Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Janie's back!

After weeks of frustration, my physical therapist FINALLY discovered the cause of pain - and what a simple solution it is! I am down to pt once a week, and I am essentially pain free! I am also so relieved to know that my foot really wasn't broken and we weren't just missing something on my completely normal MRI results.

Now I have my work cut out for me. I have been working on the side to save up some money, and I need to get back into shape for auditions! I think I will be just in time.

I'll keep you posted, now that I finally have news to share!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Sanna - I Miss Dancing!

My foot continued to get worse, so after the last post I decided I should take a break. I called the doctor and made an appointment to get an MRI and immediately signed up for unlimited yoga and some private pilates. It is very expensive to do private pilates, but I think it is the best way to stay in shape when you can't dance, and a great way to cross-train when I am dancing. Maybe if I had done a better job with cross training I wouldn't have gotten this injury in the first place.

I've noticed lately that I'm nowhere near as strong as I was in school, even if I may have improved in other ways. It's unfortunate that I needed to get injured before I did something about it, but either way I am glad I am taking steps to become a stronger dancer. I am also being forced into a much-needed break, since it's been over a year since my last break of more than 4 days.

Tomorrow I'll get the results of my MRI, so I guess I can go from there with plans. So far I am just bored and missing ballet! I hate not dancing, and I have trouble filling the days, since walking and standing a lot are out. Once I know how long I will be off, maybe I will try to find something to do with my time.

Wish me luck!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Sanna - At Least There's Hope

So I returned from two auditions for two great companies. The first was a very friendly, welcoming company. Many dancers struck up conversations with me, and I even knew a few company members already (the ballet world is so small!). So it was nice to feel welcomed, although ironically I think it made me even more nervous and self conscious. Maybe I had the feeling they were interested in me and therefore watching! I'm not sure, but despite my nerves I think I danced fairly well for an audition. Of course, auditions are never as good as normal classes for me. I over-think everything and hesitate to really go for things, which is right in a way because most directors would rather see clean doubles, for example, than sloppy triples, but I might take this rule to the extreme.

At the end of my few classes with this first company, I sat down with the director, who told me that there would just not be room for a dancer of my height in the company for a long time. When i asked if I could ever fit in the company, I didn't get a no, but I learned I could work on core strength and jumps. Good to know, but it's funny that I never thought these were my weaknesses! Always good to have a new focus to improve upon.

Then the second company was larger, with less familiar faces, but for some reason I felt much more at home. I think it's true that when I have the feeling that the other dancers are in their own world, less focused on me, I am less self-conscious and can concentrate better. After these classes, the director also said there was no space at this time, but pointed me towards a new dancer in the company with some information about other companies that might be interested. The director also told me I was a nice dancer and "above" the second company. This was encouraging to hear, even if I already knew I was old for the second company. It's nice to know that such a prestigious director thinks my dancing is there, too (assuming it was honest)!

Now I am stuck home, missing out on some auditions because of Irene! How annoying! I hope everyone is safe. I am also trying to assess the seriousness of my aching foot. The doctor said go by pain - when it hurts, stop. Funny thing is dancing doesn't hurt, walking and standing do! Is this my own subconscious way of doing what I enjoy? Hopefully not, and I can continue to dance and still heal with some physical therapy. We learned how much weaker the entire leg is, probably since I have been favoring the other for so long. It will be interesting to see how my technique is affected by strengthening this leg.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dear Sanna - Home Sweet Home

So bags and bags and boxes and suitcases and more boxes and trash bags later, I managed to somehow get all my stuff out of my apartment. I met my friends one last time at the coffee place under my apartment, gave away the last of my stuff, and caught a cab to the airport. I am so fortunate to have such great friends - one in particular stayed with me the entire time, helping me pack, or just keeping me company. As I've said, as much as it was my decision to leave, it was still very difficult for me. I spent several sleepless nights before I left fighting back (or letting out) tears.

But I made it! I arrived in my brother's city, spent an amazing few days there, and now I am home. It was encouraging to take some open classes and hear good feedback, being asked where I was from, etc. An amazing teacher even offered to help me if she can with finding work, giving me tips for my video, taking my phone number in case she hears of a job opening.

Since my mother asks everyone she knows if they have any connection to the ballet world, it finally paid off and a friend managed to get me an audition with the elusive company in my home town. These people make it impossible to audition for a decent, but surely not THAT amazing company. Even with the help, the best I got was an audition for a position just below company. Not only unpaid, but with tuition! Not exactly what I was going for, but I auditioned and was accepted, so at least I have a back-up. Gotta love networking!

Furthermore, it was quite terrifying having not even one single audition scheduled before I left. But I knew it was difficult to really plan and that the ball would start rolling soon after I got back. Well luckily, I was right, and just a few emails and phone calls since I've been back have gotten me 3 auditions in some great companies. They did all assure me that there are no available contracts at this time, but everyone I talk to agrees that it is still good to go now. I am taking company class for a few days at 2 of the places, and this way they can get a good look at me, and hopefully if they really like me they can find something for me to do, or at the very least remember me when audition season rolls around. Couldn't hurt!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

You have been always free to dance for the love of it


As I am writing this you are most likely warming up, taking class for tonight. Connecting with this love frees you, your mind and body for your own standing ovation.

What if every performance was infused with this love?

Would you improve?

Could you have more fun? Learn faster?

You might experience that tonight.

If you set this internal state in dance mode, the anger of the director (which you cannot control) is minimized.

Have you ever noticed when someone around you is upset and you feel earthly happy, how you are less effected? We are all connected in humanity, yet you too have an influencing effect.

Get to know this love in a new way tonight. I know you have felt this before. Stand tall on the stage, internalize the applause and as you step away you carry with you the experience of these three years. It is cellular, of you forever.

And you have left a part of you all over the Country you have called home.

When is your departure date?

So proud of you, Janie. Love you lots!

Pittsburgh Medical Hypnosis

Dear Sanna - The End

Don't worry the beginning comes soon! Sorry I haven't posted for a while - I am running around like a madwoman trying to get in my last... well everything before I leave this place! After almost three years I've gotten pretty attached, even if it was my choice to leave. I am going to miss this place. I just wrote a note to the director thanking her for everything. She has been pretty hostile towards me these past few weeks - that is totally normal and expected for her. She yelled at me in rehearsal the other day after a rampage, turning to me and saying "and it's not funny, Jane!" (she always gets my name a little wrong). Anyway I'm used to this kind of behavior, and I am taking the high road and hopefully leaving the door open in case I ever decide to come back.

Tonight is my final performance with the company. It's really sad for me, but I know I'm making the right decision. Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same, right? So that's it, wish me fun - it's not luck I need right now. I just want to enjoy my last show! It's fun to dance for the love of it, not for fear of what the director will say afterwards.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dear Sanna - The Clock is Ticking!

I waited and waited to get the director somewhat alone. I had a break and she was in the studio talking to one of of our teachers, so when she got up with her purse, I jumped up and waited by the door. Then she started talking to one of the principle dancers - the same one she was speaking with before the weekend when I tried to tell her I was leaving the first time! But it was just about 5 minutes or so before she made her way to the door and I asked if we could talk. We walked upstairs to a private room and my legs were shaking.

I told her this was really hard, but... "you want to leave," she finished my sentence. I guess after that introduction it wasn't hard to figure out. First she got a little upset and went off on a rant about how she told me to go sit at the university to meet a nice boy and if I had listened to her I wouldn't want to leave now (I wish that was a joke, but it's not). Then she told me to stay until after the big tour in November. I hadn't really thought of this as an option, since the season and contract officially end in a few weeks. I didn't know I could stay for an extra month or two at the beginning of next year. She was convinced I would just stay, even when I said I didn't know and had to think about it and let her know.

So a few minutes after I walked away from the talk, I realized I was right where I started. I had warned her, yes, but she still didn't know I was leaving in a few weeks. It was nice to hear that she wanted me to stay. She said nice things to me, that I improved a lot and that if I stayed here I would be dancing more and more. But as tempting as all of that is and the big tour, it confirmed that I need to try and see if I can get a job in the states. And the vacation before next season is not enough time for a real try, so I can't come back for the tour. I made my decision and that's what I'm going to do.

So at the end of rehearsal I went and told her that as much as I appreciate everything, I just can't stay for the tour. After that it was harder. She was angry I didn't tell her earlier and said I should "leave nicely and finish out my obligations." But I told her with more that enough time according to the contract, and my obligations are to finish out the season. I told her my feelings and that I thought this was the way to leave nicely. I didn't sneak around doing auditions during the season. I never missed a day of work. This is not the time for me to second-guess myself! It's hard enough.

Now the season is winding down. A few friends who are also leaving the company decided to do a going away party, so we are organizing that. My room is getting boxed up. Sometimes I want to cry. I really will miss it, but I'm so excited for the future! Happy 4th everyone! I guess this will be my last one abroad for a while :)


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye!

Hello, Janie,

It will be difficult to say 'Goodbye.' Accept it. You will feel sad and upset. You may never see some of them again. This camaraderie is a gift that is shared by teams, dance corps and an group that comes together. It is bittersweet.

You take a part of them with you and you leave a part of you behind. These people changed your life and helped to shape your dancing. Honor them (as I mentioned in the most recent post).

Do something celebratory that 'leaves' you in the country. Bury something of yours in the dirt or scatter something in the wind.

This closes a chapter in your life and opens another. Breathe into the uncertainty. It is difficult to not know where you are headed, yet isn't that how we travel to new places? Start daydreaming of your perfect studio, company and place to live.

You will be happy to return to the USA, a more mature, wiser, young woman.

Please keep us posted on your journey through this transition.

Much Love, Sanna

Dear Sanna - ahhhhh!

I just got back from the tour - and it was AMAZING! I can't believe I can have so much fun in just 4 days - and only one show! But I'll tell you all about it later.

Now it's morning and I'm getting ready to go to work. Today is the day I MUST tell the director I am leaving. I am not looking forward to this. It's like breaking up with somebody. I know I need to do it, but it won't be easy for either of us. Despite the less-than-kindness I have often felt from the director, all in all we have a good relationship and I sort of feel like family after 3 years. I put off telling the director until after the tour because I didn't want to stress everybody out, but I can't put it off any longer.

So wish me luck! Here goes nothing. Gulp.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Janie: The Ease if it all!

Janie, I must say that in reading your last posts, there is a beautiful integration of humanness coming together. You as a dancer and a rich appreciation of others. I am happy that you enjoyed the Russian dancers. You understand the trials and tribulations of traveling far for performance. Witnessing what they bring to the stage offers you the opportunity for personal growth and development. As you know being a dancer is a constant evolution toward expressing your personal best. You observe and rehearse; perform and celebrate. You have learned that dance is not tidy, even less tidy then the younger days in a studio where at least the stages were set and defined.

As you approach your departure, consider doing small things through each day. Maybe you tell someone one thank you for all they have done, or that you have noticed someone's improvement, or invite friends over for dinner, bring in a healthy snack, help someone ... Every day you leave a part of you with your colleagues. You will be cherished and remembered.

This experience prepares for the next leap across the pond. As you land in the states, you will be surprised at what you offer, how you have matured and grown as a dancer.

Much love, JANIE! SO proud of you!
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS Need to sleep, Stepping to Sleep recommended by Dance Magazine for restless dancers. WHo else wants more sleep before a performance? http://www.mentalperformances.com/?section=dancers-sleep

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dear Sanna - Short and Sweet

The shows in the big opera house went really well! It was strange, because the focus of rehearsals and corrections was almost entirely on the big corps, which I am involved in but was not my most stressful part. In the first act I was one of 6 in a kind of special part, and also one of 12 in an also more selective part than the on we always rehearsed. But we barely got corrections, and to be honest I felt less pressured and really enjoyed dancing those parts.

As for the big corps, a few students who were necessary to fill in our sparse company caused a LOT of spacing issues. After many many extra rehearsals just for them, I was angry and found myself sternly lecturing the girl in front of me after the dress rehearsal! But I guess it looked fine from the audience, because we got good feedback anyway, and in the following shows it was much better.

I enjoyed working with the Russian soloists, even if they weren't the best of the best. Many of my coworkers had harsh criticisms, but all I can say is that they were a million times better than anyone in this company, and I really admire them. It was fun to watch and dance with them and be part of a big, professional production. We had 4 sold-out shows in a huge theater, and I loved it. Like I said before, moments like this make me think I really am looking for a bigger company right now.

The soloists went back home, so that's it for that production! Strange for our company to have less than two weeks of shows and then leave a ballet. Now we will get ready for the premier of the director's new ballet and a quick tour! Never a dull moment (or a break for that matter)


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dear Sanna - In the mood

After that terrible performance, it was nice to forget the contemporary piece and go back to full days, being involved in every rehearsal. The director's choreography somehow seems much more enjoyable in comparison, and the classical piece is very refreshing. The guests from Russia came just one day before the first performance and they were so tired from traveling, they just marked through the rehearsal!

We all came into work at about the time we usually finish that day, and the schedule change alone had me kind of excited for some reason. I was also curious to see the new soloists and eager to see the whole ballet together for once. When I think about it, all of the choreography is very comfortable for me. The most difficult part is keeping up stamina and pointing my feet, doing things nicely, etc. Nothing like a scary pirouette, so I felt pretty confident.

The next day we got to the outdoor theater, complete with outdoor dressing rooms, closed in by only a tarp! It was very windy and a little chilly even in sunlight, so we pretty much froze before the show waiting backstage in our costumes. The adrenaline warmed us a little when we got on stage, but more so dancing warmed us. The eerie wind and sound of the sets creaking (literally - I think a piece even broke off!) really added to the effect of the show and I really felt in character. I was also so secure in balancing and the corps was so together! The soloists were amazing, and I just loved performing, even if I did freeze. I'm so glad there are more fun performances like this before I leave!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dear Sanna - :(

This is the worst I think I have ever felt after a performance. After waiting around for too long, the first piece was a wishy-washy ballet we've done a lot of times by now. I am in a few parts, nothing special really, and it's usually the easiest part of triple bill for me - the break. It was fine, not great, not bad.

Then came a modern pas de deux with Tina, which I watched from the audience, and then the premier of the contemporary piece. I didn't really think about how it would be to watch it before. It was hard. It's hard enough to watch ballet without being involved, but given the circumstances it was downright painful. It's like watching a company you want to dance for but didn't get accepted to, or a piece you understudied but didn't get to do, or perhaps got injured and couldn't perform, but worse. Because I was cast, and I rehearsed and had all intentions of performing. And then I was suddenly taken out without a real explanation. Each time somebody came doing a part I once did, I just wanted to cry.

I am trying to let go, and I know this is a hard career and these things happen, but I can't help it. It's not fair and I don't understand. It's worse than not being chosen at all, to have it waved in front of me, to put in all that time and effort and pain and suffering and only THEN not do it. The piece was great. The lighting, the costumes, the choreography; and the dancers did a great job, considering this is usually done by much stronger companies. I felt so jealous of every person on that stage.

The first time we do a piece where casting is done by important members of the dance world, not ruled our insane director, I am not chosen. What does this tell me? I already have a confidence issue, and this just makes me feel like garbage. How can I grow with this kind of negativity?

After the show was even worse - everybody raving about how great it was, the dancers excitedly critiquing their own performances, celebrating on the bus. I just tried to keep in the tears.

I guess I should try some EFT and really let this go once and for all. At least it is over now, but I don't feel the relief I expected just yet. Right now I just feel sad.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dear Sanna - Still Confused...

Being taken out of this piece was driving me nuts! I thought about it all the time, couldn't sleep, couldn't smile. So I finally got up the courage and asked Tina once and for all. I asked if she decided not to keep switching between me and the other girl, and get this: she said no, we were going to switch off. So, does that mean I might do the show next week? No no, the other girl will do THIS performance. I see you have a weak back and this kind of movement is hard for you and I just think she should do it, but you are second cast.

As far as anybody knows, this is the ONLY performance! WTF Tina? I didn't even know what to say, so I said okay and went to sit down and watch tech rehearsal. Without mirrors or really space on the sides, I couldn't even mark anymore and I felt like I was wasting my time in that rehearsal. The next day was supposed to go until 8:00 P.M. No thank you. So I asked the most trustworthy of the teachers if I really needed to stay all those hours, and (THANK GOODNESS!) she said no.

I really didn't think leaving would make me feel better, because I hate that feeling that I am missing out on something, but the second I left I felt so relieved. It is still very strange to go home early and not be a part of something I really felt I deserved to do, but each day I am letting go a little bit more. The story is still fishy to me, and I don't really believe I was taken out because of my weak back. If so, why was I cast in the first place and taken out so quickly? I think this was a personal issue. The choreographer did not make any comments, although there have apparently been issues with the girl doing my spot, having the same problems with those partners.

On a brighter note, I realized today that the pain in my ribs is completely gone! Yay! It's amazing how injuries can feel as if they will never ever get better, and then one day the pain is just gone!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Moving on Emotionally

There is a wonderful maturity in what I read in between the lines of your post. The conversation you are having with yourself is positive and inspiring. Do you notice that?

Your search for a new company can be guided by your new found decisions and attitudes. That can make a difference for you. Remember that YOU are also looking for a company whereby you can develop and grow. You are interviewing them just as you are being interviewed. You have earned this right to be more selective rather than desperate. I understand that ballet appointments are not as plenty as say, a sales clerk. However, with this maturity and professionalism you can find the right company for you..

Begin to see yourself in a core of a company that is progressive and supportive. Set your sights on an area of the country. You may not see the name of the studio or have clarity with facial descriptions, however, you might.

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to work with a physician. Now I do. I 'fueled' my desires with mind power. Yes, I attracted it. I read from the masters that the brain begins a magnetic search as soon as your set the inner experience in motion.

This goes for much of life. Does it happen neatly? No, not always. The bumps in the road are a part of the process. Open to the entirety of the experience.

About the piece, some choreography is just awkward and uncomfortable. Do the best you can. Your body is trained to move quite creatively and powerfully. Again you know how to visualize for a stronger rehearsal. The more you free yourself of your attitude which limit your flexibility and extension (Stress does that in the body), the more difficult it becomes.

TRY THIS: You remember EFT (the Tapping right?) Tap the negativity away BEFORE YOU rehearse and see what happens! I would like to know -

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dear Sanna - Building Character?

So the rehearsals for the contemporary piece have been somewhat interrupted. We have them sporadically instead of every day, which is very nice for me, since I no longer have the anxiety that my partners will forget even more during the gaps - not my problem anymore I guess. We are instead focusing on the ballets immediately following the contemporary piece, since there will be about a week of tech rehearsal where those other ballets will be neglected. This reminds me how much I enjoy dancing! In the largest production we are rehearsing, I have a nice part, but nothing huge. I guess it is a part for soloists in a big company. I also do the corps, and I really like it. It's nice to work together sometimes. which makes me think that I would be really happy as a small fish in a big pond. I love the opportunities I've gotten here doing leading roles, but I think the quality of the company is more important to me at this stage in my life. Of course I want to dance, but I don't need to be the lead to be happy. Hopefully I can work my way up, but at this point I am not going to settle in my search for my next company.

We also dug up a ballet we haven't done in about a year the other day to bring on tour with the new choreography. It was surprisingly refreshing to revisit it, and it was so comfortable! I really had fun and could see a huge difference in my partners - they really improved, even without rehearsing!

When we do rehearse the contemporary piece, I am still very frustrated. It is so hard for me to not care. I can't stop analyzing what I could've done wrong, but it's pretty clear I won't be dancing in the show next week. And I see the girl who is doing my part having the same exact problems I had! Because it is not our faults, it is those cavemen that can't remember the corrections! But Tina doesn't seem to notice. She just says good job, or tries to help work out the kinks. I don't get it. But it is somewhat of a relief to not have to deal with them anymore and to see it wasn't just me. It is difficult, however, to stand in the back of the rehearsals and mark or do what I can. I feel pathetic and stupid, but Tina never officially told me I wasn't doing it or that I could leave, so I feel it is the professional thing to do to stay. The choreographer comes tomorrow, so we will see if he even notices or has anything to say about the situation...


Monday, May 2, 2011

Dear Sanna - Quit Playing Games With My Heart

I continued doing my place in the contemporary piece, and although it improved a little, the same problems continued. I tried to work with my cavemen partners separately, even having somebody translate for us on days we didn't have rehearsal for the piece so that they wouldn't forget, but it's like they have their memories erased every night! I have never danced with them with everything going well the first time. Even if I try to remind them about the corrections before-hand. They just do it the same old way, and I have to explain over and over again in detail what they are doing wrong and what they have to do. It is so frustrating! And of course I am always to blame.

Yesterday before Tina started rehearsing the first section I do, she told me the understudy would dance that day. No other explanation given. Does the switching each day thing still apply? Is this a permanent change? Is it just for today? We are all in the dark, except for Tina. And everybody is asking what happened, why am I not dancing. It just seems to be completely out of the blue. Of course I am upset. It hurts to have something like this happen, especially after weeks and weeks of hard work, suffering, and even injuries from this choreography! Right before the show, too! Tech rehearsals are next week, and today the understudy stayed in. I don't want to ask, because I have the feeling when Tina looks at me that she wants to punch me in the face. I don't want to be the one to have to approach her. I hate this.

Then again, the piece was not getting better, and I don't trust my partners. I am also uneasy about going on stage with something I don't think is good. I am completely stuck. A very wise dancer in the company asked me about it this morning. I told her what I wrote here now, and she sympathized, but reminded me that this is the career. It is our job to dance what we are told (or not dance in this case) and sometimes it sucks. Some people don't want to do this, but they have to. Others want but were not chosen. For whatever reason I was chosen in the first place and taken out now, all I can do is my job and continue to work. There is also a lot of speculation that when the director sees the understudy in costume, she will immediately be kicked out (the costume is a simple leotard, no tights, and the understudy is a big girl). Who knows what will happen, but it is not my call.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Janie - You did it!

That is wonderful news. You have achieved that relentless pursuit of mind-body coming together as the complete dancer. When you can mezmerize a high level performer, you know your were on!


Dear Sanna - Yay!

Just had to blog this really fast even though it is LATE and tomorrow is another looong day...

Today one of the supers came up to me and told me she loves watching me dance! She said I am always so EXPRESSIVE, even in the studio when I dance. That is a first! Nobody ever complimented me on my expression of all things! She is even an RAD-trained teacher, so it's not as if some random person who doesn't know anything about ballet told me.

That made my day! It's the little things that keep us going... especially when our toes hurt and we are frustrated with the world, as I was today! No time for more explanations though - this dancer needs her beauty rest!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear Sanna - Rolling with the Punches

The beginning of this week, 30 people came to see the director's latest creation. The first performance is not until June, so it's nowhere near ready and we were all a little shocked that we were showing it. Before the people came we had rehearsals, and the director was obviously stressed and stressing everybody else out at the same time. During the finale, one of the guys got hit really hard right in the eye by his partner's elbow (it was a pirouette with the arms in 5th position). He couldn't dance, and we had to explain to the people that the main couple was missing in the 2nd movement.

In the end it actually turned out okay, although the director first told myself and another girl in 1st movement that we don't look good. The other two girls are much older and more experienced - principles in the company, so of course the two of us do not look the same. We have nowhere near the experience of the other two and it would be impossible to dance like them in a matter of months. We know that the director is crazy and won't understand that, but it is still frustrating to hear.

Then the other day before rehearsal for the contemporary piece, Tina told me that the understudy will go in for me every other rehearsal. She doesn't want to split the part, and I should understand that I am a little weak for it, so each run we will switch off. This makes no sense to me at all. If I am weak, shouldn't I practice more? Rather than sit out half the rehearsals while the understudy does my spot. And does this mean the understudy will perform? Next week we have a tech rehearsal and 2 weeks after that is the show! One show, so it is her or me. Needless to say I was pretty upset.

But this rehearsal I did since the understudy didn't have a chance to go over anything and we were doing a run. I got yelled at and blamed for anything and everything that went wrong. My partner forgot what to do and dropped me on the floor. My fault. My pain. There is a change in the spacing or choreography which does not even concern me. "Janie did you understand?" Yes...? We rehearse a section that should be in cannon all together. "JANIE YOU ARE RUSHING! WHY DID YOU FINISH EARLY?" I tried to explain but Tina didn't want to hear it. After yelling at me some more, doing it again, and seeing that others finished early as well, somebody else explained to her why and she got it. No apology to me though.

The next day I assumed would be the understudy's turn. But a different dancer was out sick, so the understudy went in for her and I stayed in my place. AND Tina said I was RIGHT! Everyone was shocked, but she actually said it. I was the only one who did it correctly with the music. So even though the cavemen aggravated my injuries and forgot what to do, and I fell on the floor without Tina even asking if I'm okay, it was a great day for me.

Again the sick dancer was missing today, so I did my spot once again I stayed in my spot. Will I maybe perform? Only time will tell, but in the mean time I will just be happy to work on it or happy for a break from my abusive partners. And after the show we will be done with it and that is that!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear Sanna - Baby Steps

Thank goodness, I am noticing slow progress with the rib. I am now doing full classes and rehearsals without ibuprofen, albeit with minor pain. What's crazy is that it still really hurts to lie on my back (ie sleep), laugh, cough, and breathe deeply. Anyway since I've been feeling well enough to finish class, I decided I was well enough to try rehearsal for the contemporary piece. So I tried to ask our ballet mistress what the situation was - if the part now belonged to the other girl, or we were to split the ballet half/half, or if I should just resume my old part or what. So she said she would as Tina and get back to me... I sort of heard the question and a half-reply from Tina, something along the lines of "Should Janie go in for this part-" "okay but *other girl* needs to know it too." What does that mean?? This was also a discussion right before we were about to rehearse the first section only, so it is not entirely clear if I am supposed to do that section for good, let alone the rest of the ballet!

Anyway after that they decided to do a run, so without a chance to even ask, we started. Since I had never even tried the end, the other girl went in for that part. We both felt kind of stupid and didn't know what to do, but this seemed like the logical solution - for her to do what I hadn't rehearsed yet. The next day the choreographer was back for a visit, and since we went over the new parts, I decided to just go for it and do the run that day. It was fine, actually (other than the fact that my ribs still really hurt in the part that injured them in the first place).

It was also nice for the choreographer to be back and for me to feel like I am actually wanted in the piece in the first place. Did I mention Tina HATES me? I mean she literally hates my guts, and I am not inventing this - others would gladly vouch for me on this one. Somehow every correction is especially for me and EVERYTHING is my fault, be it partnering issues or spacing, even when I am not involved! She speaks to me like I am garbage. The other day she stopped and said "Janie you have to tombe on your right leg." So I did it, as far as my partner would allow me to go with two bent knees. "NO NO YOUR WHOLE ASS IN IS THE AIR" So I desperately try to lower my bottom by just bending my knees more and more until a friend tells me the back leg is stretched. My mistake, but all Tina has to do is tell me! I thought the language and way she spoke to me was completely inappropriate.

Anyway the second the choreographer came back, Tina was all sugary sweet. It is such a nice environment with him there. It is clear that I, among others, was chosen because of him, and despite Tina. At least I feel somewhat wanted! The ribs and cavemen are another story...


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dear Sanna - The Saga Continues

Okay it's been a while, so I'll quickly catch you up! Did you ever have to write those little stories in elementary school using the words fortunately and unfortunately? This is what it feels like...

Saturday performance after Friday off was fine! I forced myself to "not care" (not worry, that is) and let it happen. Didn't go on Friday and took advantage of my precious day off. The ballet mistress said I was finally in control - friends agreed. :) :) :D (Fortunately ;)

Next rehearsal for new piece, ballet mistress (lets call her Tina) asked 5 girls to do the solo in a group, including me. ?????? Huh? Also cast in the first part where everyone is on stage, FORTUNATELY with my original partner :)

Next rehearsal - unfortunately NOT chosen for solo, but FORTUNATELY chosen for 3 couples. UNfortunately, my partner was a little "under the weather" (hung over and unwilling to try anything with me or pay attention to the choreography or corrections)

Next rehearsal - replaced in 3 couples (just me - the hungover jerk stayed in) and demoted to learning in the back with VERY bad partner, let's just call him caveman

Next rehearsal - moving on to the next section of the piece with everyone on stage. Guess who I'm dancing with? Unfortunately, caveman. No common language between us, and I'm pretty sure not too many brain cells in that head of his. We have many dangerous things in this choreography, such as ducking when your partner kicks over your head, which he fails to remember. Lucky for both of us I have a high kick! Anyway rehearsal is painful and awful. Tina pays no attention to us suffering in the back.

Next rehearsal - ribs extremely sore from day before with caveman. Back to original partner (fortunately) to learn new section, and I actually thought I did well. Ribs still REALLY hurt though. After break, cast with caveman. BOOO!!!! I am upset. Why do they keep taking my good partner away? Am I that bad? What's going on here? I try my best to not show my dismay, and try something with caveman. He throws me on the floor. 100% his fault and between the ribs, the fall, and the situation, I've had enough. I lose it and try to leave the studio before the first tear falls. Our ballet mistress from the company (not Tina) comes to make sure I'm not injured. I tell her my ribs are really hurting and I'm upset because I feel like I am killing myself so I won't look bad in front of Tina, but she demotes me anyway, so it's all for nothing.

The next week I could barely do any rehearsals, trying to rest my rib. Unfortunately we had 3 shows that week (nothing too stressful for me, but nevertheless not fun with bruised ribs), but it actually meant a few days off from Tina, so they healed relatively fast. Just in time for me to get a new partner in the new section in the next rehearsal with Tina. Let's call him Junior. As in Caveman, Jr. He is actually a much better partner than Caveman, but still not great and still no common language. We actually worked together just fine, until (DUN DUN DUNNNNN) the dreaded rib-crushing lift. This happened to be Junior's very first day in the company, and he never even saw this lift before. I ended up slamming into his shoulder. Ow. So we tried again. The same. I tried charades, and the pathetic mix of languages I thought he might understand. Again slammed. The teacher who can translate for us came and gave me corrections, said nothing to him. Slammed. Again. Dropped. Slammed. OWWWWW. Did I mention Tina does not even acknowledge when he drops me on the floor, let alone stop the rehearsal and try to help us or work out the problem. Or maybe ask if I'm okay. Finally I had enough, marked the lift in the run at the end of rehearsal.

Next day same feeling as the last bruised ribs, except now in my chest, in those bones right above the heart. Performance the next day. Again, not a very stressful show, but SO painful. The most painful things for my chest are lying on my back, breathing, laughing, and bending forward or backwards. This show was NOT fun. This recovery was also much longer than the last. Here I am two weeks later and it's still not completely healed. I hope after the weekend it will be better. In the meantime Tina put another girl in my spot, and it's not clear who is going to perform. Sigh.

Did you follow? I know it's long and confusing, but imagine how I feel! haha


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dear Sanna - Be Back Soon!

I know it's been a while - sorry! It's a long story, which of course you'll hear ;) But not now - I'm off to work! (It's always a little ironic to me calling it that)

Anyway in the meantime, look! It's (the real) Janie!


Isn't she gorgeous?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

So Confusing!

Janie, I feel your rant. I could not follow and had to read several times. Well, some time has past and I know you have danced your 13 days. How did it go?

I hear that complaint often - long periods with no break and then an odd day off that does not make sense. It is a common frustration. Being a company member you are at the whim of the other directors and superiors. Like all of us in our work places, we have rules and practices we must adhere to. Ballet makes it more difficult because the body requires a balance of rest and practice. You want to stay on your toes and strong. You would believe that the day would be a good thing, yet did you spend the time worrying about NOT taking class? In hind site did it make a difference? I would be interested to know.

It is easy to forget the 'rant' after the fact. We have it documented here, don't we?

It is difficult to SEE what a choreographer sees or believes to be true or what s/he wants from dancers. There are times when there are no rhythms or reasons, at least not logical ones. You might think back to your younger years, has it changed? Do you recall this happening back then? Is it inherent in the profession?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

P.S. My new area of work in enhancing physical therapy is very useful to performers. Look at my website - www.PittsburghMedicalHypnosis.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear Sanna - And Now, for a Healthy Vent

A fellow dancer was crying loudly in the dressing room as we all showered after a very long day. I felt bad, too, but realized it's just annoying and irrational to complain to other dancers, many of whom feel the same way. Lucky for me, I have you guys! So here goes...

I guess it is necessary to begin on Friday when this choreographer came. He had us walk around the room at random, then stopped us and had us make a circle. He told us all to close our eyes and then turn our head to one direction. Open your eyes. Point at the person you see. If the person you are pointing at is pointing back, you are partners (even two girls!) Then he went to one of the remaining guys and asked who he wanted to dance with, He said me (no problem here, but for some reason the director, not currently present, does not like this pairing). Everyone laughed and the choreographer said okay anyone but her. He picked another girl, so the choreographer asked her who she wanted to dance with. She picked a different boy, so the original guy got what he wanted, me.

As soon as the director walked in it was clear this was not ideal, but I assumed it was not casting anyway, since the choreographer didn't even know us yet and it was seemingly random. So we worked this way Friday and Sunday. Unfortunately for the people who got paired with a bad partner, another girl, or worse, no partner. A few people were switched around so they sort of got a chance, but it was unfair for most and very lucky for me to have a good, consistent partner.

Then today, the first day without the choreographer since he had to leave, a woman somehow connected to him took over rehearsals. We were not told what was going on, just started rehearsing after an already long day. We reviewed the pas de duex we had learned and did it a few times in two groups. Then groups of three. 2 groups went and I still wasn't chosen. Then she asked who my partner was. I told her and she asked if I could do it with someone else. This is a very sensitive pas de duex to weight, size, and coordination, so it is extremely difficult to switch partners, especially just for the "audition". I don't know what to think, because my new partner is actually very good and we were placed in the front, however he had already done it once with a different girl and it didn't go all that well since we had never worked together. I don't know if the director said something about not wanting me to work with my last partner, or if the woman just wanted to pair him with a better dancer or what. So frustrating!

Then when we were working on the girl's solo, she decided to try 9 girls, so she took the first 9 girls in front of her, which did not include me. They did it a few times, me and the other girls not included on the sides, and then she never switched groups! I don't understand, since she didn't seem to put any thought to the girls she chose, but she didn't watch us on the sides, so did the girls she was interested in just happen to be in the first group? I actually thought the choreographer liked me, so I at least thought I would be in the top 9 he would consider! It is so frustrating.

On top of all that, Saturday morning there is a very difficult performance for me, and I just found out our day off (in place of Saturday) will be Friday! I hate having Fridays off before a show, because I feel I really need to do class (and rehearsals!) the day before a show. Not only do I want to prepare for my variation, but I want my partners to prepare as well! It's not fair :( WAHHHHHHHHHHH (this is my rant after all) And I am considering going in on Friday to do class myself and work a little, but that means I will work 13 days straight, plus it doesn't fix the partner problem.

Okay whew at least I got it out somewhere! Now I'll go have a pity party.... Happy Mardi Gras everyone!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Dear Sanna - All or Nothing

The last few weeks were kind of a rest period for me. The director started a new ballet, which I was uncharacteristically happy to not be part of. It's very rare that I prefer to not dance, but I have to say each new piece the director tries to choreograph is even worse than the last monstrosity. Not only is the choreography bad, but the process is extremely long and frustrating. Usually. But this time I was pleasantly surprised by the end result, and not completely upset when I found myself cast in the second part, involving four couples. Two of the other girls are well-seasoned principals, while the other is on her way, having premiered as the main dancer in the most recent of the director's pieces. So I am in great company (besides one TERRIBLE partner, but we are always switching, so none of us has to suffer with him for too long) and the process is even kind of nice. Plus I was getting bored going home at 3:00 or earlier every day while the director choreographed first movement!

But of course it's not just this that contributes to my suddenly busy schedule. We also started rehearsing a full-length ballet (complete with guests from the Bolshoi in a beautiful theater!) Naturally, I was very excited for this, but it turns out to be not so great. My arch-enemy, the evil ballet mistress has taken over rehearsals! I cannot stand her or her way of "teaching". I use the term loosely, since she just expects everyone to somehow already know everything and prefers to enjoy herself dancing around (in a slightly different way each time) instead of telling us important details about the choreography and musicality. It is SO frustrating, especially when she yells at us for not knowing what we are doing and changing, for example, the position of the arms on a daily basis. Not to mention my legs are killing me from standing for so long in one position (but that's the corps for you, and I accept that).

And on top of that, we had a choreographer come today to set his contemporary piece on us. This is actually very exciting. I have never done anything like this and I think it is a great opportunity, although it is very far out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately he is only here for the weekend, and then he will leave and a student of his will take over rehearsals. So we need to use all the time we have, which meant grueling rehearsals today and Sunday, when I assume he will cast the piece. Oh yeah and there's two performances tomorrow. After swinging my legs and body around in ways I've never done before, smacking into others, myself, and the floor, I laboriously made it up the stairs to my apartment and iced, soaked, and slathered on the arnica. Please let my legs come back to life before tomorrow! On the bright side, the choreography is amazing, and the choreographer is a genuinely nice guy who is fun to work with. I think it will be a great piece. Wish me luck for tomorrow! The choreographer will be watching...


Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Sanna - How I've Changed

A lot has changed over these past (almost 3!) years. I went from being an unpaid pd striving for an american company, to a professional company member in a foreign company. Before I was lucky and happy to dance a corps role, while now I am doing many soloist parts. I had a pretty good technical base, but barely an idea of how to dance with the maturity of a seasoned professional. I know I have come a long way in that sense and have learned to work a great deal for myself, rather than just doing what the teacher tells me.

For once I also feel that my body is finally under control. It's been a long time since I was told to lose weight, and I am personally happy with my body. In addition, my feet and toes finally feel like they are under control. In reality, I am dancing a lot less en pointe than I did in school, and my achilles, bunions, and toenails are happy. I have also figured out exactly how to manipulate my shoes so they work for me and when enough is enough. I realize now it is sometimes more important to save my body than push too much and sacrifice my performance when it counts.

Also, living in a foreign country has been quite an experience. Learning another language and dealing with a new and different culture really broadens your horizons, and in many cases makes me appreciate my home! I toured a completely different country as well as my own as a tourist, which was very interesting. I have performed in the most horribly small, dirty, and inappropriate places for ballet I could've imagined, along with some of the most beautiful. I think it's good to be able to deal with these types of things, but it's another reason why I'm excited and hopeful to get a job back in the states.

I just hope my slightly more impressive resume, more mature style of dancing, and better relationship with my body will help me get a job in the states in a company that fits me well. I think everything happens for a reason, so I just have to swallow my fear and trust that things will work out for the best.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Janie in the US - almost!

Hello Janie!

Wow -- that is a big leap over the BIG pond. You want to follow your intuition, Janie.
Things change. Tell us what is different now that supports your decision to leave. Let's get real clear with this move.

Sanna Carapellotti.
Hypnotherapy for performers

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dear Sanna - There's no place like home

I've been toying with this idea for a while, seriously since the New Year, and I have officially decided it is time for me to come back to the US. I know that is where I really want to be, and I feel like the clock is ticking. The best teachers I've had in this company are gone now, and I don't think I can progress much more here. So now it's time to bite the bullet, and come back home in the Summer and try to get a job. I have been sending emails and dvds all over the place, but I know now is the time for auditions, not in July or August when my contract ends here. I know it will be very difficult, but at least I can hopefully guest somewhere for Nutcracker or do some slave labor (that's what I call unpaid apprentices and that type of thing) until next audition season if I can get a full time contract.

I just think waiting around here won't help, so at some point I am going to have to give it a shot. Hopefully I can leave on good terms and leave the door open in case things don't work out back home and I want to come back here. I won't be sharing this news with the director for a while though - it's best in this company to wait with these things, as the director gets very offended and may treat me differently. It won't help anyone to tell this soon.

On the bright side I am so looking forward to returning to the American way of life! I'll have to keep that in mind during those very frustrating moments in my future.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dear Sanna - There ARE no rules!

The most frustrating part of this all is that there are no rules here. Everything is a complete mess. Like I said, I don't even get real rehearsals for the variation. Also, there is no official ballet mistress to work with me, and no official choreography other than the last girl who did the part. I learned it from her, and we have changed many things since then. The "evil" ballet mistress I mentioned says all the time that I have choices.

Besides, we didn't even change any choreography. Just things as minor as bending the elbow slightly more, or trying to turn out more or balance longer. I thought this was just trying to do a part better, not changing precious choreography. The evil woman is just on a power trip. I knew before I even danced that she would not tell me anything good about it, because somebody else worked on it. After the performance, which went fairly well, most people came and told me I did really well. The nice dancer/ballet mistress told me it was getting there, so of course I understand there is still room to grow. It was like doing it the first time with the new corrections. Then the evil ballet mistress came, said "the variation..." and made a face. She went on to say what a shame it was that we worked so hard for so long for nothing. It really upsets me, because I am happy with the way I danced the part, and she makes it seem like I threw away all the work and danced badly.

The good news is, the evil ballet mistress appeared to forget about the whole issue, so it can be like it never happened. But I don't want to dance the way she tells me to. Often she says to do things that are just technically incorrect, and the rest of the time she is forcing people to dance exactly the way she did. She was a nice dancer, but very small and her style really does not apply to all dancers, especially not ones with long limbs that don't need to fudge every line to appear longer.

I am also not the only one who feels this way - almost all the dancers agree, and she often contradicts other teachers. leaving dancers confused about which way we are supposed to do things. I will try my best to respectfully choose whose advice I follow, but I don't care what she thinks if I feel I am doing the right thing.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Janie Dances her Way!

Hi Janie,

Very confusing. A twist of the hand, or landing on a new mark -- I have to imagine that your changing the choreography felt like an insult to her, otherwise why would she react that way?

I'm asking... what are the rules?

You have advanced to soloist (Yeah!!!). Would a core member take dancer's license? Is this a new behavior? I am curious honestly.

knowing that any one who dances expresses their uniqueness, yet where are the boundaries? Who grants permission to chnage choreography.

Let me know, Janie, I am curious...

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dear Sanna - Egos

So the sporadic performances of the story ballet where I have a variation continue. It is annoying because there are always large gaps of time between performances of this particular show, and most people don't really need rehearsal, plus we are busy working on other things. So if I want to rehearse the variation, it is up to me. I ask to run it after class or if there is a break during the day, but not only is it difficult at times to motivate myself, but there is not always time or I feel timid about asking. It also happens that I can't stand the ballet mistress who works with me on the variation, so I am less enthusiastic to ask for a rehearsal, but she was absent this week.

So I asked a principal in the company (who is trying to make the transition into ballet mistress herself) for some help. Well I thought it would be hard work, and I was exactly right. We worked for hours throughout the week, but I love the way the variation looked with her help. I was really happy to actually work on it and see results. Unfortunately, I knew the evil ballet mistress would not be happy with the changes. Once again I was right. In the run of 1st act, the director was also there. She started yelling out her corrections, as usual, and distracted me a lot in the end. I did it again, and we worked it out - the director told me the beginning was very nice until there.

Then the evil ballet mistress came to correct me and started belittling me, telling me what a shame it was that we worked so hard and I forgot all the corrections and changed everything. She asked how I would feel if I was sick for a week and came back and they had rehearsed somebody else for my part. I answered that that would be completely normal, because of course somebody should fill in for me if I am sick! How could I return 2 days before the show after a week out sick and perform? She is such an ego maniac she doesn't understand anything! I could barely control my temper - it's so frustrating to be happy with my performance and then hear such negative things! I don't think she cares at all how well I do the part, just how well I listen to what she says and take her corrections. It is infuriating.

I decided that I will be as respectful as possible towards her, but I am going to dance the part to the best of my ability, whether or not that incorporates her corrections. As an artist in a soloist role, I cannot let her push me around and have me dance less than my best! In the corps de ballet I will dance how I am told, and even in a soloist role I normally would listen to my ballet masters, but in this situation I do not at all trust or agree with her. She tells me things that I know are not congruent with good ballet technique. Anyway, in today's rehearsal she appeared to have forgotten the fight. She is one of those people that has to instantly forget a fight, because if she held any grudges she wouldn't have one single person to talk to.

On the bright side, it was great working with the dancer/teacher and I hope tomorrow's performance will show that, not the negativity I encountered.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dear Sanna - Back to the Basics

Just to follow up, the replacements show turned out even crazier than expected! Just one day after replacing the injured replacement principle (also one day before the show), another important dancer called in sick. I was again amazed to see that even when we thought we had dug as deep as we could, we somehow managed to rearrange once again for the sick dancer. Her replacement did two new major roles in addition to as many as her original roles as logistically possible on her birthday nonetheless!

...but now that's in the past and we have a slower breather of a week before more shows. Friday I didn't even have one rehearsal, so after class I was free to go! I decided to take advantage of the situation and did center en pointe. This was one of the extremely rare moments this year when I felt I could spare both toes and shoes at the same time to do class en pointe (I can literally count the times on one hand). It was definitely a humbling experience to say the least. Now I see how much I really need to work to be strong enough for a company in the states. It's not that I think I've gotten worse, but I have changed my focus and cannot do much as I used to, even if what I do is technically better. Make sense? Anyway after class a friend helped me work on pirouettes (which of course ended up with my arms and back) for about 20 minutes until I could finally do a double to the left en pointe. Very disappointing, although I am hoping it was just a bad day/bad shoes.

At least I know what I need to work on! There's my week's focus.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Janie, True Support and Cohesiveness

Yes, I too must apologize. I have neglectful. Due to many new exciting projects in my work.

Janie, you and I must make a pact to write consistently as we have. We will each post once a week, unless we choose to do so otherwise.

Deal? Done.

I am very impressed with your mood and flexibility with all the changes. How everyone stepped up to the plate to help each other.

These times of change create beautiful and powerful connections between you and your colleagues. "I have your back" is another way to put it.

As we have talked, although you are cast in one role, you must always be attentive to other parts and be prepared to step in n the case of unpredictable life events. You are a professional, a seasoned one. It is these moments that strengthen you and teach you how resilient and capable and powerful you really are. It's like living out loud.

I reread your note and I am thrilled that you presented it without much angst, Janie. You know how words can evoke emotion. There was a very nice presence in how your conveyed the events.

The dancer with the welt - I hope she is better.
The dancer who messes around carries appropriate guilt for the injury.

However, it is much deeper than that, isn't it?

Love you all,

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

Visit my website! NEW service: Enhanced physical therapy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Sanna - The Replacements

First of all, sorry for the absence! I'm not sure if it's a good thing that blogging more often was not on my list of new years' resolutions (because that would mean I failed miserably), but at any rate from this point on I am adding it!

So we managed to get through the extremely crazy december schedule, but definitely not without plenty of drama. During one of the shows, a company remember notorious for goofing off was messing with a stage worker, resulting in a big metal bar smashing down on somebody's head. This person happened to be the principle of the show. She had a huge welt on her forehead, with no chance of being able to dance. Unsurprisingly for this company, she was actually a replacement for the original principle, so not only did we need to replace her main part, but also a corps part she is also involved in. We had about 2 minutes to get the poor corps dancer ready. The alternate cast soloist had about 20 minutes.

These changes did not even directly affect me, but it was amazing to see how much it indirectly affects everyone. I am impressed with how this company can come together, helping to piece together a non-existent costume and guide a dancer through choreography she doesn't know at all. Not to mention the chain reaction of switches in the second act when we plucked the other principle out.

...but that's not all! The next day was our very important PREMIER of our triple bill! Nobody knew if the girl with the welt would be able to dance or not, so we all prepared to share her parts. Thankfully she came the next day. I really don't know how she danced, but we still helped her out by filling in where we could.

Then about a week ago we began replacing the principle in another ballet because she will have to miss one show. Just after we arranged everything, the replacement got injured and we had to really scrape to replace the replacement! This of course is just 2 days before the show. That meant emergency rehearsals and a lot of overtime for everyone!

It seems to be in order, but only time will tell!