Dear Reader, it was precisely one year ago when I embarked on my very first pointe class. Before I tied those satin ribbons, I had long ago given up on pointe shoes. I figured that after 16 years of dancing in slippers and never going higher than demi (with the exception of one sorry and short-lived attempt in my twenties) - what would be the pointe? In slippers I don´t suck too much, that is I have fairly good technique for a late starter and adult recreational dancer. Of course there is no crowd lining up to see me perform, but on a good day I do well enough to get my kicks out of my jetés and some praise to boot. On bad days I still love it enough to keep coming back. What more could a girl ask for?
Happy Hour at the Barre (November 13, 2010)
But when my own teacher opened the door to pointe and invited me in - all of a sudden there was no doubt in my mind. I knew right away that no way would I deny myself this opportunity. Come hell and high water, bloody blisters and akwardness. Now, nearly 50 classes and three pairs of shoes later, I have advanced from akward to slightly less-than-akward - that is from pointe beginner to pointe basic-er. And dare I say it, I´m actually a little bit proud of myself!
1000 Minutes on Pointe (December 13, 2010)
Last Friday I went back in time, and re-started at pointe beginner level. Our school offers two classes, beginner and basic, and I take both. Classes have always been mixed; one year ago there were only two complete beginners: me and a friend of mine. This year, there are a lot more hopefuls and eager new dancers, and I hope they will find it just as exciting as I did. And still do, if not even more. Yes, more. Dancing more does not take away your hunger, it feeds it. Sure, at first exercises are difficult as hell and you think it will never amount to anything. But then your body starts to change, responding differently to your commands, becoming compliant instead of defiant.
In Memoriam: My First Pointe Shoes (February 10, 2011)
When I decided to make the jump out of the comfort of my slippers, I knew big challenges lay ahead. Having walked in uncomfortable shoes before (like most women I know), I figured that pointes would be no Birkenstocks. I had done some exercises like echappés and bourrés on demi, and done my research beforehand. I knew that getting over the box is a big deal, and that you would need to pull up and not sit in your shoes. Yeah, pointe technique turned out to be as difficult as I had expected. And then some. I could not get over my box. Pulling up on one foot, with a stretched knee and strong core - no easy feat. When Madame told us to be elegant, I was going for comedic. Pirouettes on pointe? Scary as hell.
Potential (April 30, 2011)
That´s the thing - when your´re a grown-up ballet dancer, you know all that can go wrong. Instead of doing the pre-teen thing and being fearless and eager, you fear falling over. But I consider myself lucky. For one, I have had the best teachers you could ask for - they pushed me out of my comfort zone, but never let me pointe alone. They have been meticulous about proper alignment and technique, and encouraging when I had the hardest time suspending my disbelief!
Since that first class and Pointe Zero, I have improved and learned a lot. My feet are arching over the boxes, single leg relevés have become less daunting and I have just embarked on my first balanced pirouettes (singles still). But you know what the best part is? Despite all my research, the blisters and the achy feet and the killer-slow roll-up relevés, and the burn - I had not figured I would love it as much! It´s a whole new world out there, waiting to be conquered. One plié, piqué and pointed foot at a time..