Monday, November 24, 2014

Pointe Shoe Surgery

I'm trying yet another new pair of pointe shoes, this pair recommended to me by a shoe mistress from a professional ballet company.

They're a Freed Wing Block, size 5.0 XX. Wing Blocks have hardcore shanks, and one of my issues with the RPs (according to the shoe mistress) was that they weren't conforming to my arch properly, and were restricting my technique. She recommended that if I wanted to try the Freeds, I should 3/4 the shank, and suggested I practice on some old pairs to work out exactly where it should hit my foot.

Cutting shanks is not an easy-peasy chore, let me tell you. I experimented on several different pairs (two different old pairs of Blochs, and the RPs) and it was sort of fascinating how different the shanks were in each pair.

The Bloch Heritage shank, cut and beveled

Alas, those shanks did not prepare me for the Wing Block shank. While I was able to cut ALL of the aforementioned pairs with a Stanley utility knife, that knife (and my fancy Boker pocket knife) proved to be no match for the Wing Block. I ended up having to use hardcore wire cutters (thanks, dad!) to cut that sucker, and then file it down to a bevel so that it wouldn't cut into my foot.

Post-surgery Freed Wing Block (complete with fancy pink duct tape)
I haven't had a chance to wear them in class yet (will have to report back), but I can already tell I'm going to have to switch up my padding, as the Ouch Pouches feel far too thick. I suspect lots of tape and maybe a sock toe are in my future, but we'll see.  Switching shoes is always a complicated journey. One day maybe I'll get everything perfect!




Friday, November 14, 2014

Stretching > Jumping Jacks

During a meeting between the advanced class and the AD recently, someone suggested that we add a stretching class after one of our technique classes. All of us loved that idea--it would give us a chance to work on our flexibility while we were nice and warm, and relax a bit as well.

Well, apparently we got the wrong idea, because this class actually happened, only it was called "Strengthening, Conditioning, & Stretching," and involved lots of unpleasant things like jumping jacks, planks, push-ups, crunches, and lunges (oh, and a little stretching). I am not here for this.

Now, on one hand, I like the idea of conditioning and working on my core so that I can balance and turn better and so forth, but I've already been feeling a little bit like I'm overdoing it (and my body is telling me I am correct). I can't help but think that doing 100 jumping jacks is not going to improve matters.

In addition, I dance (or take dance-like classes like Zumba) because I hate the gym. It's boring. There is nothing exciting about holding a plank, or doing 15 lunges, or walking on a treadmill. I like to trick myself into working out by doing other, more exciting things (i.e. working on my arms and core by doing silks). So this kind of class makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Plus, the heel/ankle did NOT like all those jumping jacks (I think jumping is causing and/or aggravating my foot problems, which is a whole other post)

I realize this entire post is totally whiny, but I was miserable. I'm sure part of my problem is that I continue to be a pathetic weakling in many areas, and I have past injuries that get aggravated (i.e. the knee), but I just don't know if I can really manage that class right now.

I wish it WAS just stretching.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Full Speed Ahead

Rehearsals for our winter show are in full swing right now, which means all of us are starting to get a little exhausted and stressed. We're all doing our best to stay healthy, but it doesn't help that dance studios are giant incubators for germs. I caught a cold last week despite my best hand sanitizing/washing efforts. Boo.

I'm in the same role as last year, a dancer in the corps (which performs all the big group dance numbers). I've managed to remember some of the choreography (yay!), though several dances are changing slightly, plus they're adding one!  We're in seven (!) numbers, and it can be pretty exhausting. I feel like a corps part is actually better than a lead part (of which there are very few in our production) because you're basically in the ENTIRE show. Plus, lots of dancing, which is what I adore anyway.

I think I own more dance shoes than regular shoes.

In the land of silks, things are progressing a little more slowly, but I've finally seen some progress! I was able to pull myself upside down (though I have yet to master the straddle overs), and I completed the first part of a climb and actually just stood and hung out there. They technically have a little recital at the end of the intensive, but I can't imagine I'll be anywhere near ready for that (though the teacher told me I could "do some high kicks, because I know you can." Heh!)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pointe Shoe Saga: The Return of the Bruised Toenail

So, apparently my search for the perfect pointe shoe ISN'T over. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently got a bruised toenail from the RP Entrada Pros. I've also started getting some cramping along the outside of my foot, under my smaller toes. That can't be good, right?

I'm back on the hunt. The next shoe victim looks like it might be a Freed.  Will the Freed suffice? Are my feet too sensitive? Am I too old for this nonsense? (Maybe, possibly, probably).

We shall see.