Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dear Sanna - I don't want to quit!

I love this blog and I think it is more important than ever to continue blogging through this experience! I have no idea what my situation will be like while/once I move, but if I don't have consistent internet access, I will be upset way beyond this blog. The internet is my best way to keep in touch with everyone, so I will make it a priority. In other words, it will take a LOT to stop me from blogging.

Last night a few of the girls and their wonderful parents organized what I like to call a "prom without the prom" for all of us. It was so much fun to get together for one last event! After class we all dressed up and got ready at the studio and got picked up by a limo to bring us to dinner. It was lovely, but also the first time I felt a real pang of sadness about leaving. Up until this point, it was too easy to focus on the unhappy memories I will be leaving behind here, but last night I realized I am really going to miss my friends. Dancers have such a special bond, sharing the studio for so many hours every day. Even a whole day apart seems like a lot, so I will definitely miss them.

At the same time, though, each day I am getting more and more excited as I am starting to fully accept that I am really doing this! Not only am I moving half way across the world, but I am actually starting a job with a professional ballet company! It makes me almost tear up to even type that. I always feared that it would never happen for me, no matter how modest the company.

:) Janie

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dear Sanna - I'm going!

Today I got the final written word I needed - I will be able to obtain a work visa, probably the day I apply for it, so I am officially moving overseas!

Today I sold one of my most prized possessions, my kitchen aid mixer, on craig's list :( It is definitely replaceable, and silly to keep when my mom has one, I can't use it in a different country, and it's very expensive to ship, but I am still sad to see my birthday present from last year packed up in a box and sold to a stranger. Oh well, it's another thing to cross off my list, and as I said, silly to keep. Last night I baked a final, humongous batch of cookies to say goodbye, so now I have a freezer full of more cookies than I could possibly eat before I leave, in less than two weeks!!

Now I just need to sell my car, finish shipping the boxes I've packed (and finish packing the boxes and luggage I haven't started to pack) and give away all the things I no longer want/need/have room for.

Just small things really. My biggest stress is the car, but we will see...


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dance Mind:Dear Janie, Are You Going?

Janie,  Are you going overseas?  Is that a definite?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT
Performance Specialist

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Changes

There is a lot to moving.  The packing, the closure, the anticipation, the unknown.... saying goodbye -- and Hello!

As for all you stuff to do ---
Think about how you function the best. This is when those skills come in very handy and are very necessary. 

Are you are list maker?  You may need to have several different lists for each day, the different areas of your life, who you need to say good bye to, get letters of recommendation from (DO THAT BEFORE YOU LKEAVE)... There is also the timing of the task. Somethings will have a time frame.  And are at the top of the list. 

There is nothing that feels better than a list with check marks or lines drawn through the tasks.  Maybe there is a friend there that can help you?  To run errands?
Yes, this is a part of stepping out into the world. Learning how to manage money, long distance calls, moving,  packing, selling...  As you begin to work, you are not an official student any longer.

Pace yourself. Focus on the that task at hand rather than looking at the BIG picture. Everything you do will move you toward completion, one step at a time. Stop and pause. Keep you mind on that task before you. Chunk down.  

This has been a good experience for you in many ways.  in a few months you will have moved through this and gained so much more maturity.

THINK BACK TO WHEN YOU had moved there. Look at how much you have grown.  Observe how many things you have learned to do that are routine and necessary that you did not know living at home. Sometimes it is the simplest littlest things you do not realize have a process.
I know you are smart. You will get the info you need. 

2 weeks -- is 14 x 24 + 336 hours. You can get the job done.  

How can I help you?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT
Performance Specialist

Dear Sanna - confidence

Yes! I do sound more confident, and I feel at least that I know what I want. I must admit though, as much as I know what I want, I am still indecisive, since I am relying on information that others refuse to give me!!! Very frustrating. Extremely frustrating. I have sent more emails than humanly possible, but I suppose in the very near future I will have to obtain a calling card and figure out how to call another country at the appropriate time of day with out spending $100. Blah. Oh well I'll figure it out.

I am also concerned with selling or shipping all my belongings. I only have two more weeks!! I am very excited and very stressed. And also trying to enjoy my numbered days :)


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Movin' On

Your last post has a certain confidence to it. Read it again.  Do you feel that?

This has been quite a year for you Janie.  I am happy that this blog has been so helpful to you.  You have helped me a lot to.  Some time ago I kept hearing You have to blog ... You have to blog ... I read a few and quite honestly I was not interested in detailing my day.  One day it occurred to me to establish a blog in this way ...  You are anonymous so you can speak your mind without the repercussion  many fear, and discover ways to manage emotions, handle conflict, speak up and when to stay quiet. 

We are all I such awe at the poise and beauty of ballet dancers. I, as a dance enthusiast, am spellbound. Yet Audiences and even respective peers do not know what can go on in the mind and heart of a dancer.  You work so hard, standing on that pointe. So much is expected, so much is endured. Too much remains silent and unspoken.

I spent some time rereading. You have grown so much since Sept. when we began our first exchanges.  You have been very open and honest and reflective.  There are moments when we really must pause and contemplate "what next?"  You have done that.  

I also know that you have helped many young dancers.  "M" wrote, "Janie is awesome. I wish she danced at my studio. But she might, 'cause I do not know who she is! Can you tell just me please?"

That was the cutest!

We'll talk more. When you have time tell us your tentative plans.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS, CCHT
Performance Specialist

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dear Sanna - Thanks!

Thanks (Sanna and everyone who commented or voted) for all your support. Not only is this a great place for me to organize my thoughts, but your feedback and encouragement really helps.

At this point, I really can't think of anything that would stop me from going. I have gotten most of my questions answered to my satisfaction, although I am still waiting to see a few more things in writing just to be sure.

I really am working on being less tentative when it comes to getting information from the bosses. You're completely right - we are so intimidating of asking questions we absolutely have the right to ask! I have been taking baby steps, forcing myself to email and ask every question I believe is important, no matter how annoying I think I sound. For all I know, they could think I'm a flake for not asking important questions! Or for agreeing too readily, maybe they will underestimate my talent. I guess my answer is still pending, but I'm working on it every day, and right now I am going unless something overwhelmingly happens to influence me to change my mind.


Dear Janie, So - You are Going?

You sound very certain of your decision. You want to step out and realize that this is the time to do it. You are ready. You want to travel and work professionally. You want a paycheck. You are willing to relocate half way around the world from your current location here in the USA.

You are amazing. This is such a giant leap.

Do you have all the answers to your questions of some time ago? Citizenship? Commitment? Safety? Money? Family responses? Have yu talked with them to confirm? Have they sent you any papers/contracts?

This could happen very very soon?

Talk to us when you have a chance --NOW JANIE!!!!!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT
Creator of Mental Performances CD's for Dancers
  • The Audition CD, Mental training
  • Stepping To Sleep, deep restorative sleep for dancers

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- No Problem.

Hello Janie,

Yes, I understand. There is so much to do these days. The computer keeps us involved in many, many ways with all the social networks, email, fun browsing and all, and then there is life and BALLET!

Well, You have been offered an 'unpaid' apprenticeship. Paid or unpaid, it is certainly quite an accomplishment. CONGRATULATIONS! You have been recognized for your efforts and hard work. They acknowledge your current skill level as being efficient for advancement. You must pause for a moment and realize that. It seems to me like you may be brushing it off because of the pay issue. Few advance to the level of apprentice. You have to appreciate all that you have done to be offered this placement.

Trust me, you are not the only one who refers to it as 'slave labor.' And you are right, you could be searching for an appointment in the next year or two as the apprenticeship does not guarantee a company contract. It takes you to the threshold, standing at the edge of professionalism (without a payck).

The paycheck is one big deal for many dancers in your position. It is as if they arrive to a point where they are mentally tired, feel taken advantage of, and reimbursement motivates and acknowledges them as professionals. The intrinsic reward of dance does not pay the bills.

If others have any comments on this topic, please comment.

Here is one story -- (client allowed me to inform without name disclosure). Trainee Dancer with a large company was told in January that he 'would' very seriously be considered for an apprenticeship. He did not audition figuring he was secure. They did not offer him anything at all and he was not even told that the position was not available to him. Here it is May and he has no position, except perhaps another year as a 'trainee.'

UNTIL you have the papers in hand, you may not have anything except possibility. My opinion is that you have to do what you have to do to advance your training and movement toward a professional appointment. Some have an illusion of loyalty and sense of false hope. Feedback and conversation must often be initiated by the dancer to have questions answered or when a possible position will be filled.

I often hear that one can be afraid to approach a teacher in charge of hiring for fear of being pushy, a nuisance or bold. Is this because of the silence of dance performance? The body communicates, is expressive. Does voice step you out of line? Ask yourself about the scenario above. What would you have done?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT
Performance Specialist

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"Sanna's voice send me deep into sleep. The dance images were really nice, too. It was great to be lulled to sleep because I get hyper sometimes. It's like you just sleep and wake up feeling so good." Alonso B., Professional Dancer, NYC.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dear Sanna - Oops!

Ah now I remember! After my meeting, I was trying to post something, when my computer shut down on me. I usually leave a window up with the blog, as a reminder and a quick way to post my thoughts, but when I restarted I guess I just forgot and here we are a week later! Perhaps it is good though, because now I have collected my thoughts.

So my meeting went as well as I could have hoped. They offered me the position I had been hoping for all year (still unpaid of course), but really all that I could have expected. Yet I wasn't that excited about it. Don't get me wrong - of course I was pleased, and relieved, to be honest, that all my hard work had not gone unnoticed.

But as much as I am grateful to have options, it seems like a back-up plan to me now. My other offer seems so much more exciting. I think I want to take this big step, rather than spend another year here, feeling inadequate, probably dancing some decent roles, but likely to be kicked to the curb next year, or allowed to stay another year as a slave. No thank you. It would not be the worst thing in the world by any means, but I think I made up my mind that I want to travel, and get paid, and be appreciated, and dance A LOT (I'm told). Of course, I must remember that all the hairy details are really not hammered out yet, but it seems like I am leaving the country!

More later! Sorry I've been away so long. Posts will be frequent for a few weeks, until I restart my computer and forget again... but I'll try not to!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- We miss you!

I have not heard from you!  Let us know what is happening.   I am getting provate emails fro those who are concerned and wondering about you!

You know, Janie, this is where one really 'lives.'   In the throws of change and uncertainty.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT

Saturday, May 10, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Friday Meeting

How was your meeting?  I would love to hear!!!

Be patient, Janie. These are some exciting times for you.  To clear out your mind a bit, do some writing in a journal, or use some of those fabulous techniques on the Mental Performances CD's

You could use some restorative sleep.  Lay  down  and go to sleep.

You have mentioned your concern about the 'army' a couple of times. Have you gone to the Embassy, or looked at the requirements. I am sure it is very clear 'somewhere' about army status of citizens.  That would be a serious consideration. You mentioned that you know someone there. Can you e-mail them, or ask the ballet. I think I would  want to know from a very reliable source, such as a government agency,

Giving yourself time to orient yourself, learn everyday life (money, location, shopping, etc.). (different for everyone).

How interesting it would be to compare a foreign company with what you know of American companies and training.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dear Sanna - Everything happens for a reason

I have a meeting scheduled for Friday. Did I tell you I missed it while auditioning last week? All those in between the school and company had meetings, either confirming previous offers or getting new ones (or not), so this could be interesting. As I come across more snags in my international plans, it would be nice to have an offer here, just in case it doesn't work out.

I am constantly researching and bugging people to try to nail down some facts about what will be expected of me in order to become a citizen, etc. Many urge that I visit before I go, too, however this is such an expensive trip, not to mention I don't have much time to organize my life before I need to go in August. I would much rather just go in August and give it a year, so I can really experience it before I decide I hate it (I'm sure I won't, but that's what the skeptics say at least). I kind of just wanna go for it and see what happens, as long as they don't end up locking me in the country or sending me off to the army or something.

Everything happens for a reason, but it is very stressful trying to plan for whatever does happen.


Monday, May 5, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Audition Every Day

You got it, Baby!  A healthy balance between dancing for you and also for others. Of course those watching whether it is an audience or teachers or others keep you on your toes.

"Bring nervous' is completely misunderstood.  You have to separate out fear/worry from the excitement of performing. The body has a similar 'feel' in both states -- heart rate faster, tingling in the hands and feet ...  That same feeling is felt in other situations that are truly stressful and then gets confused when experienced for performance. One automatically assumes that it is 'bad.'

How could you dance relaxed? You want to be juiced, excitement ...  Ah-ha, some performers like to be more low key as they move toward a performance. The key is to know who you are, what you have to do and how much energy do you need to perform.

That is a very advanced way of perceiving yourself as a dancer. Good job!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT

Dear Sanna - every day is an audition

I think this lack of audition anxiety is the result of having "important" people watching me every day. Going to a new place, I had to prove myself. No matter who was teaching, I always had to dance my best, and there was always someone watching in the doorway. It's not that I am not dancing for myself anymore, because I think I am more than ever, but I suppose the people watching are a little reminder of how I want to better myself. I want to get a job of course, but it makes me happy to be a good dancer.

Every day is an audition, so I am much more used to people watching me and scrutinizing my work. I get nervous within the class, of course, with a combination I am unsure about or display my weaknesses. But I think a small amount of nerves is a healthy way to keep working my hardest.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Audition Presence

When you hop back on  Janie. Talk to me about your presence and little to no anxiety at audition.  There is so much to say about that very issue. You have moved from having difficulty to being very comfortable with who you are as a dancer.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Life and Decisions

Well this news certainly adds flame to the fire ...

I am happy to hear that you spent some time with your grandparents. Being a highly disciplined dancer and possessing a strong work ethic, it can be difficult to get away for a visit with family. I am sure they appreciated seeing you. Touching in with your family is very nourishing.

A prestigious school - hmm-mm.  

Why do you think this company hired you? Did they speak to you about that?  I understand that you are talented and  adorable, pretty and smart... however, I can imagine they do receive applications from "all over  the world."   Believe me I am not questioning your ability, or professional readiness or anything like that.  What do you know now about 'foreign ballet companies and company jobs?' This one company in particular?

What did they say to you?   Maybe I missed this in a previous discussion.

What would help you to make this decision? What is your time frame to make this decision?

The question is "Should Janie go overseas to work with this foreign ballet company?"

Sanna Carapellotti, MS
Performance Specialist

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dear Sanna - life goes on

Before all this business came about with the foreign job offer, I set up an audition for a school as a sort of back-up plan. It's a prestigious school and all, but nonetheless a school and therefore a lateral move at best. I would have to pay tuition here, which I don't do now. Perhaps this would improve my resume, though, so it's hard to determine whether this would be a step down.

Anyway as much as I wanted to audition, this was also somewhat of an excuse to visit my grandparents, whom I haven't seen in a while. It was a very nice (although short) visit. They took me to the audition, and I continued my recent pattern of not being nervous at all. I actually was so relaxed, I even felt myself criticizing the class, and rolling my eyes a few times before I caught myself and remembered I was trying to impress them, not vice-versa. It seemed like a class one has to get used to, so I'm sure it is a good program. I just struggled a little, feeling like I was seeing a tv show for the first time half way through the season.

At any rate, I was accepted into the highest level, which should be expected since this is a school and I like to think I am closer to the professional level, but it is still a nice little confidence boost to get in.


DanceMind: Dear Janie -- CON, Pointe 2

Janie writes -- Con, Pointe #2 ...

I know very little about the company, which does not necessarily mean it will be bad. But there is a chance that  might not like it or worse, get out of shape or injured while I am there.

Response -- Time has passed and I am sure you have researched and talked with people. Now you know more.   You would KNOW very little about any company UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN THERE FOR A WHILE.  That would be very true for any experience, ballet, work, vacation or otherwise. Until you are immersed for a period of time you do not really know about them. What you read in the brochure is a marketing pitch and is not always true to how they operate day to day.
It is not about being dishonest, it is business to put our best foot forward even if it is embellished or glossed over. This of course can happen here in America.  I speak with lots of performers who struggle within the dynamics of their companies.  You always have a choice in the event that this occurs --- 1. Leave.  2. Change your response.  3. Ignore.  4. Change the situation.

Knowing you -- You can keep in shape.  Moot point.

You can get injured anywhere on the planet. You will handle it in the best way if injury occurs.I am sure they have professionals on hand because dancers get injured.  Moot point.

Good thinking. You have done a real good job of thinking this through.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CCHT
Performance Specialist