The Little Things: Part Two

Part two of why we should take pleasure in the little things. To me, taking an interest and appreciation for the little things in life is what keeps us sane as dancers. We are constantly working hard and the next day we work harder. We have an endless need for improvement and that can take a lot out of us.

In order to not lose it, I believe we need to find appreciation for the little things. Now this doesn’t mean we need to take a hobby because heck, we don’t even have much time for hobbies as dancers. I’m just saying find those small things that are in everyday life that bring you happiness.

The first thing I would look for some sunshine in is the seasons. Like every other person, I love the warm days of summer, but nothing gets me more excited than the fall and winter seasons. I can’t wait to pick pumpkins, carve them, pull on a sweater, and drink some tea. I can’t wait for snowflakes to fall in my hair and listen to the snow crunch beneath my boots. It may not be much, but the weather and seasonal norms of winter and fall just make me happy.

Another thing to take joy in are the pretty things around us. Flowers are great, they aren’t rare or expensive (the latter is debatable), but they are nice to look at. It’s always nice to have a bouquet on my desk (even if they’re dead).

Plane views are just another thing I really like. You get to see your world from a whole new perspective and it is awesome. Obviously plane views and flowers might not be your thing, but just try to find something you wouldn’t mind staring at all day.

The next thing I encourage you to delve into is music. Music can make my food better in the blink of an eye. I listen to it getting ready to school, walking to school, studying, cooking, doing chores, and every other time of the day. Try and find something not on the radio that is a little different and special to you. It makes just a little bit cooler when you meet someone else that likes it.

Lastly find something you love to eat or drink. It may seem silly, but I’m serious. For me, it is coffee, I realize some people may think I’m too young to enjoy coffee, but I assure you I’ve done my research and it’s perfectly fine. Having that one little thing you enjoy to eat and can make your day is kind of great. If all it takes to make you happy is a certain donut or vegetable with dinner then great! To be able to be content for the day because you got that pear from the farmer’s market is a-okay.

All I want you to get out of the post, is to take care of yourself and find something that pleases each sense. We don’t get a lot of free time, but if we have a new artist to listen to, something to munch on, something to stare at endlessly, something to feel good on our skin, and a scent dancing into our noses we’ll be just dandy. See you this Friday and don’t forget to share with friends!

You Are What You Eat?

There is a quote that goes “First we eat then we do everything else.” by M.F.K Fisher. I feel that this quote is true and that sometimes ballet dancers and everyone else should be reminded of it.

To me this quote says that we are fueled by our food and must eat to fill the tank before we start the day. This is a good way to see our relationship with food if you ask me. Food is what fuels us and gets us ready for the day and keeps us running through it. Of course there are other things food can serve as, but that is a different conversation.

I feel like society and young dancers especially think they need to eat for the body they want instead of eating to fuel the body they have. This notion of eating a certain way for a certain body type is definitely an impression given to dancers by society.

I remember I was at a party and wasn’t eating much because I wasn’t hungry, but someone there made a comment along the lines of “Trying to keep your ballet figure?”. I’ve also come across an Instagram account where the girl shares what little she eats and the captions consist of how she is thinks is overweight at 110 lbs. She believes she must be skinnier for ballet. It’s upsetting to see this girl keep from eating and have people make comments like the one from above.

My point in sharing this is just to give a friendly reminder that we shouldn’t eat a certain way in hope to obtain a different figure. Instead, we should eat to take care of our body and give it the fuel for those long days at the studio.

Beyond eating enough, we need to eat the right things. Obviously you shouldn’t just eat brownies and tacos, but you also don’t have to avoid them entirely. We can eat those things and others while being healthy as long as we eat the proper portions.

Overall my advice is to most importantly, eat enough and secondly eat what you want in moderation. Food is your fuel not your fattener and sometimes we forget it in the slim world of ballet. We are hard-working athletes that need energy, so let’s eat up!

I hope you found this post helpful and check back next week for another post!

 

The Little Things: Part One

On this cold St. Patty’s day I’m writing about the little things, part one of two. Ballet is something that we devote a lot of our time to and sometimes we need a break. Sometimes to take a break, we take pleasure in the little things. The little things I do to relax that are ballet related include reading Pointe magazine and going to see Bolshoi Ballet in cinema.

Pointe Magazines

Pointe magazine is one of those great sources of information for dancers that also entertains. After a long day, it is so nice to just sit down, grab some tea, and read Pointe. Whether your reading about a new up and coming choreographer or tips for auditions, Pointe always manages to keep you interested. It is an easy way to stay in touch with the dance world while relaxing.

Pointe has such a wide variety of content, too. Some of the most helpful stretches and exercises I know, I’ve found in Pointe. In addition to that, Pointe gives advice for your dancing, tells about events in ballet, and doesn’t just focus on the big companies. Pointe looks at ballet dancers and companies everywhere, not just the major ones. To see more about Pointe check out the link at the bottom of the page.

Ticket

Ticket for the next Bolshoi performance

Another great thing to check out is the Bolshoi Ballet performances that they show in theaters. Knowing that I’ll probably never see one of their shows in person, this is such a great opportunity. The show is projected in great quality and gives you the view of a front row seat. I’ve been able to see two shows so far this year and I’ve enjoyed both a lot.

I first saw The Golden Age. The dancers were wonderful at portraying their character. You truly felt a dislike for the antagonist and a sympathy for Lyuska. Aside from the acting, the dancing was incredible. The dancers brought the technique and artistry together with ease. The second one I saw was the classic, The Sleeping Beauty. It held all the wonders The Golden Age did, but with its own excitement. Look below for Bolshoi’s link.

I hope you enjoyed the post and get to go relax with a “little thing”. None of this post is sponsored, just things I enjoy, that you might too. Check back Monday for a post on how what we eat intertwines with ballet.

http://pointemagazine.com/

http://bolshoiballetincinema.com/

Sewing Pointe Shoes

Final post about shoes before moving onto a new topic. This post will be about how I sew my shoes and my tips for sewing shoes.

Let’s start with supplies:

  • sail needle
  • normal needle
  • elastic drawstring
  • dental floss
  • pointe shoe ribbons
  • pointe shoe elastics
  • scissors

I always start by sewing on the elastics and ribbons and then replace the drawstring. I do this because once the elastic drawstring is in, it is much harder to sew on the ribbons and elastics.

First, pull out the cloth drawstring (if you have one) and then put unsewn shoe on the foot. Test where you want to sew elastics. I sew mine criss-cross, so there is more support and to avoid twisting. You must also be sure that the elastics you use are meant for pointe shoes because they are stronger. If you use other elastics it will be harder to dance and you may eventually have to switch them to pointe shoe elastics.

Where I sew my elastics is shown in the images above. I sew both of the elastics to the back of the shoe first. Once both elastics have been sewn to the back, I sew the fronts with the ribbons.

A great trick for sewing the ribbons, to avoid them ripping off like I have often struggled with is to not cut the ribbons. It seems a little weird and like it might not be comfortable, but give it a try. I can’t take credit for this idea, it came from my friend Sarah. With the elastics and ribbons sewn as I described, the shoe should look like this.

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I always sew my elastics and ribbons with square stitching. This doesn’t take much more time, but allows for a lot more strength.

Once all the elastics and ribbons have been sewn I use the sail needle to put the elastic drawstring in my shoes. I have to do this because it is the only way I can get shoes to fit right. I also use dental floss to stitch my shoes because it is way stronger than thread and is much cheaper than the special pointe shoe thread. I also want to recommend the Suffolk ribbons once again because they are my absolute favorite.

I have also dabbled with darning. I used the sail needle to stitch with thick thread around the platform rather than covering the whole platform. It was nice to try, but I don’t think I’ll do it again. It took a little too much time and didn’t make enough of a difference.

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Partially sewn shoes

I may not have brought a lot of new tips to the table, but I hope you found something new and helpful in this post. Come back this Friday for a new post and don’t forget to share this post with others!

Suffolk Pointe Shoes

suffolk pointe shoes

For my third post in the shoes series, I’m talking about my current pointe shoes. Right now, I wear Suffolk’s Stellar shoes.

To start these shoes are very nice looking. The satin is slightly pinky peach. They have a cloth drawstring that I usually replace with an elastic one to help the shoe fit better. I am slightly obsessed with Suffolk’s ribbons. The brand’s ribbons are the same on each side, with a slightly dull look. This means less pancaking and no worries about sewing a ribbon on the wrong side, which I love.

Part of the reason I started wearing these shoes is because it has helped with the twisting I previously discussed in my Bloch shoes post. The twisting doesn’t even occur in these shoes. They are very strong, which I personally like. Since they are strong, I recommend breaking the box in beforehand. I always do this because if I don’t I’m sure to get blisters in class. You want to be careful when doing this to avoid over breaking in.

These shoes have been really good to me. I never had problems performing in them, they last awhile, and shape to the foot well. They are a little more expensive Bloch, but it is worth it because of the decent life span of the shoes. The Suffolk shoes are really nice and if you are looking for something new check out the brand because I know a lot of people who like them other than me.

I hope you enjoyed the post and come back next Monday for final post of the shoe series!

 

Flat Shoes

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Capezio Cobra

A little late posting, but today’s subject is flat shoes. A lot of people focus on pointe shoes, but flat shoes are very important too. For most, about the first five to nine years of their dancing is just in flat shoes. Some wear leather and some wear canvas. There are so many brands it can make your head spin, so here is my take on flat shoes.

To be very generic, you can go two ways with flat shoes; leather or canvas. When I first started I wore leather shoes for dress code, but if I did not care for them. They have the benefit of lasting much longer than canvas shoes, but that is the only pro I can think of. I have found that leather is usually more expensive, but it isn’t always the case.

Canvas shoes are my preferred because they are generally cheaper and because of the look. Leather shoes do not look bad, but I think canvas shoes are more flattering. They fit the foot and shape to them to show off the arch cleanly. Going beyond leather and canvas you can go with split sole or full sole. In terms of flat shoes I would recommend a split sole because like the canvas it shapes to the foot well.

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Capezio Cobra ballet flats box.

Right now I am wearing Capezio’s Cobra flat shoes. They are canvas with split sole and come pre-sewn. The pre-sewn elastics are great, any time avoiding sewing is a plus. If you’re worried they may be sewn wrong for you, I haven’t experienced any issues, they have always fit right. I have really enjoyed them and recommend them to anyone who wants to try new shoes. After going through three pairs of them I may try something new because I always like to try new styles when it comes to ballet garb.

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Capezio Cobra shoe inside out

Sorry about the late posting, but I hope this post was helpful! Don’t forget that dress codes may permit certain shoes and everyone has their own preferences. Stay tuned for Suffolk pointe shoe post this Monday!