Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dear Sanna - my biggest fear

I guess my biggest fear is just wasting time and being unhappy. I hate to think I am wasting time working the wrong way or working for something I will never achieve. I just don't want to get stuck in a place if it doesn't make me truly happy.

I am feeling a little better about things, though. One of the best dancers in the company, who is making the transition into teaching, took me aside the other day to really work with me on one of the parts I especially have trouble with. I forgot what it's like to really work on something and see results. Unlike the other teachers who just scream and make me frustrated, she knows how to actually get me to fix the problems. I can't stand to hear over and over again the same corrections: "you don't bend enough" "more!" "you're not together" "jump!" I feel like I am "bending" as much as I can. More what? When exactly are we not together and why? How can I fix these things without knowing specifically what I need to do?

So this dancer is great, helping me break down each problematic area and discovering why it doesn't look quite right. I move my arms and legs together, instead of my arms being slightly ahead, so it looks stiff and frantic. Simple as that, without actually bending more, I am giving off that effect.

Also a nice day of rest with good friends always helps. As much as I love my friends here of different cultures, sometimes I find it really hard to be myself. I can't make references to pop culture or even make too many jokes, because it gets lost in translation. And sometimes I just feel like there is nothing to say to get off the subject of work. I love talking about ballet - it's my passion. I even wonder sometimes why I don't get sick of talking about it, because sometimes I feel like I could just never get tired of it and I don't understand when other dancers refuse to watch ballets on tv or do anything associated with dance after working hours. But finally I am beginning to understand. When I have a bad day at work or I am stressed out about it, I just want to get my mind off it, and with certain people I can't think of anything else to talk about.

That's why I was so happy for a short get away with this great group of friends I found. One is in the company with me, but the rest are just great, normal (well at least non-dancers) people who happen to love lots of the same things I do and speak English perfectly. It's the best and I feel so lucky to have found my niche with them.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Needs -

What is your biggest fear?


Dear Sanna - zero confidence

It's been a week now since the show, but I'll briefly tell you how it went. We worked on the variation a little, and like everything, the first time it's natural and maybe not so good, but fairly comfortable for me. Then I work on it and the corrections are uncomfortable so it doesn't look so good, but eventually after a lot of work it gets there. But there just wasn't time for this whole process, so I was trying to do a mixture of corrections and comfort. Anyway who knows how it would've gone under normal circumstances, because we got stuck in traffic and arrived an hour and a half before the show, after doing class in the studio and driving more than 4 hours.

So I was pretty cold and we had no time for spacing, during which I planned on doing everything full for a little extra practice, warm-up, and breaking in new pointe shoes all at once. But there was just time to do my hair and makeup, get dressed, and run the variation before show time. I opted for the older shoes. I felt much more stable during the partnering sections and I tried to "dance" more, but by the end of the variation both my shoes and my foot had had it, and I had to turn my last 6 italian fouettes into a pique turn diagonal. Everyone said it was a good save, but I am yet to see the video, and I felt pretty frantic during the italian fouettes I did do.

Anyway lately I just feel like a kicked puppy. I find it hard to take corrections without getting personally offended, and I am even more self-conscious than normal. I can just feel everyone's eyes on me during barre especially, but all the time. I can barely use my head for subconscious fear of making eye contact with someone! What is wrong with me? And I am just depressed about the state of my dancing instead of inspired to get better. Maybe letting this all out itself with help a little, but I am just so disgruntled. Everyone says all the time that I look embarrassed or like I don't want to be there when I am dancing, and I need to dance like I think I'm amazing, but how can I do that if I know it's not true? I hate when people dance with forced expression. I think it's something you naturally have or acquire, but not something you can force.

I just feel like crying. I thought I couldn't dance in the states, but actually I'm getting the feeling that can't dance anywhere else. I can't be this european ballerina/actress.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear Sanna - another chance?

Well Erin came today, but I had a private rehearsal scheduled for her part, so it looks like I will be dancing this part in the next show, too. I have no idea if this is based on the fact that Erin is too sick to do it, since she did look pretty weak today and it is her first day back in a while, or if the director wants me to dance or what. I haven't even seen the director since the show, because she did not come backstage after and has been home sick ever since.

Either way, I will be dancing Thursday. When people asked me if I wanted to dance again, I didn't really know how to answer, because I think this is important experience that I need, but I also think that I need time to get the part really good. I feel that I do a part the first time how it feels most natural to me. Then I get corrections, and it feels awkward as I try to get the corrections into my body, and maybe it doesn't look so great and I can't get through as easily as the first time. Then I eventually work it out so I can perform with the corrections without looking awkward. So this is a process that we just don't have time for now. Anyway I suppose a few more rehearsals couldn't hurt, so I will just count this as my second chance at being thrown in at the last minute. I still can't expect perfection, but hopefully I will be slightly less terrified when I step on stage.

Wish me "merde" again!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yes, you are also a teacher.

Janie, what a moment for you. Growth, Inspiring commitment.

In our work (whatever path we chose) there will be difficult moments. In my office a few years ago, someone had a psychotic break down; At a restaurant, a chef burns his hand somehow; On the field a player misses a catch to lose the game.

Understand that these moments make you stronger and a teacher for others who may be placed in the same position one day. How you handle them makes a huge difference in the moment, how others view you and how you handle situations in the future.

Of course this situation was less then optimal. It is never be optimal all the time. Yet, we are all called to do the best we can with what we have at THAT moment.

You write here about the wide range of experiences that are a part of this ballet world -- What the audience never sees and will certainly never experience, unless they are close with a performer.

Yes, it can take its toll in the moment with a headache and shakiness as you described below ... That was because YOU, Janie, put forth so much effort and so much energy that you stressed the body over its capacity. You had a responsibiltity to do your best. You survived and recovered.

That is a professional. You, Janie.

Sanna Carapelotti, MS CHt
Hypnotherapy and EFT for Dancers

PS: If you are not sleeping like Janie, You would not have had the power to do what she had been called to do. Buy Sleep here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dear Sanna - I survived

I feel like I just survived a trauma! After the performance, or even really after the first act (which is the hardest for this role), I had such a headache and I was sweating a lot and shakey and I could barely think, but at the same time incredibly relieved.

Of course it could have gone better. I only had one actual rehearsal with the intentions of performing, so mixed with watching a very outdated video several times last night and this morning, I wasn't exactly expecting perfection. But it was fine. Actually, in my opinion the worst part was when I stumbled doing a borre in the very beginning and almost fell. I'm told it was barely noticeable, but it felt HUGE! It's really hard to continue after that, but I forced myself not to worry about it and pretend it didn't happen. The variation was fine, although I did run out of steam a little bit in the end. In general I think I just probably looked about as nervous and tired as I was, since I did almost a full run before the show. I wanted to feel comfortable, so I thought it was better to try everything before the show. It doubled my rehearsals, so it must help a little, right?

But everyone was really nice. All my fellow dancers were really supportive, and even the ballet mistress who I can't stand was fairly nice. I got so much chocolate as gifts! And my best even got me a bottle of champagne, it was so sweet. I didn't see the artistic director for feedback, although she was actually in the audience, to my surprise.

It was definitely an experience. So stressful! I just had to keep reminding myself not to be too dramatic and not take myself so seriously. Because when I think about someone else in my situation, it seems much healthier to be optimistic and upbeat. It just makes everyone around you nervous if you seem completely unconfident. Let's just cross our fingers that Erin is better by the show on Thursday!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Quick Change Ballet

Wow, Janie, I am impressed with your ability to adjust to role changes and be so courageous to perform with our much rehearsal time. That is confidence, my friend.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Dance Mom

Dear Sanna - random opportunities

The other day I noticed I hadn't blogged in a while, and there are new things going on here, but there was just nothing really all that exciting to share and I wasn't inspired. Well today I definitely got a healthy dose of drama for you all.

We have been rehearsing a mix of repertoire since we returned from our tour, and tomorrow we have a show of one of the ballets we started in the very beginning of the year. If you remember, I was really excited to be dancing one of the better roles in the ballet, and actually understudying the second-biggest role in the ballet. Well we had about a million shows of this, including a really intense week, performing twice on some days (which is really rare for this company). So if there was a chance of me performing the big role, I assumed it would've been on one of the double days to give first cast a rest. But it didn't happen, for whatever reason. Maybe I wasn't good enough or they didn't think about switching casts, or maybe it was just too complicated to try to replace my normal parts. So I figured I would never do it and kind of stopped paying too much attention, just rehearsing the variation sometimes for fun.

The other day the girl dancing the role, lets call her Erin, wasn't feeling great, so she asked if I wanted to rehearse the variation instead of her. The next day she didn't show up for rehearsal, but I had to jinx it and say there was no way she would miss the show Saturday. For some reason my confidence that she would perform did not even waver when Erin wasn't in class this morning (the show is tomorrow). So of course, the one time I do not even have an inkling of hope that I will dance, a ballet mistress comes in the middle of class and drags me into the small studio to watch the video and try to figure out what in the world I am doing for the million bajillion little entrances that I stopped learning months ago. Erin is apparently in the hospital, so tomorrow is show time.

On one hand, I used to barely even be able to get through the variation, and now I can do it. But that is not to say it is by any means good enough, and I have maybe done it a total of 5 times in the past 4 months, because we really haven't been working on this program. I also barely know these little entrances which involve a lot of acting and confidence - two things that really don't come naturally to me. But whatever happens happens - there's not so much I can do right now.

There were times I just wanted to cry today, but I will just have to trust myself and do my best. I hope I can sort of enjoy this opportunity, or at the very least learn something from this experience (and add this role to my resume!)

Wish me "merde"...