Some Happy Things…

I figured I could write about some things that went well in my ballet week, you know, a nice change of pace…

While I missed the majority of it (since it was on during what is the middle of the night on my side of the world. I think the Bolshoi Ballet segment was at like 2 am or something), I did get to catch some of World Ballet Day.  Caught part of the Canadian Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet.  I really loved watching the petite and grand allegro segments of the San Francisco Ballet class – so inspiring! The rehearsal for Giselle was a nice treat as well.  I also really enjoyed watching the pictures and videos that people submitted of them balleting in random places. I remember they’d had the option to submit something last year, but I didn’t know they were going to do it again this year.  If I’d known, maybe I would have tried to submit something… or not. Last year I was nowhere close to even a single pirouette, but now that I’m closer, who knows?

My first class of the week went pretty well.  During barre I’ve been working on letting go for longer periods of time when we balance in passe releve. I balanced for a few seconds with the second arm in a nice shape while on my left foot.  Still just testing letting go of the barre with my right (weaker) foot.

We did this across the floor combination, tombe, pas de bourre, chasse, 4th position releve balance, down to 4th, passe releve balance, down to fourth, pirouette en dehors, repeat the whole thing all the way across the floor (I think it was like 4 times the whole way through), and I actually got around in all my pirouettes, even managing to finish them in a nice pose.  My balances in releve were not too shabby either. I don’t know if it was all the balancing before attempting the pirouette that helped or what, but this is a combination I’ll be working on at home.

Another combination that  was helpful was sautes. It was 3 sautes in first, but on the third hold a really deep plie, then on the next jump the jump would start from the deep plie. We did it twice in first, twice in second, and then fifth.  It was really helpful for me because of the deep plies, especially because from the plie that we landed in we were supposed to go even deeper. While it was helpful in first, it was even more helpful in second. My jumps in second have been improving steadily the more I’ve been practicing them, I’ve noticed. Can’t really say the same for jumps from fifth yet, but seeing how long it took me to even get pointed feet jumps in first and second I know that I just have to keep practicing. But you know what? I totally don’t hate the part of class when we do sautes anymore. I used to dread that part of class, but I’ve been feeling way more confident about them. At least in a beginner or open level class…

In Intermediate Class, we were given this combination, 3 pique arabesques (each one a little higher than the last, both the leg outstretched in back and the arm), tombe, pas de bourree, pirouette en dehors, this like 3/4 of the way around soutenu, pirouette en dedans (yay! love these!), soutenu, chasse, chaines for the rest of the music.  When Teacher first demonstrated it I started feeling a bit overwhelmed, but it was not so bad.  It was fun, actually, especially the pirouette en dedans part.

We did petite allegro in two groups, one slow and one fast – guess which group I’m in, LOL.  It was glissade, assemble, glissade, assemble, glissade, assemble, jete, pas de bourre, changement, 2 pas de chat, 2 soubresauts, and 3 sissones. I’ve discovered that I actually like doing sissones, though the arms are still confusing me. Someone asked “So your arms open in the direction you’re traveling?” and Teacher said yes, so I’ll be keeping that in mind for next time. Assembles, especially to the left (when the left leg assembles) are still challenging for me, but I do think I’m overthinking them.  It was a fun combination though.  When the faster group went we tried to follow along in the back, but it was definitely about 5 times harder than I can do at this moment.

So then, after my latest class, I popped the question.

By that, I mean I asked “So, how far am I from being ready? I mean, besides strong ankles, what should I work on?” In case you couldn’t tell, I’m talking about pointe (!). NS Teacher told me to continue working on holding my balance and core, but that she would be ok with me doing barre in pointe shoes! (She also said that she’s seen me improve so much in the time since she’s first seen me take class, so that made my day 🙂 )

It was weird. I hadn’t planned on asking or anything, but we were all having a discussion about pointe readiness. The only reason I’d even asked was because I was curious about how far I am, hypothetically speaking. I was shocked to hear her say yes.

Now before we all get excited, I’ll say that the possibility of me actually taking class en pointe is not immediately likely. When I’d seen the clearance bin pointe shoes during my last visit to the dance store I’d been excited, but  NS Teacher was talking about the importance of having a good fitter the first time. She recommended a place in particular, and they’re notoriously expensive (I’ve been there for dance wear back when I first started and didn’t know my options). The fitting is free, but I figure the cost of the shoes may be marked up. Or not. Maybe I need to do some research. I haven’t actually done any pointe shoe research because I always figured it was out of the question. So we’ll see, but don’t expect anything yet…

15 thoughts on “Some Happy Things…

    1. kit Post author

      Oh yeah, if I’d had planned to ask ahead of time I would have been so nervous too! But since I went into it with a “I’m not ready, but what could I work on” attitude it was surprisingly anxiety-free.
      Thanks for the link. I’m gonna be doing plenty of reading and foot-comparing 🙂

  1. Basia

    Awesome news! Well done!!

    I have asked two different teachers to watch me and see if i’m ready or not…. but haven’t got the green light yet. I was hoping to get en pointe before I hit 40yo but, alas I think I’ll have to wait a bit…

    1. kit Post author

      Did the teachers give you pointers on what specifically you should be working on to get there? Like, ankle strength, foot articulation, core strength, balance, etc. That way you can have an idea how close you are.

      1. Basia

        Yes they do, sort of. They would prefer if you got a private class with them. The two times I asked it was the end of class and they said they would try to remember to look at my technique. I think they forgot.
        Anyway its good they’re not just trying to fill the pointe class.

        Re your pointe, maybe ask for an early birthday present if it’s too dear? Also I remembered this website… Tells you if you are ready for pointe

      2. kit Post author

        I went through the website… and I think I should wait a bit and strengthen up more before going en pointe. Out of the different criteria listed – and there were plenty – there are some I don’t meet. Sure, I can stay up on demi pointe in passe for 45 seconds at barre, but I don’t have the 5 seconds in center yet (maybe around 2-3 seconds (on a good day), so not hopeless). I do wobble a tiny bit when doing a grand plie in center, and I definitely can’t do 16 single-legged sautes. I don’t feel too bad though, because they said something about training for 4 years, so I’m not doing too horrible for my 2 1/2 years of taking class. And at least my feet are flexible enough (I passed the pencil test).
        My birthday is quite far away, so maybe by the time it’s approaching I’ll be more ready and I can get that early birthday present then! 🙂

      3. Basia

        I just had to let you know (because nobody else around me will geddit) 
        On Monday after being away from ballet for a month (because of the headaches and vacation) first class back, and pointe class is about to start and male teacher asks the students who’s doing pointe today, so I walk up just like you did and ask when does he think I’ll be ready… 
        Totally expecting the usual line, of you’ll have to work on etc etc

        Instead he says I can join tonight’s class, but since I have been away,  I’d better wait just another week or so till my strength returns….  I was like what???? When I questioned again whether or not I was ready, he said simply that he’d seen me working hard and that he thinks I can just do the easiest things to start with at the barre.
        I’m blown away. I was totally expecting for some light to shine from the heavens anointing me etc etc but it turned out to be really ordinary. 
        So I’ve booked a fitting appointment with Bloch. You’re right about the price of the shoes!! And I bet you then have to buy padding and other stuff.  I guess this is not going to be a cheap hobby/art/sport (not sure what to call it)

        Since I’m not getting any younger I may as well go for it and try not to worry too much about the cost or whether I deserve it or not (going en pointe and the shoes).

        I’m definitely not as good as you are – I can tell. But I’ll give it a shot. What the hell.

      4. Basia

        Another thing…. he then said to book a private class with him to try on the shoes and make sure that they fit properly…. At that moment I thought to myself, what if he is just spruiking his own pointe class and private class?? And isn’t really concerned whether I’m really ready?? Oh the stress!!

      5. kit Post author

        How exciting! (Well, I think it’s exciting to be told you’re ready…) It’s a nice welcome-back-to-ballet-class surprise for sure! Glad you’re feeling better.
        As to no one getting it, when I came home the day I got told yes and I told Boyfriend he was like ‘oh, ok. Is that like a good thing or something?’ LOL
        I definitely hear you on the “I’m not getting any younger part”, and that’s how I end up justifying so many classes and all that – not just the monetary cost but the time investment as well. Also – if I may reply to your follow-up comment here as well – I totally hear you on the stress of not knowing if one’s actually ready or if the teacher is just hoping to fill up their classes. I’m not sure how many classes a week you take, but the other day one of my teachers (not the one that said I could go en pointe) was telling a student who’s been dancing longer than me that she won’t be ready for a while because she’s only taking ballet twice a week, even though she’s doing other dance styles daily. I do feel like if I were to ask her – and I don’t dare, lol – she’d tell me ‘definitely not yet!’. So I do wonder if different teachers have much different criteria. I’d go for it, just play it very carefully.
        I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to be “good” – decent by barely-took-my-first-class-a-couple-years-ago-while-already-an-adult standards maybe (and downright terrible by people-who’ve-danced-since-childhood standards). But thanks! 🙂

      6. Basia

        You are way too hard on yourself!!  You dance way more than me. I’m just managing 2 classes a week. I’d like 3 times, but we’re looking for a new home (closer to class) on Saturdays.

        You have totally articulated what’s happening on my end! My other teacher, that I also asked before would probably make me do several more private lessons before she let me en pointe…she’s old school style. You know the kind, where you’re in favour one week to be totally ignored the next, or reprimanded constantly in one class for just not trying hard enough. Part of me feels I should get her endorsement and the other part knows I won’t ha ha!

      7. kit Post author

        Oh my gosh – that’s exactly how I feel! Like how I should get that teacher’s ok, but it’s probably not going to happen, for a long time at least…haha
        But if it did, it would mean so much…
        I may be hard on myself, but at the same time I feel like I’m being realistic. Yes, I dance much much, a million times better than when I started, and I’ve improved a lot, but I definitely don’t dance like the dancers who started training at a young age. Sometimes I don’t know if even after many years I ever will.
        One day I got to figure out how to upload a video of me dancing onto one of my private posts so you guys can see for yourselves!

      8. Basia

        Yes! Like I’d totally want the other teacher’s blessing…. it would be awesome (but it won’t happen)

        I know what you mean about comparing to people that have been dancing since their childhood, with perfect turnout. I don’t know either if I’ll ever make it. My hope is to just be able to string a few moves together for my parents -where they will be proud and not trying to look away or puke out of embarrassment for me. I have always been such a tomboy.

        I want to upload a few pics to my (now -active-nothing written-blog) too. Yet to do that.

      9. kit Post author

        🙂 Totally get what you mean!
        And yes, perfect turnout and almost 180 degree extensions – effortlessly! I’ve been doing some thinking lately about my own turnout and flexibility, and limits. While I’ve come a long way (especially considering that I’m so naturally inflexible that as a child I couldn’t even reach and touch my knees, much less my toes), it doens’t come close to those that started as children. My feelings on the issue seem to depend on how I’m feeling that day…
        I so get what you mean about the parents. I was so proud when I showed my dad a video I took of me doing barre at home about a year ago. It’s always been kind of a joke to my parents that I was just so ungraceful and clumsy, so he was so surprised when he first heard I was doing ballet. And besides, he’s my dad, not a professional critic – he didn’t notice how my arms were terrible by ballet standards, or any other things I can see wrong now, he was just happy for me.. Both my sister and I are tomboyish, but more nerdy than athletic LOL

  2. ladysquadron

    Thanks for your posts! I always enjoy reading about the things you learn in class (: Congrats, so happy that your teacher thinks you’re good enough to do barre in pirouettes 🙂

    1. kit Post author

      Thank you, I enjoy reading your posts too!
      I’ll keep working on it, and one day I’ll be able to do those pirouettes!


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