I’ve been that dancer who has struggled with body image immensely over the past 4 years or so. Growing up in a mostly Italian family, it was encouraged to be a member of the clean plate club and seconds were always offered and encouraged. On top of that, everyone on both sides on my family are amazing cooks! Growing up it was never a problem because being so active in dance and gymnastics weight was never an issue and that call to Burger King after practice (and right across the street conveniently)!
Even when starting dance again as an adult, I’d been going to the gym daily, taught pole and aerial fitness classes 4 times a week, and had a very active job bartending (chasing drunks around was cardio)! The past few years, age has caught up with me and I’ve gained 20 pounds that scream at me when looking in the mirror, and cause me to hate photos, and love that photoshop is a skill that comes with my photography and graphic design job!
Now that I’ve been consistent with dancing again, and really want to continue to improve, workout consistency and training, as well as conscious healthy meal and snack choices are a must. A few months ago I’d come across The Dancers Best Body Program (www.thewholedancer.com) which includes healthy eating, nutrition, and inspiration which we can all use more of! Recently beginning to go through the lessons has inspired me to get back on track with multiple dance classes a week, a return to aerial, and conscious eating.
I’m going to start keeping quick and easy meals on the blog here because if you’re anything like me you just don’t have time for all the elaborate meal prep that diet plans require. If anyone knows any clean eating resources for quick and easy meals, link me in the comments below!
Tonight’s pre-class dinener took about 10 minutes!
It was easy and a good source of both protein and carbs for energy as well as a good helping of dark leafy greens.
• 1 cup whole wheat ziti
• small chicken breast (palm sized)
• 1 cup steamed spinach
• A few spoonfuls of organic pasta sauce with herbs
Now it’s off to stretch my calves that are still sore from yesterday’s class!
Suicide Awareness Week confession: I’ve struggled with depression, hopelessness, and feeling like I am never enough for most of my life. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20s that I could admit to myself that I had a mental illness. I’ve felt like most people would be better off if I’m not here, and I know how easy it is to slip into the darkness that is our own minds. I’ve failed so many times at jobs, and felt like I don’t fit in anywhere, even in the industries I love and want to make a career in. As I sit here and write this I am in tears because yet again I have disappointed people that I care abouts opinions and the familiar feeling of hopelessness is taking over. I work full time and am growing a photography business, and basically just made a fool of myself in front of prominent vendors for working full time and not editing fast enough. It makes me feel like I should throw in the towel because I will never be able to edit a full session in 2 weeks. Today I felt guilty for going to class and not staying home to edit. I was told I was unprofessional because I told someone my timeline for editing was because I worked full time as well as growing my business. Now I’m sitting here downing wine and feeling guilty for writing this blog.
The point of this is I want you to know you’re not alone, what you are feeling, others are feeling too. Sure I feel like crap and am crying into my wine, but I know I’m a great photographer and clients who have my timeline expectations and are ok with it are the people for me (shameless self promotion: http://www.aliciaannphoto.com) Hope is the anthem of my soul, and I hope that one day I can accomplish my dreams and be able to be good enough to fit in this industry that seems to take and never give.
National Suicide Awareness Week: https://twloha.com/
Last week was the last week of summer session, and of corse I came down with a terrible head cold on Tuesday and wasn’t better for my class on Thursday. I was so dissapointed because for the past 4 weeks we’ve been working on a very challenging pirouette combo that has been slowly but surely getting better! I didn’t have class this week because of the holiday and my class is changing to Monday, so I’m excited for next week.
Lonely shoes last Thursday…
I’m also excited for more Fall dance opportunities because one of my favorite retired principals from the company where I take class will be teaching on Wednesday nights at a different location and doing an adult pointe class as well.
I also started being much more aware of what I am eating. I’ve cut alcohol and excess sugar such as desserts and my daily trip to the snack machine at work. Besides the extreme need to lose 25-30 pounds, I’ve also had an ovarian cyst for 2 years that is becoming more and more painful. Since I have no insurance and would have to quit my career as a graphic designer and take some crummy retail job to get insurance, I can’t get any care whatsoever. I need an ultrasound to see if there are more cysts or it’s become larger, and possibly surgery to remove it since it’s been much more painful and pushing on nerves in my back. Hoping my job will make me permanent so that I can get proper insurance and finally get it looked at again. If anyone has any natural remedies I’d much rather go that route!!
I better to do some strength work and stretch!!
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!
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!
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!
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:
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:
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!