The Next Step

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There are some massive changes coming in the near future. Some of them are already here.

Coming out of American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive this year, I had a lot of realizations in regards to not only dance, but also in my life. As I am headed into my Junior Year of High School, I am thinking about the next phase of my life.

FACING CHANGES

One of the major changes of this next year was quitting ballet at one of my home studios. The class times changed, and I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule. Therefore, I will be attending my classes at my other two home studios, Revolution Ballet Academy and Los Angeles Ballet Academy. I plan to take private lessons with a couple of incredible teachers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with as well.

Is it hard leaving? Yes. Even though it was an incredibly hard year, the reality is that I attended that studio for four years, and friendships were made there that I will never lose, and memories were made there that I will never forget. Sometimes you get so comfortable at a certain place, you don’t realize the other incredible opportunities that are laid out right before. I will continue my modern class there, but I will not be performing in their performances and showcases.

Another major change is that I am heading into my Advanced II examination season. I can’t believe it, this season will mark seven years of examining with the Royal Academy of Dance. This year’s exam is the most important exam for me because it determines whether or not I can enter into the next phase: Solo Seal. Completing the Solo Seal Examination has been a dream of mine ever since I started examinations. In order to enter, I must complete Advanced II with a Distinction. I will be working harder than ever this year to achieve that goal.

On top of this, I will also be writing for a website called My Trending Stories. I was approached by them in late July and was asked to write for their website. So as I write for my blog and film for my Youtube Channel, I will also be writing for My Trending Stories. I am also starting a makeup business in partnership with Motives Cosmetics and helping my mom out with her skincare business. Yes, I like staying busy.

With all of these things that I am doing, I have decided to cut back on YouTube and upload only once a month. The biggest reason why is because I am not super happy with how my videos have been turning out, and with excellence being one of my core values, I want the videos to be good quality, fun, and interesting to watch.

FINDING INSPIRATION

Last year was probably one of the hardest dance seasons I’ve ever had. I was battling injuries left and right, three of which prevented me from dancing for three months, which meant lost time of preparation for my Advanced I exam and no Nutcracker.

However, I filmed most of my classes last year, and when I compare them from the last nine years of footage my mom and dad have taken, I get so overjoyed when I see how far I’ve come. When I think of all I’ve been through, from my first show at seven performing with the Moscow Ballet in the Nutcracker to entering the court as Raymonda with ABT, I realize that I am the luckiest person alive. I may dance in a studio about the size of my living room, I may dance on uneven floors, and there may even be a baby running circles around me while I perform my fouetté, but all of this is training for the real thing. It teaches me to not take anything for granted—big spaces, master teachers, pianists, etc. People may say that my situation is impossible, and yeah, sometimes it sucks, but I can honestly say that my “situation” has made me the dancer I am today.

I may not have gotten the score I wanted for my Advanced I, and I may have cried about it for a week. But right now, it doesn’t matter. Advanced I is history, Advanced II is now. And this year, I am going to work my butt off, and I will achieve the goal I set for myself years ago.

MY TIPS FOR DANCE CLASS

TIP NUMBER 1: Every year, I make a list of goals for myself. It’s a great way to inspire you, but sometimes, at least for me, I give up on some because I’m not ready for them. Set realistic goals for yourself. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to take on something that you may not be ready for. Everyone is different. Some people can achieve doing 32 fouetté at 13, and some people can achieve them at 16 or 17 (me).

TIP NUMBER 2: Ask your teacher if you can take notes in class. Sometimes they’ll say something amazing and it clicks, but then when you try to remember it, you can’t. It’s so frustrating. For me, I record class with my camera, but you can also turn on your voice memos and leave that on. *NOTE: if you want to record class with a camera, be sure to ask your teacher and fellow dancers first.*

TIP NUMBER 3: At the end of class, ask your teacher what they think you need to work on. It shows that you have work ethic and you actually care about what they have to say. Also, if you have a question on how to make a correction, don’t be afraid to ask! The worst thing ever is when you try and correct it when you don’t understand it, and you end up using the wrong muscles and wind up on the sidelines injured. Trust me guys, I am speaking from personal experience! I have done this before, and it got me injured. ASK QUESTIONS!!!

TIP NUMBER 4: While you’re waiting for your turn to do the combination, watch the group from the point of view as a teacher. I do it all the time, and it helps me make mental notes of the corrections that are being given. Usually, I look for flaws in people’s technique, and I make a mental note to not make the same mistake. If you are allowed to record yourself in class, watch yourself with the same perspective, and you will catch things that you like and don’t like.

If you all want to see my Q&A addition, click play to watch!

 

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American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive Update Week 3: 8/12/16

I can’t believe it’s over…

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week! Well, here is the 3rd and final post for American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Update! I can’t believe how fast these past three weeks have gone. Even though I went back home and got a cold in August, it was still a great week.

The first day back, I had a slight fever, chills, you know, the whole bit. What sucked was that I had a rehearsal later that day as well, and also another variations class. So I decided to save my energy for later and sat out of my technique classes. Don’t worry, I took notes.

Later on, I put on my pointe shoes and performed my roles (a court dancer and a queen). The role of entering the court as queen wasn’t hard at all, but the court dancer part was. Nonetheless, I performed feeling absolutely terrible and I surprised myself with how well I’d done. I know it wasn’t perfect, but I don’t care. I felt like I was at my worst and I pushed through it. Hearing the teacher telling me I did a good job was enough for me.

The week went on, and the more I danced, the more I felt better. I realized that it’s all in my head. If I think I will do poorly because I feel poorly, then I will do poorly. One of our teachers earlier on (as well as my wonderful mother for the last nine years) told us that when you have bad days, you have to change the way you think. I was put to the test, and honestly, I feel as though I passed.

Dress rehearsals were actually good, and the teacher was pleased, which made our whole level ecstatic. Friday was the day of the Showcase. We had an excellent warm-up (final) class. For me (and for others), it was extremely emotional. We got ready for the first show where I was to enter the court with my partner as the “queen.” Going on stage and performing that part was a surreal experience for me. It may have been short, but it was still, in my opinion, the most amazing experience I’d ever had. Maybe it was because I was chosen by the teachers from ABT— I don’t know.

After the show, we had a couple hours to kill, so we had a dance party. It was so much fun, and I realized how many people here I was going to miss… ALL OF THEM!!! I even took videos so I could document this experience and so I could look back on it in the future.

I was more nervous for the second show where I performed as one of the court dancers. The steps were unnerving, and before this intensive, I’d never done them. The difficulty of the steps were harder than some of my studios had ever given, which was both exciting and nerve racking.

As soon as I went out onto that stage, the fear melted away and it became fun. Dancing alongside my friends was an incredible feeling, and I wished that it would never end. When we took our final bows, it hit me that this was over. On Monday, I would be back home, and the rest of my friends would be scattered all over the world. It literally made me cry.

This summer intensive was such an emotional experience. For once, I was having fun. I was letting go, performing in ways I didn’t know I could. I met so many amazing people I can now call friends. All the teachers’ encouragement made me feel like all the crap I’d gone through in the last year was all worth it. For once, I felt understood by people who know exactly what it’s like to be in the world I want to live in.

Thank you American Ballet Theatre for this wonderful experience. I learned so much and I am incredibly blessed and honored to have worked with such incredible teachers and dancers.

Rate: 15/15

Sincerely,

Sung Eun Rose

Featuring: American Ballet Theatre’s Violet Level Dancers, Julie Kent, Duncan Lyle (teachers)

American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive Update 2: 8/7/16

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Hello Everyone!!!!

My gosh, it’s been an incredible week. I can’t even describe the way I feel right now. Grateful, excited, appreciated, and loved.

All of our technique classes for both flat and pointe have been pretty solid. There was one day that I didn’t feel quite myself, but I quickly pushed through the point of exhaustion and stiffness to power and strength. Who knew?!

Our partnering classes this week were no joke. It was full on, real work. Being someone that rarely partners, it’s been so amazing working with the amazing teachers and our patient partners. I had the same guy twice in a row and I gotta say, he’s an incredible partner (shown in photo).

We only had two repertoire classes (thankfully), and we got our casts. They are not going easy on us at all, and I actually love it. It’s pushed me to my limits and has shown me what I am truly capable of.

I’ve learned so much in every one of my classes. In my notebook, I have pages of notes. It’s kind of ridiculous, but it will be helpful to look back on.

Even jazz and modern (which are not my forte) were super amazing. As I said in last week’s update, my goal for this year was to let loose and have fun. Well, I did exactly that, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Guys, little tip: HAVE FUN!!!!

We had a new class added: Variations. Both classes were at the end of the day, so in all honesty, I was scared to death of how it was going to go. Surprisingly, it was actually enjoyable and I learned a lot. Like, the second day of Variations, I decided to try both. The second one was fast and the difficulty was (for me) out of this world. I decided to have fun and perform it, and I didn’t realize I could perform with such character.

I know… it’s weird for me too, guys. I was literally blushing with embarrassment. But, I realized that if I didn’t push myself to do that variation, I wouldn’t have known that I had that level of performance in me.

I’ve learned so much about myself as a dancer that I know will help me. It makes me so excited to go back home and show off all that I’ve learned. Honestly, the teachers have been so incredibly generous with how much information they’ve offered, and the people I dance with every day make each day more fun and interesting. You never know what might happen. There’s always something new every day.

We only have one week left!!! Where did time go??!!

Until next week,

Sung Eun Rose

Featuring: Jake Ray

 

American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive Update 1: 07/31/16

Hey everyone!

I told you all that I was going to American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in Irvine, California. In just one week, I’ve learned so much, met so many great people, and honestly, I’ve had a whole lot of fun.

I’ve been to ABTSI last year as well. I was battling an injury, so I was unable to continue with all of my classes. One of the things last year I learned was that I over-tuck my pelvis, and my placement was off. After the intensive, I went to physical therapy to get stronger and to fix it. My body freaked out and swelling appeared. However, there was no pain. After a frustrating few months of no dancing, I finally went back, and it took a lot of time to fix my placement. I took my RAD exam (you can check out my blog post “Where I Dreamed” under VLOGS) and didn’t get the score that I wanted. At this point, I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

Skipping a few months ahead, the ABT intensive finally arrived. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I was worried that I would constantly be exhausted, much like my normal dance life back at home. But this week, I’ve been so refreshed.

Sometimes you need a change of perspective and scenery, different teachers, and extra encouragement. Being on the UCI campus where the studios are nice and large and beautiful makes me feel so free and excited about dance. Even though it’s only week one, it’s been an honor to be instructed by the teachers ABT has provided for us. I’ve learned so much, and already, I can’t wait to go back home to show my teachers.

The first day was Placement Class and Injury Prevention. The second day, we found out our levels, and our day consisted of Ballet Flat Technique, Pas De Deux (partnering), Repertoire, and Jazz. All of these classes were absolutely incredible. Pas De Deux is something I rarely get to do, so getting to do partnering here at ABTSI is such an awesome experience. For repertoire, we are learning excerpts of Raymonda.

For the rest of the week, we had technique class everyday, both flat and pointe. We always have an hour for lunch each day, which is nice, even though it’s such a long walk to the cafeteria. The afternoons consist of different things: yoga, pilates, anatomy, repertoire, jazz, modern, character, and more.

Not only are our instructors incredible, but I’ve met some amazing people here as well. I’ve met so many more people than last year, and I am so incredibly excited about new friendships from all over the world- literally.

The best advice I’ve been given this year was to have fun. I have a hard time letting loose and letting go. But I’m so grateful I’ve gotten to meet great friends who help me let loose and don’t care. So, that’s what I’ve been doing, and it has totally changed the way I feel. I feel happier and more excited about dance.

One of our teachers, Duncan Lyle (a professional dancer at ABT) told us that there are going to be the days where we feel horrible. His advice: put on a smile and nod. Think about what you’re thankful for. Above all, make sure you have fun. I had to do that this week, and it’s the best advice. It really works. I promise.

More updates to come!

Sung Eun Rose

Featuring: Alyssa Barton, Leah Hill, & Nikki Rosenbloom