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.
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.
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!