February 17, 2012
By , Mandeville, LA
When I was accepted into the Nashville Ballet Summer Program, I never thought it would be as amazing as it was. I was signed up for the three week summer program. I was ready for an adventure. I spent a long time packing. It was hard to pack for three weeks, I needed all my dance stuff and clothes for weekend activities, but I also needed towels and bedding and food. I arrived in Nashville a day early to look around with my family and we went to Target to get all the supplies I would need. The day finally came when I was going to be dropped off and I was so scared. We were staying in the dorms at Vanderbilt. They were pretty nice. But I had to be moved into my dorm just like it will be when I go to college. After I was all moved in, I realized I wasn't going to have a roommate in my room. When I was all settled, my family told me their goodbyes and left. I felt lonely for a little bit and was slightly nervous.

After I was moved in, I had to go downstairs for orientation. It was weird because there was a five week program too so some kids had been there for two weeks already. All of the three week participants met downstairs and we were told of the rules by the head chaperone. Her name is Katie. She was so cool and chill and basically told us not to get caught doing anything bad. We were then taken straight to the cafeteria at Vanderbilt Medical Center for Dinner. On the way there I started talking to these girls named SaraGrace and Joyce. We immediately became very close friends. They were roommates and so they were kind of close but I immediately felt accepted by them. We were soon laughing and joking as if we had known each other for ever. Everyone was nervous though about the next day because we were going to Nashville Ballet for our placement classes. The next day I spent extra time getting ready. When we got to the studio there were so many people there, but there were also older dancers there too. I was placed in the level right below the professional dancers and Joyce and SaraGrace were too. The class started and right away the teacher began giving me corrections. I was ready to be challenged, but it was difficult to hear about all my weaknesses. Class went well in the morning, but in the afternoon we had partnering classes. I had never had a partnering class before because there are no boys at my dance studio at home to practice with. It was not as bad as I thought it would be, but I didn't want the class to end because I knew I needed to work really hard on that in order to be on the level of the other girls. For the next three weeks ballet class continued to be challenging yet fun. I felt like I was growing as a dancer. We began working on a piece that we would perform at the end. I was put in the front and center and I got to partner in the dance too. The other challenging part was the modern class. I struggled with it so much. I had never had modern before and the teacher was kind of mean. I really felt like she didn't like me and she was always coming down on me. The best part of the three weeks though, was having freedom to do and go wherever I wanted around the city of Nashville.

There were many people there that were my age and a few that were older. At night we would go out and have dinner or go to little shops around the downtown area. After dance class we would all go back to the dorms and get ready for the night. After we were all ready we would go out and have fun. There was a lot to do in the little city and every night we would discover something new to do. Usually SaraGrace, Joyce, and I would go get dinner and then ice cream and just hang out at one of the fun places in Nashville. Some nights, when were were really tired we would just hangout at the dorm and watch a movie and have snacks. The guys that were there were fun to hangout with too. On the weekend we would have to go places as a group. One time we went to a water park in Nashville. It was so much fun. We also went to a museum one weekend and got to see live Andy Warhol exhibits. The problem with having older kids there was that they would always get in trouble. They always went to downtown Nashville and wouldn't come back to the dorms until very late at night. My friends and I would stay up late and sit in the lobby and we loved to see them getting back. The one down side to the freedom was having a chaperone. Her name was Mallory, she was at the summer program in the older group and she was one of the meanest people I ever met. We had a curfew at night and she was the only chaperone that actually enforced it. My friends and I would literally run away from her and have to hide so she couldn't tell us to go to bed. Because she was in the older group, the Nashville Ballet directors were going to select dancers from that level to train with the company. When she didn't get asked to join the company, she turned into someone even meaner then before. My friends and I caught her sneaking around with one of the older guys there and we were surprised she was nice around him. So when we wanted to stay out later or something, we would ask her when she was around him and she would say yes.

Overall my experience at Nashville Ballet was one that I will never forget. I always miss my friends and the memories. It was such a great experience that I wish had never ended. I think it was a life changing experience and has helped me become the person and dancer I am today.

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