Saturday, March 31, 2012

There's Nothing Better Than the Weekends

I woke up this morning and realized I hadn't written in my blog for the past two weeks, even though I actually had some worthy stories and experiences to write about. And I could start out this post with a long, meaningless excuse about how I am going through some mind blowing tragedy that kept me from my laptop for two weeks, but that would be a lie. So, I've decided to just be honest and tell you that I'm suffering from a bad case of "I'm really behind in school and I'm using every passing moment to vigorously catch up before I'm supposed to graduate in May." That is a legitimate excuse, if you ask me. I don't know how it happened, but I got really unmotivated this past month and I guess it sounded like a good idea at the time to just procrastinate in all my classes. Now that I've gained complete consciousness, I am suffering the terrible consequences of my totally idiotic actions. And that means hours of homework on the weekends, late nights and early mornings of boring note taking and tedious project completions. I am even spending my entire spring break working from dusk til dawn just to get to the place where I am supposed to be in all my classes. Talk about a nightmare. . Boy, am I gonna have a blast.

But, despite my brain being on a constant treadmill, going from school work to ballet back to school work, I can still find just a tiny bit of joy in knowing it's the weekend. There is seriously nothing better than a lazy Saturday morning after a late Friday night with friends. While usually, you can find me in my room, sitting in my bed, staring into my laptop on the weekends ( I don't know what's wrong with me, but I quite enjoy being antisocial and watching How I Met Your Mother by myself into late hours of the night), I actually do get out of my bed and into normal clothes from time to time. To prove I am telling the truth, I have decided to devote this post about the amazingness of weekends to last Saturday, my friend's birthday.
 We all planned on going out to dinner at Serendipity's, only the best and coolest restaurant in the world, and it only exists in DC and New York, which just makes it that much more exclusive, but since there are like over 20 people in our class and restaurants usually hate big groups of obnoxious teenagers who don't tip well and all ask for separate checks, we had to find a different place to eat. My friend ran across this cute little Thai place that would serve a big group like ours, so we made reservations. Saturday night came and two of my closest friends came over to get all dolled up and to help me pick clothes I actually look decent in. I guess I'm not very good at shopping for clothes that look good on me or wearing combinations of clothes that work together. I need to hire a personal shopping and dresser if I am ever going to make it as a fashionista. Then, we drove out to go to dinner, which turned out to be a bigger fiasco than originally planned because DC wasn't smart enough to make big parking lots so finding a place to park your car can be a freaking disaster, filled with screaming, swearing and sometimes crying. . . it's quite emotional. But, we finally made it in, and dinner was spectacular. Since I wasn't very hungry, I just ordered a Pina Colada, but it was really good. I think that is sort of my trademark: going out to a restaurant and just ordering a dessert or just ordering a drink. I have a complex of not wanting to spend unnecessary money when I don't have to, and going to eat at automatically means you're going to spend at least $15, which is practically half of my grocery bill for the week. Nope, not happening. So, a $4 drink becomes much more appealing to me.

To say the least, we all had a blast. Everyone was being crazy and laughing; I'm sure the waitresses were just dying to get us out of there as soon as possible so everyone in the restaurant didn't have to be annoyed out of their minds anymore. But, we didn't care. We were too busy taking ridiculous pictures and cracking unnecessary jokes and consuming too many calories for our own good. That is the beauty of being an immature adolescent. I hope I never have to grow up. After proficiently pissing off some restaurant owners and overloading a perfectly good camera with unattractive pictures, we went for round two at a frozen yogurt place next door. I mean, what better way to finish off a meal than with a bowl of frozen heaven topped with some more heaven in the form of chocolate, fruit and caramel sauce?! There simply is no better way. As it is with all large groups, there wasn't enough chairs for all of us at one table, so we all snagged the nearest seat and scooted all around to form a huge circle, which probably made some more store owners mad. I think we made a lot of people very angry that night, but whatever. We shared some hilarious stories about our ballet teachers and laughed about the good old memories, while scarfing down the most perfect combination of oreo, coconut and cheesecake frozen yogurt. I had so much fun and I can't wait to do it again. Although, I do love my antisocial weekends where I can wear my pajamas and watch movies from my bed. Hmm, decisions decisions. . .

Well, I must be off. I have the pleasure of watching General Conference today and tomorrow online. And even though it's a very long broadcast, I love listening to all the prophets speak and I have a weird obsession with taking notes. I don't know why, but it makes me happy. Don't make fun of the nerd who will be spending the next four hours speedily writing down everything every speaker says. It's going to be awesome. With my spring break coming up with next week, I am hoping to use my mental breaks from dragging hours of school to blog a little bit, so expect to hear from me soon!

Until then, your ballerina to be. . .

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The unpleasantness and beauty of DC in March

It is really starting to feel like Spring here in Washington DC. And while I am truly loving the sunshine, my bedroom, which has 6 windows by the way, is like a sauna right now. I have basically stripped down to a pair of shorts and a tank top in an effort to not die of a heat stroke, but nothing seems to help. I can't open my windows because then all the hot air will come in. If I turn on the fan, all the hot air that's already in my room will just circulate around and will make me want to die even more. And I certainly can't dump a whole bunch of ice onto my floor and lay in it until I'm sufficiently cooled off, but I would be lying if I told you I didn't already consider that. I'm seriously dying!! The upside to all of this is that, with the invention of a door, I actually can leave my room, though I usually opt to just stay here when there's really nothing else to do. But today, I decided I should get out of my concealed little steam room and go enjoy some fresh air, seeing as the weather is beautiful outside. Since I had to go down to the post office to ship a little package to some people back home, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to sport some green ( HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!) and my new jeans that came in just this morning in the mail, and head down to the post office.

Can I just say, I love DC in the spring?? Seriously, it is perfectly warm, there is a slight breeze and everything is starting to bloom. The highlight of my walk to the post office was seeing some cherry blossoms starting to show on the trees. I was dumbstruck. I walked right up to one of the trees and I think I just stood there for a few minutes, but I can't remember because my jaw was dragging on the ground and I was professing my love to the blossoms in my mind. I especially love the bright pink ones and I secretly want to go out with a big bucket and pick them all and hang them around my room. That is my master plan for when I got down to the National Mall to see the Cherry Blossom Festival. I will definitely be bringing a huge bucket with me.

After lots of sweating ( you see, I wasn't expecting it to be so hot outside, so I wore a pair of jeans and a 3/4 sleeved shirt and the walk is pretty long, so you can just imagine what I looked like walking in the sun), I finally made it to the post office. I must admit, this is sort of my first time shipping a package anywhere so I didn't know what to expect. But, I learned two things during my little adventure.
1. People are really nice and helpful when you are confused and you need important advice
2. People are jerks...
I walked in looking for a box to put all the little goodies in, but I looked really stupid trying to figure out which box I should pick. One old lady walked up to me and told me to pick the flat rate ones because they are cheapest. So I picked up one of those and attempted to start to fold it, only to again look really retarded. Apparently it requires some skill to fold a piece of cardboard into a functioning box. So, she walked over again and helped me put it together. Thank goodness for helpful old ladies who are educated in the art of shipping packages. Oh! I also learned that the line at the post office takes a very long time to progress. Wow. I seriously stood in line for 20 minutes, with my little box in hand just waiting to check out and get out of there already. My time finally came, I walked up to the lady all confident in myself, which only lasted a second or two because then she started rambling off all these questions. Do you need insurance or tracking??
Is there anything perishable??
Do you need any stamps??
ummm yes?
 Ok, what kind do you want??
ummmmm what??
What kind do you want?
 What do you mean? *awkward laugh*
Do you want a book of stamps or a sheet of stamps?
Oh! Nevermind, I don't need any stamps.
*some angry mumbling that I could not understand* Swipe your card!
Oh! ok. *fumbling for my debit card and frantically trying to figure out which way to swipe it*
Ok have a nice day ma'am. . .
Whoa. Scariest and most intimidating conversation I have ever had. She was talking a mile a minute and I had no idea all the little phrases she was saying were about. Like why would I need insurance for a package? And even if there was anything perishable in the box, what would it matter?? I don't get it. So, there you have it. People are nice and people are jerks. At least I will be more prepared for the next time I decide to ship a package, which will probably be never, seeing as I am scarred for life from this past experience. I think I will just stick to letters and mail boxes from now on. No one yells at you at a mail box.

It is sad to say, but that was probably the most exciting thing that will happen today on this lovely holiday. I have no festivities planned, unfortunately. I love St. Patrick's day and I usually paint my nails green and wear greed eye shadow and eat gold coins and play lepraquan pranks on people, but I just wasn't feeling it this year, I guess. When no one else is really into it, it's hard to have the spirit, which makes me miss my dad. This is his favorite holiday since he served his mission in Ireland. Back in the good old days when I still lived at home, I had to make sure I was wearing green pajamas when I went to bed the night before because he would always wake us up and pinch us if we weren't wearing any green. He would shake our beds and yell in our ears, which normally would annoy me on any regular day, but nothing can make you grumpy on a holiday like St. Patrick's Day. Then, he would make green jello and dye the milk green to pour on our cereal, and of course we would eat potatoes in order to pay tribute to Ireland and their steady diet of starches and carbs. Ahhh the good old days. Wishing I could be home right now, but I guess sitting in my sauna of a room and wearing my new jeans will have to do for now.

I'm hoping you all have a lovely St. Patrick's day. Try not to get too wasted. . .er, I mean try not to eat too much green jello!! Until next time,
Your homesick ballerina

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Confessions of an Algophobic

An initial word to the wise: Never ever pretend your back feels fine for 2 years and do nothing about about until you literally can't walk. When your lower back is constantly in pain, you should probably tell someone about it in the first month or so. But, me being the stubborn dancer that I am, neglected to say anything about my back issue and merely put it off, making excuses like "oh it's probably normal" or "oh, it'll probably go away after awhile." All of these excuses ended up being lies.

I am sending out this message to whomever actually reads these posts from my humble abode of a bedroom, laying on an ice pack because that's really the only thing I could actually do today. Alright, so the paragraph above is a bit of an overstatement. Sure, my back has really been hurting since last December and I haven't done anything about it, but it was pretty bearable for the most part. It wasn't until this past Friday that giving birth to an 11 pound baby sounded more appealing than having to endure the pain of my lower back. . . alright, that's an overstatement too. But seriously! You don't ever realize how much you depend on your back until it hurts to sit. Or stand. Or walk. Or laugh, for heaven's sake! So now, due to me ignoring that little nag in my spine for waaay too long, I am forced to lay in bed, surfing the web, which obviously includes quite a bit of online shopping, facebook stalking and pinterest obsessing. Yes, I have spent the past two days spending money I clearly do not have, looking at pictures of people I don't even talk to anymore and pinning drool-worthy recipes that I most likely will never make. Best waste of time ever :)

As I'm sure most of you are, if you are confused about the title of this post, an algophobic person someone who is afraid of getting hurt, which I happen to be. I am deathly afraid of being injured in any way. Secretly, I haven't told anyone about my back because I'm scared it's something really serious and then I'll have to take a lot of time off from dancing, and that just cannot happen. As a kid, I was afraid of doing anything risky, like riding a bike or jumping in the pool, because I thought I was going to hurt myself. In fact, I didn't learn to ride my bike until I was 10 and it was the most traumatizing experience ever. You can always tell when your dad lets go of your bike seat! He's not fooling anyone! So I would be going along fine, and then, of course, he would let go. The next scene, if you can imagine, includes some wobbly steering followed by a very embarrassing crash and some skinned knees. Moral of the story: don't ever believe them when they say they are right behind you and holding onto you. It's always a lie. Instead, just never ride a bike. It's really the best option for everyone.

I guess the upside to this whole thing is that I've spent so much time on the internet these past 2 days that maybe I will just be so sick of it that I'll actually do what I need to get done instead of getting sucked into watching that newest episode of Modern Family, which is a brilliant show by the way. I just can't help myself from not watching it sometimes! In the moment, I always think that I'll have enough time to get all my school work done. Five hours later, after watching episode after episode of random TV shows, I have that "CRAP" moment, which only lasts temporarily, cause then I just shrug my shoulders and go to bed. There's always tomorrow. . . until I've wasted away every single day of the year and I am forced to do summer school!! That is the greatest fear of all, I think. And that is why after today, I am pledging to do my school work on time. End of story. . . .pff we all know that won't happen. But, one can hope!!

Anyway, this was just supposed to be a short little blip of how crappy I feel at the moment, but, as it always does, it has turned into a tangent that has gone way too far. Thank you for listening to my complaints, whoever you are. It's nice to have this imaginary support system. I get to yell and moan as long as I want and no one will be there to tell me to shut up and stop whining already. That is the true beauty of blogging. So thank you, You are a true hero.

Goodnight to all. Please pray my back will feel better soon! I'm gonna need some serious miracles here!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Adventures of a Not-So Typical Friday Night

I am pleased to announce that I have figured out how to finally put pictures into my blog, so you will no longer have to be bored to death by my frequent run-on sentences and paragraph after paragraph of words that I think to be more charming than they actually are. Hopefully, this incredible addition of pictures will make my uninteresting and utterly long stories that much more enjoyable to read about. Thank goodness for my friends and their ridiculous habits of taking far too many pictures than socially appropriate and for actually owning cameras in the first place. Yes, it's sad to say, but I do not have my own camera and I am missing so many memories that should be captured in this exciting time in my life, unfortunately, my cute little red "point and shoot" has taken its grave after a much traumatizing event in my black hole of a purse. Once something goes into that over-sized bag, it has a hard time finding its way out again. So, as you could have probably guessed, I threw my camera into my purse, it stayed hidden in there for a few weeks, next thing I knew, I dug and dug for it, only to find a little red camera with many pieces missing. The button you push to actually take the picture was nowhere to be found and the lens was only half closed. The initial response was very angry and very loud. I had a little rant, then gave a truly inspired eulogy about how much I loved that camera, recalled old memories  and all, then I laid it to rest. Poor camera never knew what was coming to it.

It has been a week since my last posting. We left off with a sad tale about my not being able to perform in New York, but after a week filled with mixed feelings, frequent second guessing and many conversations with friends, I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to let it affect how I view myself or my future career. Honestly, the whole thing is just for scholarship opportunities at different schools and it really won't help me get a job in any company. So that's that. Things have finally gotten back to normal since the big let down. It's back to the regular class, regular rehearsal schedule, thank goodness. But, in an attempt to keep some good friends that I made during the trip to Connecticut, I decided to organize a bit of a party on Friday night. Nothing too crazy, but of course, there would be lots of food to munch on while we partied hard. . . which translates to watching random videos on youtube and catching up on some awesome America's Next Top Model episodes. I don't know why, but whenever that show comes on, it comes on in a freaking marathon. We practically watched a whole season in one night because they kept playing more and more episodes, all the while consuming way too many calories for the best interests of one's thighs. I didn't think it was possible to grow a jean size in one night, but I think that is exactly the tragedy that has befallen me. My friend and I bought 3 pizzas, we made chocolate stuffed raspberries, no-bake energy bites (compliments of Pinterest and it's incredible recipes and for the people who obsess and spend hours on it everyday) and my roommate provided the chips and salsa. I don't think I've ever had a food baby so large.
Here is a picture of all of us creating our magical, drool inducing, tasty treats before we all, literally, stood around the food table and ate everything in sight. To be completely cliche, I will now insert one of those stupid hashtag messages: #life of a poor, starving dancer. When you live on your own and are forced to cook and shop for yourself, you hardly ever have the luxury of all these fantastic dishes and therefore, you obviously are enforced to over consume on all things yummy when they are available. That is my excuse, and I am sticking to it.

Of course, next comes the sugar rush, which brings along with it bouts of crazy laughing for no good reason and the unquenchable urge to run to the grocery store at 9 o'clock at night in order to make a cinnamon roll cake, which was absolutely necessary at the time, for some reason. Looking back now, I think I could have done without making a cake, but heck, it was totally worth it. We all put on the most ridiculous clothes we could find. Half of us were in pajamas, the other half were in unflattering sweats and jackets. The crown jewel, Courtney, decided it was a good idea to wear a skirt around her neck, just for the heck of it. Welcome to the life of odd teenagers who do crazy things at night and don't really know why. There is just something about the perfect combination of sugar, late nights and being with a group of totally irresponsible people that makes you dress up in ridiculous clothes, take hundreds of unattractive pictures and do stupid things in grocery stores. As it always does, the shopping trip took at least an hour. It took 10 minutes or less actually getting the ingredients we needed to make the cake and the other 50 minutes to goof off, run through the isles and laugh hysterically at the stupidest things. Oh the joys of being young and reckless. .

We hurried home after our adventure in the grocery store and began to make one of the most amazing cakes I have ever eaten. Just imagine the perfectness of a cinnamon roll and a cake combined in one. Ya, things don't get much better than that if you ask me.

Here is a picture of the completed project. Heaven in an 8x8 pan.

The best part of it all was just hanging out in the kitchen, listening to pandora music and taking naps on the floor waiting for the oven to be preheated. Power naps are the key to success when it comes to staying up til 2 in the morning. That is one thing that adolescence has taught me. And I can be sure that this tool will be utilized during my college experience and throughout my early 20's.

We spent the rest of the evening, and by that I mean it was 1 o'clock in the morning, watching TV, eating our cake and thinking about how we were going to be able to take ballet class the next morning. It is the worst feeling in the world knowing that you have to put your hair up in a bun, stuff your huge butt into a pair of tights and a leotard and get to class in just a short few hours. Its like the most intense ultimatum ever. You can either go straight to bed and hope you wake up to your alarm or you can continue to facebook stalk people until your too tired to keep your eyes open. . .and then wake up late for class and rush over looking like a total mess. I usually opt for the second option, which is usually why people probably think I don't care what I look like. In most cases, this is actually true. Why would you put on make up just to sweat it off?? Why would you put on jeans and a nice shirt just to stuff them into your dance bag for the rest of the day? The smartest and best way of doing things is just to put on some mascara, throw on some sweat pants and head over to class where your just going to look gross anyway. And that is my word of advice for the day. I have just given all people an excuse to not care about what they look like when they go to the gym or even to the mall. Your welcome :)

Well, as usual, I have procrastinated all the things I needed to do this weekend til the last minute. It is now sunday afternoon and I must get to business doing everything that should have been done on Friday and Saturday. Great job, Kaitlan. Therefore, I must now end this post and leave you with a short goodbye.
Until next time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Big Day

At this point in the post, I wish I could cue the music you hear when something bad is about to happen, you know that music that comes on in every horrible scary movie or during those ridiculously suspenseful moments that really could have been avoided if the characters had just done what any normal person would do and not gone into the dark room or opened the creepy door. People are really idiotic in movies. There's simply no other way of putting it.

As you have probably already guessed from my previous posts, this entry will be completely dedicated to the YAGP competition day, otherwise known as the most stressful, most ridiculous and most political day of the year. Since I intend to be completely honest in every entry, be prepared to hear some choice words regarding this competition, which may or may not be justified in any manner.

The day started out quite well. I woke up sprawled out on my king size hotel mattress, threw my hair up into a bun, scarfed down some continental breakfast with some very lovely company from my friends and made the half hour drive to Torrington. It really makes a world of a difference being with people you actually enjoy being with. One thing I can take away from this experience, with the exception of a free pair of tights, is some new found friendships and unforgettable memories. When you just take ballet class with the same people everyday, you never really get the chance to get to know them. It's that time talking and driving and laughing with people that builds true friendships. I am proud to be able to say that I talked and laughed with some pretty incredible people this weekend. Thanks for an amazing time, guys!

I now reference back to what I said earlier about every single dancer: We are all completely judgmental. All 15 of us piled out of the van and walked inside the theater only to be greeted by a million dancers all too eager to look us up and down and give us the hairy eye. What is that all about? What ever happened to simply smiling at people when they walk by? It there something morally wrong with being nice to people you are competing with? So, of course, being the generous and kind person I am, I smiled and waved at everyone who gave me a dirty look, just to make them feel stupid. . . .wait, I guess that makes me just as mean. Oh well!!

One of the worst things about YAGP is that you never really get a full warm-up class. There is no studio space available and, in our case, your teachers don't give enough crap to actually show up and pretend to care about warming you up, so you end up fending for yourself, grabbing the next available hand rail and giving yourself a less than decent class. In any case, you just want to be warm enough to do your variations without completely making a fool of yourself. That's mostly the goal. Although, most of the time, you end up just staring at all the other competitors, comparing yourself to them and realized how much better they are than you. This was exactly the case as I did my plies and watched another school of dancers warm up out of the corner of my eye. It totally kills your confidence and I suggest avoiding watching anyone at all during a competition. It'll only create further problems for you. It is best to simply stare at the floor. . .or your toes. Whichever fancies you most I suppose.

Well, after much anticipation, hours of waiting in our freezing dressing room, sweating a little (ok a lot) and multiple trips to the bathroom to relieve my nervous pee, it was finally my time to get on stage. I first did my contemporary variation in my floor length red dress, which apparently makes me look tall on stage, interestingly enough. It was nice to know that I had people supporting me. Even though they got yelled at every time they tried to watch, practically all the dancers from Washington Ballet ran up the stairs to catch a glimpse of my dancing. For some reason, watching from the wings was unbearably wrong and this utterly horrible Russian lady screamed at you when you tried to come and watch. I still don't get the big deal about standing in the wings. I guess it's just one more thing I have against YAGP. The contemporary piece went well, or so I thought. Apparently, the judges thought their wasn't enough technique and I needed to be more impressive. Despite their criticism, it felt good to be on stage, trying to emote this feeling of remorse, as this was the mood of the piece. I felt free and I wasn't worrying about anything at the time. Once you step out onto the stage, you forget about everything else. I think that's why I love ballet as much as I do.

Then. . . you wait. . . for a very very long time. Next was the group piece, where we all wear the most unflattering piece of clothing ever thought up by humankind: the unitard. And to make things worse, they are bright red. Talk about attractive, huh? The nice thing about the group piece is that we all get pumped up together and we get to depend on each other during the piece. Interacting on stage with your friends in another one of life's simple pleasures. As you can guess, we got out there and kicked hardcore butt, seeing as the other group pieces involved bat costumes, chicken costumes and drag queen "four little swan" costumes. Yes, I couldn't believe it myself, but a school thought it was a good idea to perform the four swans variation from Swan Lake, which is, indeed, the most torturous thing you could ever do. It is fact that every dancer dreads that piece. You could probably even quote me, go ahead, quote me. Minus some less than major screw ups, the piece was a success and the judges really enjoyed it, as they gave us a 97 overall! We even ended up winning first place, tied with a pas de duex, for the ensemble category. Let's just say we worked it :)

Then. . .some more waiting, and snacking. I think I owe a great deal of thanks to my Raisinettes that got me through the day. They are seriously miracle workers. So, thank you Raisinettes! You really pulled through for me. But, as it always does, the most anticipated moment arrives and you must face your greatest fears which cannot be curbed by a deliciously addictive chocolate covered raisin by any means. The time to perform my classical variation had finally come. First, we had 15 minutes of staging, which was an utter joke. In a nutshell, it's a hundred dancers crammed onto a tiny stage trying as best they can to get in everyone elses' way just so they can practice their variation. So, you can either be the tool than runs into everyone, or you can be the considerate one who avoids the tools, but unfortunately doesn't get to practice at all out of fear of getting smacked in the face with a pointe shoe. I was a mix of the two. At times, I was like, screw everyone, and just did what I had to do. At other moments, I valued my life over trying to squeeze in that last pirouette trial and simply ran off stage before a concussion occurred. Needless to say, you will not be any more prepared with that extra 15 minutes than you were at the beginning of the day. That's all it comes down to.

I heard my name over the intercom, the music began, and I stepped out onto the unsprung stage, losing sight of anything but the stage lights and my overwhelming desire to simply not screw up. Things were going well, I balanced my attitudes, I was using my port de bras. . . then came the turns, which are really the thing that screw me over and freak me out more than anything else. All I want to do is get through them and move on. They were a little shaky, but, nonetheless, I made it. Then, the slow section from the corner. It really makes a difference when you used to dancing on a soft, sprung floor and then your thrown onto a ridiculously hard floor and you're forced to walk slowly and controlled on pointe and look pretty while doing it. This was the worst part, despite it being the easiest part of the variation. By the end of it, my confidence was shot. The last section, surprisingly went well, seeing as they were pirouettes, again. I finished with a slight balance and got the H off of that stage, running down the stairs to my dressing room where many tears came and went. I regret my classical variation most of all. The one piece I really worked the hardest on was the one I felt the worst about. After countless hours of rehearsal, I had nothing to show for it. I wish I could have been able to come off stage and say that it was the best I had ever done it, but I could hardly say that at all.

The award ceremony came. I was in my Jessica Simpson heels, a pencil skirt and a newly discovered updo, thanks to Pinterest :) They began calling out names to give out awards and I sat on the edge of my chair, half expecting to get called. . . . which never happened. Yep, I didn't place. Bummer. But! The group piece won first place, we were awarded best school, and some of my closest friends got some very impressive awards! In fact, Albert, the most dedicated dancer I know, was given the honor of Grande Prix, which basically means you owned everyone. The best part was that he wasn't even expecting it. I hate when cocky people get first place awards. It just makes their overly large heads that much bigger and I would love nothing more than to knock them back into first grade. That being said, I am very proud of Albert. He totally deserves it and I should probably take his completely obnoxious but utterly true advice and be a little more dedicated to this art form. He takes the extra time to practice, even though it makes me mad sometimes. I guess I am just jealous that I am not trying as hard as he does, which is probably part of the reason why I didn't do as well as I should have in the competition. I can only hope after getting Grande Prix, Albert can keep his meekness so I won't have to punch him one day for saying some overly annoying comment like "Well, I won Grande Prix, you know." That would simply ruin it for me.

In the end, it was just a stupid competition. Sure, it would have been nice to win something. Get a little trophy or plaque to hang on my wall and admire every once in a while, but I am just glad that I got scores that were close to those who did win. That gives me a little more comfort. All I can do now is hope for a better tomorrow and work just as hard as the dedicated ones. It's not worth the tears or the time to think about it anymore. So, as of right now, I rid myself of the whole thing. I did get some nice comments from the judges, too, which makes me feel a little better too. . . .alright that was my last note on the competition. I promise. The end to YAGP! It's finally over, until New York, that is. We can move on to bigger and better things, and hopefully shorter posts. I apologize for dragging this out so long. In that spirit, I will end this now. Until next time, your ballerina in the making...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Road Trip!!

Well, you are all in luck. Like I don't already have enough to worry about, I have taken on the challenge of blogging our entire YAGP weekend with the Washington Ballet crew. Holla!! . . . ok I take that back. I am definitely not ghetto enough to put that in my blog.

Anyway, today, we began our festivities with the 6 hours drive from Washington, DC to Torrington, Connecticut. As you can imagine, no dancer ever knows how to pack lightly, and, with 15 dancers, you can use your calculators to figure out how many bags that is, plus costumes, plus five pairs of pointe shoes each. . . plus mounds and mounds of snacks. Ya, it all added up quickly. Thank goodness for our mini van and 15 passenger van to get all of us and all of our crap up north, where apparently it actually snows during the winter. I am very disappointed to say that DC received no legitimate snow this winter. All of that talk of feet and feet of snow landing on this state is turning into somewhat of an understatement to me.

So, we all began our day with a lovely "family" breakfast, which obviously included donuts, muffins, banana bread, cinnamon rolls and any other type of food that could add inches to our waistlines. Just what you want to eat right before you're going to be seen by a panel of judges and hundreds of intimidating and judgmental dancers. I swear, the only reason a dancer wants to watch other people dance is to make sure that they are equally or more talented than whoever is up on stage and to rub it in everyone else's faces that they could do it ten times better than they did it. I don't understand how people can be so criticizing and so mean to people who are really just trying to do their best, but I guess I can't really talk, as I am equally as judgmental as any other back stabbing, gossiping ballet dancer. I guess it's just in our nature or something :)

After gaining 10 pounds, what better than to go take a warm up class. And I say that with all the sarcasm I can put into a sentence. You know when you have that huge food baby and you can't get comfortable in any position you sit or lie? Well, that feeling is like a walk in the park compared to that same feeling, but in a constricting pair of tights and an unflattering leotard that makes anyone look chubbier than they really are. And there are no exceptions to this rule. Leotards simply enhance all the wrong things about your body and only the freakishly skinny people who don't enjoy the timeless pleasures of a cupcake will ever feel comfortable looking at themselves wearing a leotard. This is fact. So, we involuntarily and begrudgingly took class, groaning all the way from the breakfast table to the studio. Thankfully, we were allowed to wear warm-ups, and I took full advantage of this opportunity and piled on all my thickest, warmest cover-ups, and proceeded to wear them for the entire class. And, now looking back on the whole thing, I am very glad we took class before getting in a car for 6 hours, just to get the blood pumping and the sweat dripping before being crammed and stuck in the same uncomfortable position for way too long.

We finally began our journey after a much satisfying morning or eating and dancing, and hit the road with two oversized vehicles jam packed with tutus, unitards and countless duffel bags, probably filled with way too many outfits and dead pairs of pointe shoes, but seeing as I am a culprit of this exact behavior, I will shut my mouth immediately about the subject. The drive was, to put in bluntly, long. Although, I would have much more preferred hitting the gas and not stopping until reaching the hotel, as this is how it has always been throughout my very scarring youth. One learns to hold the pee when your mother is yelling at your from the drivers seat to stop whining and that they will just have to wait another 200 miles for the next rest stop. A bladder learns to stretch in these situations. And, yes, this is what my childhood was like on all of those long trips from Colorado to Idaho. But, seeing as I was apparently traveling with normal people who don't have traumatizing childhood memories, we stopped a few times, getting gas or allowing people to stretch their legs and buy some food. We entertained ourselves with obnoxious youtube videos and taking frequent naps. I had the luxury of siting in the back seat, earphones in, music blasting, my muddy buddies at my side and knitting needles in hand. There is just something about the combination of music, food and knitting that makes the time go faster. Paradise if you ask me :)

Can I tell you, there is no better feeling than seeing your Hilton Inn hotel after a long days journey?? 6 hours in a cramped car is suddenly made justified when you realize your suffering is about to end. I love when the car finally stops in the parking lot and we all pile out of the cars and drag ourselves plagued in heavy bags into the hotel lobby. You feel a sense of accomplishment as you let out a sigh of relief and settle into your room, complete with a small microwave and ironing board, which I have already utilized, thank you very much. I got settled into my room and ironed two shirts and a skirt, just for good measure. I have the pleasure of sharing a room with my roommate Fernanda, and my good friend Katie, who are both falling asleep in front of the TV at the moment. Hotel rooms are so comfortable. You feel pampered and taken care of, even if it is just a simple motel, although this is just not the case in those ghetto Motel 8's. Those are just scary. The last time my dad attempted to make my family stay in one of those, we only lasted about 5 minutes before my mom pointed out that you could hear the couple in the next room screaming at each other and that we were leaving immediately. Never again will I stay in a Motel 8. . .

After the trip, we were obviously all hungry, so we piled into the big van and drove right over to the nearest restaurant, where we again overindulged in yummy restuarant food, which seems to always be more fatty, even if your are just eating a sandwich. I guess there is a reason it always tastes so good. Butter is God's gift to tasty food, but there is a price to pay. Lets just hope I can fit into my costume tomorrow after a long day of eating and sitting. . . and eating some more, with a few snacking moments in between. It was all worth it though. Eating with dancers means there will be at least a few salads present at the table, and this stood true tonight. But, there were also some sandwich appearances and soup debuts. Its nice to see dancers eat normal food from time to time. I had the pleasure of sitting across the table from my dear friend from France, Jesse, who literally ate the entire table. He started with his own shrimp salad, which he finished without a sweat, then scarfed down a side of fries, then snatched another neighboring salad, and again another salad. I didn't think he was going to make it, but it didn't seem to phase him at all. He is quite the charming fellow, you know those French men. Everything they say sounds so much more enticing, just because of that ridiculous accent, and you can't help but think they are hilarious and kind and even slightly seductive. This just adds to my reasoning behind marrying someone with an accent, which will happen one day in the future. It just must.

Well, I must retire to my king size, hotel sheeted bed, now, as I have a very long day tomorrow filled with anxiety, fear, and lots and lots of nervous pee. Oh joy. . but more on that later. Wish us luck tomorrow! We will definitely need it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oh the Joys of Packing. . .

After a very stressful day in the studio, which included fought back tears, spanking new pointe shoes that refused to work in any way and an utter disappointment in my dancing abilities whatsoever, I walked through my door to the realization of my incredible hatred towards packing. I just don't understand the logic in creating a perfectly organized suitcase when we all know that, the second you walk into that hotel, all of your clothes are going to be scattered everywhere, your suitcase will turn into a horrible pig stye and you will never be able to find anything in it again. For some reason, all people think it is a good idea to stack every piece of clothing, just to find out the shirt that goes perfect with your outfit is exactly on the bottom of the pile. How convenient is that?? Then, you spend the next 5 minutes shuffling through your bag trying to retrieve it, which, in the process, ruins all the cleanly folded shirts and topples over all the categorized piles. It would be much easier and much more efficient to simply throw all of the stuff that needs to be packed in the back of your car. This way, you save precious hours of your evening that could have been spent watching the newest episode of Grey's Anatomy or finishing off that pint of ice cream that has been sitting in the back of your freezer for way too long. In my case, way too long is about the time period of 3 hours, but that's just because I am literally obsessed with ice cream. Plus, all your crap would be easily accessible and you wouldn't have to dig through your entire bag just to get the one thing you needed. Isn't it always the case that the shirt your are most looking for is always the hardest to find? Just a thought. . .

In my ranting about how much I despise packing, I have completely forgone the reason for my road trip behavior! Tomorrow morning, me and 14 other dancers for the Washington School of Ballet will be driving up to Torrington, Connecticut for YAGP regionals. There are some serious butterflies in my stomach already, and I am not even there yet. We have been rehearsing for quite some time now, both on our solos and our ensemble piece, so all we can do now is hope for the best and pray to the ballet gods who will hopefully grant us some major luck and help us nail it. Or, we can just squish some spiders on our pointe shoes. Call me crazy, but I truly believe that squished bugs on the bottom of your shoes help you turn better. It is proven fact. . . . ok maybe not, but it sure does give you a little bit of confidence. I am really excited to go to YAGP, but this is my first time and I am really nervous, not to mention I wish I had like 3 more months to rehearse my solos, which are definitely not up to par. But, we will just have to see what happens.

Anyway, after I had to endure that mess of packing, I decided I would prepare the road trip snacks, which will be of utmost importance, seeing as I get so bored during road trips, I usually end up eating my weight in crackers and nilla wafers. I had been seeing a lot of pins on pinterest about cake batter muddy buddies and I couldn't help but check out the recipe and drool all over myself whenever a picture came up of them. My family and I love making the regular muddy buddies, you know with peanut butter and chocolate, but never had I seen cake better flavored ones. When it comes to cake batter, I usually can't say no, and what a better time to test them out than for a road trip!

So I got to work, melting my white chocolate chips, digging my hands into the gooey chocolate and chex, powdering them up with a yellow cake mix, and, of course, testing those babies out when it was all said and done. I mean, what kind of cook would I be to not test my creations before giving them away. It's just common courtesy to make sure what you have just made tastes acceptable. But, that definitely doesn't mean I'm sharing with anyone :) I also purchased some Raisinettes, which are my guilty pleasure and I literally can't stop from eating the whole bag sometimes, and some trail mix, so I think I am well covered for my road food.

Well, it is past my bedtime. We have to get up early and get on the road. I am so excited for this amazing road trip, and even more thrilled for the competition. Wish me luck! I will be enjoying my muddy buddies soon :)

Its March 1st???

Well, I looked up at my Audrey Hepburn calender this morning, first, staring into her beautiful face, trying to figure out how to one day become her, then noticing that it was indeed March 1st, which means it has been a month since my last posting. At this point, I proceeded to slap myself on the wrist, open up my laptop, and get to work.

It has been quite an eventful month. In fact, so much happened, there is simply no way of getting it all out there without boring everyone and myself to death. So, we will just stick to the logistics.

I officially hate school. . . ok I take that back, just because I know if I actually say that, a whole lot of people will come at me with knives and tell me to study my butt of for the last semester of high school. I didn't want to believe it when I was younger, but senioritis is a real disease. And, sadly, it has gotten the best of me. Yes, it's hard to believe. Kaitlan, the nerd who used to get up at 6 in the morning to complete her online school courses before ballet classes, has stooped to the level of the average senior who can't wait to finally graduate and be done with this nightmare. Sure, online school has been easy for me. Regular classes with bogus teachers and even more bogus assignments. Only having to take four classes a day, instead of seven. Taking breaks between classes and even doing a couple in the morning and a couple at night. To most, it would seem a breeze to complete senior year this way. But, one must take into account that I am also dancing from 9 to 6 everyday, and sometimes I just want to wake up at a normal hour, go to class, come home and collapse on my bed for the night. I have none such the luxury.. . .

I said in my last post that I would explain just exactly I do everyday, and before I start blogging about the present time, I feel it necessary to do so. So here goes:
8:00 am: Drag my butt out of bed, eat breakfast, and squeeze in some "homework", meaning I get on the internet and end up on facebook :)
8:45 am: Frantically get ready for company class
9:30 am: Take class with the company and try not to get in anyone's way, as this will anger them all and cause you to become the hated student who thinks she is good enough to take company class
11:00 am: Rehearse either with the company or with Mr. Han, my amazing, yet utterly frightening teacher who isn't afraid to tell you the truth, in any circumstance. Yes, that means "you suck today" comes out of his mouth on multiple occasions.
1:00 pm: Take my lunch break. Scarf down Greek yogurt, an apple, and whatever else I happen to find in my fridge. Then, try to get some more homework done, again, usually resulting in facebook stalking and pinterest
2:00 pm: Take my regular afternoon class with one of a few fantastic teachers, all of whom I adore
3:45 pm: Begin regular rehearsals, which usually drag because I am too hungry and too tired
6:00 pm: Run home, eat a much needed and deserved dinner. I have perfected the grilled cheese sandwich and the microwavable soup. I also pride myself in my banana smoothies and instant oatmeal :)
6:30 pm: Walk up the dreaded stairs to my room, where I must get to work on my school courses
11:00 pm: Complete and utter exhaustion take over me and I fall asleep soundly

Over and over and over again. . . .until my eyes pop out of my head and I demand a day off. haha not really. Anyway, I hope this has given you  a proper glance into a day in the life of an aspiring ballerina. It's not as easy as it looks, huh? As this is now dragging on and I must get to class, I will leave it at that. Now, we can go on to bigger and better things in the days to come.

Until then,
your devoted dancer to be