04/18/23 08:00 AM Filed in: Personal
Today’s blog post will be centered around juggling high school, dance, music, and mental health.
There’s no doubt that teenagers have a lot going on, especially in recent years - it’s hard to find time to turn off while you’re surrounded by school, friends, family, relationships, jobs, social media and extracurriculars all the time. And while I don’t attend traditional school, I am definitely still a teenager.
I feel like the end of last year was when I finally understood how I can best balance everything going on in my life. I found that being organized, and letting go of things that no longer served or supported me helped me feel more prepared and present in my many roles. I’ve continued to practice gratitude and appreciation as well - for example, if I had a bad day then I come into the dance studio, I try to remember how thankful I am to be here, and how lucky I am to have such amazing teachers. Practicing gratitude has really helped me feel less overwhelmed, irritated, and frustrated in relation to my schedule. I’ve let go of a lot of social media (I only have Instagram now), and the whole mentality that comes with it - Snapchat and Tiktok culture I realized were very toxic for me, and even now at times I need to delete Instagram until I can check in with myself again. Social media took up a lot of my mental space that is now clear and open to work on other things that hold more value to me.
A couple morals of mine are everyone deserves to know they’re loved, and showing up 110%. I love being the person to help others feel heard, loved, and seen - I’ve found so much joy and beauty in being an unconditional friend. It’s hard at times, and it has taken practice not to take non-reciprocated conversations/moments/relationships to heart, but by practicing gratitude it helps me remember the importance in holding that space for others. By showing up 110%, It makes me feel more involved and committed to what I’m doing, and helps me learn even more about it. By really diving into whatever it may be; a favor, the dishes, a conversation, a dance piece, a lyric, I learn so much more about what it can offer me and teach me. I also believe that creating a strong work ethic will ultimately serve you more than relying on natural talent. That can be applied in friendships, relationships, jobs, or extracurriculars. Even if the hard work goes unseen by peers or mentors, I know it doesn’t matter because I see it, and it’s a standard I hold myself to. Being committed, kind, hard working, and present takes some work, but will never do you harm.
Because of all the opportunities in my life, and really working on who I am in relationship to them, it can get pretty tiring and draining. Finding things I like to do that open up conversation to myself have helped significantly in keeping my mental space clear - things like painting, cleaning, running, stretching, and watching movies. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Finding ways to work on that relationship and conversate with yourself will help you discover more about who you are.
Those are a few things I’ve practiced and am working on in order to live a balanced life. :) Like I said, being in high school / a young adult is hard by default, but I feel through these things I’ve been able to be more open for all life has to offer me. I hope you all are safe and healthy! I’m always sending love!!
04/12/23 10:00 AM Filed in: dance
In my last blog post, I shared a bit about how dance conventions run, and in this one, I want to share a bit more about a part of it - my solo! My solo this season is self-choreographed, and has had many changes, versions, and edits done to it. I thought I could share the process behind choreographing a self-performed solo, and all the things that have happened to get it to where it is today!
The process began by selecting music. I had an idea of the style of dance I wanted to do (contemporary), so, I looked for songs that moved and inspired me. I had come across one that I really liked, and I even started choreographing to it - however, after the process continued for a bit, I no longer resonated with the song, and it didn’t feel quite right. The search for a song continued.
Many Youtube music rabbit holes later, I found the perfect song. It inspired me so much, and told a story I was moved by. I quickly got to choreographing.
(Here is the song! https://youtu.be/HNw6GYRZ040 - ‘Witching Hour’ by the Echo Collective)
Choreographing was fun, confusing, frustrating, and very educational. I learned a lot about how I create, and the mental preparation that goes into choreographing. As I had mentioned earlier, there were many, many versions of my solo - there are parts that have stayed the same since day 1, and others that are still being changed today. It’s nice to know because it’s mine, I can change it if something feels better, or makes more sense. I drew inspiration from many things for this solo - colors, memories, feelings, stories… It was so cool working with so many possibilities. As I was working, the title ‘Inflection Point’ came to me - In math/business, it refers to a point where significant change occurs. It felt very fitting for this piece’s intention and emotion, so I stuck with that as its title.
Once the choreography was finished I worked with one of my teachers, Elissa Edwards, weekly to clean it, edit some things, add some things, and go over intention and purpose. I’ve learned how important it can be to gain a second opinion, or even just have a second set of eyes working with you. It’s sometimes difficult for an artist to step back and look at their work objectively, so I’m grateful to have had someone to help me out in that sense.
The process of cleaning and refining continued, before and between competitions as well. I had performed my solo at a competition in January, and looking back at it compared to the most recent competition, it’s safe to say it was in its early stages of life. (Which is probably what i’ll say at the next competition too! It’s always growing and evolving…)
At the most recent competition/convention we went to, 24/Seven, I was so nervous to do my solo. There were so many incredibly talented artists there, and I was so scared to showcase my dance abilities, as well as choreography! I remember standing behind the wings, taking deep breaths, and completely forgetting how my solo started. I shook it out, and was reminded to trust myself - I've worked so hard on this solo, and I’m so happy with the way it has grown.
After I performed it, I felt solid. I feel like it was the best time I’ve ever done it. I was able to relax, until I remembered awards. And while awards are not the reason I dance, they’re always a little nerve wracking. As they announced the overall placements, I was getting so nervous. Eventually, my number was called for 3rd place, and I couldn't have been happier. I cried in my hotel room because I was just so proud of myself. Like I said, awards are not the reason I dance, and they really don’t mean much - but in times where you do get that recognition, it feels so good. That competition was hard. I walked out of it with a proud heart, and happy soul.
I hope that explained a bit about the process behind creating and performing a solo! I am so excited to do my solo again at the next (and last) competition/convention. The link above is my solo at 24/Seven - I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you for reading, and thank you for your love and support always! :)
04/11/23 06:00 PM Filed in: dance
Happy Spring everyone!
As you may or may not know, a part of my dance world is attending dance conventions! In this blog post, I would love to share a look into that side of my life….
Dance conventions are a weekend (Fri-Sun) long event, filled with performance, auditions, and classes. A typical dance convention schedule will look something like this:
(The titles Petite/Mini/Junior/Teen/Senior are divided up by age!)
•Starting at around 7/8am: Mini and Junior Solos/Duets/Trios Competition
•(Awards for Mini/Junior Solos)
•Petite/Mini/Junior Group Dances Competition
•(Awards for Petite/Mini/Junior Dances)
•Teen Solo/Duets/Trios Competition
•(Awards for Teen Solos/Duets/Trios)
•Senior Solo/Duets/Trios Competition
•Around 10-11pm: (Awards for Senior Solos/Duets/Trios)
•Starting at around 7/8am: convention classes - classes take place in big hotel/convention center ballrooms, with a stage/microphone/speakers where the teachers/assistants dance. About halfway in between classes there is an hour/or 45 min lunch break. Convention classrooms are also divided by age, using the same titles (Petite, Mini, Junior, Teen, Senior).
•Conventions classes end around 2/3pm, and the Teen/Senior group dance competition begins.
•Around 11pm-12am: (Awards for Teen/Senior group dances)
•Starting at around 7/8am: convention classes, and on Sunday is typically the Senior room audition.
•Here is the audition explained:
•What are we auditioning for? At Regional competitions, you are auditioning for eligibility to compete at that convention’s Nationals, as well as a full scholarship to next year's Regional convention.
•In Ballet class on Saturday, we learn a combo that is then used in addition to a combo we learn during a class on Sunday that we audition with.
•During convention classes and auditions, we have numbers on our clothes that are used to help out in the audition/class process.
•To begin, all numbers in the room are divided into groups, and will ‘go on the floor’ to perform the combo, then line up in a straight line as the teachers discuss and write down numbers they wish to see for a callback. This will continue until all groups have gone.
•After all groups have gone, there will be a callback to perform the Ballet combo we learned the day before. The same process of calling out a few groups/standing in a straight line will happen until all Ballet callbacks are finished.
•Then, there is one more round of callbacks where we perform the 1st audition combo again.
•Finally, they will call out numbers who receive the ‘convention audition finalist’ title. The winners of the audition scholarship will be announced at a closing show after convention classes are finished.
•Around 2pm: Convention classes finish, and the closing show begins. The closing show typically consists of scholarship winner announcements, guest performers, and studios performing a convention selected dance to showcase (meaning, the convention will select one dance that competed Saturday night to perform at the closing show again). Which means, we all need to get into hair, costume, and makeup again.
•The closing show finishes around 3pm-4pm, and that is the end of the dance convention weekend.
So… dance conventions are a lot. They are filled with so much - performance, nerves, learning, competing, very little sleep… but they are also filled with laughter, joy, memories, and community. Dance convention weekends go by so fast (yet so slow), and I always try to take it all in. The class of 2023 only has one Regional convention left… It’s crazy to think about!
Thank you so much for tuning into this part of my world - I have more dance related content coming soon, so be sure to keep watch! Dance conventions are a beautiful opportunity to grow, learn, and push yourself, and I strongly suggest going for it if you have any interest in doing so!
I hope you all have a lovely start to Spring! :)