STAGE SCHOOL: My First Year Experience

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As second year approaches quicker than ever, I feel as if I should look back on the year that’s past. And as it always seems to be, hindsight has made the year look much sweeter now. Personally, I found studying 6-7 hours a day, nearly 20 dance classes a week, to be repetitive and mundane at times, but after a month off I cant wait to get back. I guess thats the most important thing to remember, you have to have contrast in life. There have to be the bad times to make you appreciate the good. As cliche as it sounds it was worth it. I have such fond memories of this year despite it being one of the most challenging experiences of my life.

The Ups and Downs

Moving out is, as you would expect, a daunting ordeal. I lived in Chester House which was private accommodation in North London, we were lucky enough to have catered accommodation, meaning we had breakfast and dinner provided for us. Despite that sounding perfect, it wasn’t. Without going into too much detail, and to put it plainly, there was no meal they COULDN’T ruin.

Freshers

IMG_6156.jpgSo here’s the thing about London Studio Centre, freshers week is not really a freshers week. My boyfriend Andy was starting uni at the same time as me so I was extremely aware of the contrast between uni freshers and dance school freshers. I remember turning up to an Under The Water themed event 2 hours after the starting time with a group of friends and being the only ones there. Not to mention, you really wanna get trollied with 9am ballet the following morning? I mean it doesn’t stop some people, but for a sensitive soul like myself, it does. That goes for the whole year btw (and these are words to live by) drink on a weekday? prepare for a weak day. Furthermore, as I was receiving goodnight texts from my drunk boyfriend getting in from a night out at 6am, I was waking up and getting ready to start my day. Safe to say no one goes to stage school for the nightlife. That being said, we’re the life and soul of a party and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When The Going Gets Tough

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Cut to a month into training, despite making friends and loving my course, I developed a condition which basically meant I had chronic nausea that could vary from queasiness to debilitating sickness and not being able to leave the house, and doctors presumed it was just anxiety- SPOILER ALERT… it wasn’t (I’ve written another post about my health journey this year if you wanna find out more). This basically just meant I found participating in dance classes and every day life, very difficult. London Studio Centre were fabulous and the welfare team are just the greatest. In the worst spells I would sit out of all my classes or even go home but it also meant that just on the daily I couldn’t push myself like I wanted to.

It seems first year flicked between tears of joy to tears of despair. So here’s the thing, you kinda know that stage schools gonna be difficult but you’re still a little surprised when it kicks your butt. So take the Spring Showcase, a performance for the general public at Easter that you can only participate in if chosen by a teacher. I gave myself such a hard time for not getting in. I’m grateful for how resilient it is making me and I appreciate the highs so much more now. The one thing I told myself over and over again when I was accepted into stage school was that the highs always make the lows worth while. In an industry of constant no’s, it’s extremely easy to let it get on top of you. As long as I still believe the highs make it worthwhile, then I’m still making progress and therefore someday will succeed in this industry.

Assessments

As assessments approached I noticed how the nausea would get worse with the more stress I put my body under. Despite that I managed to get grades to be proud of thats something I want to change this year, now that my nausea is manageable.

One of my greatest achievements is getting 66 in my Singing Assessment which is 4 marks off a First. I’ve really struggled with my confidence in singing and seeing such a great progress is one of the things I’m most proud of. I know I have lots of work to do on my dancing as I’m the first person to admit I’m not the greatest technical dancer but isn’t that the whole reason I’m here? If I was the finished article already I wouldn’t need training.

It’s All Worth It

Despite it all, nothing can compare to working hard all day and then crawling home and into bed. It feels like I’ve really been the best version of myself and even though everything hurts and I’m drained and I’m wondering how I’m going to get out of bed tomorrow, I know I will. Its all worth it in the end. So bring on second year!!

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