Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: The Audition

Continued discussion -
The idea of doing your best is misunderstood. One often thinks of perfection.  

Every day is an opportunity to improve your ability to dance. 

What if you have a difficult day? You feel crampy and tired. You are in the middle of exams. You just can't get it right.  Your mind is racing. Your face is scrunched.
How do you manage? Push yourself harder? 

It is one day.

Give this some consideration. Back to you ... with some tips to get thru a crazzzyyyy day like this.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: The Audition

Janie, You realize that even being a professional dancer you have to be your mark every day. You do not audition per se, however, your directors are watching, considering and looking thru a creative lense to determine which roles are best suited for the company.

Oops - My appointment is here ...
Back in touch ...


DanceMind: Dear Janie: The Audition

This is the time of year Auditions begin. However, many schools have internal for performances, such as the Nutcracker. For som dancers just thinking about an audition tightens the core and brings on tears. Many of the worries are silent to their teachers, parents and even to self.

One client, Maggie had severe cramps before EVERY audition.  She THOUGHT it was Hormonal and fought thru them. Her auditions did not go to well.  In session she discovered that the cramps were fear based - "I messed around in class."  "I am not good enough."  

We actually calmed her cramps thru a high powered conversation that PROVED that she was good enough, that she did work hard and COULD get in with a stronger presence.

It worked, no more cramps, and she got into on of the top summer programs. She also listened to Audition Excellence for one week before every audition. This help to recondition her mind.

SANNA'S COMMENT:  You must look beyond the audition experience, meaning before and after. It is not just what occurs at the TIME of the audition. 

Yes, you do want to do well, yet consider this - everyday is an audition. Your teachers are observing, guests take note because they want to see who is consistent, strong, present, has a winning attitude, and who can learn choreography, etc. If you do not push yourself in class, how can you expect to do any better at an audition. If you approach an audition with the certainty that you have put your best foot forward, then you are free to do your best. If you KNOW that you have not been paying attention, missing class, etc, then that guilt can manifest as a 'symptom,' like Maggie. Of course "she would develop the belief - I am not good enough. In reality she was not and the outcome affirmed her belief.
She was playing a mind game and not taking her classes time seriously enough.

If you practice doing the best you can do at that moment (and push a bit) You will be accustomed to knowing what that feels like for you. Then when you go to an audition, you will have already been 'auditioning' and enjoying the feel of dancing within your best range.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: In Pieces.

Sorry I have not on the blog. The trip to Europe for 10 days put me behind and this week was catch up.  In the next few days I have several things that need to be accomplished here. 

1. responding to your posts, of course.
2. I am having a drawing for the book I have listed below as one to read.
3. We need to talk about auditioning as we are moving into that season. Hey you are NOT auditioning this year. Except now, every day is an audition of sorts.
4. Look for a a discussion on about audition. Nine Tips To Your Best Audition.


I do have a question - You have a way of pushing yourself beyond what most people can handle.
  • Do you think that this is required of dancers, ballet expecially?
  • How do you know when you have to stop and care for yourself?  For example, burning, blistered, painful toes can lead to infections which would most likely sideline you for a few days and set a recovery period.  When  do you draw the line?  A Broken bone? A gaping wound? Obvious illness?
  • It is an interesting dilemma for performers, musician, athletes.  How many push thru a game or performance with serious injuries that would send most people to bed.
I think your opinion matters. Lets discuss this back and forth. With you being a professional ballet dancer, I think a lot of the dancers here would like to hear what happens within you that allows you to continue.
  • Also, is it different now that you are a professional?
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Sanna - more irony

So the artistic director decided to choreograph a new piece, even though we have PLENTY to work on right now, with many shows in the near future. I was one of the "lucky" chosen ones, and I came to realize this was not necessarily such a great thing as the more experienced company members seemed to slip out. I know any dancing experience is good, and it's good to work with the director, but this piece is just bad, and sometimes I think it is truly impossible to make a good impression while dancing this choreography.

That said, today was an especially draining day of rehearsals, ending of course with the new piece. By then my toes hurt so badly I seriously considered asking to take my pointe shoes off, but I figured I might as well just suck it up, since the choreography is so sloppy anyway that if it hurt that bad I could probably get away with not doing everything en pointe. I really don't like to have to ask to do things on flat, or really draw any attention to my weaknesses. I don't think it looks good, I don't think directors want to hear it, and it's not going to kill me to keep my shoes on for one more hour. No pain no gain, right? And to tell the truth, I was wearing my shoes a lot longer and in a lot more pain last year...

So in rehearsal today I was just desperately trying, as usual, to do what the director wanted, with "more energy!" yet still somehow natural like we aren't trying, while still keeping my technical integrity. This is nearly impossible, but I still try. Anyway we somehow made it to the end of the rehearsal and in the final run I actually messed up really badly near the end and skipped a bit. I dance a lot in this piece with two other girls, and they were right. It wasn't really a big deal. The piece is a mess and it was the first time we had added the new section I messed up. But the artistic director pointed to one of the other girls and said "you couldn't do it with the music" and I said there was a little extra time, because I thought it was directed at all of us. Then the director told me how well I did. But I was very wrong and dancing very badly. Like I said, I was really tired. I just don't understand! When I am working my butt off I am told I look like I am marking. But when I'm exhausted and can't remember the choreography, I am loved!

There are some things I will just never understand.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dear Sanna - what we think we want

It's so funny how we can be so wrong about what we want sometimes. The other day we were all so excited when we saw the schedule, thinking it would be a nice easy day with two actual breaks (meaning longer than 5 minutes). Most days it seems like we don't have a second to rest or think in between rehearsals, and although we don't think about it much during, by the end of the day we are exhausted! But as the day dragged on, we all got lazier and less happy, and by the end we were all complaining about how it was such a horrible day because we didn't do anything! It's funny how what we thought would be a nice easy day turned out to be kind of a bore. It feels like we haven't accomplished anything when there is so much wasted time. Funny how that works. Maybe we just like complaining...

But speaking of free time, I am starting to feel more and more comfortable here and making more friends and more plans. It's really nice to be busy for a change. However, I am also starting to think about things I "should" do, such as work on learning the language, or maybe look into more college courses. I promised myself (and my family for that matter) that I would keep up with some sort of studies. I think it is very important to learn the language here, even if I am only staying for a year. It would be a great thing to take away from this experience, plus it will be very useful while I am here. I think maybe I will start setting goals for myself as far as that goes. I am using Rosetta Stone, a language computer program, so maybe I will try to master a lesson each week. We'll see how it goes...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

DanceMind- Dear Janie, Hello!

I am at this moment in the same part of the world with you, not close enough for a visit as it would take a several hour plane ride, however, I am closer than the USA.

Your description of 'super hard teacher class' is amusing. Burning toes, very difficult and demanding ... Most people would shake their heads wondering 'What joy could there possibly be in that?'

When burning passion is enlivened (in other words, You are doing what you love, have to do) your threshold rises and you embrace the whole experience. The burning toes and aching body, long hours, demands AND the bright lights, applause and beautiful costumes.

You have to put all your eggs in one basket to be good.

Back to you. We ar eleaving this area to travel to one of the most historic cities in the world. Hmmmm where could I be?

Love to all -
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS - Auditioning? Getting ready for a performance? Ck out the Performance Package on the on live store. Janie loves it; Clarissa, loves it and so does Amanda.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dear Sanna - owwww :)

We had our super hard scary teacher again for class today, which makes me really happy because I hope that means this will become a regular thing. We were afraid she would only be doing rehearsals for a while, since there is a lot of rehearsing for her to do, aside from teaching class as well. Then on top of that, we had our hardest, longest rehearsal first, so we started our day with two really difficult things.

By the end of the first rehearsal today my toes felt that stinging, sharp pain that only results from hours in pointe shoes. And there were still TWO more rehearsals to go! The second rehearsal was just torture, and I was afraid to even put my shoes back on after the 5 minute break before the last rehearsal, but somehow I managed to go en pointe long enough to get through. I must say though, the fact that my toes hurt almost makes me sort of happy in a weird way. Because I know that I am working really hard and the more often I wear pointe shoes, the longer I can wear them before I get to that painful point. Almost like I build up an immunity to it, so it's not all bad (hence the smiley after owww).

So it's nice to think I am being challenged here and hopefully improving, because that really was one of my main goals in coming here. I wanted to get experience, improve, hopefully make a little money, and be able to add a professional dancing job to my resume. So it seems like I am accomplishing all of these things and more. Even when I am feeling down, it's nice to remind myself of these things.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dear Sanna - Piece Struggles

When I first begin working with a new company or new teachers or dancers, I always feel uneasy about certain things at the beginning. Specifically here, I felt very distant from my fellow dancers. I would come in and say hi to people, and they would respond, but nothing more. If there was a group of people talking, it would always be in their language, so it was awkward to join in. It would have been hard enough to invite myself into a conversation in English, but it is impossible to know when to interrupt the gibberish. Even worse was I didn't have much to say.

Other times, I would be speaking alone with one kind soul who would talk to me a little in English, and another native would come over and start speaking their language and it was like I didn't exist anymore. I thought it would never get better, but now I am finding I wish they would speak more in their own language so I could learn.

Another frustration also dealt with language. The teachers NEVER give important information in English. I find myself completely confused after a 5 minute explanation, and it seems like nobody can explain what I should be doing. Many times I would be asked impatiently why I didn't have my shoes on or why I was on the wrong side of the studio, when there was absolutely no reason I should know what to do. Finally I am starting to pick up enough of the language where I can at least decipher what I should do, or I have the intuition to guess. If not, at least I know who to ask or follow. At the beginning, I never thought I would be able to understand one word, but I am finding my vocabulary expanding each day.

I am also learning my teachers, so I am better at picking up the combinations, even when they are unclear (more often than not). I am even used to the oh-so-slippery floors!

Is that what you meant by piece struggles? Hope so hehe


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dear Sanna - Roommates

Living so closely with someone can be tough, especially when we work together as well. But it seems like communication is really key. In past experiences, I found that the more that goes unsaid between roommates, the more tension builds up. In my case now, we are really open about everything. We aren't afraid to get down and dirty and discuss even really unpleasant or nitpicky things. Sometimes I feel silly breaking things down to the dollar, when it comes to sharing expenses, but if I am really precise about it I hope it will prevent either of us from feeling cheated. It seems obsessive, but I think it may be necessary, because when we aren't exact about it I either end up feeling like I got the short end of the stick or I end up over compensating when it seems like I got the better end of the bargain.

I have also been building up my network of friends other than my roommate, so it is nice to know I have other people to talk to if there is a roommate issue, or just if I need a break. One really good friend of both my roommate and I sometimes even acts as a bit of a mediator between us. When we all get together sometimes it's really nice to just talk about everything and anything with a third perspective.

At the moment, I am trying to find my balance between being overly sensitive to my roommate and sacrificing my own needs and being selfish about what I want. I think mostly I need to be a little more assertive, because I often find myself nodding in agreement to what others suggest, even if it's not exactly what I want. However, I would hate to make others feel that way, and I seem to be much less picky and kind of indecisive sometimes, so it's not necessarily bad for me to have an assertive roommate.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Piece Struggles

Tell us/me about the initial piece struggles you mentioned. That is a common experience. Please talk about YOUR experience.

Back to you tomorrow --

Dear Sanna - today

Our crazy, scary, REALLY strict teacher taught class today and it was amazing! It was so refreshing to have a really challenging class, and the fact that I got through was encouraging, because I often fear I am becoming like so many lazy company members I have seen in the past. I hope we have this teacher more often, since this is the first time in weeks. I think it will be really good for us as a company, and her class really inspires me to work harder.

I also heard some encouraging words from the artistic director about a piece I initially really struggled with, so that is also good news! In this company, we are all encouraged to learn as many things as possible, because if anyone ever gets injured or something happens, anyone who shows they can do the part could go in. That said, there are still specific things people are told to learn, even if they will not necessarily perform, and I am happy to see that I am being told to learn more and more. It's nice to know they see me potentially dancing more here.

By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. It was uncharacteristically dark, and we were rehearsing later than normal, and the focus started to dwindle. But it was actually really fun in a way! The company felt almost bonded together, not really by a common enemy, since we weren't necessarily mad or against anyone. But we all felt the same tired, hungry, ready-to-go-home feeling, and everyone was being kind of silly and chatty and it was the first time I actually felt really close with a lot of people in the company. It was really nice, and just proves what I keep saying, time makes everything better! It's not like some break through moment made me feel at home here, or friendly with the company members, it's just that over time we have become closer. I know at times it seems like you will never be friends with certain people or feel you belong, but patients goes a long way.


Monday, October 6, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: That's it!

This is the energy that is who you are.  Although this is brief, give some thought to how this love 
helps you get thru difficult moments. It is a commitment. Body, Mind and Spirit.  The dark and the lights.  The confines of choreography and the freedom to express your personal quality. The beauty and sweat ...

Roommates is a good topic.

Gotta sleep ---


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dear Sanna - Living the Dream

It's true. I am doing exactly what I want to do. It's like getting paid for my favorite hobby, like my dad getting paid for his leisurely bike rides after work. That's why I always knew I had to go for it while I have the chance, so I will never feel like I missed my chance to do what I love, like those people you described hearing about your daughter's career.

I am so happy to get up every morning and go to work. I LOVE taking ballet class. It's just the most perfect way I can think of to begin each day, even when it's not the best class. I can't think of many people who have the opportunity to start every day with their favorite activity. It's amazing. And I love my coworkers, which helps a lot. I've always felt a strong connection to my fellow dancers - I think it takes a certain type of person to go after a career in classical ballet, so it's nice to be around those people at my job and chat and have fun during breaks.

We have really been having a lot of fun bonding and becoming more comfortable with each other, spending so much time together touring and rehearsing. It really is like a family. And the people I complain about work the same way. It's like family, of course certain things will start to get on my nerves, but I love them deep down. I've even made a little progress with my roommate, discussing some of the things that really bother me, and letting other things go when I realize they don't really matter.