Why do I always wait to the last minute for rather important things like, oh, sewing the ribbons & elastics on pointe shoes. Can’t dance in ’em without!
Showed up to rehearsal for the musical I’m helping to choreograph with two pairs of shoes, my Bunheads Stitch Kit, and watched the dancing with one eye on the cast and one on the shoes in my hands while I stitched furiously. The cast members looked at me fearfully. “Do we have to wear those?!” Well, there is that prima ballerina piece I’m arranging, but luckily she wears roller skates for that (this is not a lie). So no. “Aren’t those expensive?” one asked. “You’d think if you have to pay that much for shoes they’d come with the ribbons already attached.” Haha. Well, you know, those ballet people are finicky.
Managed to get all the ribbons sewn during rehearsal. Came home and stayed up until 1am working on the elastics. I don’t mind the ribbons, but I hatehatehate sewing elastics. I would love to outsource that part.
All in preparation for today’s first pointe class of the year. Wahooo! The question of the day, of course, was which shoe do I try first? The Bloch Heritage or the Grishko Ulanova I?
I ended up deciding on the Blochs, partly because they were the first pair of shoes I pulled out of the bag and partly because I felt like the boxes might be a little kinder for the first pointe class in over a month.
The shoes feel a little snug. I’m thinking I need to find some thinner padding. I could almost go without padding at all, but I would like a thin layer of something (beyond the tights alone) to reduce the friction. The wool pads are just a bit thick. Need to work on that.
Anyway, boy howdy, snug or not these were a dream to dance in. Getting up on the box was a zillion times easier and my alignment felt great. We spent a good portion of class at the barre. Was able to get a nice demi-pointe in tendus and the roll-throughs went so much smoother than previously. Feet felt strong and supported. No ridiculous cramping like in the old shoes.
Then it was time to step away from the security of the barre. First up was piqué turns across the floor. Except for the fact that my diagonal tends to turn into a bit of an arc, wow, those were great. I felt that moment of spinning and remembered what I loved about pointe. Followed this with soutenu turns and again, hey, I can do these! Piqué arabesques, faille, bourrées… except for getting my feet mixed up about which one should be in front, tons better.
This class was such a huge boost for my confidence. I had been so frustrated in the old shoes, feeling like I wasn’t making progress. Maybe it wasn’t all the shoes, but it definitely contributed. I was beginning to think maybe I was just too old. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be en pointe anymore. To get out there today and feel joy in pointe again, bliss. Still plenty of room for improvement and learning, of course, but I’ve got a whole new perspective on my potential in the pointe realm. Maybe I will be able to work up to doing pointe roles in future productions!
Next week, we trial the Grishkos. I cannot wait!!!