So I’ve (proudly!) been back to consistent ballet classes for 8 months straight! This has to be a personal record, and since no financially devastating events have happened to make classes unaffordable like has happened in the past, I’ve definitely seen progress. While I have been dancing since I was 22 (9 years) as an adult, until the past 4 years ago I was very inconsistent so progress, especially on pointe, would leave me back at square one frequently. My first year of college I was able to take multiple classes a week at the Boston Ballet which was a few minutes away from school and ballet/ contemporary and pointe at The Studio: A Dance Center for adults whenever I could.
I’ve always been that person to forget combos, and have to follow someone, which is probably still true if I took more intermediate classes (which I will do once I’m out of busy photography season) but right now I’m happy in my awesome beginner class where I’m feeling like I am progressing and re-learning the basics I never learned when I started because the studio I attended was more focused on performance. I still fear I will never be good at petit allegro, but it’s getting better!
I’ve always been told practice makes perfect. With being an artist, dancer, gymnast and learning an instrument, it is always practice! But I’ve come to determine that practice will NEVER make perfect. Why? Because perfection, and striving for perceived perfection, is unrealistic and will drive you completely mad reaching for something that is unlikely to be achieved!
Instead, I aim for better. Even if it is just one little thing I do better than at my previous class….a longer balance, better turn, remembering the combo…BETTER is better than driving myself mad over unrealistic goals. I still have that dream of being on stage someday, but for now I’ll just be over here working hard on my strength and getting back to 3 classes a week to improve!
Alicia(thankfully I’m also a better photographer than when I did these as well!)
To a dancer, the tools of the trade are especially focused on the feet and legs. Finding the perfect fitting shoe can be an endless struggle! I’ve had a hard time finding flat shoes that fit well and don’t cause a bump under the ball of the foot, and just when I think I’ve found the perfect pointe shoe, my feet seem to change and my shoe stops working for me. I’ve literally spend HOURS in the dance stores trying on shoe after shoe from every name out there. Having larger feet also doesn’t help because many shoes aren’t stocked in my size. So far my favorites have been Suffolk Solo and Stellar, Gaynor Minden, Bloch Balance European Strong and Bloch Eurostretch, which I just stared wearing. The Balance European was my go to shoe for years, but my last pair just didn’t seem supportive anymore in the regular shank, the strong shank seems to be doing ok. I went to the dance store a while back in hopes of trying the Bloch Eurostretch, and after trying them I ended up buying a Grishko Miracle, which ended up not working for my wide feet and desire for a large platform. As soon as my feet would swell, they would become obviously too small and narrow. Otherwise they were extremely comefortable and flat so I was sad that they couldn’t work for me. I’ve been dancing in a mix of a Suffolk Stellar and Bloch Balance euro for the past few years. My latest pair of the Bloch seemed so unsupportive by the 3rd class wearing them, and I felt they were allowing me to sickle and have to work extra hard not to. The strong shank worked much better so if I buy them again, strong will be the way to go!
Thinking of how comefortable the Bloch Eurostretch was (that I didn’t buy 🙄) I ordered them online since our local stores lot their contract with Bloch and don’t carry them anymore, and sewed them last week. At first try I had a hard time getting over the box and felt held back on them, but determined to break them in and give it a go I sewed them and did some basic barre at home. After a few of these sessions (the instructions say just do barre to break them in, no de-shanking or beating them up) I think I am hooked. They felt to so good I even wore them to class tonight, and I’m always scared to wear a new shoe to class, because if it doesn’t work out there’s people to watch me fail. I’m the only person on pointe in my class so I always feel a little pressure to not be the one to make an ass of themselves! Since starting class on pointe again regularly, I feel a lot of strength (and maybe a little confidence) returning! Now if only I could get those one foot relevés up a little better I would be happy!
Anyway, right now I feel these could be my current shoe. I still have my Stellars in my bag, but I love the support and stretch of these Bloch Eurostretch! What are your favorite pointe shoes?
Here are a few photos from class tonight!
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!
Now here I go to work on my turnout since I clearly have none!
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!