Week 110 – Saying Goodbye

Tuesday this week marked my final class at my old studio. It felt a bit weird.

Every combination I did reminded me that it would be the last time I would have to do it. If I messed it up, there was no second chance next week.

It didn’t bother me too much.

I mentioned to a few of the other girls in class, who I don’t talk to that often, that I am leaving. One woman said „You’re joking right?“

They asked why, and I just said that I have another class on Thursdays and I don’t have time anymore.

I’m not sure they bought it.

Anyway, I originally thought of skipping pointe and leaving after class. That way the teacher could start directly with rehearsing the recital piece.

However, the woman who is doing the pointe piece on her own asked me to stay. So I decided to stay just for barre.

After Pointe Barre I went up to my teacher and thanked her for everything and said goodbye. She said that it was a shame I was leaving.

I said that I would definitely come and watch the recital. She said „No, you should be doing it with us!“

I just laughed.

And that was it.

I left the studio I had been at for the past two years.

I felt a sense of relief.

This decision had been bugging me for ages.

That also happened to be my last ballet class for the next couple of weeks because of the school holidays.

I was meant to go to class on Thursday, but I felt too sick.

I felt so sick that I basically stayed in bed for the next few days.

I think I might do a couple of Kathryn Morgan’s classes at home once I feel better so I’m not too out of shape after the easter holiday break!

Hope you all had a happy and healthy week!

Week 109 – Big Girl Pants part 2

Even though I am generally the type of person who tries to avoid confrontation (but then broods over what I might have said later), I felt particularly brave on Tuesday evening.

If class had been enjoyable I might have chickened out for another week, but class left me feeling the same way at has for the past few months…unhappy.

So I found the courage after pointe class and went up to the teacher and told her that my 10er card was finishing next week and that I would like to try something new after it. She listened intently as I spoke, but in the end she just said something like „Of course, you are welcome back here anytime“

And that was it..

I have seen many a girl leave the studio, and the teacher has generally looked sad. However, I feel like she just kind of accepted that I was leaving. I have been there for two years, I guess I was just expecting more of a response from her…

Maybe that will come this coming Tuesday?

Like I said, class was generally underwhelming. I did a few pointe exercises at the barre and in the center before I felt my ankle hurt. So I sat to the side and watched the other girls dance.

After pointe class my teacher started rehearsing the end of year performance with the one girl who is left.

This week I also started communicating with the store I bought my Gaynor Mindens from. I think I am going to go back to them when my last pair of Freed’s die.

I know, I know. This blog is full of me going back and forth between pointe shoes.

This time I became convinced to try Gaynor’s in my Syllabus classes because of a documentary series on youtube called „Ballet a la Russe“

Above is episode 1.

Pretty much all the Russian Ballerina’s I see are wearing Gaynors.

I think I am in store for another 6 week wait because of my weird shoe size. Apparently not many people with a narrow foot want a number 4 box.

On Thursday I, luckily, made the decision to double check with my teacher if it was ok to have leather on the platform of the shoes, or if I should stick with Satin.

Most Gaynor’s I have seen are with leather on the platform.

She said that she prefers Satin, because the floor at the studio makes leather tipped pointe shoes stick too much.

So I have ordered Gaynors with the satin platform in the same size as my old ones. This time I am going to use the instant Wings. I think they are going to make the shoe hug my foot even better. At the moment I just have the box liner, but that only covers the box (obviously) and not the metatarsals.

You might be asking, why can’t you just wear your current pair of gaynors there? Thats because the platform and underside of my shoes are completely black from the old studio floor. The beautiful pink satin is also marked with black stains. I also pancaked them with white shoe polish to make them look a little more acceptable.

The new studio has beautifully clean white floors. I don’t want to come in with my dirty shoes!

And.. I just want pretty new ones so I can start fresh.

In IF this week we focused on adding in the arms to the second petit allegro combination we worked on last week. It felt nearly impossible to focus on all that once. However, by the third attempt, I felt a little more coordinated.

Despite my teacher saying that she wanted to rotate between doing class on flat and en pointe, she hasn’t implemented it yet.

In my second class we repeated the combinations we learnt last week.

This time around the petit allegro that I struggled with last week felt so much easier! I think the tempo was a little slower than last week, but I still felt like I had improved.

I haven’t had much of a chance to do much at home. I started a new job and have been completely tired every evening.

I did however find time to sew my new Freed’s and break them in. I feel soo much more supported now. Though, getting over the box isn’t as easy as before 😛

I also haven’t had a chance to arrange another private yet.

Life just sometimes gets in the way.

Hope you all had a lovely week!

Week 108 – Short lived but worth it

I thought I would tell you about my private first, because that is the most exciting part of my week.

I made my way to the company studios and met my „coach“ at the door. It just so happened that the open class the company offers was starting at the same time.

We walked through a labyrinth of empty studios until we found the one he wanted.

He pointed out the changing rooms for me which had „Ballet School Girls“ on the door.

I quickly got changed and we got started.

My coach structured the private like a regular class. This is one of my favourite things about ballet. No matter where you go, class pretty much always starts with pliés.

As we made our way through tendus etc, he would give me corrections and tips. He even said I had pretty good legs for ballet 🙂

One of the corrections he gave me was also the same correction the teacher at the dance centre gave me. In fact, the way he went about correcting me was also the same way she corrected me. Even though I can balance pretty well in relevé passé, my demi pointe isn’t as high as it should be. So they both held me by my torso and lifted me up haha

After almost an hr at the barre we moved to centre to quickly do some combinations. He apologised that we seemed to be going slow. He said he was hoping to fit a lot more in. I was just happy doing whatever.

We did a tendu combination and he gave me a tip about using my arms as a counter balance.

The second combination we did involved a en dedans turn.

I actually did some pretty decent turns the two times we did it.

At the very end we began talking about when we could do it again. Thats when he gave me the bad news..

His boss had thought about it a little more and started to get worried that more people might start wanting to use the company studios for private lessons.

I completely understand. I didn’t think we would be able to use the studios originally because of a reason like that. Of course I was hoping we could sneak around that rule.

His boss said we could use it for a month, but after that we would have to stop.

My coach suggested that I come every week for a month, but I am just starting a job that involved potentially working weekends.

He said that after the month I would probably be able to take part in the open class, but I am not so confident that I would enjoy it.

A couple of girls from my studio have gone before and they said that they just did barre and a little bit of centre before watching from the side.

My coach said there is a huge mix of people. Some are professional, some are just curious people who have never taken a class in their lives.

I walked past the studio where the open class was being held on my way out and I took a little peak inside. The were doing a nice but quick grand allegro.  I am still not convinced i’ll go yet.

I really liked my coaches lesson. I felt like I had taken a full class while getting loads of corrections.

Pretty much every other private I have done has involved a lot of standing around being explained stuff. That type of class has obviously got it’s benefits. However I want something in the middle.

It’s a pity this private was short lived.

The only other classes I took this week were at my new studio. I skipped class at my old school because I took class the previous Saturday. Plus it means I can stretch my 10er card out a bit longer. I have two classes left.

In intermediate foundation we worked on the adage combination at the barre and on the second allegro combination in the middle.

We decided not to include the arms in the allegro combination, just to get the legs right.

I was surprised that my foot work didn’t look too bad. I usually struggle having nice technique in quick combinations.

At the end of class we worked on the first variation. I am pretty happy with my memory of the steps. I just need to clean it all up and work on the coordination of my head.

In my second class we started working on some new combinations. One of the combinations is a very quick allegro in centre!

On Sunday I met up with some of the girls from my older studio for brunch. As usual we all had a bit of a moan about our teachers teaching style. I made a decision then that I would tell my teacher in the next class that I would be leaving.

In terms of what I have been doing at home, I am still practicing pirouette balances and doing the my beginner pointe exercises at my at home barre. I am not doing them pretty much everyday like before, but every second day.

Actually, while I was doing the pointe exercises I really felt like my big toes were hurting. I was also able to push my feet right over the box. While it felt really nice, I also felt like they were dying. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time because my Gaynors don’t do that 😛

I better get to sewing my next pair!

Hope you all had a lovely week!

Week 107 – Big girl Pants

I finally did it, I finally made a decision about whether or not I will be participating in this years recital. The answer is…no.

I bumbled my way through my explanation to my teacher, but she got the point.

It’s not that I don’t want to perform (though that does stress me out more than it should). It’s more that I don’t think I am going to be with that studio anymore by the end of the year.

I don’t want to string her along. If I am not going to perform then she needs to know so she can make other plans.

Originally I had told my teacher that I might be moving. That was true at the time. Though it is looking more and more like I am going to be staying right here.

Now that my excuse for moving was gone, I just simply had to tell her I didn’t want to do it.

It is a huge relief and I think it is going to help me in the long run when I eventually tell my teacher that I don’t want to come to class anymore full stop.

The trouble is, only one girl is left to perform the recital piece.

But staying just so she isn’t alone isn’t fair on me either. I am just not having fun anymore. If I am not having fun, then what’s the point?

I never leave class with the same feeling of happiness that I do in my other class.

I just need to find something to replace it with.

Other than that, class was ok. I did some one footed relevé’s on pointe again, which was nice.

In Intermediate Foundation this week we practiced the en dehors pirouette combination again.

I would really like to master this one. Particularly after all the practice I have been doing at home.

However, I keep overturning. I think its a combination of the floor being a bit slicker than I am used to and the fact that I am trying to turn in demi pointe shoes.

At the end of class our teacher said that she would like us to wear our pointe shoes every second week so we can strengthen our pointe work.

This reminded me that I wanted to ask her about Gaynor Mindens.

She said that she has no problem with it and thinks that we should wear whatever brand of shoes we feel most comfortable with.

So that evening I sent off tracings of my feet to Gaynor Minden to see what they would suggest.

They were really quick in their response. The lady was super nice and suggested I try a size 10, box 3, Medium, High Vamp, Low Heel.

I tried a number 3 box originally. In fact, that was what the lady at the store suggested a year ago. However, I just didn’t like the feel or look of it.

So I asked if there was a possibility a number 4 box would work for me. Particularly cause the platform is closer to the size I am used to.

She said it would be fine and if I needed some extra support I could try the instant wings.

I haven’t ordered anything yet. Partly because I feel like I need to make my way through the shoes that I have, but also because I love the way the Freed’s look on my feet.

I originally got Freed because I wanted to properly learn pointe work using traditional shoes. I kind of still want that.

Decisions, decisions.

On the weekend I decided to change the elastics on my Freed’s to see if it would make a difference. I originally had those invisible elastics on them, but I think they weren’t tight enough. So I swapped them with the traditional type of elastic. Maybe that will keep my heel on.

I also glued the shank back down on my right shoe. It has always been a bit loose, and now I am wondering if that contributed to the twisting I have on that side.

On Saturday I decided to check out a class at the dance centre that a few girls from class have been going to.

We have a group chat on whatsapp and occasionally someone asks if anyone is interested in going.

Usually I don’t go. I like to take class during the week and keep my weekends free. However, this time I decided to check it out.

The teacher was very kind and gave lots of helpful tips to everyone. Her exercises were basic, but still a little challenging.

She explained things like where to put your weight when you do a soutenu turn to the other side of the barre, how to properly come down from a relevé, and how to properly lift your leg in attitude.

She told me to really lift up. During a relevé passe she tried to push my relevé higher. I wish I had the strength to hold it that high.

We did about an hr and 10 mins at the barre before moving to centre.

In centre I finally had an opportunity to have a look at the other students. I was happily surprised with that I saw.

Even though you could see that they were adult beginners, they had really good technique. Even one of the older ladies was doing pretty good en dedans pirouettes!

You could tell how much having a good teacher had helped them.

This week my company contact replied with some good news. He said that he was finally able to ask his boss about doing a private at their studios. Although officially it isn’t exactly allowed, he doesn’t mind if we do it discretely.

So next Saturday I am going to have a private with him 🙂 I hope he doesn’t have very high expectations. I may wear Yumikos but I am far from a professional.

It’s good timing actually because I only have two classes left on my 10er card at my old studio. With the cost of the privates I am really going to have to say good bye.

The only problem is that I have a new job that starts the week after next that might involve working on Saturdays. Hopefully this private isn’t the first and last one…

Have a lovely week everyone!

 

Week 106 – Gaynor Minden withdrawals

I’m thinking of going back…

Or maybe going forward…

What I am trying to say is I miss my Gaynor Mindens.

I still wear them at my old studio, but I am considering making the switch at my new studio too…

I think I would be fine getting through the Intermediate foundation exam in my Freed’s. The only „difficult“ bit is the eschappé’s in the middle.

However, my intermediate foundation teacher has taken to doing other pointe exercises (like I mentioned last week). This week we did our whole class on pointe.

In addition to doing the intermediate foundation exercises on pointe and the elevé exercise we did last week, she added in an exercise across the diagonal which involved a pirouette and 6 pique turns.

I lied… I told her I hadn’t done those things on pointe yet. I guess what I should have told her was „I haven’t done those things without my trusty gaynor mindens in a long time“.

She suggested just doing a plié passé instead of a pirouette and have a go at the pique turns (called posé turns in RAD).

My plié passé’s were a little hesitant. I think part of it had to do with not seeing myself in the mirror. It’s weird how much that has an impact. It feels like attempting something with my eyes closed.

The posé turns weren’t too bad, but there was definitely no flow to them.

I remember towards the end of last year I felt what it feels like to easily do one after the other. It was fun. I think I was able to experience a little of what Giselle must feel at the end of her variation. Then suddenly it was gone..Now I hop in between them.

I think it comes down to practice. I just don’t have anywhere to practice more than one.

I felt like during the class I kept thinking „Man, this would all be so much easier in my gaynor’s!“

I also forgot to mention that during a warm up exercise we always do at the start of class I had trouble with the heels of my Freed’s staying on. We run around, prettily of course, in a circle and my heel on my right shoe just popped off.

When I first got my Freed’s I mentioned that my right shoe felt a little dodgy. Despite my best efforts at changing and tighteningthe elastics, it hasn’t seemed to have resolved the problem.

Anyway…

In my second class with the the temporary teacher we did a couple of combinations in centre from different RAD syllabuses. I wish I took a note of which ones they were, but they were really fun. They were slow but they didn’t involve a lot of balances, which is what I struggle with in adagio.

I can’t tell whether he is not a fan of petit allegro and pirouettes, or whether he has worked out that we aren’t ready yet, based on the general level of the adult class, however we don’t seem to do them.

Whatever the reason, the combinations he sets us make me feel like I am dancing. They are a little more lyrical and I feel like I can put my own little flare in them.

Now lets rewind to earlier in the week.

After four weeks I was back at my old studio. Luckily the timing wasn’t too bad because they had only started a new set of combinations the previous week.

In the changing room my fellow dancers told me that the combinations are really nice. So I was interested to see what was in store for me.

I can confirm that they are all doable and I don’t feel like a chicken with its head cut off.

As I keep mentioning, my strength has definitely took a beating after being on holidays. This was made even more apparent during pointe class.

After the first eschappé combination in centre I could tell I wasn’t going to make it through the whole class in pointe shoes.

So I swapped to my flats.

Towards the end of class my teacher included that single leg relevé that I conquered in my last class before going on holidays. I felt a little sad that I had fallen behind a bit, but I guess I will get back to that level eventually.

What other news have a I got?

Well, I am not too sure what is happening with the private classes that I was trying to organise with my company contact. I think he just must be so busy.

I also forgot to mention what I have been doing at home in terms of my ballet workouts.

Despite my worries, my #perfectyourpirouette challenge level picked up right from where it left off. I guess my muscle memory is getting better and better.

I have, however, been really slack with everything else I was doing before I went on holidays.

The first week back I thought I would give myself time to recover from jet lag. The second week back? Well, there are no real excuses except that I have been really distracted by this cute thang:

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Meet Tilly, watching me in my attractive socks

She makes it impossible! Even my theraband has taken a beating from her.

Hopefully she will ease up a bit.

The only time I can really get a lot done is when my partner is there and he can distract her for a bit!

Hope you all had a lovely week!

Week 105 – Nothing beats taking a ballet class

I tried being good whilst on holidays. I even went to two ballet classes while I was away..

But nothing beats going to my regular ballet classes.

I couldn’t go to class at my old studio because I was working, but I did go to my double class at my RAD studio on Thursday.

It started off with Inter Foundation.

It went surprisingly well. I was worried I was going to be left behind, but it seems they only learned another two or so combinations

One of these was the petite battement combination at the barre. This combination is definitely a workout for my head!

The only difficulty I really had was when my teacher said to put on our pointe shoes at the end of class.

The combination we did was pretty simple. Elevé (which from what I understand is a rise without a plié) in 1st position, come down to straight legs, Plié, Elevé, come down to straight legs, Plié, Elevé straight to plié, four sautés, eschappé to second position, repeat in 2nd, 1st and second.

I did manage to elevé without a plié onto pointe, but not consistently. It was also really hard to stop myself from moving my hips forward in order to give me momentum to get up. It was doubly hard in second.

Never mind, I thought. I was pretty happy that I was able to elevé to pointe at all!

My second class, the adult one, was a little bit different because we had a replacement teacher.

When I was away on holidays, my usual teacher messaged us in the group chat to say she needed surgery and wouldn’t be able to teach for a month or so.

Our replacement teacher was going to be a male friend of hers.

Boy did I get a lot of corrections.

Even though I really enjoy my new ballet school, I get corrected quite a lot on my turnout. My regular teacher wants my 5th tighter.

This teacher said to not push it so much. He said that when I do that, particular to the side, I lift my hip up in order to maintain my turn out. He said my natural second is more a diagonal.

He also said that when I force my  turnout during our plié exercise my knees tend to go forward before they go out to the side.

Another correction he gave me is one that I was slowly realising myself.

He said that when I put my leg up onto the barre to stretch, I lift my hip up a bit. He said I really need to push my hip down but keep my upper body straight. He also said that when I put my leg Croisé on the barre I don’t have my leg directly in front of me. He said I go into a position that is not quite front and not quite second.

When I focus on pushing my hip down in both positions I feel a completely new stretch.

I really appreciated all his feedback. He also delivered it in a funny, but kind and considerate way.

When I left the class, a part of me felt a little sad he would be going in a couple of weeks.

Like I said at the beginning though, even though my best efforts on holidays were definitely beneficial, it didn’t stop my calves from giving me hell the next day!! Wowwee

It just goes to show that you can do theraband exercises, you can walk miles on holidays, but those activities have nothing on taking a good old fashioned ballet class.

I’m glad to be back.

Hope you all had a fantastic week!

 

 

Week 104 – Sorry for saying sorry

It’s an annoying habit that I just can’t seem to stop. Sometimes when the teacher gives me a correction, I just can’t apply it for the life of me.

Believe me, it’s not from lack of trying. I’m usually trying to think of so many things at once that the new thing I am meant to focus on gets left behind.

As I result I end up saying sorry…sorry…sorry

This was definitely the case during my class with Vicki Attard.

I optimistically planned on taking two of her classes followed by a private.

The first class was a pointe class for an hour and 15minutes.

I wasn’t sure how I would go taking a pointe class for that long. I’m used to a 30 minute session at the end of a normal class.

Bravely, or foolhardily, I put on my Freeds and walked into the studio.

Maybe I was just lucky, or maybe it was the fact that the class was at 9:15am on a Wednesday, but there were only 3 of us.

It was tough. Vicki called me out on all of my bad habits. My number one problem seemed to be leaning on the barre. Even when I thought I wasn’t doing it, Vicki’s watchful eye told me I was.

I wish I had her voice in my head in all my classes!

The other two girls were fantastic. One girl had taken a break from pointe work and this was her first day back. So Vicki had us doing more basic exercises repetitively.

I needed to take breaks quite often.

Vicki said that pointe work doesn’t just involve your ankles and feet lifting you up. You need to use your butt and legs as well.

This advice really helped me, but my lack of strength did make me shake a little.

Vicki noticed me shaking and said „you’re not crying are you?“

I couldn’t help but laugh. I guess she must have come across quite a few criers.

A few other things she pointed out to me were:

  • I need to make sure I go through a high 3/4 pointe going up and coming off pointe
  • I need to make sure I have a tight 5th position
  • I need to hit a clean 5th position when moving through 5th
  • My eschappé needs to be wider than my hips
  • My 1st position arms need to be lower

Unfortunately she had to correct me over and over on a lot of the same things. So I kept saying sorry, I couldn’t help it!

She gave the other girls a lot of corrections too, but they didn’t feel the same need as I did to say sorry so much.

I need to just listen and try an apply the correction.

After barre we moved to centre, but my toes had just about given up.

So, I ran quickly outside to grab my demi-pointes.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was met with quite a large group of girls waiting to go into the next class.

I felt a little out of place. They all looked so professional.

Even though I was drinking water, the combination of the Australian heat and my exhausted body meant that I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked.

I was very wobbly.

At the end of class I thanked Vicki and asked what level the next class was.

She said it was pretty advanced and we both agreed that a private wasn’t really necessary because she had given me a lot to think about already during the quiet pointe class.

So we left it at that.

Even though my feet were a little sore, they weren’t as near as sore as I would have guessed. So that is a win!

Also, Vicki is a pointe expert and she didn’t tell me to get out of her class! So I must be at least passable at pointe work.

That class marked the end of my Australian ballet adventure and on Friday I flew back home to Germany.

I am keen to get my head back into the game next week.

Hope you all had a lovely week!