Some of you may or may not know I have a tumblr. Essentially I like to keep the two separate because on my tumblr I have a tendency to complain and just be a little uncouth. It’s still very ballet oriented, and people have the ability to anonymously ask me questions about what I do, who I am, questions pertaining to ballet, etc. So I thought I’d go ahead and post some recent ones I’ve received:
what was one of the hardest parts about starting in pointe? do you have to do your splits before going on pointe?
The hardest part, is not to get caught up in foot arches. I had that stupid foot Dr. tell me I’d never get over my box, and that because I had stopped growing I couldn’t train myself properly to be over my box with a very flexed and body altered foot. So I forced myself to try- and I didn’t even have to(and now I’m injured). I have naturally high arches, and my feet and toes get stronger with every class, tendu, and degage, etc. I just needed time. Now I’m perfectly beyond my box without having full rotation in my ankle. Actually, maybe it’s not getting caught up in the small things. Just trust your teacher (if they’re a good one) and take your time as time is allowed. There is no rush.
You don’t have to, but it’s highly recommended. I mean I’m not on my splits yet, but I’ve progressed significantly since I started in the fall. It’s just nice to be able to do an arabesque, a penche, a developpe and things high up there, pointing towards the sky. Also… not everyone can say they can do the splits- but when you get there and if you keep them, I think it’s awesome to be one of those few people 🙂
how long does it take to go on pointe? do you think ballet is something that will be a part of your life for a long time?
Ah, the ever familiar “how long does it take to go on pointe?” question. Honestly it varies from person to person. Girls who’ve been doing ballet since they were very young start around 11-12 y/o. I started last summer, and was on pointe by February of this year. So it took me less than a year to be en pointe. Most definitely ballet will be apart of my life until I think otherwise. Thanks for your ask 🙂
what age did you start ballet? how are you able to both dance and work (i.e. have an adult life)? I’m a young professional and i’m having trouble balancing both because all i wanna do is DANCE! I want to go on pointe and take jazz as well. DO you have any suggestions?
I started when I was 3 left when I was 8(for family financial reasons). I started again at 26(I wanted to go back at 17 but family problems again). I work part time at a retailer that allows extreme flexibility in my schedule except for holidays. Which is a no brainer if you work retail. I think it depends on how serious you are as a dancer. I’m assuming “young professional” is that you’re a teenager working. When I wanted to go back to ballet originally around the middle of HS, I couldn’t. I was already working a PT job and the money I earned fed and clothed me, paid for me to get to and from school. My Mother checked out on me and left me to depend on myself. Even though she was receiving child support from my Father. During this time I was also in my relationship with my Husband, BF at that time, and I would take refuge in his company and his family to lessen the growing depression I had. All I could muster at that age was working PT, go to school and barely graduate, and focus on my relationship and art. Possibly, if I had considered it harder, and didn’t think I would have an art career in illustration I may have focused on dance more. It never occurred to me because both my parents put faith that I would succeed in art, though none of them could fund me to go to school for that pursuit.
I’m a truly blessed/lucky gal. I have a Husband that fulfills the other half of the financial responsibilities. When I say I’m “broke” it’s because I have no personal money to spend. Otherwise I use our money for important things that adults do. Car insurance, mortgage payments, food, etc. Having a supportive family is the best riches ever. Without him, I would not be able to do what I’m doing now.
My real suggestion is, really decide what you want in life. Depending on your age this is extremely difficult. You need to know what you want with your life. If your goal is to get into a dance company and make a career out of it, every day dancing, practicing, rehearsing and knowing your performing career will end around your 30s. Work as hard as you can finding flexible jobs that can cater to your necessary schedule. You’ll need stamina, and worse, you’ll need cash for everything. If and when all your hard work pays off and you’re in a company, you have a job in dance!
If that’s not an option, becoming part of a company, you can try and focus your skills at college to teach and if they have a dance program, do that as well. You can then teach dance instead.
Still, if that doesn’t suit your needs, you may have to settle for going to class every day for how ever long you feel like dancing.
I apologize if this was 1) late 2) depressing 3) not helpful . I do hope that you got something out of it. I had a hard time with this question, it really hit personally where I stand as an adult in my life. I don’t regret anything I’ve done because it’s all in the past, but I would definitely love to see an alternate version of myself succeeding earlier in dance.
I saw that you pulled your inner thigh from forcing a split. I did that a while back while doing a straddle/box split/whatever you call it. What kind(s) of exercises or anything do you do to come out of that?
There really isn’t anything you can do as far as an exercise goes. To get over it I’d recommend icing the area where it burns/is sore for no longer than 20 min.(this is extremely awkward but I did it) Taking hot baths in epsom salt, and letting it rest and not forcing it again. My straddle splits are still the worst but my front and back splits have progressed. When you feel better and healed doing the frog stretch for a bit then place a yoga mat on the floor against a free space along your wall. Lie on the floor with your butt against the wall, then open your legs to gravity. When it becomes too painful just bring your legs together again and rest etc. I used to do this in gymnastics. You could also try getting in a runners lunge, and placing your elbow against the inside of your knee and pushing it out with your elbow. You’ll get good stretches that way too.
Hope this works for you, thanks for your Ask.
when you look back to the first time you stepped in a studio for your first ballet class, what has your dance experience been like so far? what are some major lessons you have learned? also can you talk about your experience on pointe? the transition and your hopes? thanks for your feedback! love your blog 🙂
So far my experience has been rediscovering a facet of myself I had forgotten. I still feel stiff in expression and movement, but I know I have potential and a future of progress. It has been sweet and bitter all the same. To be apart of a group of loving people who are accepting and to teach me and to treat me as equal. Then to realize you’ve joined something so late that finding a permanent place in it is difficult if not pretty much impossible. Major lessons learned? Ask questions, settle yourself between girls who know what they’re doing, watch yourself when at the barre, don’t stare at your feet(even if you are amazed they’re working in ways you didn’t think possible), look yourself in your eyes(you are important), muster any confidence and believe you can do it, practice when you can, DO NOT BE SELF DEPRECIATING, smile, enjoy your fellow students, teacher and your whole class day it’s highlights and it’s low points. Pointe – by far has been my BEST experience. I have wanted to be on pointe since a little girl and I thought after starting up classes again last summer that it wasn’t impossible but it would be a couple years. I at least wanted to accomplish it before I had kids because kids make everything so much harder. Then to be told I could go en pointe in February was completely squashed by my adult mentality of “okay now I have to do this this this and there goes all my money.” So far my performance as a ballerina is 10x better on pointe than soft shoes. I wonder if this is because all the girls in my class are also new to pointe so we’re on a level playing field or the shoes umph my confidence that much more that I feel freaking fabulous! As far as my hopes, I really hope to be able to fully perform in them! Not just trot about, but absolutely do an entire… dance of some sort in pointe without falling over. I’m hoping by this summer recital prove to my pointe teacher that I can perform and be awesome without looking like a total boob on stage. My one thing though is that I continue to push myself into injury. It’s never severe, but it pushes my progress back. I pulled my inner thigh from forcing my splits stretch, and now my foot from over forcing my arch. Know that if you are a dancer, do not push yourself so far beyond. I don’t know why it’s encouraged in the competitive dance arena, but if you’re 16 and you have several hairline fractures in multiple places it’s not a sign of your awesomeness, it’s a sign you need to let yourself rest a little.
Thanks for the thought provoking ask. I try to be very thoughtful in all my responses, but this one had me take a lot of time and think. Thank you again for reading 🙂
how often do you get new ballet slippers? mine are SO worn out and i got them in january and they are bloch…
I have 3 pairs of shoes right now. My Leo’s I purchased back in Dec/Jan perhaps. I just noticed Tues night that they were starting to wear but no complete holes or anything. I’m still looking for the perfect soft shoe and have yet to find it. If you find yourself going through several pairs of soft shoes you may want to consider leather instead if you use canvas. Leather will last longer, and newer types have sewn inserts that allow the foot to breath so it won’t get so sweaty. Possibly the Bloch Pro-Lite II would be useful to you? If you’re not en pointe yet I want to encourage dancers to wear full soled shoes now a days. I really do believe it’ll make your foot stronger by working harder even if may be unflattering to your arch. Thanks for your ask, and I hope this was helpful!
If you have any questions you can leave me a comment! Or I was thinking of opening a formspring for anyone to ask questions on my blog 🙂