Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dear Sanna - It's Tough To Need A Favor!

So the other day my mom calls me and tells me she wants me to go with her on a once-in-a-lifetime trip this fall. The tour is completely paid for and organized by her employer, and she can bring one person of her choice. So she chose me, if I can go, that is. But in this company people are not even allowed to miss one day of work to go to a parent's funeral, so how will I possibly manage to get permission for this?

I considered lying or just asking straightforwardly, but decided not going was better than those two options. After discussing with some friends though, we decided the best thing to do is completely unheard of in any other type of professional situation: have my mommy call. Kids, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. It sounds like the most childish, stupid, and ineffective way to get something you want in the workplace, but unfortunately with this artistic director some things just don't work normally.

We collectively came up with this plan, because there are strong rumors another girl did a similar thing earlier this year, having her mom come to the director and make a deal allowing her daughter to miss 2 weeks of work. It was a secret, of course, so we all know about it. I hated to even tell my mom about this plan, because it is so ridiculous and in normal situations I would NEVER allow her to negotiate with my employer for me, but like I said these are special circumstances. So I explained to her to forget all normal behavior, pretend this is a surprise for me and I don't know about (so the director cannot blame me), and suck up as much as possible.

We planned a specific time for when she should call, as long as I speak to my mom before to confirm that the director is in a good mood. Unfortunately, just before that day came a ballet mistress asked me what I am going to do about my weight, because the director isn't happy again. This is so frustrating, because I know if the director thinks I'm fat, everything will be a problem no matter what. So now I am trying my absolute best to get the director to think I look good, so we will actually have a shot at this vacation. Wish us luck!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Janie, You can Dance.

I am responding to your last post - the negative one.

1. We cannot generalize. Yes, there are companies who have laid off dancers. There are also companies who have hired. Belive it or not, some companies work in the black, meaning they have a budget and stick to it.
Also, keep in mind, dancers, retired, stop dancing, are injured or are fired ...which also opens the door for placements.

I know of two companies who have hired this year and last year (when the economy was in worse shape.

Yes, there is competition. There is ALWAYS competition. You have to ask yourself, "What do I want?" Do I have the necessary techniques - mind and body, to be competitive. There are countless stories of those who make against all odds.

Janie, you are buying into resignation and a general malaise of the world population.

2. Yes, you live abroad. You would have to plan, plan, and plan. Use contacts. Talk with fellow dancers. There are also other companies in Europe, Asia and all.

3. Yes, That is one of the challenges of auditioning when you are gainfully employed. You sent a video to this company. Prepare something extravagant and noteworthy. Begin now and you will have one ready when you decide to look elsewhere.

4. Audition season is over. Positions can open during the year for the reasons, I mentioned above.

5. Taking class. Who do you know? Ask your friends who are dancers for an invitation.

6. So you now have an expanded repetoire. Sounds inviting. PLEASE DO NOT ISOLATE yourself with a belief like that, Janie. If you learned a new technique - you can be more desireable and also learn other techniques.

My daughter is now learning Vaganova method. It has been a transition for her, yet she is growing more confident and capable. DO NOT SELL YOURSELF SHORT.

IF YOU PERCEIVE YOURSELF TO BE STUCK then you are stuck. Dance there until you are ready to move on. The dance world is not static and is forever evolving.

IMPORTANT: MAINTAIN YOUR CONTACTS. Write to your biggest fans. Say Hello to old teachers. Give them an update. Keep active with the world outside of your studio.

Love you, Janie and all others who dance.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS Cht

P.S. All comments welcome.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dear Sanna - Why I can't dance in the states

Okay so this is a negative post. But you asked and maybe it will help to let it out

1. It is impossible right now to get a job almost ANYWHERE, so I am lucky to even have a job at all. Companies are cutting back on their budgets and dancers, so there is more competition than ever with dancers fresh out of school and those being laid off from their current companies.

2. I do not live in the states right now, so it is very difficult to be in contact with companies and do auditions.

3. When I can come back to the states, it is not audition season and most companies aren't even working but on summer vacation, so there will be nobody to see me.

4. Audition season is over for this year, so positions are already filled.

5. When I did ask to take company classes at a few places during audition season when we were on tour, none of the companies would even let me take class, so why would they let me take class now?

6. I am studying now with non-American teachers, so my technique is changing and I will not fit in with American companies anymore.

So I feel kind of stuck. Not that I am dying to leave... right now.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Write the Good THINGS YOU DO

JANIE, Dancers are very hard and critical of themselves. Try this - After every performance, write what you did well. I remembered this variation very well. I had all my make-up, I was strong.

Built a repetoire of positive experiences. See them on paper and how they accumulate. It is easy to internalize and 'see' only the struggles, mishaps and 'near catastrophies.' I can only imagine spinning at the edge of a stage, yet you did it.

Not dancing that role again could be a logical consequence and maybe not. Don't scare yourself into believing that they are cutting back your roles and participation because of that hiccup. Do not make it a belief. Learn from it. Could you have done anything different?

Remember you can look to that experience and learn from it.

In your company what may feel illogical to you may not be logical to how they proceed. Interesting, eh? I hear very little positive from dancers I work with about how companies are managed. It is their perception. You don't always know what goes on behind the scenes and why decisions are made. It's like being a parent in a way.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Performance Hypnosis for Athletes and the Arts.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dear Sanna - Yay!

The other day was the performance I talked about in the last post. I was nervous again to do the lead role, and the stage was TINY. I freaked myself out a little when I had to do a difficult turn and I was very close to the edge of the stage, and had an obvious hiccup in the turn, but other than that I think the show went pretty well. The artistic director told me after that things like that pirouette should not happen, and in another company they would never allow me to dance the part again, but in general it was better and I am improving.

Even though the dancer I replaced came back that day, I danced the role again today. It was actually the logical choice, since the other girl hadn't danced all week and we all rehearsed this cast, not how it would be with the other dancer, but it was still nice that the director wanted me to dance because our company does not always do things the logical way.

Today's show was much better. Of course there are always little things I wish could've gone better, but I felt much more comfortable in the role. I hate to dance after a day off, but it was actually fine. A dancer I really look up to even told me it was better, and I got good feedback from the ballet mistress as well. Unfortunately this is probably the last time I will dance this role, at least for this season, but I can never be sure. Even if it is, I am happy with how it went.