing over and over again for three days, the whole process gets pretty quick and easy. We did three shows a day; two in the morning and one in the afternoon, each at a different elementary school. The first show was always the worst just because I was still have asleep and pretty unpleasant :) but who can blame me! A girl needs her sleep! haha We had to set up a few panels of marley floor either onto a tiny stage or a gym floor, take out and hang up all the costumes for the show and make sure all the props and head pieces were in their place. Then, it was sitting and waiting until the dancers needed you to help them get into a costume or help them take it off. The show started off with a shortened version of a ballet class just to kind of show the kids what we do everyday. Then, there were a series of speeches (by far the most stressful part of the entire tour!! When your profession doesn't ever include public speaking, having to say a short little blip about ballet becomes a frightening chore!) and then a mini version of the Nutcracker. It was fun seeing the kids faces light up when the dancers came out onto the makeshift stage and listening to their silly comments and giggles. And then, just as fast as we came, we rolled up the marley, packed away the props and costumes and headed onto the next school.
Every school was different, but the one that made the most impact on me was the tiny school out in Grouse Park, a town with a population of a mere 45 people... ya I didn't think towns like this existed either!! We drove into this one dirt road city and parked at what could have been the smallest school I've ever seen. Our director met with the principal just to tell him we made it to town and he told us that we would only be performing for 7 kids that day!! I know! 7 kids in the entire school! I could hardly believe it. We had a little time before we had to start setting up so we headed over to the "grocery store", which was pretty much a trailer sized convenient store with 2 short rows of shelves housing cans of soup, baking supplies, and candy. In one corner there was a fridge with a sign saying "Serve Yourself" followed by a list of different dishes that you could pick from the fridge and buy for a couple bucks. On the outside of the store, there was a sign saying that Ballet West was coming to town today and that they should go to the school to watch our performance. I think the whole town knew about our arrival haha! I felt like a celebrity in this tiny, old fashioned town. And by old fashioned, I mean there was still a horse shed where the kids used to park their horses during school, and the church was the biggest building in the city. Although, you'd be surprised at the level of the technology they had in that school!
So, we proceeded as usual; setting up the stage and performing the show, except this time, there were more people in our group than there were actually watching the show. There were 6 kids (one of them was "out working" that day. I can only think an elementary school kid would be working on the ranch at home?? haha I didn't think people still missed school for chores!!Crazy!) and then two teachers and a parent. As weird as it was to only have a 10 person audience, it made it more special for them and for us! We were able to talk to them like real people, instead of just talking at them during the speeches portion of the show. After we finished the performance, they all introduced themselves and gave us a grande tour of their school, which consisted of a library, one classroom, and a little kitchen. Each kid had their own big desk :). One of the girls was a dancer and she got each of our autographs and told us that she drove an hour everyday to get to class. One of the boys was seriously a piano prodigy. I guess when there's nothing else to do in such a tiny town, you just practice the piano!! haha They were all such sweet people though and I'm glad I got to experience such a welcoming, kind group of people. It really shows  you the difference between living in a big, worldly city and living in a place where morals and education are put first. Just something to think about...
After a looong three days of driving for hours, pretending to nap along the way, and setting up and taking down for 9 shows, I got Thursday and Friday off. Thank the heavens. I slept in till noon on Thursday morning, just because I think my body needed to catch up on sleeping after getting only about 5 or 6 hours for the past few days. Then one ballet class and sitting around for the rest of the day. Yay for days off :) But, I am glad that we get to go back to routine on Monday!! It'll be nice to have a real schedule again! As for now, I'm going to bed and hopefully having a lovely Saturday tomorrow :) Until later..

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our First Performance Weekend

It's always a thrill; going to the theater. You've practiced several months in grueling rehearsals, killed multiple pairs of shoes, undergone hours of teachers yelling at you and you're finally ready to go do it all on stage! Ok ok, fine that was a little dramatic :) ...except for the fact that it's all true.. hmm. Anyway, I always look forward to tech week on stage, despite how awful it seems to end up being. You go from a nice, safe studio with mirrors and familiar spacing, to this big dark stage that you're not used to dancing on and you're expected to have perfect spacing in the first run through. Tech week means late nights, going over and over again the same choreography you've been rehearsing for who knows how long, and sometimes you simply wanna die. Then again, there really is nothing better than stepping out onto that stage and overlooking the hundreds of red upholstered seats and the ginormous chandelier hanging from the beautifully decorated ceiling. Although, I can't speak for all theaters, but Capitol Theater is one gorgeous theater. It's kind of a cool set up actually. The company is based in the Capitol Theater. They take class and rehearse on the third floor where there are two studios, the administration works  on the second floor where they have all their offices and intimidating cubicles, and the theater is on the first floor; this huge, amazing theater (with real box seats!! I don't know why I find that so cool, but it is!). So everything's all in one place! As opposed to the good old days of having to drive an extra half an hour to get to late Nutcracker rehearsals in Denver. Then you'd get home at 11 o clock or later and still have to do your hair for the next night and your homework for the next day. Yay for graduating high school :) and yay for not having to put my hair up in curlers every night before Nutcracker performances! haha.
So, all the trainees and the academy kids (and I mean ALL the academy kids) have been rehearsing a little piece called De File for the Gala that Ballet West puts on every year. It's this huge fundraiser they put on and honestly, I wish I got to be one of the people who was watching the show! They all get fed an amazing meal, then watch the performance, and then they all meet again for dessert. And they were all wearing these fabulous dresses and killer shoes..man, what it would be like to be rich!! haha They bring in all these people, who most likely have a lot of money based on what I comprehended, and put this whole night together in hopes of convincing these people to donate money to the Ballet. It's kind of awesome! They start out the show with De File, which is basically 150 kids on stage at the same time, doing who knows what because there's too much commotion to even tell what is going on! But it was a blast :) The choreography isn't anything too complicated, but the fact that the school director can get us all in organized formations is a miracle!
Our first night in the theater at Tuesday and we basically spent two hours trying to get a million and a half kids on stage and ran De File four times.. which is death.. on a stick. For the entire five minutes we are actually on stage, the majority of if is running around, and me, with the retarded lungs, can't for the life of me handle all the cardio without dying a little bit. The second night, we rehearsed the piece a few more times.. more dying :) But, at least the director, Peter Christie, was pleased with the progress we were making. It's so nice to hear when you are doing a good job and the people in charge of you are actually proud. To reward our hard work, he shortened our Thursday night rehearsal. haha it was funny because every single dancer walked out of the theater totally stunned that it was still light outside! Oh, the life of a dancer. Never seeing the sunlight :)
Friday night was my favorite night; dress rehearsal!! There's just a special thrill to a dress rehearsal. You slap on layers of break-out inducing stage makeup and head into the wings of the stage where a few company dancers are hanging out in their warm-ups. You only get one shot to get it right because, after that, the show has to go on! The orchestra and the other dancers aren't going to wait for you to get it right! Thankfully, the rehearsal went really well, except for a few minor mishaps. You know, little kids picking their noses on stage and having full on conversations during the Port de Bras section. Little things like that. The highlight of the night, though, was getting to sneak into the balcony after having rehearsed our piece, and getting to watch the company rehearse. They're all so inspiring! The way they own the stage and nail the choreography. I know it's super cheesy and nerdy to say, but I think it's important to watch a ballet every now and again. It helps me remember why I love it so much; why I put myself through countless hours of sweating bullets and angry teachers and blood blisters and frustration. We kill ourselves every single day so that when we get out there and see the hundreds of people paying to watch us dance, we can be proud that we worked so hard and accomplished something! Alright the nerdy part is over :)
After a long week on stage, performance day finally came!! The theater is fun, but when there's actually an audience out there, it makes it ten times better. You work a little harder and stick it out a little longer just for that applause at the end.. and then it's all over. We lined up on stage, the orchestra began to play (much too slow, might I add. One con of having a live orchestra is they always get the tempo wrong somehow. But no complaints!!) and we performed the piece, just like any other day of the week. It all went smoothly.. or so I thought, but I'll get to that later :) At the end of the piece, the conductor was supposed to lead us all into a bow, but instead he just put his head down and waltzed right out of the orchestra pit...leaving a little girl in charge of the bow. So obviously, she didn't know what to do, so we all just stood there in our final pose until the audience awkwardly stopped clapping and we clumsily headed off stage. Then, I heard that one of the trainees ran into one of the guys, leaving perfect makeup face print on his shirt! haha, I'm sure the audience didn't even notice though. You'd be surprised about what you can get away with without the audience's knowing :) But overall, it went well. It feels good that it's all over and we can start focusing on other things!
This week, we've been doing Ballet West for Kids so more on that soon!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My long weekend in Idaho

So it turns out, when you spend several days away from home, it takes almost a half a week to fully recover and to get all your crap under control again. You get home late Sunday night and all you wanna do is throw all your bags down and collapse on your oh so welcoming bed that hasn't been used for 4 days now, so then you wake up in the morning and start quoting that creepy clown lady from My Big Comfy Couch or whatever that show was called. We all know that everyone only watched that show for the part where she says "who made this big mess?" and then she cleans her entire house in 10 seconds. In what reality is that ever possible?? If anyone knows the answer to my question, please enlighten me because I would sure like to know how to clean my whole house in 10 seconds. For me, it takes hours! I have to take all my clothes out of my bag (and believe me. I always waaay overpack. it's a little out of control) and throw the dirty ones in the laundry and fold and put away the ones that are clean (this step shouldn't even exist because there shouldn't be any clean clothes.. but I'm obviously too dumb to understand that a 4 day trip only needs 4 different outfits..) and then do my laundry so I have clothes for the week. Then, I have to spend a good half hour reorganizing my purse because, somehow in the span of a few days, a ginormous explosion of receipts and gum wrappers and movie tickets and random trash occurs in there. I simply can't grasp the concept of a trash can I guess! But of course, not all of these processes can happen in one day because I'm too busy dancing and facebook stalking people and catching up on all my tv shows (I know, so productive haha). So my room remains a mess until I can find an ounce of motivation to actually fold my laundry.. it just looks so good sitting all clean and wrinkly in my hamper :)
But, my room is finally all put together again so I can now proceed to blog about my fantastic long weekend :) First of all, I am so glad that Utah is so genius. Thank goodness for Salt Lake Express!! For all of you non-Utah and Idaho people, Salt Lake Express is this shuttle that brings you from a few different places in Utah to a few different places in Idaho and vice versa. So, I took my overpacked bag and hopped on a shuttle prepared for a boring 5 hour drive, but way too excited for get to Idaho to even care about how boring the next hours were going to be. Surprisingly, one of the guys I dance with was taking a trip up to Idaho Falls for the weekend, so he pretty much talked my ear off the whole time, which took away from my "zone out looking out the window at all the dirt" time, but at least the ride wasn't as boring as previously planned. I think I checked the time on my phone over a hundred times because I just couldn't wait to get to Rexburg at 10:30 pm!! But I think someone out there didn't want me to get there on time, because my driver took her sweet little time at every drop off and pick-up people were late and apparently we all needed a 15 minute break...long story short, I got to Rexburg at a very late 11:30, very annoyed. At least I wasn't the girl who was literally sitting on the bus with her mission call, waiting to open it that night with her family.
I stayed with one of my best friends, Ashtyn, on Wednesday night at her apartment and it was just so nice to get to catch up with her. We've always been super close, but for some reason, we both suck at staying in touch when she's at school and I'm off somewhere dancing. It doesn't matter though, because we always pick up right where we left off! She's got so many exciting things happening in her life right now and I am so happy for her and I can't wait to see where life takes her. Her family and she moved to Colorado when I was a sophomore and I think they kinda became my second family. During the summer, I think I spend more time at their house than I do at my own haha! As you can imagine, I kept her up way too late catching up and talking about everything. I was just glad that I wasn't the one who had an 8 am class the next morning!! whoops!!
I spent Thursday with my sister, Jessica, who drove an hour from Driggs to come pick me up. Thankfully, she dropped the two kids off at the in-laws house so we could have a girls day... which quickly turned into a "let's get fat together" day. We ate lunch at this awesome sandwich place, then got Jamba Juices for an afternoon snack, then waited until 5 o clock to go get ice cream and hot chocolate at our favorite place, The Cocoa Bean. I swear, it's got the best hot chocolate on the planet. Don't worry, we also did a little shopping in town and she gave me a tour of BYU-Idaho. It was fun just getting to spend the day with my big sister, whose always been the person I look up to and who I spent many years of my young childhood trying to be more like. Yep, I was THAT little sister haha. She's just such a fun person, even with two kids and a husband and a life. She makes me laugh all the time and she's really taught me so much throughout my life. She's trying desperately to make me social, but it's sorta failing :)
Friday was our lazy day. I think we spent the majority of the day in our pajamas, making breakfast that we ate at noon, cleaning up after messes that just kept getting remade, and making dinner that we ate at nine... both both meals were quite a success, so I'd call that a good day :) Plus, I got a three hour nap, which was totally and completely necessary!! All the while, Whitley and Craig were reeking havoc on the house in every manner possible. They say cleaning the house with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos. I know fully understand this quote haha! Everywhere I turned, they were pulling out more toys or turning a perfectly clean room into a war zone. It's just a good thing they're cuter than crap and they can get away with it :) I got my first good home-cooked meal in 2 months and I quite enjoyed it. We made baked ziti for dinner. Let's just say that nothing tastes better than pasta after 2 months of sandwiches and cereal...
On Saturday, we actually put on clothes :) and left the house :) haha! Jessica wanted us all to go to the pumpkin patch so we could pick a pumpkin to carve.. mostly she just wanted to take pictures of Whitley and Craig with all the pumpkins, but whatever helps you sleep at night! It was so much fun seeing little Craig running around, desperately trying to escape the grown-ups to play in the dirt and eat rocks and whatever else little boys do. And Whitley wanted to find a pumpkin that was small enough for her to pick up AND not slippery. It's too bad she's only like 20 pounds and she was wearing a slippery jacket, because all of them were too big and all of them were too slippery. haha such a high maintenance child!! But, again, too cute for anyone but her parents to notice. Chantz picked the biggest one in the entire field because all the other ones weren't "cool" enough for him or something. Jessica made me pick hers out because she was too busy taking pictures and I, obviously, got the best one ever. duh. After maybe a few too many hours walking around the pumpkin patch, I think the "hangry" started coming out of all of us, if you know what I mean. And me and Jessica being the totally indecisive people we are had to shout out a dozen different restaurants before finally deciding on a place to eat. Without much argument from Chantz, we headed to Red Robin, which is always a safe choice. Yes another successful meal I would say, except for the tragedy of our bottomless fries coming after we had already eaten, but it was well worth the wait for those spectacular sweet potato fries :) I'm drooling over here just thinking about them!!
And now for the real kicker. My brother in law decided it was a good idea to set me up on a blind date with a kid he works with. So after a well received meal, we picked up Cameron, my "date" for the night and went to this awesome corn maze. I mean, I wouldn't really call it a date. I was with my older sister, my brother in law, my niece and my nephew... but still; It's always nice to meet cute boys on my vacations :) We went through two different mazes, all the while Whitley was wandering around with a flashlight in her mouth and Chantz trying to be a genius with the corn maze map. Me and Jessica were freezing the whole time and just trying to get through it so we could go have some hot chocolate, but it was still a blast! I think we were just lucky that Craig wasn't having a melt down (it was way way past his bed time) and Whitley didn't get lost somewhere! haha. I loved getting to meet Cameron. He's just a genuinely sweet person and a funny guy. He's leaving on his mission in about 2 months so I'm super excited for him!! Maybe our paths will cross somewhere in the future or something.
On Sunday, we slept in after a pretty "wild"  night haha! and we spent the morning carving our pumpkins. Of course that meant Chantz was carving Craigs pumpkin and Jessica was carving Whitley's pumpkin. I stole a bag of pumpkin cookies and a bowl of leftover baked ziti, but then I was on my way home again!! I had such a fun weekend. I miss Idaho already!! There's just something about that place. I mean, you have to drive an hour to find any shopping centers and there's only one stoplight in the entire town, but it just feels like home. Hopefully I can go back soon!! But now, it's back to reality.. we've got a performance this weekend, so wish me luck! I'm sure as heck gonna need it..

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lauren's Birthday Dinner


One of the greatest things about living in a house full of eight people is the fact that there are eight birthdays. And birthdays always mean going out to dinner.. at least that's what it means for eight starving dancers who just want to eat good food on the weekends! I'll admit, this blog post is about a month overdue, but I was too busy updating on so many other things that I decided to put it off until now. As you could have guessed by now, my roommate, Lauren Denney, the tall, legs for days, blonde, Cali girl, was celebrating her 17th birthday. She's the only roommate in the house that's still in high school, but you'd never know she was so young. She's got more talent than I can even fathom sometimes and, as you can see from the description above, she's absolutely gorgeous. Ya, I hate her a little bit for it too ;) Anyway, we decided on this cute little Thai food place down the street from our house. Honestly, it didn't even matter where we were going, as long as I got to eat something other than a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I've really gotta learn how to cook..
Part of the dinner crew and the Birthday Girl :)
Being the high maintenance dancers that we all are, we had to get all dressed up and fancy. I still don't understand why we need to wear dresses and heals to go eat food, but it's sorta fun :) Plus, I'm not going to be the one who throws on a pair of jeans and calls it a day when everyone else is going all out.
I think I can speak for the lot of us that we all had a lovely meal. And to top it all off, Laura Cemin, our authentic Italian roommate, made these incredible fudge cookies for dessert. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was my favorite part of the night :) But that's just because I can't live without chocolate. I had a blast with everyone, though! I'm always so reluctant to actually get out of the house, but when I do, it amazes me how much fun we can have just sitting at a restaurant table and laughing about a funny comment, or complaining about how awful our classes were that day, or meeting random opera singers sitting across the room. And yes, that actually happened. Some lady came up to our table and asked if we were dancers. She went on to explain that they were a singing group in Utah. It's funny how people always know we are dancers right when we walk in the door. I swear, every time we go out, I always hear little whispers coming from different sides of the room. "Oh look, dancers!" "They look like dancers." I just don't know how they can assume that right off the bat! It must be the impeccable posture or something :).
I knew right after this amazing night that I was with a really great group of people and I can't wait to spend the whole year with them! I've felt at home here right from the beginning and I think it's partly due to having such welcoming friends. I love taking class with them everyday and hanging out with them on the weekends. It's always a good time :)
I know this is about a month late, but I hope Lauren had an amazing birthday! She looked stunning, as always and made me laugh the entire night. Ahh to be 17 again :) .. I mean, I'm only 18, but still! Things get a lot harder once you turn 18. And by that I mean I can't force my knees to turn out anymore, my lower back is always in pain and I feel like an old woman every morning trying to climb four flights of stairs up to the studio. I can't even imagine what I'm gonna feel like in five years.. anyway, Happy very belated Birthday, Lauren!!! Love you, and your crazyness, and your inability to focus on your school work :), and your sense of humor. All my love!! :)

The whole group :) Had such a fun night!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Living the Ballet Life

It makes me laugh when I think about those people who say "I'm living the life." Some of them are usually pretty successful, working a steady job, going home to a family every night, spending time with friends on the weekends. Then, there are the ones that aren't married, living on their own, partying most nights, doing the whole unattached thing. There's a whole spectrum of people who claim that they are living the life. The point to this random rant? It's all about perspective. If you are loving what you are doing with your life, then, technically, you're living the life! And the truth is, I am living the ballet life :) I get this awesome opportunity everyday to squeeze into a leotard every morning at the crack of dawn (ok ok, that's an exaggeration...but seriously, 7 am is pretty early!), and get into the studio and work my butt off in ballet class everyday. I get to rehearse with amazing teachers and choreographers. I get coached by supportive, experienced people. I get to watch an amazing company prepare for their next tour or performance. Sure, it's torture most days. I mean, who in their right mind would consider looking at themselves every single day in practically no clothes at all, forcing their bodies into very unnatural positions to make a "correct" ballet position, enduring pain on most occasions just to be able to take class and lying about it when people ask if your hurt (be honest. All dancers have done this one time or another), putting yourself down when you fail, underestimating your successes when they occur. It's tough, but honestly, I couldn't live without it; the feeling you get when you nail that triple pirouette, getting that one correction from your teacher that you so look up to and respect, hearing the audience cheer for you after performing a variation. That feeling of success! When the thing you do everyday is so gosh darn impossible sometimes, it is so much more rewarding when you finally get it right, at least for that moment. So, I guess you could say, I'm living the life :)
I think I'm really happy here! It's easy to get in a rut when you're devoting so much time to an art form that kinda hates you. But, it's one month in and I am absolutely loving it! I look forward to each day, taking class with Jeff Rogers, one of favorite teachers of all time. He's the first teacher I've had in awhile that I feel like I can sit down and have a real conversation with. He's a real person, which is amazing because he was an incredible dancer in his prime, and I think that would give him a good excuse for being arrogant and unrelatable. He makes class everyday so funny and exciting; cracking stupid jokes and making me laugh as the stupidest things. I'm really excited to learn from him all year. Right now, we are working on a few things in rehearsals, which happen for a few hours after class. With Jeff, we are learning La Ventana, a Bournenville piece with two girls and a guy. All I can say is it's killer. If any of you know of Bournenville's work, you know how hard it is. There's a pas de trois in the beginning, then two female variations, one male variation and then a finale; all of it is full of fast footwork and awkward jumps and very 1800's stylized port de bras. But, I really enjoy Bournenville work! The only other ballet I've done by him was Napoli when I was like 14, so it's nice getting to go back to that. We are also working on a new piece with the ballet mistress of the company; Aladdin. Pam, the ballet mistress, is choreographing this full length ballet on the company this year, so I guess we were kind of her guinea pigs for a couple weeks. It was 11 to 4 for one week and then 11 to 2 the next week; just setting new choreography, which can get a bit tedious. Hours and hours of her setting pantomime and steps, just so we could rehearse them over and over again and then she'd change them..over and over again. It was cool getting to work with her though. I got to be the part of the baby tiger and sometimes the monkey and sometimes an Odalisque. It was thrilling learning so much choreography in such a short amount of time!
The last thing we are doing right now is Ballet West for kids. In the next month or so, we get to go out in groups to different elementary schools, performing a very shortened version of the Nutcracker and teaching kids a little bit about ballet. We've learned all of it so now we just have to get our castings and rehearse.. a lot. I used to do these outreaches with my old ballet school in Colorado and they were always so fun, I mean except for the part about dancing on concrete and carpet and having to dance on practically cold muscles, but the looks on the kids faces when they saw you in full makeup and costumes just made it all worth it. So, I can't wait to start doing that!! It's going to be a blast.
In the afternoons, we take class with the Ballet West Academy kids and I love getting to see them most everyday. It kinda keeps me young haha :) I envy their tiny little bodies and how young they are still. I wish I could go back and be ask good as they are now! It's amazing to me how they can be such great dancers at their ages. It makes me sorta jealous actually. Even the youngin's are competition I guess ;) We take a variations class with them and we've learned all the variations from the Kindom of the Shades scene in La Bayadere. Although each one is extremely challenging in it's own way, they are all so fun to do. Variations class twice a week has to be one of my favorite classes. You wouldn't imagine how much work goes into only two or three minutes of dancing. There's so much style and technique and attention to detail when it comes to having a short little solo on stage. And you have to nail it because there are no other people out there with you. It's both an intense anxiety attack and an exciting exhilaration. But, we love it all the same!! haha
And after a long days work, I get to go home, crawl back into my nonjudgmental, totally comfortable pajamas and lay in bed on my laptop until I can't keep my eyes open any longer. On some occasions, my sister skypes me or I call my mom for a couple hours, but mostly, Netflix becomes my best friend :) sad as that may sound. But, honestly, being the introvert that I am, I just need the last few hours of my day to be by myself and veg out in front of a lighted screen, watching dramatic television shows or facebook stalking people I really miss. It's fantastic :). In fact, I think I have an episode of Modern Family that's calling my name. And I think I'm going to get to that. So, goodnight! More talk later...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

An Overdue Hello

Well... this is kind of embarrassing. You know that situation when you accidentally run into the one person you really didn't want to see because you were supposed to do something for them and just never got around to it. So, you've been desperately avoiding them, hoping you'll find a legitimate excuse as to why you never did that thing for them. But, they finally caught you so your only option is to just suck it up and endure the next few awkward minutes of hopeless excuse-making and pretend apologies. This is that situation. Yes, I realize I haven't blogged since maybe late July (and the worst part is that I don't really remember the last time I actually blogged). Yes, I feel like a slacker who basically abandoned her poor little blog out of sheer laziness and lack of motivation. Yes, it is a little crazy that I feel this way. But! I have chosen to get over this whole avoiding the blog phase and start fresh. Consider this my new beginning :)
And with this new beginning comes plenty of catching up. In advance, I am sincerely sorry..seriously, I apologize for what you're going to have to hear for maybe the next hour of your life. You see, I can't just leave you all hanging from late July! That would be unfair and would obviously make me into a terrible blogger who doesn't continue the oh-so enticing story of her life. And I just won't have that! ;) Anyway, for the sake of all that is sane, I'll try my best to keep this as short as possible. No promises though...
I believe we left off with Kaitlan's very entirely boring, relaxing and totally necessary summer vacation. 7 weeks of sitting on my butt, eating whatever I want, and getting completely out of shape. It was a beautiful time :). Lots of tanning at the pool, and by that I mean laying in the sun for hours only to return home with the exact same skin color as I had that morning. Bummer.. Lots of summer bucket-listing, which was quite surprisingly successful! I completed 29 out of 37 of my things to do on the list. I would call that a pretty decent feat. I went camping, I spent an entire day in my pajamas (unfortunately doped up on anesthesia after getting my wisdom teeth forcibly cut from my mouth), I danced in the rain, I went to a drive in movie theater twice!, I slept under the stars, I made ice cream, I tye dyed t-shirts, I ate breakfast for dinner, I did melted crayon art (of which I am very proud of. I'm basically an artist now...basically), I went fruit picking, I watched the sunset and sunrise, and very very many other wonderfully fulfilling activities. And although I didn't actually complete the list, I think I made a great enough effort to call it a successful summer. I spent most everyday with my closest friends and had the time of my life. I think I'll always remember that summer as one of my favorites.
But, as always, the 7 weeks of paradise go by way to quickly, August passes away and the school year has to begin again. As you all know, if you have been reading my blog, I accepted a spot in the trainee program at Ballet West in Salt Lake City. So, once again, as in every year for the past 3 years, I packed my bags and hit the road, literally. The one plus to dancing in Utah as that I'm only 7 hours by car from home. So, instead of having to haul my million and one bags through the grueling airport, sweating bullets and killing myself for a day, I threw my million and one bags into the back of a truck and my mom and I took a little road trip to Salt Lake. I even got to take my own mattress, a lamp, and a bookcase that we constructed into a dresser type thing for my multitudes of clothes. The other perk of driving to Utah: getting to pack as many clothes as I want :) No airport means no weight limit! haha I'm pretty sure my mother did not like that at all though.. whoops! Anyway, the drive was...full of Wyoming, which means lots of dirt and tumbleweeds and pretend mountains. But, it was nice to sit with my mom in a car for 7 hours just listening to music and having pointless small talk. I think we always take that for granted; all the little conversations that don't really mean anything. The thing I miss most about not being home and with my family is just sitting at the kitchen counter, laughing and talking about stupid things and goofing off with people that get me. It's hard moving in to a house full of people that don't really understand who you are or why you do the things you do. I guess it just takes time to adjust to other people...
So, we finally made it to Utah after 7 hours and a few bags of raisinettes later. My mom got to stay for the night and she helped me settle into my new house. I'm living with 7 other girls who are also trainees at Ballet West at this cute little old house in some ghettoville. It's cute! And homey. Like a place you would go visit your grandma at. It already feels like home. I share a room in the basement with my roommate, Haley, the cute little redhead who's sweeter than I can even comprehend sometimes. She's 18 like me, and she's from Pittsburgh. She has an adorable baby voice that she uses when talking about any and all animals. She's just a genuinely sweet person. Like I said, it's an adjustment, but I think we'll make it. Two of our roommates have cars, so they take us to class every morning and haul us to the grocery store when we run out of food and help us all actually have a social life on the weekends. Thank goodness for Lauren and Bryony!
Alright, I think this has gone on for quite enough time.. again, I'm sorry for the dragged out story of my seriously uninteresting life :) But I love my readers!! whoever you are... So, I think I'm just going to tell you a little bit about my schedule and cut this off before you all die of aneurisms. Ok here goes:
7:00 push the snooze button on my phone for like half an hour
7:30 rip myself out of bed and desperately try to wake myself up and get ready
8:00 depart for ballet class
8:30 warm up for class, which entails bending my body into very unnatural positions and laying on the floor trying to grasp the fact that I have to dance for the next many many hours
9:00 take ballet class with my amazing teachers
11:00 get a quick drink and rehearse for a few hours, depending on the day and our schedule
4:00 start afternoon classes with the Ballet West academy
6 or 7:00 finally finish classes and go the frick home, where I will collapse on my bed, watch a few hours of Greys Anatomy and die..
Yep, that is pretty much my day! There you go! It's alot. It took me about two weeks to adjust to the intense schedule and the terrible altitude. Who know that dancing at sea level for the past two years would do such a tragic number on my stamina...let's just say I was wheezing after the first half hour of class, which is just pretty sad. But, I think I'm finally getting the hang of it all, and I'm loving every minute of it! The teachers are all so great and I feel like I can really talk to them if I need to. My roommates are great and I love living in this house. In short (which is absolutely necessary), I'm having a great year so far. I think it's going to be a really great year for me and I am so excited for it. Ok ok, I think that I've gone on for far too long now, so I'll blog again very soon! I promise this time!!
Until then.. your ballerina to be :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lazy Summertime

The fact that I haven't posted anything new in this little blog just comes to prove how lazy this summer has been thus far. I hope you all enjoyed your sojourn from reading mile long paragraphs and boring stories of my life. It sure was a long vacation from blogging for me. I just felt like there really was nothing interesting to say. I'm sure the few of you who actually read this didn't want to read boring pointless stories about me sleeping in most mornings, sitting on my fat butt for most of the day, maybe hitting the pool for a few hours a day, and then staying up far too late with my friends. Yep, that pretty much sums up the past 3 weeks! Although, I'm definitely not complaining. After some hardcore dancing for an entire month, I needed a few weeks to recover, especially since it turns out I might have had a stress fracture in my 5th metatarsal. For those of you who don't really care about anatomy, the above sentence pretty much means I overworked the outside of my foot, which really should qualify me for a few good, long weeks of laying around and watching movies :). And that is exactly what I did! haha! Not going to lie; I probably would have done the exact same thing even if I hadn't have injured my foot. I mean, come on! We all need a little vacation time, right?! I am totally justifying my lazy period and you will all have to deal with it! So there :)

Besides sleeping for 15 hours a day (ok I didn't really sleep that long, but my dad would beg to differ. He doesn't know anything though ;) ), I've done quite a bit of swimming at our neighborhood pool and I have actually tried to start running again. I used to love running, but maybe that's because I was running at sea level, which means I could actually go a whole mile without literally collapsing on the floor and dying a little bit. You'd be surprised how much easier it is to breathe when you're a mile lower in altitude. I miss the oxygen... So I've been trying to get myself into the habit again, but it's quite the effort when I know that I won't be able to breathe and my brother will be totally showing me up the whole time. I sort of hate him for being so in shape. I mean, I'm in shape, but it's a different kind of "in shape." I hate to burst everyone's bubbles, but dancers don't really get a lot of cardiovascular activity. Most of what we do is anaerobic. We go for about 5 minutes and then stand there for 5 minutes while our teachers scream at us for sucking so bad, and then repeat for hours and hours on end. Seriously. Welcome to my life :) I'm sure living it right! haha! But, I really want to work on some cross training while I'm taking this time off from dancing. Let's just hope I can get off the couch long enough to put on my tennis shoes and run a few miles a day! Now, that's just dreaming :)

Now, don't think I've just been sitting around all day. Ok maybe that's just half true :) Believe it or not, despite the above statements, I've actually been working on my summer bucket list!! I knew you would all be wondering about my progress in my efforts to actually have an interesting summer. I still have a lot to do, but I'm surprised about how much I've already done so far. 14 down and 24 to go, and I still have about 5 weeks of summer left, so I think I can still do it. I just need to find some people as crazy as me to pull all-nighters with and go paintballing and have poker nights with! If you can find anyone that fit this criteria, just let me know :). I'm in dire need of them! I still have to figure out where I'm going to pick berries and how on earth I am going to be able to stay up all night. Seriously, who actually has the will power to get through the whole night without drifting off? I guess most people just down cans of caffeine to do it, which is always an option I guess haha! Somehow, I've got to figure out how I'm going to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise and how I'm going to find the motivation to watch all 8 Harry Potter movies in one day. I don't think I anticipated how much effort and time I would need to devote to complete all these crazy activities. But, I've committed myself to this insane list and so, for the sake of calling this summer successful, I must do it! Wish me luck!!

Well, I guess my lazy summer is officially over. I had my break and now it's time to start getting off my butt and doing something with my life :) FINE!! haha. I am proud to announce to you all that I got my first real job today! And my dad thought I was a lost cause. I have finally proved him wrong that you can't get a job just submitting an application and waiting for their phone call. A few weeks ago, I put in my resume to a little place called PostNet across the street from my neighborhood and they called me today and told me they wanted to offer me a job! Thank goodness I will be making some real money... at least for the next 5 weeks. That's good enough for me! So I guess this means I have to put on real clothes before the afternoon hours and get over to my job everyday. Darn it... but, I am so lucky to get this job, seeing as I am only going to be home for another month or so. So, thank you PostNet!!

That's pretty much all there is to report. It really has been a lazy 3 weeks. It was a lovely vacation from the real world, and now I have to get back into it again. Hopefully, my life will be a little more interesting from here on out and I'll have a little more to say the next time I blog. Thank you for all reading all the pointless crap I have to say. It makes me so happy when I log onto my blog site and see how many people care to look at my page. I love knowing that people like reading what I have to say, even if it is usually really dumb or boring. Thanks for reading about my life anyway!! I love being able to write it all out on here. It's sort of like my therapy haha! Without all the crazy therapists and funny smelling couches...

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Ballet West Independence Day

There is a simple joy in the 4th of July. You get to paint your nails all sorts of crazy colors, sport the totally unattractive yet completely awesome red white and blue eyeshadow and participate in everything patriotic, and that means eating everything that is red, white and blue, and wearing every article of clothing that involves those three colors. Pretty much, it's one of the few days of the year I can look really ridiculous and not get  made fun of by those too lame to go all out on this glorious holiday. Coming from a very holiday-spirited family, we like to go nuts for every holiday, but 4th of July is one of our really crazy ones. We usually make a flag cake with blueberries and strawberries and have a barbeque. Me and my sisters paint our nails, of course, and coordinate our outfits at least 2 days in advance. I just love getting all into it, even if I look like a freak. But, that's the beauty of it all.

This year, I had the privilege of being in Utah for Independence Day. I was so bummed that I left my red jeans and my stars and stripes shirt at home, which totally ruined my entire outfit plan, but I made due and pulled something together from my limited, one suitcase wardrobe. Ugh, I hate having to choose from just a few shirts... and by that I actually brought at least 15 shirts :) I just like to complain about not having all my clothes with me. It's amazing I've survived 2 whole years without my entire selection! haha. Fortunately, we got the day off from ballet classes (halleluiah!!!), so I enjoyed a little bit of extra sleep. 9:30 feels a lot better than 6:30, for sure. Just saying. Never thought I would have to wake up earlier during the summer than I ever did during the school year... ridiculous. Anyway, after about an hour of picking an outfit and putting on eyeshadow at least 5 times to make sure the red white and blue didn't make me look like a total idiot, me and a few of my friends decided to go out for a Patriotic brunch at the Original Pancake House. It turns out everyone else in the entire Salt Lake Valley had the exact same idea as us. We showed up to a mile long line going outside the door of OPH and we were told we would have to wait and hour and half before getting a table. Being the impatient and starving dancers that we are, we looked up another diner, which was a block down the road. What we didn't know was that we would be walking up to one of the sketchiest diners I have ever seen. Dee's Restaurant diner looked like it had come straight from the 80's in some run down city. But, it was either creepy little diner, or wait an hour for that coveted stack of pancakes. So, naturally, we risked it. It was actually pretty cute inside, with the faded leather booths and the waitresses carrying baking sheets for serving trays. And even with an entire menu of breakfast food, we all ordered the same thing: the patriotic pancakes; a stack of three pancakes covered in strawberries, whipped cream and blueberries. Perfect start to an amazing 4th of July. The plate was huge, but when your hungry and you know you don't have to fit into a leotard that day, those three gigantic pancakes seem to disappear. I really don't know what happened to them :)

After a very fulfilling breakfast, we went back to the dorms, where I crawled back into my cozy bed and watched multiple episodes of How I Met Your Mother and surfed Pinterest for a good hour. There's nothing better than a little relaxing on your day off. I hate it when I end up wasting my entire day actually doing things and getting outside, as opposed to the rest of my life that is spent in a ballet studio, lit by florescent lights and scented with feet..But really, I mean, it's fun hanging out with friends and going out on the town, but sometimes you just need to take the day to lay in bed and eat Doritos all day. Sounds pretty productive to me :) So, I was glad that I was blessed with those few hours to relax and get my internet time in for the day. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The group at the baseball game :)

In the evening, everyone went to a Salt Lake Bee's baseball game. I've only been to one other baseball game, but I already know to expect about 2 hours of complete boredom and practically nothing happening but a few old, fat guys occasionally making a run. But, I was excited to be able to hang out with all my friends and pretend to act excited when the one home run actually happens. I really had a good time though! The game went by really fast, probably because I spent half the game waiting in line for an ice cream cone and a cup of water, both of which were totally worth the wait.. and the $5. Concessions are so ridiculous. I can't believe they can charge you $7 for a hot dog. After the game was over, we waited around a little while to watch the firework show in the stadium. I've been in Washington DC twice for the 4th of July, so I wasn't expecting a firework show better than the one they show at the National Mall, but I was blown away by how spectacular the entire show was. It lasted a surprisingly long time and I felt like they sparks were going to fall on top of me. It was an amazing ending to a very successful day :) I love fireworks. If the Colorado laws and the money allowed, I would shoot them off everyday. But then, I guess they wouldn't be as special. I will have to settle for the biannual occasion of fireworks.
This doesn't even serve justice to the incredible firework show!

We got home at about midnight that night and I didn't get to bed until 1:30. Darn you, Facebook addiction!! And darn you, the need to shower after sweating at a nasty stadium all day long!! Let's just say waking up the next morning was not a joyous occasion... 5 hours of sleep does not fit me well. But, it was totally worth it for that amazing baseball game and firework show :) Now I just have to wait until Halloween for the next holiday I can go crazy for.. that's quite a long time for a holiday fanatic.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Just a Bit of Good News :)

I can just see all my readers, the few of you who actually give a crap about my life and all the rambling that goes down on this blog, sitting on the edge of their seats, chewing their nails down to stubs and ripping out their hair at the suspense of this traineeship. Yep, I know you all so well :) And being the kind-hearted person that I am, I will just put you all out of your misery right now and spit it out already. But, first, a little more rambling. I can't even tell you how much I've stressed out over getting this trainee position. It's been on my mind for the past 3 weeks almost constantly. I think I can positively tell you that I've worked harder for this than I've ever worked. When you only have this one shot, you have no choice but to put it all out there and just pray that you're good enough. This summer intensive has literally been do or die. If I don't get accepted here, I've pretty much got nothing... well I guess I could always go back to Washington Ballet or just go to BYU and join their ballet school, but I wanted this so bad. Not only do I love the company and everything they are doing right now, I love knowing that I am just a 9 hour drive away from home and a 5 hour drive to Idaho, which is basically my second home. I've been lucky these past two years to live on the East Coast and train with some of the best schools, but there really is no place like home. And Utah is the next best thing.

Alright alright fine, I'll just tell you. Wait for it..... Get ready for it.... Buckle up.... I GOT IT!!!!!!!!!! I know I know, you are all staring into your computer screens with your jaws literally dragging on the floor out of sheer surprise :). I'm pretty surprised myself! I'm so lucky to have been given this opportunity and I am so excited to be able to work with Ballet West next year!! I just love the environment here and I can't wait to start working with all the teachers next year and work with an incredible professional company. My head can't stop racing and my smile is so big right now, it's starting to hurt. It's been a pretty amazing day :) Crazy how realizing that you are wanted in a company can lift your spirits! It feels like that hundred pound weight of stress and pressure to be perfect in all my classes has been forklifted off my shoulders and I can breathe again. And let me tell you, it feels good :). I guess the past 13 years of my life haven't been a complete waste of time. All that training is hopefully going to start paying off!

What kind of devoted blogger would I be if I didn't explain every single little detail of how I was blessed with this incredible opportunity?! Ok, I mean, of course, I'll start at the beginning. 6:30- woke up, 6:40- pushed snooze a few times... haha I'm just kidding :) I'm not that torturous! But, seriously, it was really hard to wake up this morning, despite my excitement to get to class and kick a lot of butt. 9 am finally came and Adam and his enormous presence waltzed into the room. Everyone immediately straightened up, especially since the school director and one of the head faculty were sitting at the front of the room, eying our every move and whispering back and forth. I hate that. I would say an intimidating person is a whole lot more intimidating when they are holding a clipboard and a pen and talking in such a way that just looks like they are saying something mean about you. Class went really well!! I felt like I did all the combinations as best I could, which means barre was awesome, and center was good all except for the turning combinations. I don't know what it is, but I cannot turn to save my life... I guess I will be screwed if I am ever threatened to do a triple pirouette or get stabbed in an ally somewhere :). haha but seriously, I was trying my hardest to do everything that Mr. Sklute wanted, and I even got a few corrections from him!! Most awesome thing ever!! After class was over, the school director gathered us all together and told us he wanted to talk to a few of us about the trainee program and called the names he wanted to talk to. I'm pretty sure my heart lept out of my leotard the moment I heard my name! But then, I started thinking that they might reject a few of us and that's why they wanted to talk to me..During our variations class, I could not focus on anything except for the door and the person walking through it, telling us to go to our meeting. My eyes kept darting to it every time I heard it creak open. Finally, my time came. I walked into the hallway, hands shaking and heart racing. Then, I had to go in this little room where I found Adam, Peter Christie (the school director) and the other faculty member sitting around this one empty chair.. hot seat has just gained new meaning. They sat me down and explained how they felt that I would be a good fit for this program and that they wanted me to come next year. Adam told me that he would give me partial scholarship and that, when the time came, he would help me get into a company, be it Ballet West or another company he felt I would be a good match for. I couldn't stop smiling, which probably looked a little weird to everyone back in class, but whatever :)

I'm just so happy right now!! And I am looking forward to enjoying a lovely 4th of July, with no ballet classes (YAYY), just hanging out with my girls and not having to think about whether or not they are going to tell us if we got the trainee spot or not. Wow, it's amazing how much room is left in my head now that all those thoughts are gone :) So excited to sleep in and pretend to watch a baseball game tomorrow night! I mean, honestly, who actually watches those things anyway. I can only handle about 3 innings and then all I want to do is eat popcorn and cotton candy, both of which I will be ingesting tomorrow. But, right now, I will be enjoying a full nights sleep, absent of stressful thoughts. So, goodnight, dear readers. Have a lovely 4th of July!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Final Weekend

You know it's been a good weekend when you're sitting in bed on Sunday night, trying to wake yourself up from a 4 hours nap.. what the heck just happened!! The last thing I remember is sitting down, excited to watch the newest episode of Breaking Pointe. The next thing I know, I'm laying in a pool of drool, my hair is a mess, and it's 7:30 pm. Not only did I waste my entire afternoon, I missed almost the whole episode! Now I've got to watch the whole thing again. Plus, I know for sure I won't be able to fall asleep for a very long time. Oh joy :) But, I guess I really did need that nap. I'd like to say I was so tired from all the partying I did on Saturday night, but I think it's more safe to say that my exhaustion is related to all the hours of dancing I've been doing the past three weeks. All in all, it was necessary. Thank goodness for a good nap.. and for the fact that I've only got 4 more days of heavy duty dancing left!

Seeing that I'm going home this Saturday, this past weekend was my last one! It's all bittersweet. I literally cannot wait to go home, but I've had such a good time here and I've made some lifelong friends, for sure. I can proudly say that my final weekend was quite the success, even it if wasn't constant partying all the time. Sometimes, the best weekends involve a lot of hanging out in your room, watching Inception and facebook stalking the crap out of all the new friends you have from Ballet West. That is seriously one of the best thing about going to a summer intensive. It's like thousands more pictures for you to look at when it's late at night and you have nothing else better to do... I know it's sad, but let's be honest. We all do it. Don't lie! So, that basically sums up my Saturday afternoon. There was lots of laying around in bed, a little bit of cleaning up my half of the room so that my roommate wouldn't wring my neck in my sleep. I apologize for the mess I've been leaving everyday :) But, sometimes it just makes more sense to leave my bed unmade and my clothes in a pile on my desk, especially when I'm too exhausted to even think about it after my classes are over. At about 10 o clock, I got sick of sitting in bed and actually hung out with people for a little bit. And, once I can find the motivation to actually leave my dorm room, it is usually worth it! The problem is always getting out there. I've really gotta start working on that... we just sat and talked and painted our nails, but it was just fun to have a good time for a little bit of time at least! Saturday morning, I went to the school directors adult ballet class downtown at the Capitol theater. I felt so hip taking class in the same place that all the company members take class everyday. Plus, it just felt good to be taking class on a Saturday morning at a reasonable hour, in comparison to our regular 9 o clock class everyday. Seriously, bodies work much better at 10:30. Just saying. But, class went really well. I loved his class, ridiculously fast tendus and dreadfully slow fondues and all!
All my girls before the dorm dinner. Lookin spiffy :)

Friday night was when the real partying happened. It was the dorm dinner so we all got dressed up in our cutest dresses and finest suits, or whatever else those boys decided to pack to come to the summer intensive, and headed out to the city to eat dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. I was lucky to be able to sit with all my favorite girls and enjoy an amazing meal (and I mean AAAmazing, when you're comparing it to the dorm food we've been eating for the past three weeks. Food actually has flavor, apparently! Crazy, i know!). We devoured three loaves of bread in about a minute and scarfed down some ridiculously good pasta. And, if that wasn't enough to satisfy a starving dancer, we got a small little bowl of italian ice cream. We all know that I was hoping for an entire pint, but that little bowl did the trick. I had a really good time, just laughing and talking and, all the while, stuffing my face. That is one dang good combination if you ask me! Wow, I'm beginning to realize that basically all my weekends involve me explaining how much I love food... I must have a problem.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Conference Center. So amazing!!

Today, though, was probably my favorite day, despite having to wake up at 7:30... kill me. Considering the early hour that we were forced to get our butts out of bed, a fairly large group of us went down to Temple Square this morning to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a sort of 4th of July themed broadcast. One of the singers in the choir actually is a pianist for Ballet West, so after the broadcast was over, we met him and he gave us a full tour of temple square. We walked around the visitors centers and the Conference building. We saw the big reflection pool in front of the temple and went inside the tabernacle. There is just a cool feeling there and I love being able to experience all the church history that is there. I loved seeing the temple and just thinking how much was sacrificed to build it really puts into perspective how converted the pioneers were to this church. I think the coolest part of today, apart from seeing one of my favorite temples, was seeing how interested all of the other dancers were in the church. They were asking so many questions, and honestly, most of them were pretty tough questions. Thankfully, I had my right hand girl, Kayley, another mormon girl whose dancing at BYU, to help me out with the ones that she definitely could answer better than me. In my defense, she's already got a year of Book of Mormon class under her belt :) I always feel so special when people want to ask me questions about my church. I love being that little missionary who clears up all the terrible ideas people have about the church. I mean, seriously, how many times do I have to tell people that mormons are not polygamists?! It's getting old people. Let's come up with some better questions, why don't we. Good thing all the dancers actually had intelligent and challenging questions for my little missionary brain :) I guess I'm a nerd or something, but that was probably the best part of the whole day!
Me and my roomie on top of the Conference Center. Love this girl :)

Well, it's late. But, unfortunately, due to my idiotic napping habits, I'm not even tired... I guess I'll just close my eyes and try to sleep.. crap. Wish me luck!! And, wish me luck in my LAST WEEK of Ballet West!! My dying little body is going to need it. Oh please oh please, left ankle, please hold up for just a few more days.. it would be much appreciated. Well, my friends, that is all I have to say. I hope it was long enough for you :) pun intended! haha. I've got rambling issues. And it's still happening. Alright, I'm stopping now.. until later
This is Kayley. My little mormon girl. I love her :) She is amazing. Did I mention I love her?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Another Tough Week

I can't believe that it's already been three weeks here at Ballet West. I only have one more week and then it's back to Colorado for about two months! Yay!! I've really enjoyed my time here and I am so excited for another rewarding and kick butt week, but, honestly, I really miss home. I can't wait to walk in my front door and drop my bags there for a good amount of time. It's gonna feel really good to unpack and not have to repack for another 8 weeks!! July 7th is when my real summer begins and I can't wait. Get ready for two full months of early morning yoga and jogging, hours spent laying in the sun at the pool (p.s. I lost the small amount of tan I was so proud to have acquired while I was home...bummer), hanging out with all my friends, getting to spend time with my family :), and lots and lots of relaxing. Ahh, I can't wait!! But, I'm also not ready to leave this place yet. It's amazing how fast you can make such great friends. I'm so glad that, despite my only hanging out in my room all by myself, I've met so many amazing people who I've grown surprisingly close with. Looking forward to another great week with them!

If you've been reading, you already know all about the nightmare we all had on Monday and Tuesday. What a joy it was to be under constant pressure for a whole 48 hours. I don't recommend this to anyone. In fact, just avoid all stressful situations. You'll only end up with a face full of acne and an overwhelming urge to eat everything in sight. And I thought that dancers were supposed to lose weight at a summer intensive! I guess my judgements have gotten the better of me. Seriously, all I want to do at night is eat. And then I just end up laying in bed, watching youtube videos and stuffing my face..my butt is not thanking me for it. haha! Anyway, the rest of the week sort of followed the same slope as the beginning of the week. Being the idiot that I am, I decided to ignore this little twinge in my ankle for about a week until Tuesday afternoon when I was literally limping and cringing every time I moved my ankle. I took a visit to the Physical Therapist in the building (He is a savior! and one of the nicest people ever). After lots of weird medical terms that I could hardly understand, I got the gist that one of the joints in my ankle was out of place and that all the tendons around it were getting aggravated. He quickly popped it back in place and sent me on my way. It sure helped the pain level but my tendons were still pretty pissed at me. So, very unfortunately, I had to sit out of class Tuesday afternoon and the whole day Wednesday. It's the worst feeling ever having to sit there while watching everyone else in the class get to do what you really want to do. All I gotta say is not dancing sucks. I don't know how normal people do it. I think I would just die. The entire time I was sitting there, I just couldn't help but want to stand up and start busting it out like everyone else. But, an injured dancer needs to learn when to stop ignoring the pain and take it easy.

Thursday and Friday I got to dance again (YAY!). We had class with a German man named Olaf. Sweetest little man on Earth! He was like one of those guys you just want to hug and call them grandpa. He is an amazing teacher. I loved being able to take a Vagonova class for the first time in a long time. It felt like home :) Everything just felt familiar. And he was so clever with his corrections but, at the same time, everything he said made sense. Funny how ballet makes sense sometimes :) We also learned a Balanchine variation in our next class. And let's just all agree that I will never be a Balanchine dancer. There is simply no way. I like my perfect positions and my reasonably paced choreography. I just don't do crazy fast combinations in which you are practically always off balance. Nope. Won't happen. Anyway, Mr. Sklute wanted to watch us all do this variation. Thankfully, I think he was too wrapped up in doing all the choreography from his chair at the front of the room to actually have watched me flail around the studio and epically fail at Balanchine choreography. I can be hopeful, right!? We had a jazz class, too, which was, to put it plainly, ridiculously entertaining. Being the bunhead that I am, I have difficulty doing a six step without looking like a total dweeb. But, it was just so fun to let loose and do some sexy choreography looking completely idiotic and awkward. I love our teacher. He's this tiny little man whose so so humble, but when he danced, my jaw literally hit the floor. Dang, that guy can put it out there. He put me to shame with his side leaps and body rolls and .. basically everything actually :) But I loved it anyway, all my terrible ballet infused jazz dancing and all.

The week ended on a pretty bad note, though. I was waiting patiently all week to hear about the outcome of this trainee thing. I was almost completely successful in putting it out of my mind all week. But, Friday came, and I couldn't help but think about it. I kept waiting for Peter Christie to walk in the room and tell us who got the trainee spots, but he never came. All that waiting for nothing... Now, I've heard that we get to hear about it on Tuesday. So, I'm back to waiting again. But, Tuesday will come before I know it, and then hopefully I'll have some good news to blog about. ..It's a good thing that I have this entire weekend to cheer myself up from that let down. And I'm definitely doing just that! But, more on that later :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2 Days with Adam

Adam Sklute... just saying his name makes me tense up and want to jump into a perfect fifth position and show the tendu combination from yesterday. Yikes. For those of you who don't know who I am talking about, Adam Sklute is the artistic director of Ballet West. If you've been following the new TV show on Ballet West, Breaking Pointe, you will know him as the guy who stands at the front of the room in rehearsals and intimidates the crap out of you. He's also the one who decides who will be in his company and who will not, which puts all sorts of pressure on anyone looking to be staying here next year, aka me. If all goes well, I want to be a trainee at Ballet West next year. It's sort of like putting my toe in the door of becoming a professional dancer and it's usually the first step into the real dance world! But, as we all know, positions and job spots get filled up pretty quick, especially in the ballet world. And, right now, I don't know how many people they are going to ask to be trainees here next year. So, in other words, I'm freaking out. I'm trying to always be on my best behavior, trying to always put my best work out there and really trying to show all my teachers that I have what it takes to be here next year. I don't know what else I could possibly be doing.. except praying for this chance :)

So, back to the point. Mr. Sklute is deciding this week who he is going to ask to be a trainee with his company next year and I had the pleasure of taking class with his on Monday and Tuesday, although I would hardly call it a pleasure! From the moment I woke up Monday morning, I was on edge. I took extra time to do my bun, making sure it was perfect. I wore my favorite leotard, I made sure to eat a healthy breakfast and I got to class super early so I could get a good spot at the barre and to warm up. I think everyone was just really uneasy. We really didn't know what to expect from him. I kept thinking he was going to be really scary and really mean and compare us all to his company dancers, who are far better than all of us! But, to my surprise, he walked in with a big smile, told us all to relax and proceeded to teach a really fun and really good class! He was always telling us to breathe, which is comforting. I wanted to leave a good first impression, so I was standing there at my barre spot with my feet turned out and my hands behind my back and stretching to stand up as straight as I could. I probably looked pretty dumb :) I was so caught off guard to see how genuinely nice he is. He gave some really good corrections to all of us and focused on the entire class, instead of just picking his favorites. I loved that everything he said made sense and I felt like he really cared about all of us. I tried really hard to be in the front so he could see me and see how dang hard I was working, although so was everyone else, so I can't be sure if he was really watching me or not. But, all in all, I loved his class, even though I was basically shaking the entire time and desperately trying to make everything perfect. Sometimes, I was worrying so much about how well I was dancing, I wasn't even paying attention to what he was saying or telling us to do, which turned into me looking like an idiot not knowing what the heck I was doing, but whatever :) The best thing about him was that he didn't want things to be perfect, he just wanted you to be expressive with your movement and really show that you have a personality. It was a little out of my comfort zone of having to make everything perfect all the time, but I enjoyed pushing myself to not be so stiff and to actually show expression in my dancing.

Monday was a success, despite the little stumbles and mistakes along the way. But Tuesday on the other hand..... After class was over on Monday, he told us that he expected us to remember all of his combinations from today and that we had to show them to him tomorrow... I think all of our stomachs dropped at that moment. We spent the next 24 hours frantically trying to go over in our heads and in our dorm rooms and with everyone in our class all the combinations from Monday class. Everyone was freaking out and sometimes we completely blanked on some of the choreography he gave us. I was not feeling confident at all, and I was just hoping that he wouldn't pick on me tomorrow to show one of his combinations to the entire class. Tuesday came, he walked into the studio as we were all marking the combinations for the 10th time that morning, and we began class. He showed the first few combinations, but then after that, he started picking on individuals to show what he did the day before. I thought he was going to blow up on us if we screwed anything up, but again to my surprise, he was very understanding and simply corrected us where we went wrong and smiled at us when we totally forgot what we were doing. Today's class went so much better than Monday's class. I was paying more attention because I was far less stressed out, knowing how nice he was, and I actually knew the combinations, which is always a good thing when you're trying to impress the artistic director of a company. I felt like I put my best work out there, and that's all I can really do! I've been told that by the end of the week, Adam is going to tell us who he wants as his trainees next year, so I am just depending on the work I've shown these past two days and hoping all goes well. I'm really trying to not even think about it, or I'll just go all internal and blow up from the inside out, and we all know that that would not be a pretty sight. So, until anything happens, I will be totally putting that thought out of my head. .. yep, it's gone! Nothing :) Now, if you will excuse me, I have some Bachelorette to watch and an apple that is calling my name...