Is Fear Okay?

Yes.

In the past 6 months there have been many changes in my life. Auditions, tests, work, dance, emotions and goals have been changing and emerging. The one thing that keeps coming back is fear. I'm afraid. I'm nervous. I'm terrified. Is that a bad thing? Am I a coward?

No. Fear is natural and a good emotion! It's an instinct that protects us from hurting ourselves and others. It is a good thing to feel fear, though, it's not advantageous to let fear be crippling. I think the idea that has been dawning in my mind is that I don't have to be fearless to move forward. Fear is okay. There will always be a part of me that will be afraid. Without fear would life be as exciting? Would I have motivation to do anything if I wasn't afraid? Would I feel the same rush of adrenaline when I preform or audition?

There are many kinds of fear; some kinds are useful instincts and others are dangerous feelings of your psyche. Perhaps the kind that dancers, students and artists most often feel is a motivating kind.

As I move forward with goals, work through challenges and have tough conversations, I'm going to remember that it's okay to be afraid, I will probably always be afraid, but I mustn't let it stop me, instead,  let it inspire me! Take a page out of Lizzie Bennet's book:

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” [1]

Dares are irresistible even to the meekest of souls: the next time fear starts to cripple you, let it be a dare. A dare to move forward.

- Julia

[1] Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Ups and Downs.

So, I could start this post by complaining. I could state all my worries, problems and concerns. I could cry. I kind of want to cry. But is that really what I want?

This blog is meant to be the "me" that I can look back on and say -- she is why I succeeded. Sure, she was a girl who cried. Who, sometimes, felt like her goals weren't possible. She was scared of failure. But that is the girl who knew what she wanted and she knew how to get there. She knew she needed to work hard, to be smart, and brave. That was the girl who as many times as she fell apart, picked herself up and went back to work.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you, so I could be more candid. If I don't share the ups and downs, I won't have depth. What is an artist without depth?

- Julia

Auditions

This year was the first where I auditioned for major ballet summer intensives. I auditioned for Joffrey Ballet, American Academy, and CPYB's (applied) summer programs. I will also be applying for Indiana University's pre-college summer program when their website is fully updated. This was also the first time I had a photo shoot (http://www.igorburlakphotography.com)!

It was a valuable experience with quite a learning curve. I want to reflect back on these events, to pin-point what I did well and bring those aspects to all my classes.

The process began with looking for the schools that I was interested in: what prices could I afford, who had finical aid, who had an audition tour in my area, whose curriculum suited my goals best and much more! I loved auditioning for several places; the experience of auditioning is so enjoyable, exciting and important.

During the registration process I realized the amount photos I needed! I was hesitant to have a photo shoot, but I was extremely pleased with my results. It was entirely worth the time/money/effort to hire a professional photographer, who knew how to photograph ballet dancers! (He is a ballet teacher at Boston Ballet.) It's a strange experience being in a photo shoot and unlike any other! Its exciting and a little unnerving to be under bright lights performing one static position over and over again.

As I auditioned, I tried to keep in mind that it was incredible that I was even auditioning for these schools! Four years ago I would have never imagined being able to come this far. I was proud of myself.

When I auditioned, of course, I worked as hard as I could and learned the combinations, at the same time, I tried to enjoy myself and smile. There comes a certain point in your dance education where if you don't love dancing you would have certainly have already quit! So I tried to show that I loved being there. I engaged with the teacher, did well and I definitely looked like I wanted to be there. The wonderful feeling when I left the class was that "I'm so proud of what I accomplished, it does matter if I'm accepted or not!"

I feel satisfied and proud about all my auditions, photo shoots and applications went and I  am anxiously awaiting the results. I find the waiting to be the difficult part!

So as I finish this adventure, I'm going to take with me the pride of my accomplishments and remember my love of ballet!

I'm excited for the adventures ahead with more auditions, classes, photo shoots, and summer intensives!

- Julia