30 Day Pointe Challenge Week 1 | Adult Ballet Blog

So much has been going on lately that I’ve completely been slacking on both this blog and my Facebook page with posts. Between starting a new job and growing my photography business (which also has its own blog, website, social media etc!) and still having down time for friends and family, 2017 is flying by! 

Anyway, I’m finishing month 2 of being back to ballet/pointe class, and just finished a month back to aerial class as well. I’ve been on pointe (even if only a few minutes) almost daily due to the #30daypointechallenge on Instagram (follow me there @aliciaaerial). What is the 30 Day Pointe Challenge!? It’s a series of pointe exercise done daily with videos and photos posted to Instagram with the hashtag. Don’t have Instagram? Here’s a screenshot from one of the challenge coordinaters!: 


There are no rules for how many reps you do of the exercises, just that you try your best and work safely. There are a few descriptions that are confusing such as “pullbacks” which turned out to just be rising en pointe and doing pliés without pushing over the arch but keeping the feet right as they are. One footies I’m not sure of because we aren’t there yet! 

The first few days, having been so on and off pointe last year, caused me to get the typical arch cramps (and muscle burn!) of having been a slacking dancer, but after a few days I felt stronger. I would do reps until exhaustion, even if the full video wouldn’t fit on Instagram (we only get one minute!) the benefits were worth it! The challenge is currently on Day 26, but people start late and it’s a good reference for when you’re looking to just strengthen your feet. I’m still battling with finding “the shoe” because I purchased another pair of my life changing Stellars, but was only able to get the regular shank, which has seemingly made them a whole different shoe. I may be going back to my Bloch’s or just try to get the light shank, or last resort go back to Boston where I was fitted and see what kind of witchcraft they worked on the previous pair!

Day1-7

Now here I go to work on my turnout since I clearly have none!

Happy Dancing!

Alicia

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To the Dance Store! | Adult Ballet Blog

My class had a 3 week break but tonight we are back! I couldn’t be more excited, especially since I can get dressed at home now instead of having to go straight from work. I’ll be starting a new job next week at a wonderful new company (for design, not dance company haha!) and the commute is longer but prettier and it’s in my favorite part of the state which in turn is giving me some new dance opportunities. I’ve never taken class down in Newport, but there is a modern ballet company down there called Island Moving Company and they are amazing and also have adult class three times a week! So I’ll stick to my Wednesday pointe class and maybe throw in some extras down there. 

Anyways, today I had one of those “I haven’t tried on every shoe in existence” panic attacks today and decided to go to the dance store to try on some of the only shoes I haven’t worn yet, Grishko and Capezio. I needed new flat shoes as well and they weren’t busy so I figured it was a good time. Since I have wide and large feet, sometimes it’s really hard to get shoes in my size to actually try, but LaBrie Dance in Smithfield, RI had a lot to choose from and alas had shoes in my size! I had been going to a store in the Boston area during college and they hardly had anything in my size which I found annoying. So after trying a few different models of both shoes I settled on the Grishko Miracle. I tried the Capezio Airess as well but they were much too hard and caused pain in my big toe. The Miracles have a much smaller platform then the shoes I normally wear (Suffolk Stellar or Bloch Balance European) so it might take some getting used to. The last pair of Stellars I got were in a harder shank which either aren’t for me or just need to be beaten to hell to make the semi pointe area not feel like it’s pushing me back. I loved the light shank I got in Boston, but I think they modified them, so I’ll have to either go up there again and get them or try ordering the light shank online. I think after tonight they will unfortunately not have any life left in them and will have to be retired to outdoor Photoshoot use only.


So for today I have Grishko Miracles and Capezio Cobra flats, and am looking foreward to pointe class tonight and sucking the last bit of life out of my Stellars!

See you at the barre!

Alicia 

Pointe Class | Adult Ballet Blog

This week I took my first pointe class in 2 years! The availability of adult pointe classes in my area is non-existent unless you want to travel to Boston, but that’s way to far for me to make on any kind of weekly basis, so the past few years I have just been doing my own work at home and in the aerial studio when I go practice by myself. The last time I took a full class on pointe was when I was working at the ballroom studio my mom goes to as a graphic designer and got to take free classes. There was an adult beginner class mid way through one of my shifts so I used it as my break and took the class with my pointe shoes on instead of on flat like everyone else. Otherwise all of my classes have been on flat and too advance for me to do on pointe anyway, which is fine, I would go home many times and do some strength exercises at my home barre. Someday I’ll be able to do those pirouettes on pointe!

I was a little nervous to go to this class because it was at a new studio that I had never been to and I was afraid I would be the worst one. On top of it the teacher is a former ABT dancer! But boy was I surprised when I walked in to one of the most positive and welcoming atmospheres I’ve ever experienced in ballet! Stephanie was warm and welcoming, assuring me that we were going to start with strength work and build our feet and then do a basic pointe barre after.

We started with a floor barre (which now I want to do every day!) and warmed up our feet with theraband exercises and some plie’s and tendu’s. The last half of class we put on our shoes and worked through demi pointe and pointe at the barre. This was the first class where I didn’t feel uncomfortable due to my size and lack of turnout. I don’t know why, but for some reason I felt completely content, which is rare. I felt joyful the entire class and still had a spring in my step when I went to work the next day (despite the fact that we’re all getting laid off after I’ve only been there a week) and felt confident. Sure I was a little rusty, but I definitely will find a way to keep coming to class and return to my other classes as well since that’s when I see progress. For today I’m off to do a photoshoot with my friend and make her into a fairy princess, but first, to the barre for plie’s!


See you at the barre!

Alicia

At the Ballet! | Le Corsaire 

This past weekend I went to see the Boston Ballet perform Le Corsaire! My mom got us a subscription to see 3 ballets this season this being the first, Nutcracker is next, then Sleeping Beauty in the Spring. Needless to say it’s always an exciting trip and this was no different (except that I had a devastating week which ended up in a raging migraine for the entire weekend which was nonstop)! We were running a little late and barely made it to our seats for curtain thanks to Boston traffic. But I was ecstatic to see the cast list that my two favorite female principals were leads, Ashely Ellis as Medora and Dusty Button at Gulnare.

I knew the storyline was about pirates, but didn’t get a chance to read the synopsis but my first impression was that the costumes and set were just GORGEOUS! Probably the most beautiful I have ever seen! The set transported me right to Ancient Greece, and when Medora was first seen oh my did she glitter! What I would do for a costume like that!

The storyline flowed effortlessly. The short version is Medora is in love with the pirate Conrad, who comes to take her away. Meanwhile a wealthy slave trader is presenting his women, including Gulnare to the Pasha and he is in awe by her, agreeing to buy her. He then sees Medora, who is the slave traders foster daughter and wants her too, offering to pay theee times as much for her as well. The deal is made and Medora, who doesn’t want to be sold, is kidnapped by Conrad and his pirates along with treasures and the other slave maidens (except Gulnare) and wicked away to a seaside cavern.

The Coda of the ballet was the most amazing and by far my favorite part. The dancing performed was exquisite and if you haven’t seen the technical difficulty presented in the Coda, I would recommend watching it here:

Medora requests the slaves be freed, which turns the other pirates against Conrad who grants her wish. His brother turns on him and conspires with the slave trader to kidnap Medora back, after putting Conrad into a deathlike sleep, and take her to the Pasha, heartbroken.

The Pasha is angry that she is miserable and refuses to pay the promised amount and the trader runs for his life. Gulnare befriends Medora and tries to show her that the cushy palace life isn’t bad and she could be happy. But Conrad and his faithful men come to her rescue, and save the day, whisking her away on their ship and happiness.

I’d love to learn a classical variation one day, even if I never get to perform, it would be so much fun to dive into a character. Which variation would you like to learn?

See you at the barre!

Alicia

Back to the Barre! | Adult Ballerina Blog

Well I finally have some good news, I got a job! Back to my previous company but in another department and still doing design, and the same pay rate so I can afford ballet again!!!! I can’t wait to be back!

At the same time of feeling success, I can’t help but feeling sad. I’ve wanted my job back for so long, mainly because it’s semi secure income and a good pay rate, plus I’m getting the coveted industry experience needed for even better jobs. The first few days I was excited and very happy, but today I feel sad. Having to go back to waking up early, spending hours commuting with angry rush hour drivers, and sitting at a desk all day instead of working out, making art and trying to figure out how to gain clients in my photography business. I guess the last one is the worst, I feel like I’ve failed in getting by business off the ground while I had time off. With all the time off I should be a marketing wizard and be getting inquiries daily and booking clients! But I’m not and I don’t understand why. I know it’s not my quality of work, but getting in front of people who are looking for photography services. I feel like I failed myself and my true calling to go back to slaving to “the man” that is corporate business that is only another temp contract.

On the plus side, I have my ballet schedule all laid out and am about to go to some barre and pointe strength exercises so I don’t go back to class weak and terrible! It will be so good to go back to the studio again, even if I do make a fool of myself forgetting combos most of the time, maybe some day I’ll fit in!

World Ballet Day Fun!!!

World Ballet Day is one of the best day’s of the year for dancers! What is better than getting a look into the most famous ballet companies for a whole entire day! I just wanted to lay in bed all day and watch it, but was also motivated to get out and dance. It’s hard to keep up with all the fun all day, fortunately no work for me, but I did get into the studio for a little bit and worked on a lyrical dance that has been in my head and to work on some pointe work and dancing without having to worry about doing a routine or having a time limit. I might post it later if I get the nerve up, or maybe just a little preview on Instagram (@aliciaaerial) 😉

In case you also need to catch up on anything missed yesterday, here are the links!:

 

Oh and some barre exercises! Can’t get enough of those!

I’ll add more as I find them, or feel free to add what you find in the comments!

Happy Dancing!

Alicia

New Shoes and Ballet Blues

I’ve been off the radar for a while because I haven’t had anything happy or positive to write about over here. I haven’t been able to take classes because of loosing my job, I feel insecure and far from confident in my dancing, and haven’t made any progress. I’ve been doing a lot of running and going back to aerial (www.polerinaaerialdance.com for that blog!) and otherwise doing some foot strength exercises. I started doing barre again at home, and simple pointe work because I have an idea for an aerial routine for the spring competition season, and just miss dancing in general.

I think as dancers we all struggle with the search for the perfect shoe! It’s even worse for us big footed dancers because it seems no one has our size in stock so trying on is the devil! I’ve had to purchase numerous pairs of shoes I didn’t really like because of just lack of anything else. When I was living in Boston I fell in love with the Suffolk Stellar (light) and haven’t been able to find them anywhere since. I’m afraid to order them online that they won’t be the same but I’m probably going to have to get over that! I have been eating great things about the Bloch Eurostretch so today I was on a mission to give them a go thinking they would be easier to find, and well I succeeded! First off, I loved how they felt, they were soft and stretchy and molded to my foot perfect. The inside was cushy and no big toe pain on pointe! And omg the box is PRETTY! The only thing I didn’t like was the box didn’t feel good for balancing and that was the only reason I didn’t get them. Maybe I’ll give them a go and see what happens next time (while I have backups that aren’t dead!) and see if I’m able to balance like in my other shoes. 

On a whim I asked if they had the Stellars and they did, and in my size! They weren’t the light shank but the standard, and they felt a little bit hard but I think once they’re broken in maybe they will last a little longer. So I ended up with another pair of my old favorites and a super cute H tutu O water bottle.

So what feels like starting from scratch (I looked good at the store and not like an idiot or amateur at least haha) and getting strong agin so when I can return to classes I’ll be ready and able to keep up!

I’ll just be Right Here at MY Barre!

Alicia