Friday, July 13, 2007

Ballet Magnificat! Summer Intensive 2007

Reflecting on the two weeks spent at dance camp, the time seems to have sped by so quickly. So much was packed in the time there - so much to learn, so much to remember.

Mom drove Jennifer and I up to Jackson, Mississippi on Sunday, June 24th. After the almost 5 hour drive, we arrived and unpacked. Settling into our dorm room, I realized that it was merely two doors down from the room I'd stayed in the year before. It didn't feel like a whole year had passed since I'd last stayed at Belhaven College. However, this year I was more excited about camp, for I'd be sharing the whole experience with my twin!

We took the placement class that evening, and thankfully were placed in the same level. It was nice for us to be able to take the same classes together. Monday dawned bright and early, and we settled in for 2 whole weeks of dancing. The days seemed so long at first, but by the end of the intensive, they seemed so short. It's funny how one's perspective changes. We began to get into the routine. The alarm went off at 6 a.m., to groans and our reluctant rolling out of bed - the night always flew by far too quickly! We had our personal devotions, dressed, and went to breakfast. After morning chapel, we took ballet technique for nearly 2 hours, then went straight to lunch. The afternoon brought 2 more classes, either in variations, improvisation, modern, jazz, pointe, or conditioning (or, as Jennifer deemed it, ballet boot camp). After going straight to supper, we usually had a few minutes to recuperate before heading off for an evening activity: small group time, Bible study, creative worship, or a Ballet Magnificat! concert. There wasn't much free time, but what we did have we spent writing letters, journaling, reading, or bonding with our small group. We had a wonderful counselor named Martyna, who was originally from Poland. It was so much fun to talk with her and hear her wonderful accent! She was also very much on fire for the Lord, and really encouraged us in our daily walk.

God was so good to allow me to dance at Ballet Magnificat! for two weeks. Following last year's intensive, I'd been pumped up and ready to be challenged and work even harder in ballet. Then, last February, dance started to have to slow down as I developed peroneal tendonitus in my left ankle. I did what I could, but finally had to stop taking ballet class altogether in April, although I continued to teach. After my teaching wrapped up, I rested my ankle for quite a while, vising the chiropractor, icing it, and praying a lot. It was a lot better when I went to the intensive, but not yet fully recovered. I was also out-of-shape after having to take a break from dance, although I had stretched out and done what I could without taxing my ankle. So, needless to say, I headed off to Ballet Magnificat! with some trepidation - for what if I ended up not even being able to dance? But, God was so faithful... so good. Although the ankle hurt a little on-and-off and I had to wear a small brace to help support it, I was able to dance, only sitting out occasionally during jumps or pointe, for they often irritated it the most. God taught me a lot about trust during the whole ordeal of tendonitus. And now, I can report that my ankle is almost entirely free from pain. Praise God!

It was so inspiring to spend time at Ballet Magnificat! They have such a wonderful ministry! Not only do they focus on us growing technically in dance ability, they focus even more on us growing in our walk with the Lord. The theme of this year's workshop was "Hiding Place". We studied so many verses about how Christ is our Hiding Place, and how we need to run to Him for everything. We focused on Colossians 3:1-4, digging deep into God's Word. It was so encouraging to be under the tutelage of teachers who encouraged us to dance for God's glory alone - to focus on worshiping Him more than getting the combinations perfect or having flawless technique. If not for Him, we have no reason to dance.

It was so nice to be with Jennifer for the entire two weeks, talking late in the night even when we really needed sleep, praying together before bed, sharing somewhat silly moments, growing closer in our friendship, and even celebrating our birthday together! We decorated our dorm with verses, putting a new one on our door each day. They really helped remind us to focus on God, even when we were having a hard day. I am so blessed to have such a friend as Jen. We were so close, and seemed so alike to everyone, that we were constantly being mistaken for sisters!

We celebrated the 4th of July by wearing our patriotic garb and decorating the hall in our dorm. Sadly, we missed fireworks and the parties back home, but we did manage to celebrate a little, and paint fireworks on our cheeks.


We made the most memories on July 5th, when we celebrated our 17th birthdays. We really confused people then, by wearing our twin skirts and both celebrating our birthday on the same day. People got strange looks on their face when we explained that we didn't even live close, but were from Alabama and Nebraska, respectively! We tried to explain, but things are a bit complicated! So many thought that we must be twins until we explained that we weren't - quite. Everyone sang "Happy Birthday to us in chapel, and we got so many birthday wishes throughout the day. Dressed in our skirts and headbands, we weren't hard to miss. We took some birthday portraits on the lovely Belhaven campus and reminisced about how old we'd become. Where has the time gone?


The next day was our last day. We went to our last classes and danced a duet in the student concert, which my parents came up to see. After saying fond farewells - it's hard to leave those who become like family for two weeks - we drove off into the night, leaving Mississippi, but carrying home many memories inside.

17 comments:

thepatriot said...

Awwww! I miss you! It really was an awesome time, and most of that is because it felt so natural to be around you. Thanks for such a memorable time!

P.S. Great job with the photos...

Brittany said...

I enjoyed reading about your time at camp...sounds like fun! I'm glad your ankle is okay. (: PTL!
I love the way you arranged the photos...very nice! (:

Ella said...

Oh, it sounds like the two of you had a wonderful time together!!! I am so glad that you two were they to be a support to the other one.

And Anna, you are right. If not for God, we couldn't do the talents he has given us! To HIM be the glory forever and ever!

Jessica said...

Oh, that was fun to hear about...made me miss dancing all the more! Though I'm sorry you had tendonitis problems, but that's wonderful that it wasn't too bad at the Intensive. If you don't mind me asking...what level were you two placed in? And what song did you dance to for the talent show?

Elijah Lofgren said...

Wow! Glad you had such a great time! :)

Thanks for sharing the pictures and details with us.

Have a great weekend,

Elijah

Mrs. Hart said...

Thanks for sharing with us your life at Ballet camp. So, what song did you and Jennifer dance to for your duet?

Ella said...

I just noticed...the fabric you two have in the middle of your skirts....I am making that into a shirt! (Which is way harder than a skirt by the way:-)

Hope you are having a great day, Anna! I have been praying for you!

Anna Naomi said...

We were placed in level 6, on a scale of 4 to 10. It's humbling to be placed lower than others, but we definitely learned a whole lot!

We danced to When You Say You Love Me by Josh Groban. When we first heard it and started choreographing, I thought it was a Christian song! It wasn't until later that I learned that it was a secular love song. But, we danced it unto the Lord, dancing the love song for Him.

Anna S said...

I'm glad you had such a good time in the dance camp, Anna!

Jessica said...

It's humbling to be placed lower than others, but we definitely learned a whole lot!

I know exactly what you mean...I was one of the oldest girls in my class when I went!

And that's too bad about the song you danced to ending up being secular, but if you danced to it for His glory...then that's wonderful!

king's_daughter said...

I was wondering what kind of modesty standards/dress codes you girls had to follow the Ballet Magnificat? I know that is probably a controversial subject; Christians wearing leotards, etc. Were you allowed to dress according to your convictions if Ballet Magnificat didn't follow them as well? Sorry if this is a weird question, I was just curious! :-)

Beverly said...

Sounds like a lovely time you had with your "twin", Anna. I am so glad that you danced for His glory, and also that your ankle is almost pain - free.

Happy belated birthday!

Anna Naomi said...

Britt: Ballet Magnificat! has high modesty standards compared to all other ballet companies that I know of - for this I'm very grateful! For ballet classes, we did have to wear a leotard and mid-calf skirt, so that the teachers could accurately see what we were doing and help correct us. However, the class I was in was all girls, so it wasn't bad. We also had to wear something called "cut tights" under the top of our leotard to make things more modest. For other classes, we were allowed to wear longer shorts or skirts. And for when we weren't in class, we were required to wear a cover-up. They did have some modesty rules pertaining to the cover-ups as well. Jen and I actually met one other girl who dressed in skirts like us. =)

Modesty is hard to follow in ballet, but with my parent's help I've been able to stand strong in my convictions.

Thanks Mrs. Beverly!

Anonymous said...

Were you allowed to have contact with your parents at Ballet Mag???

Anna Naomi said...

Anonymous: They don't let you call home for the first few days so that you can adjust and not get too homesick. Your counselor keeps your cell phone so that you're not distracted by it, but after those first few days you can check out your cell phone almost as often as you like, making sure that you turn it back in after each call.

Anonymous said...

I am considering Ballet Magnificat for this coming summer, and I was curious if there is any way to call home while your there the first few days? thank you

Anna Naomi said...

I'm sure if you really needed to contact your parents during the first few days, they would let you. If it's crucial for you, go ahead and contact Ballet Mag to see what they think. I recommend the intensive - it's great!