So I gave the update on the Bloch Heritage. Time to dish on the Grishko Ulanova I!
I hesitated to report because I experienced a pang of fear that I made a grave mistake by not sending these back. I tried them in pointe class the second week back and made it through our brief (10 minute) barre before deciding to switch to the Blochs for centre due to the cush factor, ease of rolling through demi-pointe, etc. Next pointe class I went straight for the Blochs meanwhile slightly regretting my Grishko purchase.
Last night’s technique class. I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been feeling I needed to log more pointe time than our adult schedule has booked in order to boost my confidence and build some strength. Sooo… I decided to do the barre portion of technique class in the Grishkos.
My teacher told me I got a gold star just for wearing pointe shoes for barre. Yah! Where’s my sticker?
As for my actual technique. Well, my balances on demi-pointe (which I’ve been quite impressed with of late) are not nearly as stellar on full pointe. I’m okay on two feet, but when I go to one, yowza! I’m just aiming for the longest string of milliseconds possible. It’ll come, just have to adjust to the smaller base and the shifted center of gravity, but not there yet! And there’s the fact that even on flat I’m wobbling all over the place because the sole of the shoe is anything but flat. This is an issue with any pointe shoe, although the sole on the Blochs is a bit better on this front. But… I was pretty satisfied with myself overall. My feet were sore, but not excruciatingly so. The rest of me felt like a wrung-out dishrag, but I rather enjoy that ass-kicked feeling. Also, in the ten years since the last time I did technique class en pointe, I forgot how prettyprettyprincess I feel doing barre in ballerina shoes (to steal Adult Beginner‘s terminology). Ooh, look, shiny things on the end of my legs! Wait, what was the combination again?
After barre I switched to my regular slippers. Then went to hip-hop. Then home. Where I felt even more dishraggy. But prior to collapsing in bed I was at least cognizant enough to remember to take my pointe shoes out of my dance bag to dry. Whereupon I noticed an incredible thing: my Grishkos had a left and right. By which I mean, I knew which foot I had worn on the left and the right just by looking at them. They were symmetrical when I put them on just a few hours earlier. Woah. Impressive. I’ve heard of this whole box molding to the foot thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed it like this! Maybe this barre session was just what the Grishkos needed. A good 45 minutes of hot sweaty goodness to soften up the paste and get them to conform to my feet. Yeah.
So my verdict (as of now) is that the Ulanova I is a shoe that won’t be danceable right out of the gate, but allowing some time for break-in, they’re a beautiful, supportive shoe.
In the end, I’m thinking there might be a place for both of these shoes in my pointe repertoire (assuming that I do someday get to do more than ballet class in them). The Bloch is more supple, the Grishko less so, but depending on what you’re trying to do en pointe I could see them both working. So I think I’ll continue to alternate them and let see how the experiment pans out long term. As of now, I’m just happy to have two pairs of shoes that I enjoy (rather than one pair that I loathe!).
Onward and upward, kids!