We were rehearsing Snow today and I felt some weirdness in the shank. Might just have been that I was tired, not working through the shoe the way I should. But I couldn’t help but think, uh-oh, could be a sign of circling the drain… these babies may well be on their way out.
I had already been thinking of getting another pair of shoes before the show. I had this horrible vision of my shoes dying during dress rehearsal or, worse yet, one of the performances and having to wear dead shoes. In shoes where the box goes first this could be sorta workable… painful, but hey, it’s only 6 minutes! But from what I know of Grishkos, the shank generally goes before the box, and dancing with dead shanks is a sure recipe for disaster. Not wanting to be in that situation, I figured I should have a pair at the ready… and of course, you can’t dance in brandy-new shoes, either, so I’d need time to break a pair in.
A couple weeks ago I’d posted pics of my Ulanova I on the Ballet Talk for Dancers site (the same site I’d used for my original set of suggestion). I was hoping for a comment of “Oh, wonderful, looks like you’ve found the shoe!” Instead the pointe shoe fitter replied that my shoes appeared too wide. There was excess fabric around the box. She also thought that I might need a lower profiled shoe. Not entirely surprising, actually. When I first tried the Ulanovas I noticed that they had a high profile, but it seemed a bit better after I broke them in. Still, I had recently noticed that they were seeming baggy around the rest of my foot.
I had an hour and a half to kill in between rehearsal and a costume fitting today, so I figured that should give me enough time to get to a local-ish dance store that was listed as a vendor on the Grishko web site. Sadly (but not surprisingly) they don’t carry the entire line, but they do carry my shoe as well as another model I wanted to try: the 2007. According to info I found the 2007 is Grishko’s other semi-tapered model, but has a lower profile. The store didn’t have a narrower width in my size in the Ulanova I, so my hopes to try that one were dashed (nor do they carry the Fouette Proflex or the Maya I… the other two models built on the same last that I was interested in trying). But they did have some 2007s in my size range. I ended up trying a 5XXX (compared to the 4.5XXXX I’m currently wearing). Definitely lower profile. They fit quite snugly, but didn’t feel uncomfortably tight. Actually they were quite sleek and made my feet look far more delicate than they are. Ha!
So… I’m going to give these a go, see how they break in. I’m not giving up on the Ulanova I (or its siblings), but want to see how this last works for me. One thing I already love, aside from the shape, is that the 2007 has a suede sole instead of the smooth leather on the Ulanova I. I’ve been frustrated with how slippery the Ulanova I is, so looking forward to some more traction on flat! This is also my first 3/4 shank. I feel like a bit of a poser buying a 3/4 shank shoe… apparently they’re meant for advanced dancers; beginners to pointe tend to “sit” in these shoes. Honestly, I can’t tell from wearing it that the shank is any different than any other shoe I’ve worn. I’d like to think that even though I had a long break from pointe I know well enough to pull up in my shoes. We’ll find out. A couple concerns I have about the 2007: the platform doesn’t give me nearly the same sense of stability and the shank strength of this shoe is soft.
Will just have to see how it all plays out in the studio! If there’s anything I’ve learned in this journey it’s that how a shoe feels when you first try it on doesn’t necessarily give a great indication of how it’ll work once the ribbons and elastics are on and you put them through the paces. But hopefully they’ll at least work well enough to be a strong back-up pair for Nut!