On December 2nd I made a tough choice. I spent that whole morning going back and forth between my two options. If I didn't continue with Nutcracker I would be free to enjoy the Christmas season, but I was afraid of what everyone at the ballet school, and those who knew I would be performing and wanted to come see me, would think of my decision. Sticking with Nutcracker would bring misery right up to Christmas Eve. Neither path would be easy.
I made my final decision on a bench by the bus stop at school. One of my notebooks lay open on the table as my hand flew back and forth across the page, writing a rough draft of the email I would send to the director of the company. The words flowed out with hardly an interruption, yet it was one of the most difficult letters I ever had to write. I dreaded the reaction my decision would cause. I'm sure by now it's obvious that I decided not to go through with Nutcracker.
I also hated to cause any trouble with casting, but just to get things straight I only had a small part, nothing that stood out. I don't think I could have lived with myself if I had been cast with a bigger role and left a few weeks before opening night. I figured it really shouldn't have been a problem to replace me. You may now be wondering why I had so many rehearsals if I had such a little part in the show, but it was because I was expected to understudy everything. My teacher was pushing me to learn every part so I could get a feel for how to work in a company. Although there was no chance of me performing waltz, snow, doll, or second act variations, I still learned all of these dances, and even had the opportunity to rehearse some of them.
When I came home I typed out an email but couldn't bring myself to push the send button until a few hours later. Eventually I forced my hand to the mouse and sent off my request to be replaced. I couldn't believe I had done it.
Was there relief? Some, yes. I felt free from the burden of being in a place that was so emotionally draining, and one that wasn't right for me to begin with. I couldn't feel completely better though. I wondered if the director would be upset with me. I also hoped she would reply, but I wasn't sure she would. The weekend passed without a word from her. Tuesday came and I had given up waiting for a response. That is until I got home from school that same day and found a message from her in my inbox.