July 1, 2012

Ballet Blogathon, Day One.

After my recent lapse into bloggin' laziness, I've decided to go the opposite way and challenge myself with a July blog-a-day. One ballet-related (what else?) post for every single day of July! You have given me so many fun ideas to write about, and there are also lots of interesting questions I want to answer. Other than that, I'll just write about whatever ballet-y pops into my head. On some days that might mean short mini-posts, maybe even photo-posts with hardly a written word.. But for the most part, I hope that I can come up with more than one chapter worthy of your attention! So, here goes..

Friday Night Fouettés

Last Friday class I had a real blast turning fouetté pirouettes - which still surprises me. I mean, fouettés are not my forte - and the "regular" kind still aren't. But Friday we did this fast and fun center diagonal: four soutenus en tournant - chassé - grand jeté - bourrée to the front, step back into fourth and turn double pirouette - open leg to attitude devant, low arms to the side - plié, turn, plié, turn.. For as long you can muster within the music, of course. Finish with another (double) pirouette, if possible, but do finish in style. The first time, I did a solid double pirouette to get me going, then I managed about six fouetté turns. In the last diagonal, I lost count but turned until the music stopped. I don't know how clean and polished those fouetté turns were, but I felt like I was on my own private merry-go-round. Awesome!

Friday Happy Hour

It's that time again! My old shoes have been squeaking so loud it's embarrassing already. Not to mention that the vamp & wings (there's a name for a band) are no longer giving my feet the support I need. I can still do a regular basic level class in them, but single leg relevés are getting too scary. Time to say goodbye. Called my regular ballet shop - and it turns out my size and model is sold out! None to be found in all of Helsinki. Yikes! The shop's clerk said they could order, but it might take as long as 6-8 weeks because of the summer. I'm not sure what summer has to do with it, unless all of Bloch is taking a vacation.. I could of course have ordered straight from Bloch UK, but with postage costing as much as 19,95 GBP, I was more than reluctant. It's annoying, really. Pointe shoes cost 15-20 euros less in the UK, but shipping doesn't come cheap. I finally found my model and size in another store in another city. Luckily one of my ballet pals just happens to live there (Tampere, if you want to google) - and she was coming to visit Helsinki! Aija called the store, they were more than happy to quick-order, and I got my new shoes specially delivered! Added bonus: I rarely get to see my out-of-town ballet pals, and this time we even got to take class together. It was Friday Happy Hour, that's for sure.

Bloch Balance European (size 6 XX). Plus covert elastic (Bloch) and ribbons from Tendu.

12 comments:

  1. I wear exactly the same shoes!:-)

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    1. Great! How long have you been on pointe? Have you tried any other shoes, or are you happy enough with these?

      I would love to know more about your dance background! :)

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    2. I started taking pointe classes last December and my first pair of shoes were Grishkos. Sadly, I was not fitted well and the first few half-hour classes (I started slowly) were utterly painful. My teacher realized that the shoes were bad and I got the Blochs in early February. Do you have the little padding inside? I had to take it off because my toes were too crowded. I haven't been as consistent as I would have liked because of illness and travel but I think I've been improving. Sadly my feet were not made for pointe shoes-my teacher actually told me that two weeks ago and I was very upset for a while. She sounded as if there's no hope in being to do more in the center. I'm still fairly young so I'm trying to not give up despite what she said and keep going to class. I wish I could go to a different teacher but there aren't many studios around here that offer pointe classes for adults.

      I took my first ballet class in October of 2008 soon after I turned 22 but I didn't take more than two classes a week until February of 2011 when I decided to get a little more serious about it. Your blog keeps me motivated-I wish one day I can achieve as much as you have! I have a separate career as an engineering and Ballet is what I do for to express my self creatively and stay fit at the same time.

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    3. What did your teacher mean when she said your feet "are not made for pointe"? Is it an issue of ankle flexibility or shortness of achilles tendons, or some such other anatomical problem?

      To a certain degree it is possible to stretch your arches/insteps, but not really more than nature intended. Of course, the problem could be the opposite - you could have too flexible arches. This would make your feet "plop" over the box, making it pretty much impossible to go up pointe.

      What about your toes? Can you flex your toes at least 90 degrees? If you can't achieve a high demi-pointe, it's damn hard to get your body placed correctly over the box of the shoes.

      But let's say you don't have the perfect "peasant-toe" foot shape. Well, a lot of pros haven't either. If for example your second toe is longer than the first, you simply adjust by padding under the first.

      If your feet are seriously not suited for pointe, please don't despair. There's so much more to ballet than pointe technique! I danced quite happily for 16 years in soft slippers alone. I got to focus on big allegro, instead of using the last 15 minutes for barre work (as some schools/classes do here). In fact, if you're not dancing professionally, pointe work is really not needed for ballet. You can advance all the way without.

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    4. Sorry it took so long to reply. I've had a crazy work schedule and social commitments.

      The biggest problem is that the arch of my right foot doesn't follow a straight line and it's wider than the left one. I've always known this but I never thought it would be such a big hindrance. My toes can finally flex almost 90 degrees (but not more).Additionally, my second toe is longer than the big toe on both feet and I've tried four different ways of padding still without success. I'm not sure how painful pointe shoes should be but the pain on my toes has made me cry more than once even though I'm pretty tolerant to pain in all other aspects. It's been quite demoralizing actually because even though fellow students keep telling me I'm strong enough to do it, I just can't. I'm not sure if it's even worth trying to go en pointe anymore.

      I love jumps a lot, both petit allegro and grand allegro. Sometimes I wish I were a man to do all those awesome jumps they do and not have to go en pointe! Sadly, there's no place I go to learn how to do more complicated jumps.

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  2. Congratulations on fouettes! I love that how you described it as a personal merry-go-round. Awesome!

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    1. Thank you! :)

      Yeah, merry-go-round describe the experience exactly. Fun and just a little scary. Also has that drunken dizzy effect after ;)

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  3. It's an interesting project, to post once a day for a whole month!

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    1. Yes, I think so too. Daily writing might be as beneficial as daily ballet class! :)

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  4. Your ballet blogathon is just what i need now that my dance school is on summer holiday! Still 4 weeks to go without tendus and plies... So thank you for making sure i get my daily ballet-fix even during the summer ;)
    -Linda

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    1. Hi Linda!

      I'm happy to help out with your ballet-fix! :) By the way, have you checked out the Dance212 reality web-series? You get to follow different dancers (ballet, contemporary, jazz) in their summer classes. The episodes are really short, but it's all dance! I like the ballet-episodes most, but the other stuff is good too.

      http://dance212.com/node/463

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  5. Had totally missed Dance212, thanks!

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