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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

       I long ago stopped trying to identify individual years as wholly good or irredeemably bad. Wrapping up months by the dozen, slapping a label on the whole package and stacking them neatly away somewhere in our nostalgia-addled memories does a disservice to lived experience. It's much easier to think of life as generally difficult and full of disappointment and get on with it.
     Sort of!
     A part of me is convinced the world will end at 11:59 pm each December 31st, so in the spirit of that approaching terror, and because this is my blog, and because I haven't blogged in a while, and because I did this last year, let's take a look back at my 2014.

January - March:
    These months were cold. So very cold. Some stuff happened, but mostly I remember the cold.
One weekend I braved the arctic temperatures and took the leap of attending a pretty Big Important Audition for one of my dream jobs.  I got all the way to the final round of callbacks after not even expecting to make the first (all singing!) cut and had an incredibly positive experience all around. It made me think that I might still be able to do this show biz thing for a few more years and got me itching just to audition, something I hadn't felt in years.

     My new BarreFIT program started taking off at HMAC in the early months of 2014 with two full classes every week. I enrolled in a Group Fitness Instructor certification program to expand my knowledge and make sure I'm up-to-date on the latest in exercise science as it pertains to training my clients. As a Pilates instructor and dancer, I was fairly confident I already knew most of what the program would teach me but as soon as I got the massive textbook full of anatomic illustrations, I knew I was in for some serious hours of study!

     On the performing side of things, I appeared in a dinner theater production, Daddy's Girl with a local community theater group. It was my first time doing a community theater production not directed by Nic Gunning and it was fun to be part of an ensemble comedy show. 

Daddy's Girl at Short Tract Town Theatre

April - May
     I kicked off the month of April with a weekend of performances playing Shelby Latcherie in Steel Magnolias back under the direction of Nic Gunning with The Valley Theatre. We performed at the Nancy Howe Auditorium (at the David A. Howe Public Library) which has become one of my favorite local venues. The auditorium feels intimate and inviting but can accommodate an audience of 300 (plenty for this area) and has a comfortable backstage space. 
    After winding down from back to back shows, I flew to Texas with my husband and son for the Easter holiday. We spent most of our time visiting my family in San Antonio and also sneaked in a couple of days playing at beach in Port Aransas. (Our toddler loved the sand and the seagulls but was terrified of the waves.)
       In May, HMAC presented its annual Spring Showcase. This production was different than the showcases of previous years--I decided to stage a very abridged version of Swan Lake utilizing all of my ballet students. This was my first attempt at staging any type of story ballet and I felt terrified and incompetent throughout much of the process. I'm pleased with how my students pulled it off, though, and it gave me the confidence to tackle bigger projects as a director/choreographer (foreshadowing!).
Steel Magnolias with The Valley Theatre

June, July, August
    My baby turned two years old in June. The rest of the month is sort of a blur. 
  I planted a garden and more than half of the crops failed or were destroyed by critters. (Curse your cuteness, baby groundhogs!) I converted one of our big closets into a writing cave and only wrote there consistently for about a month before returning to the familiar arms of my living room sofa to tackle client work and creative projects.
     Anyway, I did succeed at passing my GFI exam through the American Council on Exercise and taught a ton of private and group fitness classes. I was also able to attend part of a summer ballet intensive a couple of hours from my house and take some dance, Pilates and yoga classes in Buffalo and Rochester. 
September - October
     A new school year means a new season at HMAC! We managed to grow our student numbers again, particularly for my adult programs. Genesee Dance Theatre officially formed after three rounds of auditions and a lot of self-doubt on my end. We dove headfirst into rehearsals for the company's first production--The Nutcracker. In the middle of all of this I also started dancing with another company, In His Steps based out of Dundee, NY, and became a barre/group ex instructor at a local YMCA! 
     With October came my 25th birthday, a fun weekend in Buffalo to celebrate said birthday, and another new part-time job at an independent bookstore and coffee shop. Yeah. I like being busy. 

November - December
        Most of November and December were dedicated to working (and working and working and working) as well as final rehearsals, preparations and performances for Genesee Dance Theatre's production of The Nutcracker. 
   The Howe Auditorium ended up being able to sponsor our production, enabling us to offer the show at no charge to audience members. Local businesses, individuals and families met the rest of the production's start-up needs and, somehow, we pulled it off. I need to do a full blog post just about the experience of putting the show together but for now I'll concentrate on the fact that it was, all things considered, a smashing success. We packed the house at both performances--even ended up turning people away--and received a ton of great feedback. It makes me hopeful for the future of dance in Allegany county.

    Nutcracker about killed me (and resulted in nasty Achilles tendonitis) so while my studio is closed for a couple of weeks, I've been recouping--spending a lot of time eating in my pajamas, playing and trying (with mixed success) to potty train my son, and catching up on my reading. 

      For me, 2014 was a brilliant year for dancing and performing and rediscovering what I value most about those disciplines. As far as my personal life, 2014 felt like one long trudge through a freezing cold wasteland without shoes and a sack of bricks on my back. I wish that the passing of another year meant that trudge was over but I know it's not. 2015 is full of uncertainty for me and my family. There's a real possibility that everything about my life will be different in six months--a prospect that both thrills and terrifies me. 

I'd like to end on a more positive note but this post is too long as is. Happy New Year, blog reader friends!