Friday, January 13, 2012

And it begins

Today is officially my first audition, and of course I am sick as a dog with a severe cold. After months stuck living with the folks, slowly gaining enough strength for even the open adult classes at my local company, I am more than ready for a change.

I can't decide if the painfully slow classes, depressing jobs I picked up waiting tables, and strange awkwardness of moving back home after 5 years away take the edge off the excruciating audition process, or just further drive my self-confidence to rock bottom.

Let's go with the former, shall we? I decided to emphasize the positive. Why not? Being negative won't help me any, now will it? So here's a list of my personal silver audition linings:

1. I get to go to fun places like New York and Chicago - sometimes traveling so much even reminds me of touring!
2. Going into my last company, I was convinced that the words "professional experience" alone on a resume will improve my chances of getting hired. Hopefully that was an accurate assumption.
3. Also, I hope the practical result of three years in a company shows in a maturity to my dancing that my young competition lacks.

More to come - gotta find this place!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Janie's back!

After weeks of frustration, my physical therapist FINALLY discovered the cause of pain - and what a simple solution it is! I am down to pt once a week, and I am essentially pain free! I am also so relieved to know that my foot really wasn't broken and we weren't just missing something on my completely normal MRI results.

Now I have my work cut out for me. I have been working on the side to save up some money, and I need to get back into shape for auditions! I think I will be just in time.

I'll keep you posted, now that I finally have news to share!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Sanna - I Miss Dancing!

My foot continued to get worse, so after the last post I decided I should take a break. I called the doctor and made an appointment to get an MRI and immediately signed up for unlimited yoga and some private pilates. It is very expensive to do private pilates, but I think it is the best way to stay in shape when you can't dance, and a great way to cross-train when I am dancing. Maybe if I had done a better job with cross training I wouldn't have gotten this injury in the first place.

I've noticed lately that I'm nowhere near as strong as I was in school, even if I may have improved in other ways. It's unfortunate that I needed to get injured before I did something about it, but either way I am glad I am taking steps to become a stronger dancer. I am also being forced into a much-needed break, since it's been over a year since my last break of more than 4 days.

Tomorrow I'll get the results of my MRI, so I guess I can go from there with plans. So far I am just bored and missing ballet! I hate not dancing, and I have trouble filling the days, since walking and standing a lot are out. Once I know how long I will be off, maybe I will try to find something to do with my time.

Wish me luck!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Sanna - At Least There's Hope

So I returned from two auditions for two great companies. The first was a very friendly, welcoming company. Many dancers struck up conversations with me, and I even knew a few company members already (the ballet world is so small!). So it was nice to feel welcomed, although ironically I think it made me even more nervous and self conscious. Maybe I had the feeling they were interested in me and therefore watching! I'm not sure, but despite my nerves I think I danced fairly well for an audition. Of course, auditions are never as good as normal classes for me. I over-think everything and hesitate to really go for things, which is right in a way because most directors would rather see clean doubles, for example, than sloppy triples, but I might take this rule to the extreme.

At the end of my few classes with this first company, I sat down with the director, who told me that there would just not be room for a dancer of my height in the company for a long time. When i asked if I could ever fit in the company, I didn't get a no, but I learned I could work on core strength and jumps. Good to know, but it's funny that I never thought these were my weaknesses! Always good to have a new focus to improve upon.

Then the second company was larger, with less familiar faces, but for some reason I felt much more at home. I think it's true that when I have the feeling that the other dancers are in their own world, less focused on me, I am less self-conscious and can concentrate better. After these classes, the director also said there was no space at this time, but pointed me towards a new dancer in the company with some information about other companies that might be interested. The director also told me I was a nice dancer and "above" the second company. This was encouraging to hear, even if I already knew I was old for the second company. It's nice to know that such a prestigious director thinks my dancing is there, too (assuming it was honest)!

Now I am stuck home, missing out on some auditions because of Irene! How annoying! I hope everyone is safe. I am also trying to assess the seriousness of my aching foot. The doctor said go by pain - when it hurts, stop. Funny thing is dancing doesn't hurt, walking and standing do! Is this my own subconscious way of doing what I enjoy? Hopefully not, and I can continue to dance and still heal with some physical therapy. We learned how much weaker the entire leg is, probably since I have been favoring the other for so long. It will be interesting to see how my technique is affected by strengthening this leg.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dear Sanna - Home Sweet Home

So bags and bags and boxes and suitcases and more boxes and trash bags later, I managed to somehow get all my stuff out of my apartment. I met my friends one last time at the coffee place under my apartment, gave away the last of my stuff, and caught a cab to the airport. I am so fortunate to have such great friends - one in particular stayed with me the entire time, helping me pack, or just keeping me company. As I've said, as much as it was my decision to leave, it was still very difficult for me. I spent several sleepless nights before I left fighting back (or letting out) tears.

But I made it! I arrived in my brother's city, spent an amazing few days there, and now I am home. It was encouraging to take some open classes and hear good feedback, being asked where I was from, etc. An amazing teacher even offered to help me if she can with finding work, giving me tips for my video, taking my phone number in case she hears of a job opening.

Since my mother asks everyone she knows if they have any connection to the ballet world, it finally paid off and a friend managed to get me an audition with the elusive company in my home town. These people make it impossible to audition for a decent, but surely not THAT amazing company. Even with the help, the best I got was an audition for a position just below company. Not only unpaid, but with tuition! Not exactly what I was going for, but I auditioned and was accepted, so at least I have a back-up. Gotta love networking!

Furthermore, it was quite terrifying having not even one single audition scheduled before I left. But I knew it was difficult to really plan and that the ball would start rolling soon after I got back. Well luckily, I was right, and just a few emails and phone calls since I've been back have gotten me 3 auditions in some great companies. They did all assure me that there are no available contracts at this time, but everyone I talk to agrees that it is still good to go now. I am taking company class for a few days at 2 of the places, and this way they can get a good look at me, and hopefully if they really like me they can find something for me to do, or at the very least remember me when audition season rolls around. Couldn't hurt!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

You have been always free to dance for the love of it


As I am writing this you are most likely warming up, taking class for tonight. Connecting with this love frees you, your mind and body for your own standing ovation.

What if every performance was infused with this love?

Would you improve?

Could you have more fun? Learn faster?

You might experience that tonight.

If you set this internal state in dance mode, the anger of the director (which you cannot control) is minimized.

Have you ever noticed when someone around you is upset and you feel earthly happy, how you are less effected? We are all connected in humanity, yet you too have an influencing effect.

Get to know this love in a new way tonight. I know you have felt this before. Stand tall on the stage, internalize the applause and as you step away you carry with you the experience of these three years. It is cellular, of you forever.

And you have left a part of you all over the Country you have called home.

When is your departure date?

So proud of you, Janie. Love you lots!

Pittsburgh Medical Hypnosis

Dear Sanna - The End

Don't worry the beginning comes soon! Sorry I haven't posted for a while - I am running around like a madwoman trying to get in my last... well everything before I leave this place! After almost three years I've gotten pretty attached, even if it was my choice to leave. I am going to miss this place. I just wrote a note to the director thanking her for everything. She has been pretty hostile towards me these past few weeks - that is totally normal and expected for her. She yelled at me in rehearsal the other day after a rampage, turning to me and saying "and it's not funny, Jane!" (she always gets my name a little wrong). Anyway I'm used to this kind of behavior, and I am taking the high road and hopefully leaving the door open in case I ever decide to come back.

Tonight is my final performance with the company. It's really sad for me, but I know I'm making the right decision. Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same, right? So that's it, wish me fun - it's not luck I need right now. I just want to enjoy my last show! It's fun to dance for the love of it, not for fear of what the director will say afterwards.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dear Sanna - The Clock is Ticking!

I waited and waited to get the director somewhat alone. I had a break and she was in the studio talking to one of of our teachers, so when she got up with her purse, I jumped up and waited by the door. Then she started talking to one of the principle dancers - the same one she was speaking with before the weekend when I tried to tell her I was leaving the first time! But it was just about 5 minutes or so before she made her way to the door and I asked if we could talk. We walked upstairs to a private room and my legs were shaking.

I told her this was really hard, but... "you want to leave," she finished my sentence. I guess after that introduction it wasn't hard to figure out. First she got a little upset and went off on a rant about how she told me to go sit at the university to meet a nice boy and if I had listened to her I wouldn't want to leave now (I wish that was a joke, but it's not). Then she told me to stay until after the big tour in November. I hadn't really thought of this as an option, since the season and contract officially end in a few weeks. I didn't know I could stay for an extra month or two at the beginning of next year. She was convinced I would just stay, even when I said I didn't know and had to think about it and let her know.

So a few minutes after I walked away from the talk, I realized I was right where I started. I had warned her, yes, but she still didn't know I was leaving in a few weeks. It was nice to hear that she wanted me to stay. She said nice things to me, that I improved a lot and that if I stayed here I would be dancing more and more. But as tempting as all of that is and the big tour, it confirmed that I need to try and see if I can get a job in the states. And the vacation before next season is not enough time for a real try, so I can't come back for the tour. I made my decision and that's what I'm going to do.

So at the end of rehearsal I went and told her that as much as I appreciate everything, I just can't stay for the tour. After that it was harder. She was angry I didn't tell her earlier and said I should "leave nicely and finish out my obligations." But I told her with more that enough time according to the contract, and my obligations are to finish out the season. I told her my feelings and that I thought this was the way to leave nicely. I didn't sneak around doing auditions during the season. I never missed a day of work. This is not the time for me to second-guess myself! It's hard enough.

Now the season is winding down. A few friends who are also leaving the company decided to do a going away party, so we are organizing that. My room is getting boxed up. Sometimes I want to cry. I really will miss it, but I'm so excited for the future! Happy 4th everyone! I guess this will be my last one abroad for a while :)