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.