Dared to be Awkward and Fulfilled a Dream

by Aileen

Last September I took an opportunity and auditioned for a production of The Nutcracker. I felt incredibly awkward, but needed to try. Over the months I’ve talked about the experience and shared my journey with you. There was an invited in-studio dress rehearsal and performance December 11th and the show was performed in the theatre the weekend of December 18th. Many have asked to see photos from my very first Nutcracker and I finally I have them.

It was really an exhausting, challenging and yet fulfilling journey.  As rehearsals progressed, I picked up a couple of additional roles in the “The Party Scene” and “The Waltz.” Unfortunately this furthered devoured my evenings and weekends and pushed this “young” body into having random muscle spasms that only a super-detox bath could alleviate. It really was a wonderful experience, intense, but wonderful.

There’s something really incredible about daring to try something and surrendering to whatever the result may be. It felt like life gave me a chance to experience a childhood dream long after I thought it would never be possible.

If you’re not familiar with the storyline of this ballet,  here’s a wonderful link to tell you more about The Nutcracker

The photo below is of the opening scene, also known as “The Party Scene”. I’m in the  light-green dress in the background.

Next is “The Mice Scene.” That’s the one I was originally cast in. My heart really wanted “The Snow Scene” but I was very happy I was cast in the production at all! The mice scene was choreographed in the style of modern dance which isn’t typical for The Nutcracker. It ended up being incredibly creative choreography, extremely physically demanding, and I loved it! It was one of the most intense workouts I’ve ever experienced.  We were quite a range of personalities, age and ability. We ranged from age eleven to fifty and we bonded like we were never strangers.  The mice scene was the most loved by the audience – it was G’s favorite too.

For most of the photos in the mice scene, I can’t point out which one I am, but I’m in there.

In this production, the mice were on a mission, led by the Mice Queen (traditionally it’s the Mice King). The mission was to capture Clara, the young girl shown in the picture above. While the mice do their best to get her, the soldiers appear and set out do battle with the mice and protect Clara.  The soldiers win and kill the Mice Queen.

Above, I’m the third one in from the left, and below I’m on the left with a profile of my mouse nose…trying to get out of the huddle.

Ahh the “Snow Scene”. When I think of the Nutcracker I imagine the snow scene and the Sugar Plum Fairy.  When I had the second chance to audition for the snow scene, I was in euphoric tears, but in the audition I managed a calm centered focus. I’ll never forget the day I found out I made the cut. It’s a moment that reminds me life does give us second chances and anything is possible.

Here’s the quiz….   can you find me in the photos below?  (hee-hee)

Okay, I’ll help you find me. In the photo above I’m the third one down on the right. In the photo below I’m the second one down on the right blocking the young girl behind me.

In the photo above I’m the third one down on the right, and on the photo below I’m the third one down next to the man, Drosselmeyer is his character name.

Above, I’m the third one in and below I’m the third one on the left still next to Drosselmeyer

Since I’m posting a few photo’s…  I wanted to share a few of Monique, she danced the role of Sugar Plum Fairy and she’s such a gorgeous dancer that I just had to share a few pictures with you.



I’m reminded of the importance of spending our lives doing things we love. Our passions don’t need to be our professions, but they deserve the opportunity to live. With busy schedules and countless responsibilities in life, it’s far too easy to put our passions aside rather than hoist up our energy and squeeze in the time for our passions to breathe and be expressed. It doesn’t matter how well we do what we love or even if we have “no talent” at all. All that matters is we find a way to honor ourselves and do the things we love.

So go ahead, get out there and celebrate your dreams and even if you only have tiny pockets of time and a sliver of energy, believe that you can do it and just put one foot in front of the other!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda January 11, 2011

These pictures are inspiring, Aileen. When we dare, it’s amazing what happens. I find that the thigs I’m scared to dare to try at first are always far less scary in reality.
I’m sure this won’t be the end of your daring! How much pleasure you gained by taking part.
Now… what will I dare to try next, I wonder?
Linda´s last [type] ..How To Kickstart Your Confidence With Positive Spin

Reply

Aileen January 11, 2011

Great question Linda :)

I must continue to dare – I realize it’s like a muscle and when it’s not used it becomes incredibly hard to utilize it. When too much gap between daring acts happen – it’s all to easy to stay in our “bud” – Like Anais Nin says ““And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Reply

John Sherry January 11, 2011

Love first with everything Aileen and the rest will take care of itself. Details are dust for dreamers. Imagine and hold the intention and then watch the magic unfold. You look a natural on the stage – well dreamt I must say!
John Sherry´s last [type] ..How Long Is A Truth

Reply

Aileen January 11, 2011

“Details are dust for dream­ers. Imag­ine and hold the inten­tion and then watch the magic unfold” – John you are brilliant, poetic and right on!!! Thank you for this wonderful piece of truth. :)

Reply

The Exception January 11, 2011

Aileen –

This is awesome! It is so wonderful to see you taking the jump and doing what you love and encouraging others to do the same. I like to think that by doing what we love and being who we are, we allow others to be themselves and do what they love!
What a beautiful Nutcracker you experienced for so many reasons!

Reply

Aileen January 11, 2011

I couldn’t agree more, “I like to think that by doing what we love and being who we are, we allow oth­ers to be them­selves and do what they love!” It becomes contagious doesn’t it? :)

Reply

Tess The Bold Life January 11, 2011

Aileen,
You are amazing. Living your tagline! You are also beautiful and these photographs are breath taking. You’re a wonderful example of everything so many just write and talk about. I can’t wait to see what your in store for this year;) xo
Tess The Bold Life´s last [type] ..50 Quotes to Inspire the Dreamers of 2011

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Thank you Tess :) I often feel like I move at a snails pace toward living my dreams and wish I was moving faster. It’s somewhat ironic that I’m a high energy, fast talking, fast moving speedy person – but when it comes to accomplishing big massive goals like living my vision, my steps are small and the pace feels so slow otherwise I trip and crash into the ground. Ahhh life :)

Reply

Angela Artemis January 11, 2011

Aileen,
I’m sooo proud of you! You went for it and you DID IT! That is so awesome.
I’m so happy you’re sharing the photos with us too! You look beautiful and amazing in every shot and the performance looks wonderful and so professional!

What a shining example you are to us all! I’m putting one foot in front of the other – it won’t be on a dance stage, but a special stage just for my dream and little flame of talent!
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..How a Psychic Detective “Sees Without Seeing”

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

“I’m putting one foot in front of the other — it won’t be on a dance stage, but a spe­cial stage just for my dream and lit­tle flame of tal­ent!” Angela I’m rooting for you! You are on an incredible journey, designing your life in order to experience living the life you envision. And from my perspective, you’re traveling at a great pace and in many ways you are already “there. ” Your flame of talent is growing and glowing

Reply

Leah McClellan January 11, 2011

Wonderful! I was hoping to see pictures! I can’t count how many times I’ve seen The Nutcracker (PA Ballet here in Philly) and I just love it. The mice wear giant heads, and they don’t do much dancing, so your production sounds like it’s a bit inventive and more fun. Still, I’d want to be a snowflake–or the Arabian dancer– so I’m so glad you got that part :)

So nice to read your story and congrats on doing it–how exciting. So very true about doing what we love-I couldn’t agree more.
Leah McClellan´s last [type] ..Declutter Your Mind- 3 Tips For More Peace

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Thank you Leah! I do love the Arabian scene as well; it’s exotic, sexy and beautiful. It was a bit inventive :) and like you say, more fun.

Reply

Alison Kerr January 11, 2011

I’m so impressed with your experience in the Nutcracker Aileen. Thanks for the reminder that dreams really do come true when we go after them wholeheartedly. What next?
Alison Kerr´s last [type] ..3 ways to bring more birds to your winter garden

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Thank you Alison :) I’ve got an idea for what’s next and my courage is butting up against my fear… and if I were going any faster than my snail pace I think I’d be frozen in fear and procrastination. That’s the beauty of kaizen – the steps are so small it helps bypass the freeze of overwhelm, fear, discipline

Reply

Jane Rochelle January 11, 2011

So proud of you! Thank you for sharing, and for teaching the rest of us to follow our hearts, and that dreams come true in beautiful and unexpected ways. You got to dance the Snowflake … and so much more.

Big hugs ~
Jane
Jane Rochelle´s last [type] ..How to Pick a Workout Partner- and 14 Reasons Why My Dog is My Favorite Hiking Buddy!

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

“dreams come true in beau­ti­ful and unex­pected ways” I’d love to see that on T-shirts and bumper stickers :) What a great affirmation and truth!
:)
Thank you Jane

Reply

Lance January 11, 2011

Aileen,
This is just so, so awesome!!

YOU…are so, so awesome! Just look at this – what you did – something that touched your heart very deeply! And in that, you passion and joy just shine through so magnificently!

…and I’m so happy for you, for what you have done, and for how you also just give others permission to shine, as well!!

Much love to you…amazing one…
Lance´s last [type] ..Sunday Thought For The Day

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Thank you Fabulous Lance! :)

Reply

Sandra Lee January 11, 2011

Aileen, Gorgeous! Stunning! Amazing. I’m so happy for you. I’m so proud of you. I’m so inspired by you.
Sandra Lee´s last [type] ..Free Yourself with Free Writing

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

:) Thank you Sandra

Reply

Cristina January 12, 2011

Beautifully inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing, and congratulations! You look wonderful – even as a mouse :-)
Cristina´s last [type] ..Video recipe- how to make perfect scones

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Thank you Cristina :)

Reply

Living the Balanced Life January 12, 2011

Aileen,
I got goosebumps looking at your pics. The smile on your face is genuine and not a stage smile. I recognize that, as that is the kind of smile my daughter has when she dances. Beautiful. So proud that you went for your dream!
Bernice
Living the Balanced Life´s last [type] ..There is a God and it isn’t me

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Thank you Bernice. I love that your daughter dances and shares that world with you. I wasn’t until G first saw the dance world with me that I noticed how much it’s own little world it is. :)

Reply

Jasmine January 12, 2011

Wow! How fun?! Congratulations! You look beautiful in the photo next to Drosselmeyer! I have always loved the nutcracker and, last year, my sister (12yo) was cast in the Nutcracker here our big city. I was so proud of her! She has really grown into herself with her amazing dance skills.
Jasmine´s last [type] ..Customized Gift Baskets

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Hi Jasmine. :) Thank you for your comment and thanks for stopping by. How lovely you sister dances :) it must a pretty neat experience watching her progress and grow into “her own.”

Reply

Johanna January 12, 2011

Aileen, I´m so excited and happy for you! The pictures are really good, your tutus so lovely and your smile genuinely beautiful! You look like you belong, and that you are loving every minute of it. The picture where you are standing behind Drosselmeyer, is my favorite. Very nice turn-out too :)

Your “dare” is an inspiration to me! I will be performing this spring, and for the first time on pointe! Like you said, “passions deserve the opportunity to live”!
Johanna´s last [type] ..Ups and Downs in Ballet Class

Reply

Aileen January 12, 2011

Johanna, I ‘m sooooooooooooo excited you’re going to performing on pointe for the first time this spring! PLEASE share photos :) I’m so incredibly excited for you. I hope you enjoy every moment during rehearsals and performance – I know you will :)

I’m thrilled you have a dance blog! YAY!!!

Reply

Farnoosh January 14, 2011

Ok I am still having a very hard time finding your beautiful face among these other ballerinas but these photos are incredible and professional and you have certainly beyond impressed all of us, Aileen. Ballet is a most dream-like dance….I think if you are in love with it you never outgrow it. I was never exposed to it as as child but I find it very emotional and beautiful….! Congratulations. I am very happy you pursued and fulfilled this dream, despite the awkward circumstances. What else can you do if this is behind you? So many possibilities :)!
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Taking Back the Reins- Guilty Feeling Begone

Reply

Aileen January 18, 2011

ahhh, so many wonderful plausibilities – that is an exciting thought :)

Reply

Jen Gresham January 16, 2011

I actually got tears in my eyes reading this story. Not only because I’m happy for you, as a friend, but I know what this meant to you. It comes right through in your writing. Terrific inspiration. Keep being “awkward” you beautiful woman you!!!

Reply

Aileen January 18, 2011

Thank you Jen!! :)

Reply

Zengirl @ Heart and Mind January 16, 2011

Dear Aileen,

Seeing these amazing pictures I am so touched as they are part of legacy towards a dream. I love nutcracker during Christmas and now I have memories of you being part of it associated with it, which is a good thing as a friend.

I am so glad you shared the pictures, Congratulations again. I remember being part of the conversation last year before even everything set! I am so proud of you.

Preeti
Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last [type] ..Car-Free or Car Owner – Finding A Happy Middle Ground

Reply

Aileen January 18, 2011

Thank you Preeti :)

Reply

Joy January 20, 2011

Aileen,
Thank you! You are gorgeous, radiant, and I know the glow from living your dream will stay with you always…As I read I teared up..in marketing I use the line “live the life of your dreams”..and guess what? When I ask, many people are so far removed from even the process of dreaming, let alone “living” it…So, thank *you*..for daring to be bold, allowing your heart whispers to be heard and realized, and for inspiring all whom you share your story with! May I ask, after you bask in this glow, what magic shall you create next? *grin*
Joy´s last [type] ..Self Love Series- Lessons From the Gentle Barn

Reply

Aileen January 23, 2011

:) Thank you Joy. How fascinating (sad, but fascinating) that people loose the ability to dream – it hit me when I read your words, “many peo­ple are so far removed from even the process of dream­ing, let alone “liv­ing” it” – when we get so busy doing life we can fall away from dreaming and having dreams helps keep us alive and growing – just the process of dreaming can have a tremendous affect on hope and well being.

Ahhh – you ask what magic shall I create next….. I have a few thoughts and hopes :) we’ll see

Reply

Katie January 21, 2011

Aileen, these pictures are wonderful. I loved playing “Where’s Aileen?” Oh, there she is living her dream. Yeah you!
Katie´s last [type] ..Let Love

Reply

Aileen January 23, 2011

Thank you Katie :)

Reply

Rand January 24, 2011

Hi Aileen!

I am super please that I took the time to come here!

It is nice to know that I am not the only one that has been part of Ballet here at blog world. I could never even begin to do what it takes to perform this. I have worked both backstage and follow spot for ballet and you can be assured that the amount of endurance and pure muscle power needed I do completely understand. The audience does not see how spent each performer is after their particular scene. I would say that a good picture of this is when on TV we see the Ice Skaters in the “Crying Box” notice how “exhausted” they are.

Oh ya…stage right…stage left…up stage center…back stage left…off stage right…up stage left center…down stage center right…

Oh… I am just getting turned around!

Reply

Aileen January 25, 2011

Hi Rand, great to “meet you” ahhh ballet people at blogworld, what a great thing!! I had no idea :) Thank you for stopping in and saying hello :)

Reply

Ajen February 2, 2011

Aileen, I am so glad to have found your site. What an example of allowing life to unfold as one dares to “dream”, “let go” and “be”!

Your pictures serves as metaphors depicting how fruitful and beautiful our daring attempts can be.

My dear, I call you a role model. :)

Brilliant!!!

Reply

Aileen February 3, 2011

Hi Ajen, thank you for visiting and thank you for sharing your thoughts :)
Yes life can unfold as we dare to dream – it’s pretty incredible

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: