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The First Pointe Shoe Fitting

I left work early on the day of the fitting, appointment secured and spirits high. I thought back to all of the “first pair of pointe shoes” videos I’d watched on YouTube. I can’t believe I’ve come this far, I thought. This is something I can be truly proud of. I have accomplished this by myself. Let me tell you, as someone who made it a regular thing to start and quit things way too easily as a kid, it feels bloody good to stick to something and see results. 

So I got to the shop. I’d actually been there before… when I was about 13 years old looking for jazz shoes – one of the many short lived hobbies of my childhood. I perched on a seat. I actually recognised a customer at the cash register as a girl who used to be in my class when I went to a different studio. There was another girl who was probably 14 years old, waiting to be fitted too. I don’t think it was her first pair. I realised in my nervousness to not be late I’d arrived 20 minutes early. I got up and browsed the leotards, spotting a black Bloch one with a cool back. I made a mental note of where it was hanging. 
The shop assistant told me I could go into the fitting room. 

AHHHH.
With one last look at the leotard, I followed the girl into the room. Now look: I know for a fact that I can come off as cold or unfriendly due to the unfortunate gift of Resting Bitch Face. I’m not though! I swear. So I try to compensate by being really polite and chatty when I can. I dunno, it’s a habit. Anyway. So I chatted away with the girl, who was really lovely and helpful. 

She sussed my feet. Relatively narrow with an average arch (sob) and strong ankles (yus). Do you know what she asked me to do? This super weird thing I didn’t expect. You stand in parallel and hold onto the barre, then rise up onto your literal toes. Using toe muscles and shit. She supported my heel a bit but it was so weird. I used to do it all the time when I was younger until someone said it would wreck my feet. It probably does if you do it as much as I used to. 

On with the the gel pads and the first pair of pointe shoes. Parallel position, rise to demi, rise to pointe. “You’re sickling a bit.” Oh. Whoops. Fixed. Too big and too painful on my toes. Off with the first pair. 

That’s the thing, you just have to guess what feels right and what doesn’t because wearing pointe shoes is such a random incomparable thing. I remembered what I’ve learnt from reading/viewing other people’s experiences and based it off that. Also the girl was like ok hell nah these are wrong, so that helped. 

Second pair: too small. Definitely too small. 

Third pair:….okay? Like… Decent. Do you sense my suspicion? Yuh. That’s because they were hella weird looking. It looked like I was wearing two tissue boxes on my feet. I thought I might get stuck with the tissue box pair, but thankfully she was like”they look bulky” and I quickly agreed. 

I tried a smaller size of the same pair and they were still bulky and wide, but with a little extra toe suffocating pain to go along with it. 

She thought for a second. This was just as I had imagined it. A lightbulb moment, and “maybe…” She reached for a box and pulled it down.

“These are the Bloch Heritage,” she explained. “They’re an older pair but a definitely a classic.” 

First of all, I loved the V shaped vamp. They were the only pair with a V shaped vamp that I’d tried. They were delicately shaped, with a distinct lack of tissue box-ness about them. I hoped they would feel okay. 

Demi, and then pointe. They DID feel okay. The best yet. I mean, it wasn’t comfortable per se but it was manageable and not terribly squishy, and best of all, I realised what supportive shoes felt like. I had a feeling about them. She did too. She said they looked really good on my feet. YES. I had found The Pair. 

Something I noticed with every pair of shoes I tried was that it was pretty damn hard to get over the box. Maybe it was because they were fresh outta the box but damn. I get it now. 

She packed up some ribbon (they have elastic where they make contact with the Achilles’ tendon), gel toe pads, elastic, a Bunheads stitch kit, and of course the shoes.

“Anything else you’d like?”

Yes. I stress shop. It’s something I do. I’ve accepted it as a character flaw.

“Well there was this leotard…”

I got the cool black leotard, folks. 

On my way home in the Uber, my driver was telling me about how he recently drove Li Cunxin home from the Queensland Ballet which I thought was a groovy coincidence. By the way, I took a class there the other day and it was great.

This all happened two weeks ago now, but I haven’t been to a class yet. Last week I had a bit of a health scare (very low white blood cell count) and couldn’t go to work let alone ballet class, but all is well! I just wish the stress breakout on my forehead would get the memo. 

And there you have it. 

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Pointe?!

Pointe?!

My teacher has given me the green light. I’ve booked a pointe shoe fitting for tomorrow afternoon. Who knew I would ever get to this stage? Not me, that’s for sure.

I feel nervous but so SO EXCITED. The lady I spoke to on the phone when I booked asked which dance school I go to, and it turns out she goes to the same place! Hopefully she does my fitting tomorrow.

It doesn’t feel real. I know it’s going to be hard work and everyone sucks at first, so I’m trying not to get too excited… But it’s hard not to.

I’ll make sure to do a blog post about the pointe shoe fitting experience.

theraband exercise underneath desk at work intensifies

On another note, the class I was worried about in my previous post was completely fine. I worried for nothing as per usual. The only thing I noticed was a slight decline in flexibility, most noticeable during grande battements. My releve has gotten better. And for goodness sake, I hate humidity because it makes the floor so sticky in this one room that it’s like pirouette-ing on sticky tape. Then I went to another class on Wednesday in the other studio and the floor was slippery as hell which made it tricky to land the pirouettes. The things I would do for a regular floor in an air-conditioned studio…

Regress

Regress

So it’s been almost three weeks since I last danced. Honestly, I kind of thought I would practice at home more but that’s not how it’s turned out. I took a dance holiday. I feel sloth-like. My whole body feels uncomfortably achey and stiff. I hate it. Whining fuels me.

On the bright side, I think my knee really needed the break. It’s been injured for a while and because I’m Really Very Stupid, I’ve been dancing on it. It feels a lot less hurty and more stable now.

My first class of 2016 is a level 2 class tomorrow night. I’m actually really nervous. Surprisingly nervous. The thing is, I know I’ve regressed because I haven’t danced and I’ve only lightly stretched since mid December. And that is making me anxious.

I wonder if the other people in my class have been in sloth-mode like me.

I’m probably making a mountain out of a mole hill, I just can’t stand the idea of being surprisingly bad in class tomorrow. Only one way to find out, folks. I’ll keep you updated.

Merry Christmas! I got you a blog post.

Merry Christmas! I got you a blog post.

I have not posted in a long time but I’m here now. Better late than never!

I’m currently on a two week dance break because of the Christmas period. I love that my dance studio only has a two week break! Although I already feel so stiff and out of practice. It’s funny how fast you can lose things like flexibility… And by funny, I mean distressing.

So to every ballet deprived person out there including myself, this is a reminder to stretch! Stretch yaself out, folks. It’ll do you good.

I’ve also had something else on my mind. Obviously this blog is a ballet blog. A beginning ballet blog. BBB. The thing is, there’s actually another ‘B’ in my life. A ‘B’ that I don’t really talk about that much. Bipolar. I have that. Imagine this kid is me and the pole is my mood. I think I need to write down my thoughts about it, but I’m not sure if I should do it on this blog. I wouldn’t write anything too heavy, that’s not what I’m about. I’m just not sure how I feel about mixing the two topics. There’s not really any coherence apart from the letter ‘B’. That’s literally my life though.

I will think about it. Do you guys have any thoughts about it?

LASTLY I hope you all had a fab Christmas and managed to relax a little!

Some things of interest

Some things of interest

  1. I can land a pirouette to the right! And sometimes to the left. Sometimes.
  2. Dancing with someone actually playing the piano right next to you feels special and fancy
  3. I am MUCH further down in my left, right, and middle splits than when last attempted them so that was a pleasant surprise
  4. I’m taking a contemporary intro class on Sunday morning that is SO FUN
  5. I think I am developing a bit of that musicality that you hear stories about
  6. IF BALLET STUDIOS COULD PLEASE ALL INSTALL AIR CONDITIONING THAT WOULD BE GREAT. WE LIVE IN AUSTRALIA. GET WITH THE PROGRAM.
  7. I wish there was an adult tumbling class somewhere near me but there’s not. It’s like they want me to break my neck in my living room.
It could just be a confidence thing…

It could just be a confidence thing…

Balancing in retiré is hard. There’s a lot to think about. Balancing in retiré on relevé is harder. There’s even more to think about. It can be wobble city for the ballet beginner.

So tonight I remembered how I learnt to ride a bike. My dad would hold onto me so I didn’t annihilate myself on the sidewalk. Then one day he decided to only rest his hand on me while I thought he was still holding on. He saw that I could ride perfectly well on my own so he let go and then off I went, ridin’ solo into the sunset.

You get the picture, right? I knew how to ride the bike, I just didn’t trust myself.

And then I wondered if this same logic applies to ballet.

So I balanced in retiré on a flat foot with one arm in first and the other very lightly touching the wall, like literally no pressure just a teeny tiny touch. Then I rose slowly up to relevé, controlled/squeezed/turned out/lifted, saw I could balance perfectly well, and proceeded to bring my wall-finger into first.

It worked! I was balancing in an absolutely-not-wobbly-at-all relevé retiré position! I guess learning to trust in yourself is important in ballet. Who knew?

You should try it out. It could just be a confidence thing.