Chapter 16 – Intermediate Foundation Exam!

I did it! My first ballet exam as an adult is over.

For the most part it was fine. Was it the best I ever did? No. Nerves were definitely hitting me at moments throughout the exam.

My biggest problem, however, was my breathing. I felt like I was hyperventilating. I kept breathing in and in and in. It was only when the other girls were dancing that I recovered.

I am sure the head of our school will give me a lot of corrections, but there are a couple of mistakes I know I made. The worst was probably adage. I couldn’t find my balance and by the time I got my leg up it was time to put it down. I was definitely wobbling my way through.

The other mistake I made was during the last allegro. I almost skipped something, but managed to remember it before it got too late.

I was a bit nervous for pointe. I haven’t practiced it in a while. My big toes were also numb after the flat part of the exam for some reason. That might have something to do with the snow outside?

I could tell I was jumping up onto pointe in the centre during part of the exercise.

We got to wear our new leotards in the exam too. It has a higher leg line than our last one, which I really like. It is a very similar colour to the RAD dark blue.

Now it is over, I am really looking forward to starting intermediate. I can already tell that it is a lot more difficult.

I also worked out this week what I didn’t like about myself on the videos I filmed. My head tends to jut out a bit, and that is because I hunch my back slightly. If I make sure to straighten my back, then my head and neck look straight.

That is something I will have to work on.

In regards to starting pilates at the gym, I decided to try out something else. I am going to go for a trial class of gyrotonics in April. It is a little pricey, but I don’t plan on going every week.

We took some photos after the exam, I cropped the other girls out for their privacy. I think you can tell I am happy its over!


Hope you all had a lovely week!


Chapter 15 – Ballet Dysmorphia

I filmed myself the other day…

After my RAD class the studio next door was free after the class that usually happens there was cancelled.

I decided to practice a little bit and decided to try the petite allegro combinations from the syllabus…and I filmed them.

I watched them back and my heart felt like it stopped, then sunk to the bottom of my chest. I could have cried.

Is that what I look like?

It was horrible!!!!

My feet weren’t pointed. My arms were stiff and in no particular position. I lost turn out at many moments during the combination. My face looked strained. My mouth was open.

It didn’t look at all like what I thought it did in my head. I knew I didn’t look like a professional, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

A battle in my mind began.

I thought „whats the point?“, „why am I spending so much money, time and energy when I look like that?“

I just didn’t understand. I do look in the mirror when I dance. Perhaps not as much as I should, but I do do it. I never saw myself look that bad.

Petite allegro is hard for me. I am 178cm. When the movements are quick, I really struggle.

My ballet exam is next weekend, so I don’t have much time to make a big difference.

This low feeling followed me into class on Friday.

I sat out of a few combinations at the end because I just felt I couldn’t be bothered trying knowing that I would just struggle.

At the end of class I asked the teacher when the easier class was, because I was thinking of changing. She looked puzzled and told me the time, but asked why? I told her that I feel like I am struggling in this class, and think it might be too hard for me.

She said it was the right class for me and that the easier class would be much too easy. She said I have really great technique and have precise movements.

I was surprised. None of that comes across in the video I saw.

I think she was just being nice.

I watched the video back again before I posted this blog. I started to see things I could work on. I started to wish I could film myself more. I started to see things that maybe weren’t so bad.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 18.08.12.png

This is one of my assemblés during the 2nd petite allegro. I don’t have much turn out, but I managed to get my legs to join before hitting the ground.

I’m not going to post the bad parts… I don’t think I want them on the world wide web just yet.

I wish I could film myself more often to critique myself and improve. I don’t really think it is an option for me to film any of my classes.

Do you film yourself in class?

Hope you all had a good week.


P.S. An older woman in my Monday class asked how long I had been dancing. I said, almost 4 years. She said my technique „ist nicht so weit“. I assumed she means it isn’t that great. Well, that certainly didn’t help my low feelings. Also, who says that to someone?????

Chapter 14 – t-shirts and leotards


I am torn about what my ballet style is. I love a good leotard, but at the same time I also love a loose t-shirt with shorts.

Lately during class I have been wearing a leotard, with my new longer wrap skirts from etsy, with tights that are 3/4 length.

My ballet fashion inspiration for this look is based on

If you don’t follow her on instagram already, you need to!

My love for leotards drove me to make a spontaneous online purchase in the form of three leotards from Claudia Dean’s collection. I ordered Luna, Dusk and Ruby.

I was umming and ahing about getting them because I have way too many leotards. I thought about getting just one, but it makes more sense to get more to make the shipping worth it (though luckily the shipping is super reasonable).

The pity about these leotards is that I don’t think anyone is going to see the lovely leg line they create. I am not really comfortable with wearing just a leo and tights. I wear just a leo and tights for my syllabus class which I am fine with because everyone else is in the same situation.

Maybe they will help me be brave and go without a skirt or shorts in my adult classes?

The other look I like is the incognito ballet dancer look in a t-shirt and shorts. I particularly like wearing a t-shirt I bought from the Dutch National Ballet.

I have been thinking about maybe buying more ballet t-shirts. I had my eye on the one the candidates from the Prix de Lausanne wear, but when I asked they said they are only for candidates.

I went to the ballet with a friend on Friday to watch some modern dance pieces. I noticed that they were also selling t-shirts with the company logo on them and I thought about getting one. I felt a bit silly for some reason buying it in front of my friend, so I just left it. Now that I am thinking about it more, I think I might get one.

My Dutch National Opera shirt is quite tight, so I think if I was to get another I would get an oversized one.

I’ve sent an email to Chacott asking if they sell the Prix t-shirts. I’ll let you know if they respond. I wouldn’t mind a yagp one too…..

My ballet week started off a bit sour.

I made sure to leave for class earlier this time because I didn’t want to be late like last time. Well, I arrived so early that the barres hadn’t been moved into the middle yet.

I had just put my bag down when this older woman came over and said that she needs four people to lift the barre.

It took me a second to understand what she meant. In this second I thought „why do we need to lift it up? why can’t we roll it?“ on top of that it took my a moment to realise what she meant at all because she asked in German.

It was then I realised that the reason we couldn’t roll it was because this barre has no wheels..

Well, she took my moment of confusion as me not wanting to help.

She answered my moments silence with another question „or can’t you help?“

She said it in such a rude way whilst looking me up and down that my blood instantly boiled. I said „I didn’t realise the barre didn’t have wheels so I didn’t know what you meant at first“

She gave me a look.

I said „you didn’t have to be rude about it“

This all happened in the matter of about 10 seconds, and someone else had jumped in to move the barre.

I felt really pissed off about how she spoke to me.

I really tried to not let it affect me in class, but it clearly did. I didn’t seem to have the same vigour in class that I usually have.

You are all probably thinking „don’t let it get to you, just move on“. You are right, but what would also help me to move on is to vent a little bit about this woman… so please feel free to skip the next paragraph or two.

I noticed this woman from the first class I took there. She seemed to act like she owned the place.

She wears hundreds of layers and never takes one piece off even though the room is hot. I can’t wear any of my long sleeved leos because it is just too much.

One week it was unbelievably hot and one student asked if we could turn the heat off. This woman said that she would prefer if it was left on.

I have a feeling that she has been in the class the longest and therefore feels she has some ownership over it.

I couldn’t escape her in pointe class either, because she stays behind and follows along without pointe shoes on.

Ok vent over.

I’m sure I won’t care much about it the next time we have class. Unfortunately that won’t be for another week because class is cancelled because of Rosenmontag here in NRW.

My RAD classes were fine. We managed to run through the whole syllabus in my first class, which was great! Usually we stop and start whilst the teens joke around.

However, what I learned from this run through is that I have no stamina. I was huffing and puffing after each allegro. I think I have trouble controlling my breathing during allegros. I seem to breath in and in and in without breathing out.

My second class was also ok. Nothing to report there.

I swapped my Friday uni ballet class to Wednesday this week because I was going to the ballet on Friday. I guess my teacher was sick, because she didn’t take the class.

One of the best male students in the class took it instead.

In terms of my at home practice, I think I am going to stop stretching my feet. I usually stretch them with a theraband after strengthening my feet. I don’t do any crazy foot stretching, but I am worried that it is weakening my ankles.

As an adult I don’t think I am going to be able to change the flexibility of my feet anyway, but I also think it is causing my ankles to be wobbly on pointe. My escahppe’s were awful last week and wobbly, so I am going to see if that changes when I stop stretching them.

That’s all I have been up to this week. Hope you all had a nice week.

Chapter 13 – Pointe all day e’ryday

There was a time not too long ago that I lamented the fact that I don’t seem to be doing much pointe. My RAD class rarely has time for pointe, even though the teacher says each week that she is hoping to do some at the end of class.

When I found out I could do pointe on Mondays after class, I was very happy.

Then, whilst waiting for my uni ballet class on Wednesday I was talking to a girl who said that I should come on Friday because they were talking about starting beginner pointe classes.

I played it cool, but inside I was really excited. Even though I practice at home, it makes a huge difference to take an actual pointe class.

I asked the teacher if I could swap to Friday and she said no problem.

Flash forward to Fridays class. In the regular class I messed up pretty much every barre combination, but in centre I was really on my leg. I almost couldn’t believe it when I hit balance after balance.

Just before grande allegro, the teacher said anyone doing pointe should put on their shoes now.

As I began putting on my shoes I noticed a lot of girls putting on shoes that really shouldn’t.

It pains me to say this because I know I am nowhere near perfect on pointe. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started too early, and I still count myself very much a beginner when it comes to pointe.

However, I feel like I made the effort when I first started out. I learnt how to tie my ribbons. I started strengthening my feet.

The majority of the girls in the class on Friday had their ribbons wound up around their calves almost to their knees. Two girls had the ribbons tied in bows.

There was also some serious biscuit action going on.

I’m talking like this:



Although the crazy ribbon tying is something I thought was a myth, the bad biscuits is something I have seen many times in adult classes. It happened at my old studio, it is happening at the class on Monday and now it is happening here.

How do they not break an ankle?

If I was a teacher I think I would tell these eager adult students that they need to be able to master certain things before being allowed on pointe.

If my teacher had told me that I needed to be able to a certain amount of relevés without getting tired, that I needed to have a certain amount of ankle flexibility etc etc I would have worked my butt off to get there.

I think a lot of the problem is that it is hard for teachers to tell adult students no.

Obviously I concentrated on myself in class, but these were just my observations when we were warming up.

I am excited about having more opportunities to develop my pointe work, even if that means watching Kathryn Morgan or Claudia Dean to learn about proper technique which I can apply in class.

Going back to the start of the week, I had a good class on Monday, though I was running a little late. I wish I had an explanation for why. I left at the usual time…but as I walked through the main front doors it was already 10am! I missed the start of the first exercise and felt a little frazzled the rest of class. I must have walked slower than usual.

During my Thursday syllabus class we finally managed to get around to practicing the pointe work part of the RAD IF syllabus. We have been practicing all the other combinations away from the mirror and this was the first time we were doing the pointe combinations that way. Keep in mind we haven’t practiced the pointe work combinations in at least a couple of months.

It was really odd. I feel like I have finally gotten used to doing all the other combinations without seeing myself in the mirror. However, during the pointe combination I felt blind again. I wish I could tell you if I did ok, but I have no idea.

After my last class that day I broached the topic of leaving the later class with my teacher. I told her I didn’t think I would be able to keep going to the class after March because my partner wouldn’t be able to pick me up so late anymore. I would still be able to go to IF though.

I said that I noticed that there is a 3 month notice period for leaving the contract and wanted to know if that applied to me since I was still staying for IF.

Unfortunately, yes.

I understand why. They need the income that comes from my payment. However, I was really hoping that I could get out earlier.

She said that after March I could attend a different class until the end of the 3 months, which I think I will do. There is a very beginner class in the hour between my two current classes which I might attend for the remaining 2 months.

I have been thinking about what to do instead of going to that class.

At first I thought I could go to another class at the same place I go on Monday. The teacher from Monday only does that class and all the kids classes, so it would need to be with a different teacher.

There is another good teacher who has a class on Saturdays, but the class is €18 for an hr and a half.

Then I thought, what about taking a pilates class to build my core strength?

Then I found a fitness studio in my area that only costs €20 a month, which includes all classes.

20€ a month!!!!!! Unlimited classes!!!

This made me realise just how expensive ballet classes are.

If I leave my second class, which I do plan on doing, I could pay for both my partner and I to go to the gym.

I am still trying to figure out what to do.

What do you think is better? Going to another ballet class or going to a class at a fitness studio (like pilates or stepping) to cross train?

I hope you all managed to catch the Prix this week.

I was amazed by all the finalists and it was obvious even to me that the winner was Shale Wagman.

I noticed one of the Australian Candidates was studying at a school near where I used to work in Sydney and I was browsing their webpage when I noticed that they are an RAD school.

On a whim I decided to email them. I asked about their Inter Foundation class, specifically how long the students train and what their schedule looks like.

I didn’t say why I was emailing because the real reason I wanted to know this info was to compare them to my school. They are obviously a very good school. They must be with a candidate at the prix.

They replied quite quickly and they assumed that I was inquiring about my child, which is what I assumed they would.

They told me that the inter foundation students train for 4-4.5 hours a week on their syllabus work, plus an extra 30 minutes for beginner pointe classes. This is if they want to sit the exam. At the moment they train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

They were so lovely and informative and sent me enrolment forms and everything.

If only they knew that the actual person with dreams of becoming a well trained dancer was actually a 29 year old.

I knew they would probably be training more on the syllabus work than what my school does, but 3-3.5 hours more? Maybe they take the exams sooner? I’m not sure.

No wonder they produce prix standard students.

That’s it from me.

Hope you all had a lovely week!

Chapter 12 – Prix Time

It is the biggest event on my ballet calendar: It’s Prix de Lausanne time!!

I can’t wait to watch all the footage. The dancers are phenomenal. My favourite part is picking out my favourites to see if they get through to the finals or win a prize. Obviously I favour my country 😛

So that is something to look forward to this coming week!

Going back to last week I can basically sum it up as a bad turning week. I felt so deflated because, as you know, I have been working on my pirouettes for at least a year.

The annoying part is, I can’t give up. If I stop practicing I will certainly not get better. However, practicing doesn’t seem to be improving my turns at the moment.

Will I ever be a consistent turner?

I probably need to work on building my core muscles…I just need to commit to training them.

I had a full week of classes this week.

On Monday I brought along my pointe shoes to class because last week the teacher said she would offer a 20min pointe class after normal class. I really enjoyed appreciated all the tips she gave me. She was very hands on and positioned my feet correctly.

I also did piques along the diagonal and felt more and more confident each time. I tried turning the first few…but I’m not ready.

At uni ballet this week my goal was to survive. It’s an intense class and by far the most advanced. As you may have noticed, I haven’t been for about a month and a half. My calf muscle began hurting towards the end, so I didn’t do the grand allegro combination.

My RAD class didn’t go as well as last week. The teacher had to restart my variation music because I had a complete mind blank about how it starts.

I got quite a few corrections which made me realise that I should really be writing them down. Next week I am going to bring along a note book.

At home I have started stretching my splits every second day and I am surprised to report that they aren’t that bad. My left side is actually pretty good. I do my stretches after a shower or after sitting on a heat mat to make sure I’m warm.

It’s funny because one of the corrections I got in my RAD class was that I have been doing the grand jete at the end of the variation wrong. I have been developpeing my front leg, which isn’t how it is meant to be. It is meant to start with a grande battement type movement. So hopefully it will improve now I’m working on my splits. It feels much harder to get in the air without that developpe!

I felt a bit lacklustre in my second class. My Thursday is quite long. I have my syllabus RAD class from 6pm-7pm. From 7pm-8pm I have nothing. My second class is from 8pm-9pm. It takes me an hour to get to the studio, and a bit less than an hour back.

I have been feeling a bit lacklustre for a while. Winter time doesn’t help.

I have been thinking of giving the second class the flick. I just need to figure out how to go about doing it.

On Sunday I met up with some people from my old ballet school for brunch.

As usual, our brunches usually turn into us critiquing the teaching style of my old teacher. One woman was saying that she is glad that she learned pointe work somewhere else because our old teacher was hopeless at teaching it. I mentioned that that is my problem, because I learned from her. Another woman said something like „yes, it was too early for you to go en pointe“.

I mean, I agree with her…but it was hard hearing it from someone else. I guess I thought I fooled everyone that I was good enough (including myself).

Speaking of starting pointe work, at the end of my new class on Monday a woman asked if she could join in next week in the point class. I assume she either hasn’t done pointe before, or she hasn’t done it for a while because the teacher said to make sure she gets pointe shoes that aren’t too hard and more on the soft side.

I am kind of hoping she hasn’t done pointe before because I really want to see how the teacher would teach an absolute beginner. I think that would really help me too.

I’ll report back next week!

Make sure you tune into the Prix!

Chapter 11 – D’oh

I have made soooo many mistakes in my ballet journey, and now I have discovered another one.

Just to recap.

Despite recommendations from my old dance teacher and someone at work, I decided not to attend the main dance centre in the city.

The reason why? Well, even though I had only been dancing for maybe 4-6 months as an adult, I was determined to get on pointe. The problem with the dance centre was that they didn’t offer pointe.


Well, I discovered this past Monday that that isn’t true.


I am proud to say that I pulled myself together and attended the Monday morning class at the dance centre.

Halfway through the class the teacher said „if anyone wants to stay back after class, I am going to teach pointe for about 20 minutes“

What????? I couldn’t believe my ears.

I actually asked again when the class finished if that is what she said.

I didn’t have my pointe shoes with me, so I asked if I could stay and watch.

Well only one girl was able to stay behind, so I suggested that I could do the exercises alongside her but on flat.

We did slow elevés and some relevé eschappés at the barre. Even though I try to do similar combinations at home, something about doing it in a class setting really made me feel it more.

It was also so nice having class in the morning. I was energised, not tired like I often am during 8:30pm class.

The only thing though was I was so sore the next day. I am not sure if it was from class, or something else, but my lower back really hurt in one spot. Like, if something had punched me there.

I decided not to go to uni class……again…

My excuse was my lower back. I really didn’t want to hurt it anymore and have to miss my RAD class.

Well, despite my best efforts a storm almost stopped me from going to my RAD class anyway. All trains were cancelled.

My lovely partner left work early and came to the rescue by driving me to class.

It was a really good class. I felt really in control

I also hit a couple of balances that I missed last week.

Our „exam“ has been set for the 18th February, so I have about a month left to prepare.

In other news, I have been thinking about concentrating on getting my splits again.

I want to get them to improve my grand jeté. Mine looks so pathetic.

I want to hit that 180 degrees. That must feel so good.

Hope you all had a great week!!

Chapter 10 – Good Days, Bad Days

It was really hard for me to find my motivation this week.

I think I really have the winter blues.

It might be the fact that I have gone back to uni to do my masters, 7 years after my bachelor. I feel like I am doubting everything.

I turn 30 this year and I don’t have anything really figured out. I chose a really hard industry to get into, and this will be my last go at getting into it. If I finish this degree and I still don’t find anything in my industry… then I have to think about changing direction.

Thinking about all this made me feel so anxious to the point of being physically sick.

I know I should count my blessings, I am extremely fortunate. But, I just got really inside my head this week.

So, I didn’t go to uni ballet class this week.

I did go to my RAD classes on Thursday, though. Even though the discovery of a WWII bomb in the area almost prevented me from getting there.

This time I didn’t wear my demi pointes.

Some things in class were a lot easier, like balances where I have to find my centre quick. But some things were harder. I wobbled a lot. I guess I just got used to the larger demi pointe surface.

We are hopefully going to be getting new leotards for the class next week and I am so excited!!

I feel like a lump in our current leotard. It is made from cotton and makes my body look so one dimensional.

It looks good on the 14 year olds that are stick thin.

Lets hope the next one is more appealing. I wish it had high leg lines, but I don’t think the teens in the class would go for that.

I felt pretty weak in class this week. I have been messing up my eschappé battus for at least the last 8 months. I remember when I first learned them they were so easy. I was shocked at how easy this beat was. Now it just doesn’t happen. I feel like I try to move my legs apart before they are allowed to beat. I am not letting them ricochet off each other.

It is something I need to work on, but my stamina is just non existent for practicing jumps over and over again.

But, in contrast, I felt really strong practicing pointe at home. I have been focusing on my eschppés because they are pretty much the only thing in the exams.

So, I don’t know. Some days i’m strong, other days i’m weak…..

I am hoping to be in a better headspace next week and try out a new class on Monday.

Let’s see..

Hope you all had a good week!