Overdue for an Update

I know, I know! I have been totally MIA. 

I’m actually in New York right now for YAGP Finals – it’s all so exciting! I’ve been having the time of my life, from early morning until late at night, and each day here is an adventure. 

Like everything else in New York, internet is expensive. Right now I’m sitting at a Starbucks which, of course, has free Wi-Fi, but my schedule has had me running (literally – I LOVE walking the streets of NYC!) from class to class and gala to gala and keeping me so busy that actually sitting down to take some time to write anything at all has been hardly an option lately! And, as I just hinted at, the Wi-Fi at the hotel is not free…far from it! 

I keep a Project 356 journal on my Facebook, and even that has been sadly lacking lately, which is a shame, because there’s so much going on here that I’d love to share every minute!

Luckily, though, Twitter and Facebook keep me connected well enough that, as often as I get a chance, I’ve been updating ‘live-feed’ style. The only thing keeping me from doing it literally as a live feed is that my phone runs out of batteries seemingly as quick as the speed of the Subway trains here (which, while I’m on the topic, are surprisingly easy to navigate!), and it’s difficult to find a place – or, again, the time – to sit down in the middle of the day to charge it. I’m always keeping my eyes peeled wide open for a power outlet everywhere I go, in a not-highly-successful attempt to keep it charged! Even so, I’ve been able to update here and there with pictures and videos and whatnot. So if you haven’t followed me on Twitter yet, definitely do so, and check out my Facebook page as well! If you have any questions about my trip, don’t hesitate to ask me on Formspring!

Yesterday night was the YAGP Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala, which was fantastic! Tonight is the gala honoring Natalia Makharova, which – for me, at least – is the real treat; you have no idea how excited I am to see Osipova, Vasiliev, Vishneva, and a host of other international ballet stars LIVE on the stage, not to mention Makharova herself! 

I know this was a short post, but I am honestly flat-out exhausted! I can’t find it in me to write the entire, picture-dense, anecdote-heavy recap of my trip that I do intend to post – tomorrow, or sometime soon. Just not now!

I do have so much to share with you, and I can’t wait to show you all the amazing memories I’ve made and captured in pictures. 

I am sad that today is my last full day here (I leave tomorrow morning), but I did so much and enjoyed every minute of being here that even though this trip was short and compact, I don’t feel like I missed out on too much; and what I do feel like I didn’t get enough of, well – I’m just using that as an excuse for why I absolutely must, I simply have no choice but to, come back to NY soon! VERY SOON 🙂

It also helps to remind myself that I’m only going back home for a short while before being back in this same type of atmosphere when I go to Tel-Aviv in the summer. 

I decided this a long time ago, but this trip just reinforces my decision to live my life in the city! As soon as I have the means to get out of the suburbs, I’m OUT of there! New York, or Tel Aviv, or Moscow, or any other big city with culture and open-mindedness and ballet, of course – that’s the place for me. And, luckily, the profession I am in works to my advantage here, pretty much guaranteeing the opportunity to live my life city-style and with a lot of [hopefully international] travel (which I am also very fond of). It does feel good to know what I want to do with my life, and to feel like – if slowly, then surely – I am taking significant strides in the direction of shaping my life the way I want it to look. Things are happening, and it’s good!

Now I really must run, because I have a lot to do and see on my last full day here, and I don’t intend to spend it closed up in a Starbucks (which I can do easily at home)! 

So, I promise a full update, and until then – I hope this suffices to at least assure you all that I am still alive and I have not been victim to anything terrible while in this city by myself! I’m only enjoying myself far too much to bother stopping for any longer than it took me to write this post! 

A little teaser before I run off to what is sure to be another awesome day:

Guess who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday at the gala? The lovely Aleksandra Efimova of Russian Pointe. She is an incredible lady who I have a world of respect for; I admire her and look up to her success so much. We had a wonderful conversation and I so very much enjoyed telling her about myself and hearing the advice she gave me back; I hope that one day I will have the pleasure of meeting her again – and considering where I am now and where I hope to be in the world of ballet, I’m sure we will cross paths at least one other time in the future! 

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Stepping it Up

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing a face-first encounter with the brick wall of reality – and boy did it shake me up!

All this time I keep talking about the future, this summer, next year – and before I know it, it’s no longer the future, it’s now! I guess all I’m saying is that when you get so caught up in planning for the future, it can be easy to forget to recognize the fact that the future will, at some point, become the present. And when you fail to acknowledge that, it tends to come as a bit of a shocker when you look at your calendar and realize that it’s time.

It is at this point that the strong hands of reality grip your shoulders and shake you up like no tomorrow, and you wonder, “where have I been all this time, what have I been doing all this time that the time went by so fast?!”

It’s April, people!! That’s insane.

A year ago, I had planned to do my auditions right around…oh, now! Then I broke my foot, and I tried to figure out when was the absolute latest that I could do my auditions, in case that I wouldn’t be ready by now. By January, I was no longer worried about having to delay my auditions, because my foot was fine, and surely I had enough time to work on everything before April rolled around.

And then, time happened. And it happened so quickly! And now it’s April, and I am not ready for my auditions.

Training for YAGP certainly took a lot of energy and time that, arguably, I could have spent ‘getting ready’ for my auditions, whatever that means. But really, I don’t think that is very true – because YAGP itself, and primarily the preparations involved in it, was probably one of the best things I could do to help me advance and ‘get ready’ [if not specifically for auditions then for my overall future], especially after recovering from such a major injury!

But, allow me to clarify; yes, it is somewhat alarming that we’re already well into spring! At least in the sense that it took me by surprise just how fast the months seem to have gone by (and continue to go by). However, I’m not freaking out. Well…maybe a little. But not like a complete psycho…haha.

So, in light of this recent insight as to what month it is already, I’ve decided to revamp my training routine so that I can be ready as soon as possible. Oh, and as far as when I will do my auditions? I don’t know! When I am ready, I suppose? A few paragraphs up I mentioned that, when I broke my foot, I tried to see how long I could actually go before it would be too late to audition – well, I figured that August is generally the absolute latest I can push it. I REALLY wanted to do them now. But, honestly, I don’t want to do them before being ready, and ruining my chances altogether.

Right now, I’m thinking to just go with the flow. I won’t throw my plans in the trash just because they didn’t work out perfectly – and I won’t forgo giving myself the credit I absolutely deserve! I might not be ‘ready’ now, as far as ‘ready’ pertains to how I envisioned ‘readiness’ a year ago – but I am so much closer to being ready than I was then! I mean, I even surprise myself when I think about it! So I am far form unhappy; if anything, I have just gained an increased awareness of the high expectations I set for myself (which, by the way, I consider to be a wonderful thing).

Maybe I will do the auditions this summer, while away in Europe. I could do that, although I wouldn’t have my teacher with me and I really feel that I need her direct help with this one. So then, I could do them when I come back in August. My only issue with this is that I won’t know what my plans are for the year until the very last minute! Maybe it’s all the better, though, to challenge my slightly overbearing tendencies to over plan and my probably-too-enthusiastic need to know exactly what I will be doing, when, where, with whom…! And so on. It’s a bit intimidating! But it can be done.

I guess, if I had to guess now, that what will end up happening is that I’ll do some auditions in May, some in the middle of summer, and some when I get back form my summer program. Hopefully that will leave me in a good place with several options to choose from. And, of course, I can’t forget that my summer program itself has a couple opportunities for advancement of training into the school year.

Regardless of when I do the auditions, right now my priority has to be doing everything I possibly can do to be ready – whenever that may be! I just have to be ready at some point. 

So, I’ve decided on a few key things that I should be doing in order to be ready!

  1. Sleep. I am making this my priority now! It influences my ability (or lack of) to do everything else well, how efficient I am in doing all of it, my moods – it’s just so important! Definitely more important than staying up to watch Game of Thrones with my family, no matter what the impulsive part of my brain tells me when I’m ‘in the moment’. I have Tivo, and my family will still be here on the weekend, so I can sleep comfortable, knowing that I will have a chance to watch it with them on a day I don’t come home so late.
  2. Pilates. I don’t know what sparked me to want to start this, but I know it’s supposed to be good for ballet dancers. I will admit I am a little intimidated by it. But I’m going to be a big girl and get over that, and start pilates! I will be satisfied and proud of myself if I do it even just once a week. My reasoning as to why I am ok with only doing it once a week? I am trying to make lasting habits, not temporary efforts to change my routine, so I need to make it manageable and enjoyable! That, as well as the fact that my schedule does not offer me the flexibility to fit in more than one class a week – even that one class is a real stretch!
  3. A better warm-up routine that I am comfortable with. I have a problem: I always try to do too much. I want to improve my arabesque, and my turnout, and my arches, and my pirouettes; and, like a good little girl, I turn to my ever-knowledgeable friend The Internet, determined to find exercises that will help me do all that and more! The determination fades a little – ok, a lot – when I print out the list of the aforementioned exercises and it is two pages long. At this point, I am usually scratching my head trying to figure out when I can fit all those exercises in; five minutes later I will give an exasperated sigh and abandon all hope of ever being able to do my exercises reap the glorious benefits. Or, I do find a way to fit it all in, but it is so impractical that   the frequency with which I do the routine declines rapidly! It’s awful, because I need my warm up before class. I used to have a solid routine down, but – and I realize this sounds stupid – I lost the paper it was written on, and I can’t find the file on my computer where I saved it! I did have it memorized, as anyone would after doing it every single day for years, but after the recent chain of injuries, time-offs, schedule changes, getting a job, starting college, yadda yadda yadda…the routine got abbreviated and shifted and messed around with and now it’s just not the same. So I made a new one. One that I think will last and serve its purpose well. But this time, I am going at it with a more reasonable approach – one of embracing an attitude of ‘go-with-the-flow’-ness. I won’t fret if I see that I need to adjust it. I will do what works for me. But at least now I will have a warm up routine I can count on!
  4. Lose weight. Well, this is the biggest one, really. But I put it last because I don’t have anything to say about it, because I don’t need to change anything I’m doing. I’m doing everything correctly because I’m not doing anything special at all, which is just the way it should be. The reality is that my body will only lose weight as quickly as it wants to lose weight, and it didn’t want to be at my goal weight by the date I had hoped it would. So I’ll just keep going and working toward being ready – and my body will be ready…when it is ready!

Today is the last day of Spring Break and so I thought it was the perfect and most appropriate opportunity to post this. I like the idea of finishing this break off knowing that I am going back into my training much more well-prepared and with goals and ways to achieve these goals. I’m excited!!

Delay in the Q&A Video

Hi all!
So, a week ago I said I would put up the Q&A video this past weekend – needless to say, I have not done that yet!
My reason is good, I promise – I’ve gone and lost my voice!
So until I find it, the video will be put on hold…
But as soon as I can speak without sounding like nails on a chalkboard, I will put up the video! I am really excited about it!