Saturday, August 4, 2012

Graduated translator and jinxed dancer!

Hello, nice reader!
It's been a while! Let me explain you why! Lots of things have happened since that post in June. For real: LOTS of exciting things, so this is going to be quite a long text –consider yourself warned!

First of all, I spent the whole semester and, in particular, the whole of June working on my Bachelor's Degree Thesis, which was a didactic translation of Maurice Béjart's memoirs. As you can imagine, I had to work a lot, but still it was so much fun. I learned a lot, both about translation and about dance. It was a great experience. Then, the examining board seemed to like it a lot, which means that... I just graduated from university! I am now an official translator and interpreter, even though I am still not working. The good news is that I am going to Paris in October, to work as a Spanish Language Assistant at two high schools, which are located next to the Opéra Garnier. Isn't it exciting? Obviously, I have already registered myself in the POB website, because I'm planning a few trips to see them live. Duh!
Also, now I'm trying to find a flat in Paris, which is not an easy job, but I really hope I'll find something interesting and affordable before September!

My Thesis right after I finished it. It was time to celebrate!

In other news, I left my ballet studio a month ago, since I'm no longer going to live in Salamanca. It was really hard, nice reader.
We'd just done a beautiful performance for charity, for which we spent hours and hours at rehearsals. My life in June consisted basically on working on my Thesis, going to rehearsals, drinking water, eating food and sleeping (not much sleep, though). The day of the performance was brilliant. I had planned with my ballet classmates that we were going to make the most of it and enjoy it as if it was our last show, which we did. The rehearsals at the theatre were exciting, our group lunch was lots of fun and the performances were all fantastic. I took part on two dances from La Bayadère; the first one being the Fire Dance from the first act, and the second one, the D'Jampe with the ribbons (here's the video to the second one. Try to find me!). Also, my teacher choreographed a piece for us in, like, two weeks, with Vivaldi's Andante, Concert for two mandolins. And the last piece I danced in was the Fire Dance by Manuel de Falla, the same choreo we did in February. And I also had promised to my classmates I would try not to cry at the end... but I did, ok? But come on, it was my last day ever dancing with them! So I hugged my teacher while crying a LOT and then she told me that we could have a last class next Monday. So I stopped crying. Kind of.

And then I went to class on Monday and she had prepared the most amazingest class ever. EVER. Because she's adorable! She taught us Kitri's variation from the last act of Don Quixote. Which is, like, one of my favourite variations ever. It was also very strange, because we usually don't learn variations in class, the only exception being an excerpt of a variation from Paquita, which we didn't master at all. Sure, we didn't really learn the whole Kitri variation properly (we only had 45 minutes and we were wearing flats), but it was amazing! And also very exhausting. So that was my last class at the studio in Salamanca. I said goodbye to everyone, crying twice as much as I had cried the day before, and I also got the opportunity to write a page in the book the teachers have there for everyone that has ever been a student at that academy and then has left. Emotions! Weirdness!

And then... I came back to my hometown. And something kind of incredible happened! I have a friend who is a fashion designer. He's actually well known in Spain; he's good and has been invited to show his designs all around the world. So he was preparing a super big catwalk to celebrate his 25th anniversary as a fashion professional... and he asked me if I would like to dance during the spectacle, with one of his costumes and a fan. A FAN, you guys. You do know what came to my mind, right? KITRI. I'd just learned the variation and I had the chance to dance it en pointe, in front of thousands of people and wearing a gorgeous dress. So I said yes. The problem? Where could I rehearse? I had only done it once or twice and the show was one month away. So I talked to the mayor and he gave me permission to go to the local theatre to rehearse as many hours as I wanted, as many days as I needed. A theatre, nice reader. Not a really big theatre, but it's got a floor made of linoleum, just for me and my pointe shoes. Greatest thing ever. And this is the result of one of the afternoons I spent there:

And that's pretty much it. The day of the performance was actually not fun AT ALL. I woke up early because my father phoned me. He was at the place where the show was going to be held that night. Even though the non-permanent structure was designed for a catwalk, there was also a really big stage for me to dance on and for the models to stay at. The problem now? The organiser hadn't thought of a little person EN POINTE, who could not dance on a wooden and absolutely irregular floor. So I got dressed really quickly and went there almost running, to check it out. Exactly. It was absolutely impossible to dance on that surface. I put my pointe shoes on and tried to do it, but I was so afraid of falling off the shoes that I immediately had to say I wouldn't dance that night. Then I saw the long and narrow stage that was prepared for the catwalk. Its floor was so much better! I decided I could change a few things of the choreo, in order to adapt it to the super narrow stage and to the public, looking at me from both sides.

Myself trying to adapt the choreo to the tiny stage. The show was to be held that night.
I spent there like half an hour and then stopped because all the pedestrians had decided that it was more fun to look at me, desperated, marking and doing weird moves, than to continue with their walk. So I went to the theatre. And even though I didn't have any tights, I spent an hour or so rehearsing. BIG MISTAKE, nice reader. I wasn't feeling confident, I couldn't remember the dance or the new positions and my feet were hurting like hell. Like, I'd never, ever had so much pain on my toes. Maybe it was because of the stress. Maybe. The thing is, after that hour, I took off my pointe shoes and I had blisters. Some super painful ones. So I decided it was time to stop and have lunch.

In the afternoon I had to go to the hairdresser, who put on my head the biggest bun I've ever seen (I still don't know where all that hair came from). And then I tried to rehearse on the catwalk thing again. Worst rehearsal of my life. I almost fell down a hundred times (the floor was slippery), I couldn't remember anything, my toes were hurting and I wasn't able to avoid grimacing with pain. Literally. Horrible. Only two hours to go. I decided to stop for good.

Then the show started. I put my pointe shoes on and I waited for my turn. The spectacle was divided in four sections: the beach, the opera, the wedding and China. I was going to dance in the opera section. So when that part started, I was very nervous. Even more nervous when I saw that they were putting some enormous flowerpots on my stage. For decoration. Like, as if I hadn't struggled enough with the little space I had before. Seriously, what else could go wrong?!

And then it was my turn. Of course, the flowerpots were still there, so I improvised. I started doing my variation and I had to decide how to do the next step while I was dancing in front of a thousand people. I didn't dance well. I forgot about the technique, I didn't listen to the music as I should have and I didn't do things that I knew I could do. The weird thing is... it felt really well. I was happy to have been given that opportunity, so I didn't stop smiling at any point. I forgot that my toes were hurting. And I had fun. Ballet is incredible. The feeling of being on a stage is something you can't really explain with words. But after that experience I can really say that it is worth the effort. In my hometown nobody knows anything about ballet. I know I didn't dance well at all, but they loved it. They loved it so much that now I am "The Girl Who Danced". For real, nice reader. They've been talking about it for two weeks. I feel privileged! Next time, on a bigger stage, they'll see!

When I started writing this post I decided I was not going to show you the video of the actual performance, because, if you know something about ballet, you will not like it. I am not proud of it. I'm just proud of my feelings during the dance and after it. Now I've decided you can watch it because you know my story. Here you are: you can compare it to the rehearsal, if you like.

And well, that's it.
I have more plans for the future, but for now, I'll just try and find a flat in Paris... and then let the fun begin!



  1. So nice time ;) i am happy for your bachelor degree ;) and love your kitri variation ^^

    Good luck in Paris ;D

  2. Wow Nerea! You´ve done so many things during this time :) Congratulations for your bachelor degree and don´t worry about your ballet performance; you can be proud of all those afternoons that you have spent at the rehearsals ;)

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Mar!
      Have you already done all the documents for uni? English studies? :D

    2. Yes! I´m finally going to study English Studies :)

    3. That is fantastic! I'm so happy for you! Good luck; this period of your life is going to be amazing! :D

    4. Thank you very much! I hope so :)