SJDT Nutcracker 2014

It’s been almost 2 weeks since the SJDT performances, and the euphoria and the crash have both subsided. It was so hard to go back to work after that week, I felt like it was stepping into a different life. Maybe that’s part of the magic and the charm that keeps me coming back.

Had I known ahead of time that we’d have rehearsals every Saturday and Sunday for almost 3 months, I’m not sure I would have had the heart to sign up. It was grueling at times not having a day off from work or rehearsals, especially since work this time of year tends to be busy, but I think the attention put into the production really helped. Putting together a whole new production with new choreography was a big undertaking, and I’m just so impressed that the SJDT community pulled it off. Given the tough circumstances, a lot of us had more roles than we might have deserved (or wanted!), and being cast in all the shows was certainly rough during the performances. But the board and the others working behind the scenes also poured their hearts into getting everything working and getting the seats filled, and I think that’s equally impressive and deserving of respect. Even if I didn’t personally dance all that well, it’s hard to say the shows weren’t ultimately a success for the company and for the school. I think Linda’s tenure as artistic director is off to a good start.

My body’s almost healed up from the abuse of theatre week and performing, not to mention the cold that plagued me and a number of others throughout that week. I managed to pull a hip muscle in one of the Saturday shows, and it’s slowly getting better, but I have a feeling it will be one of those persistent injuries. Somehow, my right ankle survived with just a little tenderness.

I normally don’t get nervous for shows because I really have nothing to lose, but that first time stepping on the SJCPA was rather intimidating. The stage is so much larger than the others I’ve been on, and it has an air of seriousness that surpasses those of a smaller theatre such as MVCPA. Of the four “real” shows, I think two went well for me and two didn’t go so well. I still cringe a little remembering how I completely missed an entrance on the Friday night show, after making the same mistake in the Thursday runthrough. I could chalk it up to being sick and exhausted from the week, or that it’s kind of weird to have that short appearance of Russian in Waltz of the Flowers, but it was definitely an embarrassing lapse. Good thing it wasn’t critical to the ballet; still, stupid me. Live performances are never perfect, but sometimes I wish there were a reset button.

It wasn’t an easy decision to do a different studio’s Nutcracker this year, and it was sad to bail on my old ballet family and not able to see the WB show. I really wish I could have seen some of the girls in the roles they got this year, but alas, the shows were all on the same weekend. In the end, though, I think it was worth it: some old friends, many new friends, and another learning experience. I tell myself that I’ll stop ballet when I stop improving or learning, and this was a great opportunity that reinvigorated me at a time when I was close to quitting (although maybe I say this every year as well). Being able to work with new choreography was also great, and now I can say that I’ve had a soloist role made for me. I hope I’ve improved my partnering a little bit, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to have the roles I got, especially Marzipan. It’s been a magical ride.

New, old world

It took a while to port over my website from the old hosting service to the new, but I think it’s finally done. After spending the past three years analyzing UI projects, I’m not sure I can keep my old website design without cringing a little. I’m going to try sticking with this default wordpress theme (twentyfourteen) for a little while, even though there are some things I don’t particularly care for about it; I dislike all caps. At least it’s mostly minimalist, so that’s good.

I’ve been failing miserably in writing more this year. For some reason, it gets harder and harder to find the time and also the mental space to write. Even when I have thoughts floating in my head, it’s so hard to materialize them into words, perhaps an extended (hopefully not permanent) writer’s block. Sometimes it seems so pointless, but sometimes it’s immanently clear that writing, pouring out thoughts, is so important and cathartic.

This year has been flying by. Life just keeps on flowing, and these days I’m going along for the ride. Somehow, I’ve moved back down to Mountain View despite not particularly wanting to. There’s a lot of time savings from not having to spend 2.5 hours commuting — traffic keeps getting worse, which makes the value proposition of living in San Francisco less appealing. Ideally, I’ll be able to purchase a condo in the near future, although the torrid housing price gains make that unappealing as well.

Of course, the biggest oddity of the second half of this year is how I ended up not doing WB’s Nutcracker and doing SJDT’s instead. I’m still not sure how it happened, but given the partnering opportunity and just learning new choreography, I think it was the right decision. And even though it’s nice to meet new friends and see some familiar faces, I sorely miss the WB crew. The thing that sucks the most is that the shows are on the same weekend, so I won’t even be able to watch.

Holiday season also means busy season with work and rehearsals. It would be a fun sort of hectic if it weren’t for the fact that rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday has meant that I don’t get to sleep in at all, and it feels like I have no break from ballet or work. But these are the choices I made, so it must all make sense to a different me. Maybe it’s better not to stop and breathe when you can just run, run, run.

These Magic Moments

Theater week is always a crazy time when work work always seems to coincidentally spike. But in all that deliriousness and panic, somehow the show always comes together, and everything is beautiful and amazing even if I kind of forgot the choreography. I always feel so honored to be able to dance with all these girls, women, and professionals; going through rehearsals with old friends; making new friends; getting through the difficulties to make things happen. The girls especially are such good sports, putting up with my lackluster partnering skills. I know I’m slowly getting better at this, but the girls are definitely advancing way faster than me. I’m so inspired to be able to dance with them, to see that kind of focus and dedication, to see them grow up. It’s really going to be kind of sad when L. and S. graduate — they were the two that I feel like I grew up with in ballet (although that’s elevating myself to rather lofty heights) since they were the young level 5 girls when I started ballet, and now they’re the seniors who command the stage.

In any case, the two La Fille shows went really well in my opinion, despite some minor hiccups on my part. (The nice thing about comedy ballets is that if you mess up, it doesn’t necessarily look out of place.) It really seemed too short to just have a Friday evening and Saturday matinee show. Everything seemed to end before I knew it. On the other hand, it was nice having a Sunday to relax and unwind before the start of the week. And even if I don’t really like my worlds colliding, I’m also very grateful for my friends who came to see the show. It means a lot to me that all y’all would put up with seeing a full-length ballet.

I was going to write this long post about whether to move from sf. It was going to be titled “The Decision 2014” and have two arguments describing the pros and cons of moving or staying, with rebuttals and responses, all debate-like. But all my laziness in writing means that I’ve made the decision to move back closer to work before I’ve written that post, and I already regret my decision. I don’t think either choice would have been one I’d be happy with. The ledger is just too balanced, but in the end, feeling nauseous four or five days a week just doesn’t seem like a healthy thing for me. I just hope that I really will make good on my plan to visit my friends in the city more often than I did in my previous south bay stint.

It really sucks, though, because I never had much time to enjoy free time in the city. It’s not like I would have gone out a lot, but what with work and ballet and vacations like the JMT, a lot of time the past year was decidedly spent not within San Francisco. I can hardly believe that it’s been almost a year already. Time flies.

A. was trying to convince me to stay in sf, saying that life is about those Moments, not about all the time in between, and that staying in the city would enable more such moments. My roommate also brought up the good point that the marginal cost for moments would be so much lower if I stayed up here. But maybe moments shouldn’t be defined by a place. Or maybe I just want to make my life more challenging and difficult. Life might as well be an adventure.