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Cara in NZ

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  1. I watched this Youtube video recently by Kathryn Morgan (who says she has wide feet and wore pointe shoes that were too narrow for years, even as a professional). Even though it's under the name of Suffolk, she talks quite generally about the importance of getting box/vamp/profile right — and has a handy tip about checking the shank. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7TLF2PxkIs I would also add that any fitter should be looking at the feet with no shoes on first, and seeing how they spread/compress as the dancer rises to demi-pointe. If they don't, it's like a hairdresser trying to cut your hair when they've only seen it after it's been washed!
  2. Bravo, Julie! We don't hear much about this. My DD had a year in our Scholars associate programme in Year 8. Didn't get in again, but it actually served to confirm in her own mind that she wasn't cut out for a ballet career – in fact she didn't even want to finish the year! I'm always amazed at the endless enthusiasm and positivity I see/hear from the young dancers dedicated to pursuing their art, but of course there's plenty more who give up the dream or realise it's not for them. In no way does it take away from their talent and achievements! When people ask me why DD doesn't want a ballet career, I just tell them that about 2% might have everything in the right place at the right time, and maybe 0.5% of kids who dance actually end up with ballet as a career. But they gain so many other things! Particularly confidence, poise, and it's great brain training (all that mirror image work 'doing it on the other side' is awesome for brains!).
  3. Just wanted to add that I think a lot of laddering is caused by the girls yanking the convertible part over the feet/up their legs. It seems to create weak spots. My DD also wanted her pointe shoe backs to be on bare skin to help avoid them slipping off her heels, so used to stretch the hole of the convertible part up the back of her foot. We don't usually see how roughly the tights get treated, but I bet if they had to buy their own they'd be more careful!
  4. I have sold almost all of DD's old pointe shoes on our equivalent of eBay (no creepiness in the ballet section, thank goodness). I just list them honestly as worn, broken in, but suitable for decoration or craft project. They always sell, usually for £5-10 (they cost at least £65 new here, although the Bloch ones say 'Made in Thailand' on the bottom, exactly the same as the ones I get from the UK when I have someone to bring them over). It's much harder to sell the unworn ones where DD has outgrown them or changed style, and you want to make some money back, but size/fit is so specific that it's rare to find a buyer!
  5. We did get some although DD never actually used them. They are really just a leather toe-cover and some narrow strips of elastic. So just go by her shoe size and you can adjust the elastic if necessary. I don't think the brand is so important as there's not much to them – although DC will always have favourites! For example, on this website they give sizing info according to street shoe size: https://www.movedancewear.com/dance_shoes_contemporary_shoes-bloch_vantage_leather/1763/
  6. Yes, for the last year she had Freed Studio Professionals with 3/4 shank.It just never happened for her, and her private lesson teacher ended up adapting her pointe solos to keep that left foot out of the limelight! Thank goodness she never wanted a ballet career, but it's sad to see them work without progressing much.
  7. A good point, Taxi. My DD had ok feet and wasn't really told how she could work on them... Then she went on pointe age 11.5, and their lack of flexibility really started to show – and to matter. In practice shoes she looks great, but she never managed to get that beautiful curve en pointe. In fact her left foot never really curved in the shoe at all, despite teachers recommending further fittings and different styles, and even manhandling the shoe themselves to make it bend! She lost heart in the end (after 3.5 years), and this year is just doing recreational classes (Open Advanced and RAD Grade 7, with no pointework). So yes, doing the work now will pay off in years to come!
  8. GOODNESS ME, NO!!!! It takes several years of solid ballet grounding and developing strength to go en pointe. (I started as an adult, age 19, and was allowed to start pointe after three years of four classes a week. The teacher evaluated each person and told them whether they were strong enough to start pointe.)
  9. I don't know how it works but the person who paid for it can only download the files once (link is valid for 2 months). I could share the link by email but other people could only watch it once and couldn't download it. The dances are in individual mp4 files. I would think they would be way too big to put on social media? Each minute is 100MB and I certainly can't send them to anyone!
  10. Recently I've found that when I order a video recording of DD's dances at competitions, they send a link to a download. I much prefer this as none of our computers have DVD drives any more.
  11. The hardest thing about ballet is the number of things you need to make it to a career. EG my DD has beautiful lines, but doesn't have the feet and stresses too much to 'sparkle' much. I say to her that she might have 8 out of the 10 things needed, and as she doesn't want a career she should just keep making her beautiful lines, which people tell me they love to watch. But assessments and exams only give so much credit for lines! (I also tell her that outside ballet, nobody actually cares about bendy feet!)
  12. Paula Hunt, who taught at our dance school until she left for the RAD in London, led the development of the new RAD syllabus. One of her colleagues was telling me that she wanted to get away from the notion of 'little RAD robots' and get more expression into the syllabus. DD's current teacher trained in both Cecchetti and RAD in Sth Africa (Cecchetti is rarely taught in NZ). She regularly uses Cecchetti exercises in open classes, including my adult class last night. What I really liked was the exercise called 'Centre Practice' where you literally stand in fifth just 'dancing with your arms'. RAD Centre Practice usually involves pirouettes, and even the exercise the RAD calls 'Port de Bras' always has the feet moving as well. I really like the space to just focus on movement of the arms!
  13. Agreed – DD doesn't do jazz but likes tracksuit pants to wear to and from ballet class and they were all enormously wide on her until I found some through an Australian dance website (Energetiks). Even though your DD may still be 'a child', the child sizes seem to get wider as they get into the teens, reflecting the way people usually grow I suppose. DD isn't tall (5ft 3) but was wearing Adult XS from age 12 as her legs got longer but her torso stayed slender. Sometimes have to adjust leo straps or trouser length, and I'm still trying to work out why the manufacturers think all teens get wider but then sizing narrows down again for slender adults!
  14. Another thing I thought of is that although you have identified ballet as a style you'd like to learn, it might be worth investigating other dance styles that aren't so strict about what you wear and being able to see 'lines'. It might be easier to accommodate your norms for modesty in a less formal dance environment where there aren't so many rules. Just an idea, as you explore your options! If your heart is really set on ballet, then adult classes are your best option in terms of relaxed dress codes.
  15. I know some of the girls at DD's school see a physio to correct bunions. Seems to involve strengthening the toes/metatarsals somehow (as well as toe spacers etc). I'm not sure of the details, and am sure you'd need to specifically see a dance physio, but it's got to be worth trying before surgery?
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