Anything quick in ballet is a nemesis for me, which is unfortunate because adagio can only last for so long! When talking to my teacher after class Sunday, she said that I know the steps and can do them, but when it comes my turn to go across the floor I panic and hold back. I though it was a mix of lack of remembering steps/ choreography, but she said that’s definitely not the case and I know the steps but hold myself back. When marking through a combo slower (with time to think!) I am fine, and the actual steps work. But when it’s time to go, something inside me forgets everything and goes blank! Granted the combo was a little tricky with some mind game direction changes, but the funny thing is that 2 days later now I remember the whole thing! Like why couldn’t I in class?!
In Monday’s class we broke down the faster combos I usually struggle with, and besides my pathetic assembles (they aren’t assembled in any way shape or form!) I actually got through it and remembered the combo IN class. I guess practice makes better, so those two combos will be going across my living room all week!
I also worked in my new Bloch pointe shoes after class with another student that is also a teacher and was a professional dancer. Since our pointe class from last year is no more, I love getting corrections and tips on how to better utilize my shoes and muscles. We broke them in some more because the shank is hard, and I mean HARD! The paper that comes with the shoes says do not bend it and to just take class and it will mold, but I was struggling with balance getting over the box and had to move them along!
I do really like the shoes! They are Bloch Synthesis, a brand new model in the stretch line that aren’t even available online or at most retailers yet. I got them on my NYC trip and am always excited to try new models! They are comfortable and I love the way they look, and are a little more streamlined than my Eurostretch shoes.
I want to do a side by side of my feet in all the shoes I like as a comparison on what looks better. Since there are several shoes I have liked the feeling of, next would be to see what actually looks the best! But that’s a post for another day!
My office was closed today in observance of the Veterans Day holiday (thank you Vets!) so there was a rare chance to attend class at 9am and it was taken advantage of! Since it was an advance class (which screams avoid! To me) nerves almost convinced me to not go, I’m that dancer that’s been in beginner/intermediate class for ages because of my issues with remembering combos and psyching myself out.
Arriving early and grabbing a coffe at the adorable French café next door, finding a place at the barre (in the back corner) and beginning class with a nice window view was a great start to the morning! The flow of class was enjoyable with emphasis on really using the upper body to dance and express movement. Adage was beautiful and manageable on my dim memory (even remembering it enough to write it down after) and for the first time in my memory of dance, feelings of grace and that my dancing wasn’t akward and floppy filled me instead of terror and nerves. I’m hoping this becomes a permanent change because it felt good!
Sadly, my current work situation requires 9-4 on Fridays and unlesss I’m a wizard and can start negotiating some remote work, it will be rare that this class can be attended (*cough* I’m sick)! But today was wonderful and productive!
P.S. I’ve had to write the last 2 blogs without using I️ because Apple is special and glitches! I️ am so annoyed!
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!
Yesterday was one of those days where nothing went according to plan. But the again, what is the plan? I was exhausted at work and had a hard time focusing, and the day dragged on so slow. I couldn’t wait to get to ballet class, and get moving after sitting at my desk most of the day. I’ve been really not picking at myself lately over my weight, poor turnout and my arabesque that is seemingly falling lower than it used to, but I ordered some new dance wear so I thought that would help. Well it turns out it didn’t! I looked in the mirror and saw nothing but lumps and rolls. I felt like the Michelline Man in a leotard. Ugh. Class started out on the wrong foot (literally) because I got a spot at the barre where I’d have to start the combo facing the back wall with no mirror and no way of following someone if I can’t remember the combination (which I usually can’t) so I was instantly panicked. It just felt “off”. I’ve never started a class in this direction so I felt like I had 2 left feet all during barre and I kept ending up on the wrong foot.
Center didn’t go much better. My arabesque was still low, wobbly and looked strained. I couldn’t balance to save my life. Petite allegro was a horror show as usual, and feelings of doubt were rushing through my head. Why can’t I learn? Do I have a learning disability? Am I slow, or even worse just plain stupid? Stop! Get out of my head and dance!!!! Don’t be a self fulfilling prophecy!! Do your best with what you have now! Don’t worry about being the heaviest in class or the lowest arabesque. You can improve that and better it with hard work. Turns across the floor went well, on the right side at least, but grand allegro was also a hot mess. It’s not that I can’t do the steps, it’s just I pick them up slow, and need things broken down at turtle pace. If that’s done and I can try it a few times I’m usually ok. The thing is it’s hard to find a class like this because the beginner classes are too slow for me and don’t incorporate much center and the intermediate/ advance classes are more for people that have been dancing a long time. With all the breaks I’ve had to take due to not being able to afford class, I haven’t been doing this anywhere near as long as it seems. I think the classes I am in now are good because there is something to strive for. But that’s how I have to think of it. Not as a “I’m not good enough because my leg doesn’t go that high” but as “that’s what I’ll be able to do this time next year”. Even if I get my left and right confused, and I can’t do 3 pirouettes that’s okay, because ballet is a journey. It’s hard. Hard work And hard dedication. I won’t give up because I feel like I don’t fit in. I will strive for that day when I will effortlessly glide across the floor in time with my classmates without feeling like I’m just in the way. I will work at it every day and continue to eat healthy and fuel my body for dance instead of skipping meals to feel thin. Doubt be gone! I can do this!