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!!