I'm Back!

So, I've been gone for a while! I've had a fantastic summer full of intensives. I spent one week at Indiana University's Pre-College Ballet Summer Program and five weeks at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. After, I spent two weeks Arts Camp for Teens in Townsend Ma. My grandmother is currently visiting us! This summer has been crazy!  I want to share a little about my summer with you:

IU: it was a crazy week, and a great learning experience. We learned excerpts from Balanchine's Swan Lake and original choreography. We had a fantastic faculty and plenty of classes! (As well as a beautiful campus!) We had ballet, pointe and rehearsal every day, as well as rotating class in jazz, modern, health and music appreciation. I learned so much and have a better idea of what they are looking for. I feel much more prepared for auditioning there this fall!

What an amazing five weeks! I can't possibly say enough good about this program. We had so many classes and amazing faculty! Some of my favorites were Cynthia B., Melinda H., Susan V., Sara G., and Amy Y.
I had three roommates, and I was in Matthews dorm. Our RA's were the nicest people! I made many friends.
I also have scads of notes! What the teachers say is true: at CPYB you learn enough for a year! I was able to take a couple pritvate lessons, which was fabulous.

I loved my summer and I'm excited for the upcoming year. I will be taking tests, applying for college, and auditioning!

- Julia

We're sorry to inform you...

You are a dedicated student: you set goals, achieve them and work diligently. You think you are the best fit for that summer program, school, college or company. Two weeks later, a letter comes in the mail: "we're sorry to  inform you..."
What is going through your head? Does the world come crashing down? Are you sad? Angry? Did you expect it? How in the world are you going to recover?

Here are a few of my tips, tricks and experiences: 

Step 1: Cry

Being rejected is awful. You feel inadequate, dejected, unmotivated and you're angry. That's ok. Take time to feel all those emotions.  It's an important and healthy to take time to grieve. Find a parent, significant other, grown-up you're fond of, or best friend and talk to them about how you feel. It's all right, you can cry.

Step 2: Smile
Now, its time to set aside your grief for a moment. (Only a moment, don't worry, you can do it!)
You are epic! Did you hear that? You're brilliant. You persevered all year, you are a beautiful dancer and have wonderful technique. You deserved to be in that audition. Even if you weren't accepted, it doesn't take away any of your accomplishments . Nothing can take away all your work and artistry. So hang on to that, remember all the best times, the progress you've made and smile!

Step 3: 1 + 2 = Depth and Maturity
There is a technique in pain management:
You spend a few minutes focusing and acknowledging the pain and then you spend a few minutes thinking about something that doesn't hurt. You travel back and forth, between the two, until you can hold the part that doesn't hurt in the forefront of your mind while still acknowledging the pain.

So take the pride of your diligence and accomplishments and put that in the forefront of your thoughts, but be sure to acknowledge the pain of rejection. It's important that the grief doesn't overwhelm you and it is important not to ignore it.

Step 4: Reality Check
Rejection is normal and, possibly, a positive sign. Michael Jordan, one of the best basketball players ever, was rejected from his JV basketball team --  he was too short.
Don't flatter yourself to think that you are especially awful for being rejected. You're epic. Clearly other epic people, who have succeeded, have gone through similar rejection.

Step 5: Say a prayer
I haven't made a statement on this blog about religion. I'm a Christian, I believe in God. You don't need to agree with my opinions. I intend to treat everyone with the same kindness and respect, whether or not they agree. I believe in God and he definitely carries us through. So say a prayer, God has the best plan in mind. Its difficult to understand his plan, it's frustrating to sit there and not know what's next. So prayerfully and patiently wait for options and ideas to unfold.

Step 6: Take a Vacation
Take a few quiet days. Focus on the bare necessities. Sleep a little more. Eat ice cream. Watch Netflix. Emotionally and physically you've been on a roller-coaster, give yourself time to recuperate.

Step 7: Moving Forward
Now that you've acknowledged and worked through your feelings, prayed and re-cooperated, you can create plans to move forward. Maybe it's searching for a new school, more auditions, talking with your artistic director. By this time your thoughts will be much clearer.

As you move on in your journey as a dancer, remember:

It's not where you end up, its how you end up there. It's not what you do, its how you do it!

- Julia


I started a GoFundMe to raise money for my summer intensives this year and it has been a great success! I want to thank everyone for all their generous support and donations. It is a wonderful feeling know that I'm surrounded by a group of people who love me so much!

Words cannot express my gratitude.

 - Julia


Try, Try Again!

I was inspired to write this post because of two comments from teachers:

1. You have to be a scientist!
We had a substitute teacher a couple days ago. She told us we needed to be scientists, whenever something wasn't exactly how we wanted it to be, we needed to figure what went wrong and fix it!

2. Is that the best you have ever done?
A teacher asked us this after a seemingly simple combination. She told us to make every step a little better than the last.

These two ideas combined create an apt and successful student. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts and methods for putting these ideas into use!

Speaking of scientists! Scientific method is the process of observing, questioning, hypothesizing, predicting, and testing. This may seem complex, but in reality it is a rather natural train of thought. Take the scenario of a dancer who is trying to do a triple pirouette:
She gets around twice and hops the third. She starts by observing, she notices that she can spin around three times and she can hold her passé for 3 counts. She questions why, when she puts them together, does she hop the third? She hypothesizes that her knee bends on the third rotation. She predicts that thinking about pulling up on her knee and think of turning upward instead of around will help her finish her third rotation. She then tests our her theory!

Now it may take one round of scientific method to fix her turns or it may take 500 but keep trying! There is a reason that science is continually moving forward.

On the second score:  Was that the best you have ever done?
Admittedly, when we were asked this question we, honestly, replied no. Doing everything better than you did it the last moment is deceptively overwhelming. When trying out the mind set, you will find it forces you to stay in the moment and constantly realizing how you have improved and how to move forward!

I believe that these two ideas live in tandem. Think about it as pleasing both sides of your brain, Your right brain is emotionally satisfied with the encouragement and challenge of always doing better and your left brain is soothed by the logical, clear thinking of the scientific method.

As with all habits in life they do not come instantly, take heart in knowing that you will find success, if you stick with it. We often give up when success is just around the corner. Comment below with your observations!