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?