Sunday, December 30, 2007

DanceMind: Dear Janie, Gotta love to dance!

Yes, Selly. One must love dance.

Emotion drives motivation.

Yet, this intense love is balanced by other intense emotions which are not always very positive, and can be destructive to body, mind and emotion. It canbe consuming.

The darker side of dance/ballet is often silent. Very powerful. Very present. Undeniable,

These are the moments that go unexpressed yet many do not realize that there are ways to manage the rising of such energy. SOme performers call it 'theri demons' or stage fright, or obsessions of different kinds.

I am on vacation out of the country returning tomorrow.

Happy New Year, Janie and all!!!!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dear Sanna - why I dance

It would be impossible to explain all the reasons I dance, but I'll try my best...

First of all, I love the challenge. There is always something more to strive for. Your training is really never done, and it's exciting and fun to be constantly improving and being able to do more and more. It's fun to jump higher and do more turns! I love seeing my progress over time and having the ability to literally change my body.

I also love the order ballet gives my life. I look forward to a regimented class every day. I like the level of respect that isn't necessarily a part of everyday life for most people.

Performing is also one of the reasons I dance. Being on stage gives me a thrill unlike anything else. I especially love getting the opportunity to dance many shows where I can become familiar enough with a role to have fun with it and really dance to my full potential. It's nice to know the steps well enough to stop thinking about the steps and focus on my technique and performance quality.

When I'm not dancing my body just doesn't feel right. Even a few days off makes me feel stiff and lazy. It's nice to have a career/hobby that also keeps you in shape.

But then I'm missing the sort of inexplainable thing that makes me love ballet itself. I don't really know why I think doing plies and tendus every day is so much fun. Or why I think a foot can be beautiful or somebody twisting their body into abnormal shapes. My mom used to ask me in wonder all the time why I wanted to go to class every day, even when I wasn't performing. I just like it. I like the people involved in the ballet world (for the most part) and that sort of inside joke if you will that only ballerinas share. For some reason we all just seem to get each other and I love being part of a worldwide network like that. I feel special being involved with ballet and I don't think I will ever be happy unless ballet is a part of my life, whether or not I make it as a professional.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

DanceMind: Dear Janie, Why?

What keeps you dancing?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT
Performance Specialist

Dear Sanna - Thanks for the tips!

I will most definitely take your advice and let you know how the massage goes!

Hmmmm hard. That's interesting because I use the word so often but it's hard to describe. There I go again. Right now, when I say ballet is hard, I'm talking about getting home at 11:00 p.m. having left over 12 hours earlier unable to find a position where my legs and toes don't throb, I immediately reach for comfort foods like cookies and chocolate, even though I'm not especially hungry or in need of such junk food, and struggle with myself over if/how much I am going to eat. Then I have to force myself to get in the shower and ice my feet. It's "hard" when I have to force myself to rest or take care of my body. I am often even tempted to skip taking my vitamins because I am too lazy to go get them and then swallow them down!

But ballet is also hard mentally. It upsets me to think of the possibility that all my hard work will not result in my dream of getting an offer here next year, or anywhere for that matter. It makes me sad that I am not cast in everything I hope to be cast in, or to not dance as well as I want to when I do get opportunities.

And of course the dancing itself is hard. I have to push myself and constantly think a million things in my head in order to dance my best and even attempt what is expected of me from my teachers. I sweat like crazy and shake and sometimes fall because it's hard! You can never let your guard down or get comfortable because there is always SOMETHING to fix. Nobody is perfect although we are striving for perfection so that's HARD!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Hard ?

Can you talk about "hard?"

This is important -- the 'hard' experience of ballet. Describe HOW it is hard. Behind the scenes ... What is it like?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS, CCHT
Performance Specialist

DanceMind:Dear Janie, Get a Massage!

I am happy to hear that an end is in sight! You have been working hard.
Nutcracker season is long and can be stressful, even downright exhausting.

I do hope you take it easy and allow your body to recharge and heal through rest, good sleep and oh yes -- that massage.

I just remembered this story -- I was in Chicago for this week long
training. It was my first time in the BIG city alone and I scheduled a
massage. (This was a long time ago ---)

I was very nervous about being on the table. Am I naked? What clothes do I take off. Oh My G@# someone I do not know is going to handle my body. What if she/he looks real close and sees something. My thighs!

Mind you I was a body builder at the time and was in really good shape.

I was still very nervous. SO I arrive at the spa in the hotel and follow the instructions explicitly. I am told that Nick will be my masseur re. OMG - a guy!!!

SO I lay on the table. Enter Nick ... Nick comes in and I am not breathing. I am supposed to relax! Are you kidding me!

I notice something a little different about Nick -- He was blind! What relief!
and what hands!

Turns out he had been a musician and developed an eye disease. Massage was a career choice.

It was one good massage.

Massage for you - lets get back on track here -- There are many kinds of massages and different personalities that massage. Some are simply better than others at the administration of the massage.

there are those who specialize in working with athletes/performers. I might sugest that you look for 'sport' certification. Someone in that capacity would understand the need to have your ankles or feet worked on in a certain way.

Some people are dead set against massage for no good reason. When the muscle tissue is 'massaged' seratonin and somatostatin levels increase. AKA natural pain killers and anti-stress hormones.

The issue could be that of a therapist gets her strong fingers into an area that is ailing and then you must dance you could be very sore. On the other hand you can release bound up tension.

Remember that the tension is partly emotional and repititive activity stress.

WIth it being your first time -- I would start out light and if you FEEL as if certain areas are more tender you can always ask her / him to ease up or to apply more pressure. COMMUNICATE WITH THERAPIST. If you hurt she may know how to assist you and she can ease up a bit.

KEY -- WHen you lie on the table clear your mind to make the most of the experience.
That will be a blessing. You know how to do that - stop the thoughts, breathe nice and easy. Let the table support your body. LEt go of the grip around the feet, buttocks, shoulders, face, neck, areas where you might hold tension.

Most therapists are multi - talented. So tell her this is your first. Tell her you are a dancer. and you can just imagine how good that can feel to cover all bases and lie down to a pre pleasureable expereince!

We can continue talking thru the holidays. I will be traveling a bit.

Happy Holidays to all!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dear Sanna - rest is near!!

This has been a very difficult month, and this next week will definitely be the most trying, but it's fun too and I'll be sad when it's over. Not that I won't be excited to go home and see my friends and family and get my one chance to rest. I'm especially excited because my mom promised to take a day with me to get massages! It's pretty much impossible to get a massage any other time, since I never know my schedule far enough in advance to make an appointment, and even if I did, I don't think it would be a good idea to dance right after. Since I've never had a massage before, I'm not exactly sure what to ask for or expect. Some people have told me that a deep tissue massage is not such a great idea for a dancer because it might cause more harm than good, but I've also heard that dancers are so tight that a deep tissue massage is really the only way to make a difference. Any thoughts?


Monday, December 17, 2007

DanceMind: Dear Janie, HOW???

The difficulty rises when a group is told they need to lose weight and ar left to their own measures on how to do it. Yes, there are diets, yet we know how successful that can be for some people, some of the time. This presents inner conflict which can drive one toward extreme behavior ... stravation or binging.

With the amount of energy and calories this is burnt doing ballet/dance, one needs to eat otherwise the body takes the shape of a thin starving child. How doyou eat? How does one manage to lose a few pounds wihtout crating problems within the systems of the bpdy ... the menstrual cycle, the skeletal system, the nervous system, ndocrine system, etc.

A dancer moves with every system in the body and they contribute to the 'ability to move.' The payment will come due in time as is often said when we engage in bad habits, like smoking, drugs, starvation. One may not experience the wrath immediately such as if you step in front of an oncoming car, but the 'collector' will come.

Of most concern are health care professionals and mentors who are teachers who do not support health. When my daughter was injured last year, one MD misdiagnosed her with tendenitis (her foot was actually broken as we later discovered.) and told her to take 8 advil a day and she will be fine.

Luckily she had the mind to know WRONG!

If one does not KNOW BETTER, one takes the advise. Of one does not KNOW, one takes the advise. You have to step back and explore options. Use foresight, not hindsite

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- For every problem there is a health solution.

DanceMind:Dear Janie, Mind for food

Yes, you are right eating unconsciously can be dangerous literally. It is called emotional eating. You may have heard that term.

THINK ABOUT THIS -- The stomach has parameters, emotions are a bottomless pit. When you eat for hunger the body communicates to you. When you eat out of boredom, you eat more AND less quality because -- how bored is bored and how do you satisfy that. Emotins want fat and sugar.

The body switches on and off with hormones when you tune into hunger. Then you are eating for the body's needs not the emotions. That is why we have an obesity thing happening here in US.

As a dancer, you work your body hard and it makes sense that you (collective you) would eat to support the stress imposed on the body. There is a lot happening IN THE BODY that needs to be at optimal levels to support dance activitiy.
Cookies -- well you can enjoy them in the right amount but as a meal, it could catch up to you in terms of weight of fatique especially when the going gets tough...

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Know what and how much and when you are eating. Sounds easy, yet how often do you 'discover' that you are eating!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dear Sanna - weight

I know there are many problems with dancers struggling with their weight, but for me I think losing a little weight would be a result of healthier eating habits, rather than dangerous ones. I tend to eat when I'm bored, even if I'm not hungry, and I would always rather have cookies for dinner than almost anything else! It's partly a matter of laziness when it comes to cooking, and partly just my sweet tooth. It's also especially hard when my schedule changes or does not allow me to have dinner until 11:00 at night. However, when I do discipline myself to eat healthy meals only when I am hungry, I feel a lot better about myself mentally and physically. I just need to DO it. You're right - it's all in my mind.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DanceMind:Dear Janie, Weight Issues

In the dance world, especially ballet, the demand for a slender, very thin body is apparent. It can determine roles, job and even ability to attend a school. Interesting even at the cost of health, denial does exist, yet one glance at the physical size of performers can reveal the standards at a school. Studies show that eating disorders are very high in numbers within the system of ballet. Bodies of ill dancers also tell stories of frail health due to low weight and bod fat.

Who sets the parameters? The desire to dance outweighs health?

There is the occasion where guidance is offered to a dancer who is fearfully thin. Sometimes they are sent home for healing. Does that change the system? Many dancers are not 'anorexic' yet they struggle with emotional eating. (of course we live in a culture that eats poorly.)

Here are comments by teachers/instructors that have been tearfully related to me by performers -- "You are too fat for a tutu." "You cannot stand next to her on stage because your thighs are like elephant legs." "I cannot give you parts until you lose 15 lbs." (She weighed 120 lbs.). Some schools schedule weigh ins weekly. One physician told one dancer to simply drink coffee all day to lose weight. She tried it and became every ill. (BTW -- she was 14 years old)

It would be interesting to hear other comments.

Many dancers really do not know how to achieve safe weight loss because there is an overlay of anxiety and fear. When one starves oneself, a binge will naturally follow. This cycle is highly destructive to the body and even makes weight loss more difficult. The body becomes very confused.

Yes, diet moderation can work, yet the more powerful piece is the MIND.

The body responds to what it is fed through food, and the thoughts and emotions.
When there is hatred, anger, disgust, guilt, etc directed toward the body, tension rises and so does the need to 'feed' it with food or even starvation. Not good.

It is a very scary situation, especially for individuals who cannot sustain health when the body fat and weight is so low. What is the answer? Stop dancing? Re-educate the teachers? (they have most likely been through the rigors and are repeating what they believe to be okay. No excuse, though).

One woman who was a ballet dancer in the 60's here in the area where I live told me that they were put on a 500 calorie diet! This was a professional ballet company! My conversation with her was quite interesting because although times have changed, I wonder if they have?

What if you loved your body? What if you could appreciate what it does for you?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- More later.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

DanceMind: Dear Janie, Food for Thought

Notice these three points of reference, or as one client so aptly stated 'the Bermuda Triangle' here -- mind, body, food ... and how each one is made available or responds to the other.

The body simply does what it is guided to do, ie., more food in, more negativity in, the larger more stubborn the body can become. Visa a versa -- is also true -- SURPRISE!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- More later on the visa versa .........................................

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dear Sanna - speaking of wieght...

You know what's funny? I have always known that i wasn't one of those naturally tiny people. iI was never necessarily FAT, but i wasn't skinny either. My weight has always been just acceptable, and not exceptional for that extra push in my favor when it came to striving for higher positions, better parts, or acceptances into better programs. That said, I feel like I am always just waiting to be told to lose weight, almost as if I would feel better if the artistic director or teacher would just say it instead of my interpretations of what he or she must be thinking about my body. And then of course the more I stress out about it, the more I just cannot resist the temptation for just one more bite, one more candy bar, whatever. It's not that I don't know exactly what to do to maintain a good weight and feel better about myself, it's just that I psych myself out and sabotage my own eating habits.

And by the way, today was a much better day for me. I hope it was for you too! I just love being at the theater and downtown with everyone and all the holiday cheer :)

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- No need to be Happy

Janie, The whole idea of this blog is to show the ups and down of ballet/dance.  Yes the are joys and yes there are firey moments. The point is that you move through them. You survive when it feels like the end is near. As you get to know yourself better, you can also discover methods and tools to help you through the rough times. When you are "in good spirits and all seems bright" you can discover methods and tolls to deepen that experience. Sometimes it can be as simple as noticing that certain stressors create down feelings. our choice is to stay down or allow it to pass through by simply acknowledging it, or you can take some action to shift it.

So please do not apologize for telling me how you are feeling.  You are welcome to speak your mind on this blog. I appreciate that and so do others.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS - I am very excited to finally be recording my Shaping From Within Weight Management program. Because I am adding a special bonus to the program fro dancers, I am looking to speak to a few dancers who have weight struggles. This will occur in January - February. If anyone out there is interested contact me directly at I will put your name on a list and contact you after the holidays.

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- I got it!

I feel like that today myself. I am going to take some action here before my first client so I can get back in my own saddle. Days like this make me realize why I do what I do and love it because I can 'do' something to get my self out of my funk. It is usually something I did to my body (ate poorly) or not enough sleep and not enough play, or Some ridiculous belief.

ANyway I am going to go stretch, jump in the shower and use some of those mind clearing techniques I am always tauting as being helpful... :)

I will talk with you tomorrow. Please let me know how your day is today and if you need to 'rant' about yesterday. Take action Janie. Do something. I am happy you are using the CD's to your advantage. That is why I designed them.

Sanna Carapellotti, Performance Specialist

PS -- You can sleep like Janie! The Stepping to Sleep CD program will continue to be on sale for a limited time. With Nutcracker and Winter Performances, getting your sleep to performa your best is a high priority. No worries, just sleep.

Dear Sanna - frustrating day

I think I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. It just seemed like everything I did upset someone or got me in trouble. I was tired all day, I felt like I wasn't dancing my best and I looked and felt fat. Rehearsal didn't go well either. We kept stopping and doing things over and over until I was so ready to leave. Thank goodness tomorrow's another day. Blahh I just wan't to listen to my cd and get a good night's sleep. Hopefully I'll be back with a more cheerful post soon...

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dear Sanna - it's true!

You're right, people don't tell others what they like to hear. It even seems awkward for me to try to think of a way to tell people that I would prefer they tell me to have fun, but I think if I say it enough they will start to catch on, or maybe I will mention it in a discussion the way I did here on the blog.

I can also clearly see how much having fun like our warm up dance puts everybody in a good mood and gives them energy. It's one of the great things about dancing in a corps - I love my moments of making eye contact with my friends on stage.

I am very much looking forward to a full TWO DAY weekend now! I'll post again soon...

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Dear Janie -- Life as a Dancer

How much fun! Your warm up dance. Sometimes it is the small things that bring us all closer together. That good laugh is certainly a tension reliever.

You can tell yourself to 'Have fun.' Or if someone says -- Good Luck! You can say witha great smile --- "And I will have fun, too!" It is a small thing, yet it makes a difference for you. DO the things that offer comfort, inspire you, push you.

I think as a group (of humans!) we do not let others know which words please us.

Yes, restaurant food can be difficult to digest (oils, sugar, salt ...) I was having this discussion with another performer the other day. When I work, I know what makes me feel well. I never eat sugar , or snacks before working with a client. I lose my intuitive edge.

Being back stage there can often be lots of snacks and cookies, etc. you have to decide what works for you. Some foods can create what is called overarousal in the body -- ' hyped up' feeling. You may not want that.

Well gotta go to bed ...

Take Care -- Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- I am sorry I neglected to say that there is a wonderful gift that I have been sending out with The Stepping to Sleep program. It has been a surprise to those who ordered it! Yes, it is on sale for the time being. If your tired you can sleep better with this cd. You listen and -- sleep. You may purchase it at

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dear Sanna - performing :)

I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post! I was out of town and extremely busy. I must say, though, it was a very nice break from my normal schedule, even if it was still demanding. It's nice to switch things up a little, and I love performing! It's funny because my nerves are so random! Sometimes I get really worked up over a run through in the studios, while other times I am completely relaxed and confident when I run out on stage. I love it when people tell me "have fun!" instead of "good luck" or something before I go on, because having fun really is the best way to do well and enjoy myself. I've found the more I do corps dances, the more relaxed I feel since the steps are in my body and the more fun I have. I finally love waltz of the flowers! Another favorite ritual I have is a funny warm up dance my friends and I do in the wings to the music before we go on.

I think my comfort food is chocolate in general. I love having a kiss or something little and sweet for a little burst of energy before a show. I have noticed that I really don't perform as well if I eat restaurant food immediately before a show.

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dear Janie -- Check In

When you can let me know how you are doing. It is a very busy season yet part of the 'busy'ness
can be frayed with good constant personal care. Some is manufactured in the mind; some is very real. Strive for balance. After you work, use one of the CD's to recharge yourself. When the Stepping to Sleep program is used regularly, you will notice a big difference in how you feel thru time.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- For all of you tired dancers, Stepping to Sleep is a program to go to bed with - literally. You will cycle thru the stages of sleep and heal your weary body. Imagine waking up feeling better and rested. Ready to dance! How fun ... (it's on sale for a limited time).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dear Janie -- Anxiety

When you become aware of worry or anxiety, gently let yourself know that you have moved into the future in your mind and your body has revved up the energy to get you there.
Return to the present through breath.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dear Janie -- Comfort Food!

Comfort food feeds and nourishes the soul. It is reminiscent of home, of a certain person, event or time in your life. They hit the spot as we say.

What you have to decide, Janie, is the how does it make you feel FOR NOW? You have to perform in your body. If the food makes you feel bloated and sluggish, then I would say enjoy it later. If it energizes, then enjoy. HOWEVER, You can mind-fully eat one bit very slowly, really savoring it.

As I see clients, I never eat sugar or wheat. I do not think or intuit as clearly. In order for me to be sharp, I EAT WHAT I WANT ... fruits, veggies, protien.

It can be hard, yet your decision is in relation to how well will you be able to perform, especially after being so exhausted and stressed. Bad food is also stress the body.

BTW -- What is your comfort food? Mine are Choc Chip cookies. We made thousands as a kid.
Homemade Choc pudding, too!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Good Night!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dear Sanna - de-stressing

Even the mere idea of taking steps to deal with this stress is comforting. It's just nice to talk about and know that somebody else cares and is on my side. I had the whole day off from dancing today, and tomorrow I only have one class and no rehearsals. That alone is a much appreciated break.

Laughs - check. I spent the day with my good friend today and I laughed more than I have in months, I feel. It was a really nice day to waste time together and take my mind off all those things that are stressing me out, or even make light of some of it.

I am working on convincing a friend to give me a massage or I will roll out my muscles myself if I have to...

Comfort food - check. Does comfort food have to be healthy? If so maybe scratch that check mark, but I definitely enjoyed my meals today if nothing else :)

We'll see if I get around to a bath - not usually my thing, as wonderful as it sounds. I think it's a mixture of my laziness/lack of time/stronger desire to do other things. But maybe I'll force myself to try it out and maybe find out how much of a bath person I really am.

OF COURSE I use arnica. It's my savior :)

The Stepping to Sleep CD is calling to me as we speak - I cannot wait to rest my body

I think I need to add shopping to this list (which I did today)

More soon! This is the first day of my de-stressing

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Attention: Dancers Who Are Tired

Too sore, worried or exhausted to sleep? Stepping to Sleep will drift you off to the deepest sleep. Imagine you put your feet up, close your eyes, rest your tired body and Voila -- it is morning! You feel rested!

Read more about the program and listen to a short clip at

BTW -- Did you know that sleep improves performance? It does. You will learn why.

Buy now for a Good Night!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- ON SALE for Nutcracker and Winter Performances.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dear Janie -- TAKE ACTION!


First, Think back to when you performed quite well. You probably talked about how hard you danced and how rewarding that was for you to have come so far. The success comes from the striving for performance. All the work, building camaraderie, sweat .... You can't always control the outcome.

If you look ahead here as well, you can realize that this will apply shortly.

HOWEVER, This is a VERY IMPORTANT TIME for you, Janie.

You must care for yourself. How do you do that -- As rehearsals intensify you MUST HAVE A PLAN to balance out the hard work with activities, fun and treatments that YOU KNOW HELP YOU.

1. Get a laugh. Watch a few favorite movies. Call a funny friend. Laugh outloud.

2. Get a massage. Or massage your self. You can sweep your hands over your body. Begin at the top of your head. Cover every inch and sweep gently over your skin.

3. Make comfort foods to enjoy.

4. Use essential oils such as Lavender, Rose, Lemon in a hot bath.

5. Do you use ARNICA! (a homeopathic ointment and pellets!) GET SOME NOW!

6. SLEEP! Listen to the Stepping to Sleep, sleep program for dancers.
designed by me for dancers like you.

7. Get outside for a time period. Breath fresh air. Sit on the earth. :)

8. get a chiropratic adjustment if you do that.

9. LISTEN TO track 9 of the Audition CD (designed by me) for a really relaxing guided journey.

10. Ask a teacher how they survived rehearsals. I am sure you have heard stories.

Add to this list....
Because you can get so so so tired, make a list of what gives you relief. Post it becasue when you are so so so tired, one quick glance can give you some immediate suggestions. You will also have some things that you know are helpful to you.

Do this now Janie.

THE STEPPING TO SLEEP cd is available for tired dancers who want to sleep better and wake up refreshed! Nutcracker season can wear you out before the first performance. This program will rest assured that you get your sleep.
Read about it on this web page, or you can call me directly, 412.344.2272.

Janie, I look forward to hearing from you. I know this is a very difficult time. You are already a success with your hard work and commitment. You will find your way through this. If you want to talk through any of the above let me know.

Write about what is helping you.

Dear Janie -- You are Stressed OUT!

As you experience (and probably observe among other dancers) the amount of work you do with your body, mind, and spirit is extraordinary --- You are a prime candidate for stress, especially around this time of the year --- NUTCRACKER! and Winter Performances.

What we know about stress is that there are a lot of different factors, Janie. (I am going to write this out so that you can keep this in mind.) I am going to list a few and I am sure you can add to the list. . . long rehearsals, add on training hours, little recognition (at least what you want), pain in the body, demands and pressures from self/school/family, personal conflict, emotions (tears, irritability, anger), beliefs about yourself, ranting in the mind, overload with life outside of ballet and within ballet ... not to mention those corrections (AND DOESN"T ANYONE SEE THAT I AM DOING MY BEST!!!!!!) Feeling like you are under a microscope has created this high sensitivity to criticism. Chnages in sleep and eating patterns.

The strain of rehearsal is real - and can create tremendous strain in the mind and body.

Janie, You are stressed OUT!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

Dear Janie -- I hear you.

Your exasperation weaves through your words.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Life of a Ballet dancer is hard, Janie.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear Sanna - hard times

I am finally reaching (almost) the end of an extremely difficult week. I have had at least 3 hours of rehearsal and 2 classes every day this week and I am exhausted. It's like the pain just builds each day and I feel even more sore. It's such a paradox, since I am truly happy to have the opportunity to dance so much, but it is a lot to handle. It's also frustrating to see others complaining about the same schedule I have, if not lighter when they get paid and I don't. I can't help thinking how unfair it is, even though I logically know there is a reason why they are ranked higher and have more privileges than I do.

I also cannot help feeling personally attacked in rehearsals. It cannot possibly be all in my head - I get by far the most corrections in EVERY rehearsal. And I'm not even necessarily the youngest, newest, or (hopefully) worst dancer in all of my parts. It just feels like I am always to blame! Can I possibly be THAT bad that everything I do needs correcting? Even when I specifically try to think about correcting something, whoever is running the rehearsal often tells me to do the very thing I thought I was concentrating on doing. I guess this sounds a lot like my complaints about corrections during class. Maybe I am just too sensitive. Anyway the tears came today and I'm not sure if they're over - it might take a good cry to get past this or through the next few weeks, which should also be quite intense.

Last night my muscles hurt so bad I couldn't sleep, and my ipod wasn't charged/conveniently near me so I tossed and turned all night. Tonight I have it ready, so your CD,
Stepping To Sleep can help me if I have the same problem. So... goodnight!

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dear Janie -- Hurts so Bad?

It is that time of the year when rehearsals intensify and life becomes dance and sleep. (Remember Stepping to Sleep CD will help you to sleep more restoratively.) See resources on the right or click on the link in the PS!

TAKE CARE of yourself during these days. I will be in touch after tomorrow.

I am very excited to be a part of the National Speakers Association Talk-A-Thon. I will be talking about Mental Techniques for Speakers. It will be available on itunes and Talkshoe, internet radio. I will post the link tomorrow. It is aired after it is recorded.

I have some organizing to do, you know mental strategies for speaking .... :)

Good Night!
Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Stepping to Sleep ~~ Audio program for a dancer's Good Night's Sleep. You will awaken refreshed and ready for more ... dance!
Sleep ... Sleep ... Sleep .... all night long.
On sale now for Winter performances and Nutcrackers!

Dear Sanna - no time for thinking!

I feel like I haven't stopped moving since my last post almost a week ago! It really is a good exhaustion, though. I am thrilled for the opportunities I am having, which account for the hours and hours of rehearsal. Today I got to go in during a rehearsal for my best part, one that I am hoping, but definitely not sure I will get to perform. It was so much fun! I feel good about working hard when it's something I love. I also had company members teaching both of my classes today, and I always love the kind of corrections and attention they give me.

But regardless of whether or not it is a good exhaustion, I am so tired and busy that I haven't even had time to think about this evaluation anymore or my future really. I totally agree that I need to lay out my goals, though. Honestly I am not all that picky or specific at the moment, but maybe I can slowly put together a list of musts and maybe a list of hopefuls...

Janie's Goals:
a) Musts:
1) Dance for a professional ballet company
2) Make enough money to live
3) Be healthy/happy
b) Hopefully I will also:
1) Have the opportunity to dance both classical and balanchine ballets
2) Eventually work my way above the corps (soloist or maybe even principle depending on the company)
3) Live in a nice city
4) Achieve all this within the next 3 years
5) Be well-liked by my artistic director and vice-versa

I think my goals seem reasonable - at least a good start. Well, bed time for Janie!

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dear Janie -- Evaluations

Evaluations are important and necessary. Schools have them at certain times of the year and of course information is gathered daily through observation of your performance, your attitude, your attendance, etc.

Certainly each school has a protocol in terms how they approach the student, time spent with them and the topics they cover. The focus can be different depending on the teacher's style and the student's level and needs.

You are right to inquire about how they approach their evaluations. You can glean information from other dancers. You can also ask your teacher or whoever is in charge by asking them about the process as time draws near.

You may also ask for an evaluation/discussion with a teacher outside of the scheduled evaluation. If you have concerns, or are struggling, etc. Teachers can be pretty accommodating to have a discussion with you. So approach them if you are so inclined.

This is a good time to give some thought to your goals. Because if you are clear about what you want, where you are headed, then the evaluation has more clear meaning and can offer feedback and direction in relation to your goals. I know you have goals, yet they may not be 'developed.'
You will see what I am talking about ...

Let's start there -- I know you want to dance professionally. You are in a ballet training program. What do you want? Have you written out your goals on paper?

Many people do not realize that putting a goal/desire on paper takes it out of the mind and brings it out into the world. You write it. You see. You read it.

Do that here. Write out your goals. Write it out in longer form and then you can arrive at a simple statement. Then we will tweak it. You have to really feel it otherwise you lose the juice. It can create a powerful drive within you.

Some folks speak with uncertainty (if at all about their goals), sometimes a hesitancy to speak, or fear that if I say it and don't make it ... then what? You have to breathe power into what you want .. and of course image it --- We will get there.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Goal defining is so important in the performing arts.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Janie -- Sleep Suggestions

BTW -- On my website are some suggestions for better sleeping. You can pick and choose what works for you (that is important!). You prepare for sleep just as you gear up for dance.

Here is the link for reading about sleep help --

Although I knew sleep was important for obvious reasons, until I researched what actually happens in the body during sleep I am even more adamant about the need. Few people get a good night's sleep.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Walk the Walk of a Strong Dancer.

Dear Janie -- Of course you are exhausted!

Janie -- Very few people use the body as ballet dancers do.

Chances are you will not hear the Stepping to Sleep CD all the way through as you sleep. It is designed to take you to sleep. Yet, you still hear it, without listening. How do you feel in the morning? You do not have to listen every night. Because you are literally retraining yourself to sleep deeply and adequately. I am happy to hear that, Janie.

I will get back to you about the evaluation. I have to prepare for the cutest little client (with a dog phobia). It will be gone this morning! Dog fears, stage fright ... all can be eliminated.

Have a nice day ...............

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Yes, The Stepping to Sleep CD is on Sale.

Dear Sanna - Exhausted

This is a very busy week for me, too. I still haven't heard any more of the Stepping to Sleep CD, but not for lack of trying. Every time I listen to it, I obviously feel so relaxed I instantly drift off to sleep! It really helps me stop my mind from buzzing with everything from going through choreography in my head to worrying about my evaluation! I do like going through choreography, but I need my sleep, too. I remember something about dancing better after 8.5 hours of sleep in the CD, and I definitely agree. I'm thinking I won't need the CD tonight, though because I am wiped out. So how should I prepare for this conference in January?

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dear Janie -- Are You Sleeping?

During sleep body processes are actually working to heal the body and mind.

I created Stepping to Sleep because I realized that my private clients (especially the performers) performed better after they started sleeping better. They felt more confidence (and did not have to worry) and planned for a Good Night. Then I researched the correlation between sleep and performance -- Voila! I said to myself I gotta make CD, especially for dancers. One for Athletes is coming, too!

You all know how exhausted you feel during tough rehearsal schedules. I will let you in on a little secret ~~ Sleep improves performance! This has been studied at universities and slep centers.

Why leave good sleep up to chance! There are nights when you are so so so-o-o tired that you fall into bed and do not remember a thing after hitting the pillow. You wake up just as exhausted. You may not know that you move through sleep cycles all thru the night. If you do not cycle through these stages of sleep --- the result, you feel unrested.

And get this ~~

Those microscopic muscles tears heal during sleep. Inflammation can reduce. Blood sugar (which gives you good consistent energy AND mental clarity, memory and focus) fuels the muscles tissue and your brain .... I was shocked at what I discovered. Of course you will learn more in the second track of the program ~~ Why sleep improves dance performance.

One client was sleeping 4 - 5 hours a night and even less during performance time. She was forgetting steps, constantly re-injuring her ankle and feeling very irritable. First order of business was to lower her levels of nervousness because she stayed up worrying about her performance. Once that nervousness was gone and her confidence was strengthened - she went to sleep with Stepping to Sleep and discovered for herself the influence sleep has on performance. The next day she was complimented on her improved control and emotional expression (more confidence boosting).

Stepping to Sleep requires you to put yourself to bed. That's it! You don't have to do anything. (You do not even have to listen to every word.) Put it on your ipod and go to bed. You will wake uo in the morning rested, feeling better and ready.

So if you are in need of better sleep or more sleep, read the information on this web page and decide if you could be stronger for Nutcraker or your Winter performance. Maybe you could sleep better while traveling away from home to perform, or even be more rested and ready for studio class.

Janie, your mention of Stepping To Sleep made me really realize that Nutcracker rehearsals are gearing up and this would be a good time to get some good sleep - cheap!
Click here to read more about why sleep improves performance.

Yes, it is on sale.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Good Night!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Imagine deep healing sleep ... You awake refreshed and energized.
Rested. Ready for Nutcracker and Winter Performances.

On Sale NOW for a limited time!
Click here for Sleep ~

Dear Janie -- Lots happening

Let's go back and forth a bit with regard to this evaluation in Jan. since it has come up. It will put your mind at ease to have a clear plan.

Also, thanks for the kudos on the Stepping to Sleep CD, which sends you off to dream land, sore feet and all. It is a good resource with Nutcrackers coming up and as rehearsals intensify.

ALSO - To Mindy, I removed an identical comment post. You must have send it twice. Thanks for your comments!

I gotta get started with my day. It is a full one. Lots of interesting work today not to mention voting!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- I will put the Stepping to Sleep CD on sale because of your recommendation. Wednesday after 12:00 EST, it will be on sale and~~~ there is a FREE gift for the first 10 purchases!

Dear Sanna - I dunno!

I have never had a conference like this before, so I really have no idea what to expect. I still have a while to think about it, so I guess I could ask around a little. I don't know if it would be dorky to bring in notes about questions I have or even take notes about what they tell me. I have no idea if they will lead the conference and just ask me/tell me things, or if they will expect me to control the conversation. I think I would ask them if I had a future here, since I think it is a valid question without being too pushy. Hopefully they will answer most of my questions before I need to pry, but I guess I can use this time to think about how to best phrase what I will say should I need more information than they give.

If I could do or say anything without consequences, I would probably yell at my teachers sometimes. I would say, "WHY DO YOU ALWAYS PRAISE HER AND GIVE HER PARTS EVEN THOUGH SHE DIDN'T WEAR POINTE SHOES FOR CLASS ON TUESDAY AND I ALWAYS DO!!!" or "YOU JUST MISSED ME DO THE LAST COMBINATION PERFECTLY, AND NOW YOU ARE NITPICKING MY WEAKEST QUALITY!" I might also flat out ask why I am in the position I am in. But even typing this out hypothetically makes it seem silly that I get mad that a teacher likes someone who has the sense to wear flat shoes when her feet really hurt.

Today was a loooooong day and my legs feel like balloons. Painful balloons. Not to mention my stinging toes. No position feels comfortable and tomorrow is another long day, so I'd better try to get some rest. If I have any trouble sleeping I'll listen to my Stepping to Sleep CD. The other day was the first time I actually needed help sleeping (I'm usually exhausted and fall asleep almost instantly) and it worked like a charm! I didn't even get half way through. I wonder if I will ever hear the potentially enlightening ending? I might have to skip a little just to make sure haha. Either way, the beginning's great and I highly recommend. Night!

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Monday, November 5, 2007

Dear Janie -- Correction

Oh dear big faux pax. I did not correct the spelling of Mr Balanchine before posting. Now it is corrected. Thank you! Cirrections Correktions Korections everywhere ....

The good thing about blogging is that corrections can be made. The bad thing about blogging is that 'corrections' are seen before the act of correcting. Sound familiar?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- How bold can you be during your evaulation? To really know where you stand. The question so many want to ask -- Would you hire me? (you) may go unasked, yet can be presented in a way that really gives you the feedback you need to develop your goals.

Remember goals include short term and longer range ... technical training, mental/emotional goals, personal lifestyle and physical (flex/ strength, etc), and performance.

Walk the Walk, Janie!

Dear Janie -- What would you really like to do?

If there were no limits or repercussions how would you handle these mixed messages? What would you do, say ....

You work hard. You want to know ...

This may be more common than you think.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Staying focused in class is important. Dancing with these 'thoughts' create an internal distraction. Seeing the teachers that send the mixed messages creates an external distraction.

How do you stay focus so you can continue learning?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dear Janie -- Mixed messages

Could you dare voice your confusion at the time of evaluation? Approach the teachers with a list of questions that are specific that could give you honest clear answers?

......... Then you would continue to dance regardless?

A few years ago I spoke with a previous ballet dancer named Flo. She was at NYB school when Mr Balanchine was there. I did not ask her time period, I am going to guess it was the 1970's. I was talking with her about this very thing -- mixed messages and how do you really know if you really have potential to be a professional dancer.

She had an interesting story --- She was in the school ( I think it was the school, not company) and was 'dismissed,' sent home by a teacher. Flo was shocked and tearful because her life was ballet. She did not believe it was over. She went to Mr Balanchine to say goodbye.

He told her that in no way was she to leave. He loved her dancing. She continued her training ...

You raise some very good points, Janie. How do you know amidst mixed messages? Good question. How do you get real answers?

How about -- Would you hire me?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dear Sanna - boo

I read the article, and it kind of frustrates me. Obviously the dancers in companies come from SOMEWHERE, so some schools must be doing an adequate job. Also, dancers today are technically so much better than those of the past, it is all relative when people say that schools are not training dancers to be immediately ready to enter a company. It also seems like the recent norm is to spend at least a year in some sort of in-between apprentice or pre-professional program, rather than get a job in a corps straight out of high school.

Anyway, I am confused my the mixed messages I am receiving, but at least I'm getting positive feedback from someone, and if I were to pick who, it would be the company over the school, so I can't complain too much. After all, I am seeking a career with the company, not the school. We are supposed to have conferences in January, so maybe that will clear up a little of my confusion, but I guess until then I will just have to figure it out for myself or leave it as a mystery...

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dear Janie - Happy Halloween

I am sure it was lots of fun to dance in costume. Have fun!
We had over 150 children !!! I look forward to talking with you tomorrow.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Good Night!

Dear Sanna - Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween! Class was fun this morning in costume, and I'm excited for my next class, too! Hopefully all the fun won't be over by the time we finish. I can't promise I'll be back to catch up on posts tonight, but definitely tomorrow. Until then, Happy Halloween!

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dear Janie -- Contradictions

This note is in response to your post on October 27 about class/studio parts and feeling confused.

Well, if we had 50 dollars for every dancer that has said that, we would be pretty well off. I would retire to the mountains of Italy, et vous?

This is quite common, yes?

Do you have the opportunity to speak with your teachers for an evaluation of your progress?
That can be very helpful to you and you may come away with a different sense for your placement in class.

I know how hard you work. The kudos from teachers and roles you get, come .... and go. It is confusing. (It could just be confusing, Janie.) Although, it can wear on you.

Again this is one of those situations where you have control over yourself and how you handle this 'internally.' (in your mind)

I know this happens a lot from the very young to the professional. I hear it in private sessions, read it in bio info and stories and have had discussions with dancers I know as friends (who no longer dance).

I AM GOING TO THROUGH THIS OUT THERE ... How can you handle this? What would you advise to a friend? ( and anyone else who wants to comment> That would be great!)

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- Read this article -- Me Generation Seeks Fame Without Sweat, by Luke Jennings.
The link is above. It is also posted on my website at (second article)

Dear Janie -- Ballet and friends

Ballet is not always about dancing or is it?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS,
Performance Specialist

Dear Sanna - Unexpected resolution

So the tension between that friend and I seems to have diminished a lot. I still can't help noticing she seems closer with others than before, but I'm thinking it might also have to do with a strengthening of the other friendships, and not only that she cares less about me. And besides that, another friend came to me recently saying the EXACT same thing, not necessarily to me, but she felt that everyone was distant, and her problems seemed much worse than mine. Comforting her and talking things out with her helped me realize that neither of us had it as bad as we thought, and we all go through similar things. Some of it is real, but we create a lot of our own anxiety. Teaching really is a great way to learn. Talking with this friend made me feel much better.

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dear Janie --

I will respond to the other part of your last post this evening after my Weight Loss class.

Dear Janie - Friendship

You have observed a distancing with a 'best' friend in class. The relationship has changed, maybe you are not socializing as before or she is not returning phone calls, or the friendship connections are not happening, sych as looking at each other in class, puttingon your shoes together, talking about your day. You miss her and the relationship as it was.

There is a change.

Have you asked her about what you have been experiencing? It may not be solely about you, Janie. There are many reasons why relationships change. It is easy to personalize and go straight for your own juggler. However, until you get clarification you do not really know.

She may be going thru a difficult time. It is possible that she has not told you all that is happening in her life. Maybe she is changing and realizing something.

Invite her to lunch, Starbucks. Either way if she says YES or NO, that is your opportunity to ask questions. You could let her know that you value your relationship and if there is something that she need to talk with you about you are all ears.

It is fun to have a close friend in the trenches with you. A quick glance in class, or a nod when it feels difficult can save the day.

This may be a time to explore other friendships in and out of the studio. I hear from other dancers how diificult that can be due to time and demands of dance, and other people do not always understand your commitment and needs to be in bed earlier, etc.

It is during these times that you must inspire yourself from the inside. How can you keep your motivation high? WHat can you DO to move throught this time. First handle it with your friend. See what is really happening.

Life can so eassily interfere with dance. One can have thousands of reasons that dance is effected - Your work is to keep yourself within a certain range of skill and ability. When life gets difficult, When life is smooth and easy you have to train the mind to keep the focus.

Do you realize that you can decrease 50% of your ability with one simple distraction?

This is why learning mental technqiues is so very important.

Much love -

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- You will feel soooooo much better after your talk.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dear Janie -

There is a lot of uncertainty for you right now in class and with friendships.
One can feel so alone during such intense training.
Good night for sure this time!

Dear Janie -- Friends ...

Well, I just lost a whole blog on the friendship issue you spoke of below. :(

I will write in the morning sorry -- I have to sleep.

Check it before you go to class if you can.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

PS -- I blog with a pre-professional ballet dancer who remains anonymous and has named herself, Janie, after NYCB dancer, Janie Taylor.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dear Sanna - Contradictions

When something good happens, there just always has to be that one thing to balance it out, huh? I was thrilled about the parts I will be learning for the company's next show, but rehearsals this week indicate that my parts in the school performance may not be so great. It was like the teacher was giving me corrections just prove me wrong, because she definitely told us all one thing, and happened to change her mind only after I danced it that way. I am clearly not a favorite in the school. Why would it be that the teachers in the company like me but not in the school? In the past, it seems that the people favored in the school got the jobs with the company as well. It is very frustrating and confusing, but it's not the end of the world if I am not the lead in the school show, I suppose. At least I have the company roles to be happy about.

I also feel like one of my best friends is really distancing herself from me. She's the kind of person that knows what she likes and what she doesn't and won't put up with things that annoy her, but I honestly have no idea what I did wrong. Sometimes in class I feel like I have no friends, and even though we aren't really supposed to talk in class anyway, I notice when that friendly face is gone and it makes me unhappy, which affects my dancing.

Don't get me wrong - my life isn't THAT terrible. I'm just whining. But I'm very excited for Halloween :) and to start company rehearsals!

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dear Janie -- I am very proud of you

After I read your post I sat with your words for a few days. I am
wondering how much of your day is actually spoken. Speaking of the
excitement of being 'seen' by your teachers to learn a part that you
may never perform on stage, yet will perform in the studio. Or the
desire to say to another, "I can see your disappointment because you
wanted that part and someone else got it."

This certainly is
not exclusive to ballet. However, ballet is a never ending pursuit with
little rest and a few king words here and there.

One must really want to dance ballet.

5 DAY CHALLENGE -- I am very proud of you. You have taken a simple
strategy and created a tool for yourself that can be used any time. It
is at your disposal.
Remember that when Janie is dancing as Janie
that she too is at her best. You may not know that there is a
developing dancer who is using YOU as her 'as if.'

GREAT that you enjoyed -Self-Talk (written by me). It is a simple yet important part of reducing stress related tension when dancing. It can be so much a part of us that we don't realize that we are so negative ... The link is above ...

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

-- I am finishing up a weight management audio program and following
that I have another performance related CD that will be released. I am
looking forresponses to this question and you may be selected
to be on my website with your response
. Here is the question --

Name one thing that you absolutely must do in preparation for performance?
Please respond to

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear Sanna - Review of 5 Days and Inner Mentor

I thought a lot about the exercises I did last week, and I decided that there are a few alterations I would like to make, at least for myself. First of all, I think pretending I am a certain professional dancer is a great way to make a class more interesting and improve my dancing by adding a new outlook and twist, however I don't think imitating somebody else ALL the time is necessarily what I should do to develop my own style. Maybe sometimes I will pretend that I am Janie (myself), the professional dancer, rather than that ballet teacher or other dancer I admire. I also think it is valuable to still be a student sometimes. Obviously, I am still a student, and I still have a lot to learn and need to be more precise and academic about certain things in order to refine my technique. So I guess my conclusion is that pretending to be someone else is a good exercise every once in a while, and I think I can decide from now on when to dance like professional Janie (company class or variations, for example), and when I need to dance like student Janie (school class, technical corps work, etc).

I loved the article "Self Talk" and the suggestion to speak to myself as a friend or mentor. That makes so much sense, and I definitely can be very negative in my head. I will make an effort to be more sensitive to my own self-esteem.

Speaking of... thought you all might like to know I am very excited about the parts I am learning for our winter program. I am the only one in my level learning one role, although there is no guarantee I will actually perform it. Just learning it is enough though :) Sometimes just thinking about that makes me smile and helps get me through tough classes or rehearsals. It is definitely encouraging to see that all my hard work is perhaps being noticed!

Until next time,

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dear Janie -- LINK!!!

Well it did not go through again. I will include the path to this good article about how to mind your inner dialogue --

Go to
Click on Mentalperformances on navigation bar
Next in the right hand corner, click on articles of interest.
"Self Talk"

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

Dear Janie -- Review of 5 Day

Hello, Janie,

When you have a chance, review you last week and your experience. I was really happy to hear from others as well, because the startegy is not static. One can make adjustments, tweak to personalize any strategy.

Of ocurse if something else comes up ...

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist/Coach

PS -- READ THIS ARTICLE enitled, Self Talk at --

Dear Janie -- Words

Oh yes. The power of words.

One simple statement can really get you to think, to realize something old and new, and even to take action in some way.

This wakes us up out of our routine stupers especially if it is not nice and polite.

I am sorry she said that, or not.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist/Coach

PS -- The next post will be about the 5 day challenge of last week.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dear Sanna - Don't worry it's just ballet

The other day I was mildly horrified when my teacher told another dancer, "Don't worry. It's just ballet." It was kind of sarcastic, but also serious, I think. At first I was really upset by this comment, since "just ballet" happens to be my life at the moment. I mean I really do devote almost everything I do to ballet. But she has a point. I mean, obviously I wouldn't want to stop dancing tomorrow, but I also wouldn't want to stop watching tv or driving a car, but life would go on, if not as happily as before (to say the least). Anyway, the point is not to minimize the importance or respect I have for ballet, because I obviously place it pretty high on my list of things I love, but maybe the point is that ballet is not the end all, and if I mess up in class, it really isn't the end of the world. Yes, it can be upsetting, but I guess knowing that life can go on without ballet just puts a little less pressure on the whole thing. Or maybe I came to terms with the comment that set off this whole train of thought because it's a happy reminder that I do ballet mainly because it is fun, and I secondly really REALLY want to succeed as a ballerina. Just an interesting thing I guess...

--Janie, real ballet dancer with an anonymous name

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dear Sanna - Ouch

From my waist down I feel like my body is about to explode. Everything is throbbing and aching. I was completely unprepared for an incredibly hard class this evening, since our normal teacher didn't show. Not that I would normally slack off or anything, but this class we had instead was brutal, especially after morning class and an especially challenging rehearsal. I just want to ice and go to bed.

It was funny - today in class the teacher told us to pretend we were a certain principal in the company (she named someone). I wanted to be like "HEY I'M DOING THAT ALREADY!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dear Janie -- Day 4. It can be a small thing.

This is Day 4.

You may realize that your entry into this 5 Day CHallenge began on Monday with an
idea of 'becoming' or acting as if, you are someone (in dance) you admire. You are to dance and behave as if you are this dancer. The instructions are listed on last Sunday's blog.

Your posts this week indicate that you have added other simple and creative techniques in your training that have inspired you to dance better, to be freer to dance in the way that you want to and can dance.

So your experience tells you that one small movement can open many other doors.

Comments from others reveal a similar effect.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS, CCHT
Performance Specialist

P.S. The name 'Janie' was selected by this pre-professional
ballet dancer because of her admiration for Janie Taylor of NYCB.
We decided that she would be anonymous
because we all know that dance training is not always pretty. This is
her place to speak as frank and candidly as she
can. You might know her. She dances everyday. Ballet is her life.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dear Sanna - circle of smiles

It is so funny that you mentioned it, because today in class I actually practiced smiling. It was funny because at first I had to think of something funny, and then I realized that the fact that I was practicing smiling was enough to make me smile more, and the thought of other people wondering why I was smiling and perhaps knowing that I was practicing smiling made me smile anymore. So overall it was successful, because sometimes I feel like things that make you smile always seem to kind of work that way. We all know something good makes you smile, but it seems like smiling makes good things happen, as well. So maybe from now on if I'm having a bad day, I will smile and hopefully set off this circle of smiles :)

Dear Janie -- You are right on!

Good job!

Ballet can be tedious and boring. Yes, 'acting as if' or doing something as simple as smiling can give you the boost you need to move through it. It is energizing and lifts the mind body to higher plateaus becaue the mind is focused and the body responds.

TO ~A --You commented that you USED TO HAVE a vivid imagination. You may be worried or thinking too much. Try this exercise in a way that can work for you. Imagine the process out side of class. See if it works for you then. That may tell you something!!!

OR ... I am serious about this --- Just smile when you approach class, are in class. SMILE.

OR ... Just simply feel like you are dancing like someone else.

Keep it simple.

Janie you made some adjustments. That is the beauty of mental stratgies for performance. You take a technique and see what works for you. There is no rule really because we are all different. Your mind power will guide you to what feels right for you. Mental techniques frees your mind.

Many clients will tell me the same thing. It is all about tweaking and making it work for you. Sadly many perfromers never reach their potential because they do not know that they can empower themselves.

To inspire imagination -- Daydream. It is all right there for you.

Good job to hear from others. Let me and Janie know how you are doing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dear Sanna - day two

This pretending has led to some interesting things:

1) It makes sometimes slightly boring classes (or just monotonous, whatever - i'm not saying ballet is boring!) more exciting and fun, and gives me a little motivation and energy when I am really tired

2) I think this helps a lot with what most people consider the last step in a dancer's training - polishing your movements and having that maturity and essence of a professional.

3) Sometimes it is hard for me to stick with just one dancer. The ballet teacher I use as my main model usually comes to mind, but sometimes when I am given a step, I see a different dancer who I know does the step especially well. For example, today we did double pirouettes from fifth, and I just automatically pictured a dancer I know who does beautiful pirouettes from fifth. I know I am supposed to stick with the same person, but it seemed to help more to think of this other dancer for that specific step.

I'll let you know how the rest of the week goes!

Dear Janie - Day 2 of 5 day challenge

Stay with the belief that you are ( _________ ). Walk like her. Dance like her. Breathe like her. Build the experience in class and outside of class.

Core best --

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dear Janie -- Day 1

Today is Day 1 of the 5 day challenge. My best to you --

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dear Janie -- Do it!!!

You are on!

Hmmm-m-mm. Now what should I plan??? I have some ideas, yet I am wondering what those of you who are regular readers could use. .... Suggestions for consideration. Or else you are left to my whims!

Have a Great week!

Oh yes. this is really cool......................... all week long.

Core best,

P.S. Keep your mind and body dancing 'as if.'

Dear Sanna - a cliff hanger!

This sounds like fun! I actually chose a favorite ballet teacher from the past to imitate before, and I think it will be really interesting to see how becoming her for an entire week will affect my dancing. I'll start tomorrow officially, even though for the past few days I have really been trying to have that professional look/feel. I'll keep you updated!


Dear Janie -- You won't Believe

Let's begin on Monday. Beginning of the week. Fresh start. All 5 days right there and available to you. You will be in clas anyway, even if it is a rehearsal.

On Saturday because of all of your hard work, I am going to offer
something to all who have been following this Dance Mind conversation.
I am going to make a decision tonight about this offer.

You know this is no ordinary blog. You have a chance to learn some real
important stuff here. You want to improve your dancing. You have to
practice in class (pay attention.) and work your brain. Don't worry it

The big question is .....

Well. I just realized that I want to hear the results first from our five day
experience. Then I will explain and ask my question. You will not
believe it ... and then again maybe you will!

Core Best --

P.S. Start on Monday!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dear Janie -- Added some clarification


I added some clarifications and spelling corrections ;( in the post below. I want to make sure it is clear to everyone.
Practice it before you go to class. If you have questions -- ask.

Core Best -

PS -- Thanks for the posts!!! and comments!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dear Janie, Become your Favorite Dancer

I am very happy that you felt the freedom to dance as you know you can by knowing you are a 'real' dancer. Now you are empowering yourself!

That is a powerful tool to use. Do it for 5 days straight. Here is how ....

Select someone that you really love as a dancer. You love her style. She moves beautifully. etc. Imagine her dancing.

As you dress for class, picture her dancing a piece of choreography that inspired you. (Your favorite ballet!)

Next 'see' your face on her 'body.' and watch her body dance with your face as she normally dances.

NEXT -- KEEP HER ENERGY and see your body and face in the energy of her movements. It is as if your body is within hers.
(This is a really cool technique). Dance a few variations ....

NEXT -- With a big deep breath, YOU step into yourself and 'her energy' and beconme the dancer. You are seeing through your eyes. (Not watching yourself). You are still moving within her energy or persona.

DO this for 5 days. It is easy to do. Only takes a few mins. and it will get stronger and stronger each day.

Of course blog in berween, but DO THIS FOR 5 DAYS. I will like to hear the results. Keep notes each day.

Become your favorite dancer --- and go to class!!!

Anyone else game?


P.S. I am very excited to hear results!!!

Dear Sanna (and everyone? Should I just title all posts from now on "Dear Sanna" to simplify?)

Today in class I pretended I was a real ballerina. Not that I'm not always an actual person who does ballet, but I pretended I was a prima and did everything how I thought a soloist or principal would. It was fun, and I think I danced better.

It was a long day, and I think I needed that little boost. I'm going to ice and rest now, so this will be a short post.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dear Janie --

I am going to use Dear Janie so everyone knows that I am addressing you. ALthough I am certain one can tell that I am Me and you are you, it may help if someone needs to look in the archives. We can be as clear as we can with the titles.

I was also happy to receive a few comments and private e-mails. I invite you all to comment and let hear from you. You might even have a question for Janie!

A dancer from Kentucky e-mailed me to talk about ways to de-stress --

On my web site is a free every other Thursday "InSight" note that goes out as a blast. It is short and to the pointe. You might want to sign up to receive it. It has quick suggestions for de-stressing that you can use anytime. One goes out tomorrow! OH DEAR ... I need to get busy!

For example there was Mind Wash from a few weeks ago. Great for clearing your mind of thoughts.

We will do that on this blog as well.

Later tomorrow -- I will post on how to isolate a move and improve it. EASY. EASY. EASY and very cool mind technology.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Janie -- Realizations

You have realized lots of golden nuggets in your last post.
You do have say in how you respond to corrections. You are realizing that how you accept the words, tone, guidance, etc., make the difference in whether you act on the correction or ignore it.

There is so much going on with ballet. So much has to come together to create the feel of the choregraphy.

Some performers struggle with the idea of "how do I let go?" so all the 'pieces' can come together in the best possible way.

Let's talk about a mental strategy that can help you with isolating corrections --
in the next post.

We can go back and forth with you trying this out and letting me know your results. Anyone out in our reading audience can participate as well.

Back soon --

Janie -- YES!

Yes! Take out the garabage!!! Sometimes it is the 'small' things, eh?

happy corrections, isolation, and resolutions

i noticed that the corrections i take negatively are much less effective. i find my mind wandering to irrelevant thoughts about the teacher, myself, and analyzing the correction instead of just fixing it. the other day a company member took me aside in class and told me she thought my jumps would work better if i really thought about using my knees, since everything else seemed to be correct. just the fact that she seemed to genuinely care about me (and even threw in a compliment) made me see her correcting as a lovely gift. i was eager to try out the correction and let her know how it worked out, as she requested.

this is just one example of how helpful this blog has already been

i don't exactly feel comfortable telling the teacher i am working on a specific correction, since i'm not sure the teacher will a) care (as in he or she will give me the same corrections either way) or b) remember that one of the many students in class would like to focus only on her por de bras today. i do think i will try it privately, though. it would be impossible to completely isolate one thing anyway, so i don't think a teacher unaware of my intent correcting me on something else would be a bad thing.

yes i resolved to really try to do 90% of the things that little voice nags that i should do. from icing my injuries to taking out the garbage right now, maybe everything will be slightly more under control if i do this...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Janie -- OOPS!

I forgot to mention that you are listening to the small nudges and realizing that there can be benefit in tuning in to what can help you. Funny how the mind/body does that?

Janie -- The List of Corrections

Dragging a list of corrections to class can be exhausting. You are starting off in a negative mind set, with quite a load.

Try this -- Focus on one aspect at a time. Make a decision that today You will be more attentive to arm positioning. If you can, quickly ask your teacher to pay attention to arms today and any suggestions would be helpful. (That may not always be appropriate, but it can show that you are motivated.) Of course all other corrections will come forward as well. Focus helps.

Begin each class with a sense of renewal. There is always something to tweak, adjust, improve, or change. It is the nature of ballet.

CONSIDER THIS -- Think back to 8 years ago. Have you improved? How about 3 yrs ago? 6 months?

Remember this -- your teacher may correct something, yet there are other things that have gone unnoticed, not corrected, and are very good. It is easy to lose site of what you do well.

Janie -- Correct about Corrections

You can see how much 'mind' plays a role in how you accept corrections, your ability to make the corrections and how you walk away from the correction.

I am very proud of your awareness, Janie.


Realize how this has become a cycle of 'relating' to corrections. Notice how this cycle FEELS ... and get back to me.

What happens? What happens to the correction? How do you feel?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

corrections and having fun


I always think about how I should write down my corrections, and I often do, but this talk of corrections on the blog has inspired me to write more. Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I see how my mindset makes corrections (in general) a lose-lose situation. The corrections either make me mad because I thought I was doing the offending step/quirk/whatever correctly already, or because I was concentrating on everything else and now I have one more thing to add to the list. And even worse, a complete lack of corrections or attention makes me resent the teacher for not noticing me, since I know I can't possibly be perfect.

BUT... a teacher cannot possibly point out EVERY imperfection of mine EVERY time, nor can she or he ignore things that should be consulted, just because I am thinking about them a lot. I'm sure the teachers don't analyze the psychological effects of their corrections anyway. They just do what they can. So I'm going to start reminding myself in class that if I get corrections, great. At least I know what the teacher wants and I can work my way up to incorporating all my corrections. And if not, I have time to work independently on everything I already know I need to work on.

having fun:

I love DANCING in rehearsal. Crazy, right? Dancing, while rehearsing a ballet. It's kind of rare, though, especially at this awkward stage between student and professional. So days when we understudies get to actually jump in there are very exciting for me. Even though I might be a little more tired by the end of the day, I feel like I finally have a chance to show that I am picking up the choreography even when it looks like I'm just wasting space in the back of the room; and it's fun to be able to move. My injuries even feel better when I get nice and warmed up, and I feel motivated to try extra hard in class or wear pointe shoes for barre. I love these reminders of why I am putting such an absurd amount of time and effort into this career that appears to give little back to those who don't know better.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Janie -

Yes. Tired. I wonder what 'ballet' tired really feels like.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

oh my goodness i am exhausted. the good news is, the reason i over-did it was because ballet was so much fun today. there's also lots of other stuff going on this week and lots of people to spend time with, but i'll be back with a good, juicy post in the near future. until then...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Janie -- Corrections

So -- Corrections! @#$@#%$@ them. Love them and curse them.

focus a few posts on this very important guidance. Really focus in on
this one aspect and you can make some headway in your practice.

are needed. Corrections offer instruction. Corrections are wanted.
Corrections feed the emotional need to be attended to, to be seen.
Corrections are upsetting. Corrections can create stress. Corrections
are heard. Corrections can improve or impede performance.

The first thing to note is that your teachers offer guidance and
for your improvement. You know that. You may have noticed that each
have their own way of 'correcting.' Some more harsh than others. Some
are more
affirming. Some are very empowering. Some 'guide' in a very confusing way. This is true even in school with how different teachers teach.

Give some thought to - What style of correction motivates and inspires you? What kind creates a block.

in mind this is NOT about your teachers. Although let's be honest some
teachers can use a little instruction on how to be more clear in their
"correction.' You might hear 'feet, Janie, feet' and have no clue what
your feet are doing or what they need to do.

I will explain further.

For now -- Consider what you respond to (this can be inportant info. for you).

Review snippets of memory of various corrections from different teachers.
REMEMBER NO NAMES Please! This is for your observation, you will see.

Note your varying responses.

Visualize perfection

I do visualizations for a performance. At night before I went to sleep and often before going on stage I would visualize myself dancing the piece flawlessly, and it really helped me focus and feel more comfortable on stage. I don't know why I didn't think to use this same idea in class, but I guess it's like any other correction; even though I know how to fix something, sometimes I need to hear the correction again as a reminder to actually do what I need to do to fix it.

Your last post nailed exactly how I feel about corrections, too. I am upset if a teacher is neglecting me, and I'm upset if I get the same corrections over and over, or even if I get new corrections without immediately being able to fix them. Sometimes I swear all I am thinking about is fixing a common correction before the teacher gets to me, and as I am literally coaching myself about a specific correction in my head, the teacher corrects me on that one thing. OR I am too busy thinking about everything else on my body and I momentarily forget about one tiny detail and the teacher catches me. This is almost just as annoying - I just wanna scream "give me a break! I was thinking about my arms and I forgot to point my feet for a second!" But why should I be mad? The teacher is only trying to help...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Janie - Making Stronger Corrections

Let's say there is a combination you want to improve.

the corrected version, not what you do wrong. Keep your mind power on
the corrected version. In this way you keep reaching for your

DO NOT SEE the error. Make the change visually.
Feel the movement. Listen to how the movement sounds. (tempo, speed,
rhythm, etc) Tune into the 'experience' of the corrected version as you
watch teachers or other dancers.

It is easy to focus on the error. DROP THAT FOCUS like a dead pointe shoe.

Continue mentally rehearsing in class out of class.

This is on the Audition CD, track 8, disc 2. You take a piece of choreography and review the experience mentally. When you approach it in this way you gain more strength to make the changes more quickly.

You still have to work hard, yet with a mind focused in the direction you want to go, you can correct.

It is like driving a car. You face the direction you want to move. Right?

Use your mind power!
I've noticed in class that I can relax a little more now, since I've taken the time outside of class to separate what I can control from what I cannot, and what is worth worrying about.

(Janie said the above statements in a post below!)


Janie - Make stronger corrections

Corrections... They are desired because you want to improve and yet can feel exhausting. Especially in ballet, being corrected by the instructor is considered a good thing because you are noticed, yet it can be very frustrating because you could hear the voice and tone of voice repeat the same correction over and over again.

Self sabotage can easily happen ... when you hear a certain combination being called and you say, "Oh here comes that combination and correction." You set the stage beforeyou have even moved. Sometimes it is better and sometimes it is not.

In ballet you are always striving, moving toward dancing "better."

I am still messing up? Why can't my body just do it? She is going to scream at me if I mess up. (your teachers mosy likely do not scream, yet you perceive them as screaming!)

The 'corrected' combination/movement happens with a bunch of little successes that support change. Your willingness to change, courage, mind set, work ethic, openness to change, attendance.

YES, I have all those qualities you might say. Yet if
you put your mind on a correction, You might experience something
else... a flood of negativity that runs counterproductive
to actually correcting the movement.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Janie - Corrections

I am leaving myself a little note here on the blog to talk about the corrections when I return later on. I have some great suggestions for that...

Janie - Injury

Let's also take a peak into the time line of this injury.

You have been hurting for some time, yes? Hiding the injury. Not communicating about the injury. Stressing.

All of the above aggravate the injury.

A teacher sees you icing your body. She shows compassion and gives you some helpful advise that works for you.

Hmm-mm--m ... In retrospect, what were your beliefs? What do you know now?

Janie -- Your Writing

I am happy to hear that the writing exercise was helpful. You must
realize that it is true for all of us that we carry home, life, dance,
relationships into other areas of life. It crosses over and can be very
Recognizing that not having a parking space is truly unrelated to dance yet can influence dance ability.

that you realize that 'other' stuff enters the studio and has the
potential to enhance your practice one way or another,you can take
deliberate action to set boundaries, or even to apply the frustration.

Anxiety and anger can move you lots of ways.

Try writing for 5 days straight. Can you do that, Janie? Make the effort can each day after let us know what happens.

Writing in this way is certainly not for publication, yet has enormous healing potential.

Back at you later today ....

ballet is fun!

I've noticed in class that I can relax a little more now, since I've taken the time outside of class to separate what I can control from what I cannot, and what is worth worrying about.

Sometimes I guess a need a little reminder of why I love ballet so much, but I definitely get that every week in variations class. Some ballets are just FUN. I can honestly say that a good variation puts a smile on my face and even makes me forget about my pain and exhaustion. Maybe I'll try thinking about those ballets I love so much next time I am frustrated or upset in class, because it's hard for me to imagine dancing them in a bad mood.

Might I add that watching rehearsals for the company's upcoming show also makes me absolutely giddy. I am completely in love with the choreography. Once again, it puts a smile on my face, and I could watch it over and over without ever getting sick of it. What could be better than a ballet like that?

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Whew! What a rant! It just went on and on and on. I guess I should not have been surprised to find that a lot of it didn't even have much to do with ballet, either. Everything just builds up, from worries about school, ballet, and my future, to things as silly as road rage and finding an effing parking spot every day! I also could see that some of the things I get angry about are really not worth the energy. It's not really that big of a deal if I spend an extra 5 lousy minutes looking for parking.

Every time I went to post, I kept thinking I needed to get that rant out first, so I apologize for missing out on the past few days. Luckily, a teacher saw me icing and asked what was wrong, so I explained that it was bothering me, but it didn't seem too serious. She gave me some advice, which seems to be helping, AND now I feel a little better about taking it easy since she knows about the injury.

I also have been really focusing on corrections I tend to get over and over, almost like I'm trying to get to it before the teacher can, and I think the teachers are noticing and maybe it will be helpful to me to nitpick at one of my own flaws every day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Janie - Consistency

Consistent thoughts shape my viewpoint of reality.

Consistent thoughts become beliefs.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Janie - Let's talk.

Your last post indicates that you are holding in your rant and you will
soon (no doubt) be juicy, ripe and ready. You also stated that you have
not had the time to rant in a ten minute word doc (see last week's post)

Let's look a little closer at a disaster waiting to happen.

You have an injury and you are busy with life, dance, etc etc etc.

All good stuff. (not the injury of course.)

Janie, Rants are NOT mere words. They create emotions that create feelings in the body.

you will be juicy, ripe and ready -- to explode! You may already
realize that those back up, held inside thoughts, constrict muscles, inhibit the
immune system, cause forgetfulness, clumsy behavior,distractibility.

When the mind runs and rants like that you create enormous tension in the body.

Here is the clincher -- you increase the risk for injury, illness, accident, even simple forgetfulness ( to name a few) There are all symptoms of stress, Janie.

The more you hold, the greater the likelihood of a difficulty.

Do you have 10 mins?

This is an opportunity to clear your mind. The more you do it, the freer you are.

It is easy to fall into trap of old habits. They are subconsious and automatic.
Let's pull the curtain down on this --- Write them out (of your mind, and body!)

Janie - Your body

That is a dilemna for you.

no time for ranting!

Sorry I haven't had a chance to really rant yet - maybe now it will be really juicy since I'm letting it all build up ;) Anyway, nothing too exciting has been happening lately at ballet. I'm having hints of an injury, so I'm trying to be cautious without drawing too much attention. Such a fine line between letting a teacher see why you're not dancing your best and marking yourself as damaged goods and giving her a reason not to cast you. Promise to rant soon and tell you all about it! Until then...

Friday, September 21, 2007

No apologies

No need to apologize, Janie. You have a lot on your mind.

Rant Rant Rant

Janie, So much too say.

Let's do it again. Cause I know you can do better than that.

This time -- sit at the computer and really rant. Here is how...

Take a pause, breathe, (a time or two) and get ready.

Put your hands on the computer... and Begin. Do not stop typing until you are finished.

There will be a natural break to tell you that you are finished.

Rant. Rant. Rant.

Only rules are no names, no cursing (as this blog has readers of all ages)

and you have to keep the focus on 'I'

So, here you go ..... I ....... WAIT WAIT !

I am thinking that you would be freer to do it on your computer and then blog us what happens.
This exercise would be better done that way.

Follow the instructions above ... except say what you want, onto a word doc. let it out. when you feel finished maybe after ten minutes (DO NOT STOP OR LIFT YOUR FINGERS FROM THE KEYBOARD)


I look forward to hearing from you. (If anyone reads this post try it NOW).

I am still feeling mixed about your sharing. I want you to be free to say what you want, yet it can get very personal filled with words that are mere words with little value or truth. Plus then it is documented. Yes DO NOT post it. I think if someone wants to have the experience they can rant at home...

So I look forward to hearing from you AFTER you rant without stopping

Answer gone rant - sorry!

I'm discouraged really easily. I can definitely notice a change in energy, be it a drop if I sort of give up in frustration, or start fidgeting and going nuts because I'm trying way too hard to impress people.

Also, sometimes I'm thinking so much about what's irking me, I forget to pay attention to the combination or really concentrate on my technique.

And while I'm ranting, I also get really upset interpreting things teachers say and do. I get so worked up when a teacher praises the dancer who gets in everyone's way because she practices ALL THE TIME. I know practice makes perfect, but even if I could manage to keep up with these energizer bunnies in class, what would it be like if everyone acted like these people? Nobody would have any room to dance and everyone would resent everyone else for knocking into them or stealing their spots. But I obviously can't say this in response to the teacher's sneer at the class for not being more like the offending dancer, so instead I just think all this and become silently discouraged in the back of class, complaining to myself that I had just been practicing the same amount as the other girl. I just had the decency to work on the side instead of in the middle of the floor, which prevents anyone else from practicing and interrupting the teacher's correction/lecture. Okay sorry I realize that was a huge run-on whine, but it just feels so good to let it out! I promise I'm done for now.