Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Such a great time!

Last week I had some really busy days with the rehearsals and the show, but it was so worth it! I had such an amazing weekend! I can't wait to repeat it...

The only problem is that my academy only organizes this kind of show every two years, so I probably won't be able to dance in front of a crowd in Salamanca again, since by this time next year I'll be a graduate. However, as soon as I live in León again I will look for a dance studio, because now that I have restarted, I will not stop, even though I'm going to miss my current academy, and teacher, and classmates.

I still have one year left before having to change my school, but before that I have a LONG summer without ballet lessons, which will not be fun at all. What can I do? Try to work on my own stuff, using the things I've learnt during the whole year. It won't be as cool as real lessons, but at least I will not forget what I learnt; I will improve my flexibility and I will come back to Salamanca with clean single pirouettes en dehors. I hope.

So... back to the show... it was very stressful, because there were more than 100 dancers prepared to do their performances, and many of them were little children, so you can imagine the chaos at the backstage. But anyway we had FUN. And I loved dancing before all these people. And it was amazing when, after Saturday's show, I went to the stalls all dressed up and many random people congratulated me. It was simply awesome.

I haven't made this entry before because I had some trouble uploading the video to YouTube, but as I said I would put it in this blog, here it is. I warn you that it is the result of ONLY 25 hours of flamenco lessons, knowing nothing before. Enjoy!


Keep dancing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Final thoughts before the show

I have to admit that I have already done this. I have been dancing in front of a crowd before. But it's been so long since then, that it feels like the first time. I can't believe that this time tomorrow I will be heading towards the theatre, probably repeating the flamenco steps in my head and making sure I haven't forgotten anything. We'll have a general rehearsal before the show, anyway, to make sure everything is fine.

I still don't know the look of our hair for the show, and it's a thing I'm kind of worried about, as I'm a total disaster at anything related to doing my hair, haha. I'll ask my teacher later, but I guess it's not that important. My dress is ready to be worn during a couple of days, and so are my shoes. I have to buy some new tights, though. I've run out of them.

Some days ago I promised my viewers on YouTube that I would upload the video of the performance, so I guess I will put it in here as well. Only if it isn't absolutely horrible. No, Nerea. It won't be horrible.

Tonight I have my last ballet and flamenco classes of the term and I'm going to miss them so much. I mean, what am I going to do during the whole summer without dancing? I will probably stay home watching TV or some other banal thing. But hey, I guess we all need a break. Anyway, I'm determined not to lose the strength I've gained this year on my arms and legs (yeah, I finally can see that Y-shaped muscle on my legs and I want it to stay there), so I promise I will stretch many days a week and do some barre exercices. I want my teacher, Mrs. C, to be proud of me when I see her again in September.

As well as practising ballet, I will start with my interpreting schedule on Monday, after the performances. I'm still not sure about my English level for interpreting next year, but I want to improve my skills, and I will.

I might write another blog entry tomorrow, after the first performance. Or maybe not. Anyway you will be able to read my news very soon. And hopefully I will show you an "spectacular" show.

Until then...

EDIT: I just realised that before giving up ballet, the last day I danced when I was a child was June 24th 2003. You know what? My first performance EVER since then will be in June 24th 2011. EXACTLY eight years later. It has to mean something. =D

Monday, June 20, 2011

How did you know you loved ballet?

The other day I was asked this question and I didn't really know what to answer. Ballet has been with me during a really long period of time in my life and I think there is not a "real" moment in which I said: "oh my, this is what I like best!" (even though I think of that everyday; you know what I mean!).

So I have been reading some other adult dancers' blogs, such as DaveTriesBallet, PointeTilYouDrop or AdultBeginner, and I have seen that some of them have written this "why I started Ballet" blogpost, so I thought this was my turn to tell you my story. I warn you: it's a very long story. Here it is, from the VERY beginning:

Believe it or not, this tale starts when my mother was 16 years old and she went to school. There, she had a friend that went to ballet lessons since she was a child. This girl was probably the only person in that school that took those lessons. One day, she asked her teacher at school if she could perform "The Dying Swan" at the end of the year party. Of course, she was told a big YES. My mother saw the performance and was absolutely amazed (or at least, that's what she told me).

More than 20 years after that, in 1996, I was at school at the age of six, when suddenly my mother told me that there was a new activity organized by my school: BALLET. I guess you all understand that at that point I had no idea what "ballet" was. But my mother insisted, so she asked the ballet teacher (let's call her Mrs. R) if my sister and I could attend her lessons even though the term had started a month ago or so. Of course we could. But I have to admit that I was not happy with it. My first class was a complete mess. I was a very shy person (I still am) and I didn't know how to interact with my older classmates (some of them were 12); they already knew the positions, so I felt kind of stupid when Mrs. R said "à la seconde" and things like that in French.

Anyway, I managed to finish my first year of ballet and got prepared for the final show. I recently found this really old picture of the performance (June 1997). I am the little girl down, and my sister is right behind me:

And that's how I spent the following seven years of my life. I ended up enjoying ballet lessons a lot. I started pointe when I was 11 and my teacher, Mrs. R, kept saying that classical ballet was "my thing" and my feet were amazing. Yeah, I felt really proud because the first day I put my pointe shoes on I could walk normally en pointe, while my classmates kept saying it was too painful.

When I was 13 we did our first "on pointe" performance. It didn't look really awesome (I've seen the video now and it's a little ridiculous), but it felt so good back then! And some months after that I had my first solo in front of an enormous crowd during a fashion show. My dancing lasted about thirty seconds or so, but I felt so HAPPY I can't even explain!

And then... STOP.

Why? Because another dance teacher came to teach ballroom dancing at my school and her prices were a whole lot CHEAPER. As a result, Mrs. R had to stop coming, since she had no students to work with. My sister and I wanted her back, but it's normal she didn't come. It didn't make sense financially to go all that way. But she did suggest us to go to the county town everyday and finish our training. What did we say? "No", of course. We were little girls studying at a little school and we couldn't make a half-an-hour trip with our parents to go to a real dance studio everyday. Impossible. And guess what. I've regretted my decision EVER SINCE.

As a young little girl... you don't know what you want. You don't know what you have until you lose it. I wanted to keep dancing with my whole heart, but I started to have difficult exams at the High School and knew that it would be impossible for me to go to town everyday and "waste" my time while I should be studying. Between 2003 and 2007 I started to forget the idea of ballet, but I still remembered those lovely lessons and performances.

Now I'm watching my wall of stuff and I can see my ticket of "Sleeping Beauty", by Saint-Petersburg Ballet in May 2008. That was probably the first whole and real performance of classical ballet I saw. Yes, I guess that's possibly the first day I thought "I LOVE THIS; I want to take lessons again to be able to do THAT". What was the problem, then? Again, my studies. I was still in High School. It was my last year and I had to study a lot. So I thought I could wait until I started university.

I did wait. I came to Salamanca, which is a county town with many ballet studios. But I wasn't outgoing enough to take the initiative. I was shy and I didn't feel confident to go to a ballet school and asked if there was a place for me in there. I didn't want to be in the same class as little girls that would surely be far more talented than me. So I kept going to ballet performances and quietly wanting to be one of those ballerinas. Until December 2009, when I watched "Swan Lake" by Moscow Ballet and was absolutely overwhelmed. It was amazing. It became my favourite ballet ever (I wrote a whole blog entry in Spanish about it... here). And I made the decision: after my Erasmus in London, the following year I WOULD GO to a ballet school and learn how to dance.

My Erasmus experience also helped a lot. I lived in London, so I could go to Covent Garden everyday if I wanted. I found the Royal Opera House spectacular, though I didn't go inside until a few days before coming back to Spain. In May 2010 I saw "Electric Counterpoint / Asphodel Meadows / Carmen" in there and it was wonderful. I could finally see my idol Tamara Rojo performing in real life and I can't explain how much I loved that day.

Well yes, I can explain it: when the following academic year started, I went to a ballet school and had the courage to ask for information. The recepcionist was so nice with me! She asked me if I had danced before. I told her that even if I had danced for seven years, I felt like an absolute beginner, so she invited me to go to an adult beginner's class.

And that's where I have been ever since. At the beginning I didn't feel very confident. Mrs. lovely C doesn't teach the same way as Mrs. R did, but I have to say that I'm learning a lot more with her. I'm learning to know my body, my muscles and my position. And after eight months of lessons I'm starting to actually feel like dancing again.

That's why I love ballet.
Because nothing feels better than that.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Romeo and Juliet at the O2 Arena

It's exactly 20:30 in Spain when I'm starting to write this, which means that it is 19:30 in London.
This is the time when my favourite ballet company in the world, the Royal Ballet, is starting its performance of Romeo and Juliet not at the Royal Opera House, as usual, but at the O2 Arena of London. I had the chance to be in there last year for a concert, and I can't imagine how amazing it can be to watch R&J there. As if that wasn't enough, today the stars are my favourite ballet couple ever, Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta.

Bennet Gartside, first soloist with the Royal Ballet, made two awesome videos to promote the event. You can see them both right here:


I wish them the best of the lucks from here.
You guys are going to rock the whole city!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Moving on...

Hi there once again!

I said I would let you know what my teacher told me about my interpreting. I went to her office and basically she said that sometimes I was VERY good, but there were always some moments in which she didn't know what to do with my speeches.

I told her that I really wanted to choose Interpreting instead of Translation next year, and she quickly dissuaded me from doing that. Actually she was very nice while saying it, but I simply wanted to DIE at that point. BUT! (Yes, there's a "but", and this is a nice one...) She said that next year, if I did Translation, I would be able to go to as many interpreting lessons as I wanted, and learn as many things as "real" students, without having to do the final exam. I know that on my university degree people won't read "specialized in interpreting", but they will read "Translator AND interpreter", and I guess that the important thing is what you can ACTUALLY do, regardless of what is written on a piece of paper!

So I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do next year, but I know that I have this opportunity, and it is probably the best one for me, according to my current skills.

What else!? Time for a ballet talk! Yay!
So last week I went to my ballet class and after doing some tendus, jetés and passés, my teacher said that my feet were beautiful, strong and prepared. I think it's an awesome thing to be told, so I'm really happy with myself.

Also, yesterday we were at the barre, doing some demi-pirouettes and the teacher was telling my classmates to keep their arms placed; she said that I was doing it properly, so I stopped and started looking at the corrections she was making to the others. It is true that you can learn lots of things looking at fellow students!

Now it's been exactly eight months since I decided to take ballet lessons again and I'm starting to actually see a big improvement in my dancing skills. I feel more confident at the barre and I really feel like dancing (at the beginning it was like some weird feet-and-arm-moving). Now I feel just like I felt eight years ago, when I was on pointe in front of an enormous crowd. The difference is that now, on pointe or not, I truly know that I LOVE ballet and I will not stop dancing ever. Ok, maybe when I'm too old, but still...

 That's me, the other day in my bedroom =D

See you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


It's ironic that I decided to start this blog yesterday, simply because I did an interpreting exam that went well. It's ironic that I thought I had done some interpreting properly for the first time in my life.

It just seems I was wrong. I didn't fail. No, I didn't. But my mark wasn't good at all, and this makes me think about my future. I told you yesterday that I wanted to become an interpreter. But do I REALLY want that? I mean: do I really want to be depressed the next whole academic year (and the rest of my life) because I am not good enough at what I like best?

I know I am too pessimistic, but I can't help it. They say that people that study this are always very competitive and perfectionist. I am not an exception. I know I am not "the best" and I don't like that. But I don't know what else I can do to change that. I am not good at this and I have to get over it.

So... now what? I'm going to see my interpreting teacher in an hour or so, and she'll probably tell me that I shouldn't choose the interpreting itinerary next year if I don't want to fail miserably. Or not: she might try to cheer me up, because she's nice. But I'm not silly and I know my limits. And my limits are probably here.

Ok, actually, yesterday there were two possible entries for this blog today. Here you are, this is the bad one. The other one was just a stupid dream that never came true. And never will.


Never? Well, no, I'm not ready to say that yet.
I just don't want to accept it. What if I decide to spend the WHOLE summer interpreting as if my life depended on it? What if I actually CAN do it, but I don't know yet? People say that if you really want something, you will obtain it. You just have to work hard, and to be honest, I haven't tried as hard as I know I could have.

Nothing is lost yet, I guess. I'm going to talk to my teacher, see what she tells me and I will let you guys know.


At least, today I have a ballet class that will help me cheer up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Interpreting en Pointe

Eh… what?
Yes, “Interpreting en Pointe”. Why not? Oh wait. You are asking me what all this is about. Ok, fine, let me explain it from the beginning.

So… you know, I am studying Translation and Interpreting and I am in the middle of my training to become a conference interpreter… or something like that. Why do I say it this way? Well, simply because I have not decided yet if I will become an interpreter or a translator… or both. I will have to make that decision in September. The fact is that I truly WANT to become an interpreter, but I am WAY better at translating documents. This means that during summer I will have to follow a very strict schedule to make my foreign languages (French and English) a lot stronger. I have thought that a blog written in both these languages would really help me; or at least, my writing skills and vocabulary will improve considerably. In addition to this, I will have to spend some hours a week practising with real speeches in both languages, so that I will not feel lost when the next academic year begins.

But wait, what does the “en pointe” thing mean? It is French for “on the tip of the toes”, and yes, I am talking about ballet shoes. But what has ballet to do with all that? Well, they say that interpreters always have an unusual hobby that helps them relax and forget about their job. Some of them sing operas, some others play piano or different kinds of flutes, and I even met one that went scuba diving. Some of them say that these hobbies even help them feel more comfortable while interpreting. Why? Well, let’s see this from the musical point of view: people who study music are able to multitask, their heads are better organised, and many of them are more used to listening to foreign languages, aren’t they?

So for me, this random hobby is ballet: my passion and my love. Because I am in LOVE with ballet and I cannot help feeling free and amazingly happy when I dance. Because it helps me forget everything and get rid of the stress that the interpreting booths cause. Because it is wonderful. And because at some point I have found myself interpreting with my headphones on and my ballet slippers on my feet at the very same time.

On Tuesday 31st May (today, or yesterday, because it’s 3:50) I did my simultaneous interpreting exam. I will receive the results on the 2nd June. These are probably among the most important results of my life, because depending on my mark, I will decide whether or not to become an interpreter and whether or not to make this summer adventure. I hope the results are satisfactory and if so, I will see you here, talking about headphones, booths, speeches, tutus and ballet shoes... and Tamara Rojo.


Yes, I love her.

And you should too.