Right Here at the Barre

Right Here at the Barre now has a new home! I will be re-posting my last few posts from my old blog starting here!

Greetings and welcome fellow ballet addicts! I finally wanted to create a  place to document my journey back to dance and share my story. My first thought is, really? Who is going to read this? So if you are reading this then yay!

It all started when I was 3 and enrolled in ballet/gymnastics in my town. I loved the movement and still remember stretching on the floor in the studio, and seeing the older dancers watching from the corner waiting for their class as we finished ours. My first dance recital was “Animal Crackers in my Soup”…..sadly, there is video from this somewhere that I’m sure my mom would gladly dig up. Help lol. See proof below.

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Yup there it is! Me in all my 4 (or 5? who knows!) year old glory! I think I lived in that tutu and even wore it to the playground until it no longer fit and my mom threw it away :(. Anyway, I ended up sticking more to gymnastics, taking dance here and there, but it wasn’t until I turned 21 that I realized how much I missed dance and wanted to do it. I guess it started watching lyrical on SYTYCD, but I also started doing cirque style aerial dancing including silks, lyra and pole. While searching for photos of aerialists, I came across a ballerina turned pole dancer, Elena Gibson, performing pole en pointe. I signed up for adult ballet the next week to supplement my training and my dreams of achieving grace. I think I became completely obsessed! I would tendu in my kitchen and practice any moment I could, even on days I didn’t have class! I bought a barre for my house and would write down combinations to work on between classes. After a year and a half of hard work, I was invited to the teen pointe class! I was already strong and flexible from gymnastics, yoga and aerial, so once I learned technique everything seemed to move fast. Pointe was something I dreamed about before I took my first class. To me, it was mesmerizing, and I spent hours watching videos on YouTube and doing foot exercises. The class was actually not as intimidating as I thought, even though I was 4 years older then the students, I kept up remarkably and they thought I had been dancing for years (and also that I was 17 like them so yay)! People I knew started referring to me as “the ballerina” and again thought I had many more years of training than I did, probably because I lived ballet! Unfortunately I had to move, and leave the studio I was dancing at because it was too far. I started dancing at a more professional school after a little break, but I always continued to do barre and strength at home. The classes were very basic and very focused on technique. The teacher was tough and constantly correcting everything, which I liked because I felt like I was learning correctly. Unfortunately, because of financial difficulties and job change, I took about a year off from dancing, and decided to go back to school. When I went to college, I was right down the street from the Boston Ballet and began classes again. Boy was I in for a surprise when I couldn’t keep up! The combos were more complex and involved than anything I had done in class before, and I spent most of my time in the back of the room attempting to keep up. But over those years I felt like I was really dancing, learning, and getting strong again. After college, I started a job and was taking class back in Providence for a brief period of time. My dog then developed diabetes, and I couldn’t go to class anymore because it interfered with her insulin shots that I had to be home for. So I started finding ballet barre classes online, though there is no substitute for an actual teacher correcting you, it kept me strong until recently where I finally found my ballet home. I was looking for classes that were earlier that I could go to after work and would let me get home in time for my dog. After searching and searching, I found a studio that I had never heard of that specialized in Vaganova technique. They also offered 3 ballet classes a week for adults and I could go to all of them! I was terrified and shy as usual, after not having been in a class setting for a while. All the adult dancers at this studio were warm and welcoming as well as encouraging, which was refreshing and helped me feel more confident. Some of the classes are a little advanced for me, but I am determined to work harder than ever. I know I will never dance for a company, or be a ballerina, or even perform much if at all, but what I feel when dancing can overcome all of that. When you work hard and finally nail the tricky step, or double pirouette, it’s just as good as being on stage. It’s never too late to start, and never too late to dream, so I will be spending my evenings right here at the barre!

Happy Dancing! See you at the barre!

Alicia

https://www.facebook.com/righthereatthebarre

Pointe Shoes With No Training

I have been seeing a lot of girls attempting pointe work through various social media networks who clearly do NOT have any ballet training.  Dancers work very hard for years strengthening their feet and body in preparation for pointe.  It is extremely dangerous to just go buy a pair of pointe shoes and think you can train yourself.  Dancers can end up injuring themselves very badly or even permanently!  The first major giveaway that someone is trying to selt teach, it the ribbons on their shoes. Not only do some look like they were purchased at a craft store, but they are not tied properly!

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Ribbons and drawstrings should be neatly tucked away.  No bows should be hanging out.  I know this is what non dancers think ballet dancers do, but it is wrong, and the first sign that someone is self teaching.  If you have taken lessons and your teacher allows this, you may want to re think attending there!  Proper ribnons and drawstrings look like this:

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The second cue that someone has not taken lessons, is they are not over on the platform of the box of the shoe.  While I understand that not everyone has a foot like Polina Seminova, if you are not “on” your box you are setting yourself up for a fall. Here’s an example:

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This is not proper alignment en pointe and is very dangerous.
I’ve seen many posted pictures and videos of shoes like this.  I’m not trying to say girls should give up their dreams of pointe at any age! If you want to dance on pointe, please take lessons with a quallified teacher, and learn safely!
Happy dancing!