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 :)