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  1. I'd wait until a couple of weeks before term starts rather than buying them right now, just in case she grows. They are supposed to be a snug fit so you don't want her to grow out of them too quickly. Also, as tempting as it is, don't let her wear them at home until the teacher has seen them.
  2. Re the links to the knickers on Amazon. They ones I purchased are super thin almost nylon tights type of fabric but high cut so they don't show. I don't recall which version they were - silky maybe, but I suspect they are all pretty similar anyway. They work well as they can be washed more easily than a leotard that is only worn once a week and are more hygienic etc, but also they don't show, so best of both worlds.
  3. We just entered into this new territory recently. I searched and read up on here, watched a lot of you tube videos (some of which were a bit scary re the breaking in of shoes that experienced dancers do) and did some googling which helped a bit but also in some ways added to the confusion - different feet shape and names for feet shapes and all sorts! It is indeed a whole new world out there with terminology for the parts of the shoes, different brands etc. And that's just before the breaking in issues and finding out how the shoes then perform in class! We found most fitters really helpful, although they really differed from shop to shop in terms of advice especially re padding suggestions, which was confusing given we had absolutely no clue. Do allow a fair amount of time to be fitted and to go away and think about things if needed - if there are alternative shops nearby to the main shop you want to try, it might be an idea to try them too and see if they have any different thoughts. We found it took a few pairs to get the idea for my DD of what it's like to stand en pointe as it is a whole new experience, and them come to terms of what would be good or not and what felt wrong and what felt right as they need to fit on the flat but also en pointe, both of which are quite different positions.
  4. Thanks for your thoughts, that's sort of what I suspected in that doing both might be the best way to go. Now to juggle all the after school activities for all family members and the changing of class times and days! It's interesting that if they do a lot of dance then we maybe don't need to do two of the same grade each week - in any case I believe there aren't enough students so the numerical grades and vocational are all just the once a week I think, as the number of children doing ballet seems to drop at about grade 4/5 level. Cara - that's an interesting point re contemporary. I was assuming jazz might be something to add to have a bit of diversity, but maybe not. Will consider that, but we are almost at maximum re my taxi service to ballet and school hours/travel and some time off... She is definitely not into the tap and musical theatre side of things. Discovering Repertoire sounds lovely, but they don't offer that sadly.
  5. We are at a crossroads with DD's ballet classes. At her school once they have done grade 5 they can then keep on with numerical grades, start vocational grades in addition, or just do the vocational grades. She wants to keep on auditioning for vocational school, in spite of no MDS offers for year 7 or year 8, so I suppose I'd like her to do the pathway which would give her the most help with this, but at the same time not bankrupt us! She currently does: one RAD grade class a week one approx grade/free work class at that level at a different school 2 x free work classes - one at her level, one slightly above one pointe class (does about half on pointe at present) one stretching/flexibility class (although could swap this to vocational grade?) Associates fortnightly plus school lunchtime dance club and an annual term of dancing for PE. The RAD website isn't clear for those who wish to teach ballet in the future whether it's necessary to do grades 6-8 or just vocational grades or both are required. Any suggestions based on experience of what your children did or what helped re vocational school would be great!
  6. Thanks. Yes she is being very careful on the stairs and also sensible thankfully re not trying anything en pointe. She’s taking it very seriously which is a good start. Sounds like we will need to shop around for subsequent (different) pairs for the next year or two, so more trips into London! Must say I now can’t wait for watching week at the end of term! Anna, we don’t recall the name unfortunately and looking at the Freed website the style names all seem a bit similar which doesn’t help. After having a look at DD’s feet and seeing her plié and stand on Demi pointe, the fitter lady just made a judgement and brought out a good pair first time, and then got a second pair in the same style with a slightly better snugger fit.
  7. Thanks for all your tips and suggestions the other day. I thought I’d report back now we’ve acquired DD’s first pair of pointe shoes! We’ve been watching Kathryn Morgan (thanks Cara) and other you tube videos by Lisa Howell and by various other dancers and experts since! We ended up doing the rounds which seemed to take most of the day. We went to Dancia first which was good and they came up with some Blochs that were ok (also tried Merlet and Grishko but they were not so great although early on in the day DD didn’t know what felt right or not as everything felt strange and new), but given that was just the first shop out of several, we kept on looking. Next we went to Capezio where we had no no joy in spite of DD liking the snugger fitting elastic edge rather than drawstring on some of the shoes; however the fitter was lovely and very thorough. Then we visited Freed and lastly went to Bloch. It was hard to compare all the shops really as they all had fitters who had a slightly different idea about things and thus different focus on what to look for or what might be best for a beginner. As DD and I had no clue it was a case of trusting that they are right and that what feels ok on DD in a shop works to dance in as well, as surely an unbroken in shoe feels very different to a broken in one? All the fitters were really thorough, and it was really impressive the way they could just look at her feet and instantly work out her size, a suitable style and also gauge the correct width pretty accurately. If only normal shoe shops were as detailed in their assessments and variety of products! When we said the teacher hadn’t specified padding, some fitters offered a variety of padding, whereas the lady at Freed was keen to suggest lambs wool for beginners and very anti anything else for beginners, although did also show us thinner pro pads. Freed had a senior fitter/manager available which was great as she really knew her stuff (while in the shop there was a stream of very professional looking dancers buying shoes as well which was interesting), whereas the other fitters elsewhere were a bit more junior ones, but also really competent. It seems DD has wide, square, peasant feet with a bit of a taper but they are more square than tapered apparently. Also we discovered they all instantly could pick her stronger leg/ankle and said she has good Achilles so that was encouraging. She ended up with Bloch European Balance strong and pro pads as they were the most comfortable and supportive as others were either too tapered and uncomfortable or had too much room. We are still trying to work out how to break them in at home (as teacher is ok if the shop is ok as such). Seems to be a lot of shoe you tube hacks for the more advanced dancer but our plan is just to wear them around with socks to start with as we don’t want to do anything drastic. Although given the shank is a strong one they are not really softening much as yet and we are scared to try flexing them too much in case they snap!
  8. How lovely! I haven’t followed her career but I came across her the other day whilst googling how to break in pointe shoes so her name is now familiar.
  9. Thank you, this is all really helpful, I really appreciate your advice! Will allow several hours for shoe shopping and ask for those fitters at Freed and book a Bloch appt, so we can make the best decision. DD has wide feet so it’s always been a real challenge when shopping for normal shoes right from her first pair of baby shoes, so I’m hoping we do ok! Have looked up up a few general pointe shoe websites so am vaguely familiar with the shoe part terminology now. Teacher hasn’t specified any brands or padding as I think she’s happy for what works for DD which helps. Will definitely wait to sew on ribbons though! Good tip re buying padding at the first shop. I assume Capezio sell mainly their own brand of shoes? I’ve not really heard of them as a brand of pointe shoes.
  10. We’re heading to London for DD’s first pair of pointe shoes. A very exciting rite of passage as I must admit I am a bit jealous as I never had the opportunity to go en pointe when I did ballet way back when. Am I right in thinking Dancia, Bloch and Freed are the places we should go to? Would it be better to go to Dancia first as an over view as such and then if they suggest Bloch or Freed shoes, to go to the specific brand shops? Are there any other dance shops worth trying in central London? Any other first pair shopping tips? Should we get elastic and ribbon or see what the fitters suggest? Does one generally get ouch pouches for first shoes or try starting off with lambs wool or something else?
  11. Something not too low cut at the back as numbers pinned on one's bottom in case they do back numbers pinned on as well as front numbers. I just did photos for a couple of last minute applications... one of the photo info pages said for photos to wear leotards there were not frilly, no lace bits, nothing too fancy straps wise etc. I assume that plain is similarly better for auditions?
  12. I emailed LCB last week about the venues both re the auditions and also the rehearsals as it will impact on whether it's practical for us to apply/take part. I heard back this morning - they are still tbc. but should know the audition venues in a week or so apparently.
  13. Will be interested to see what the rehearsal schedule looks like as we have associates some Sundays so there would be a potential clash sadly.
  14. Tring CBA Group 1-3 uniform leotard for sale, lilac. Size C2. Comes up a bit small for age in my opinion when using the size guide on the official supplier's website - we had to send the C1 size back when we ordered it. My daughter (small in height for her age) wore it from age 9.5 - 10.5. Very good condition. Was £33.50 new. No 'lavender' belt supplied but you can buy these at various dance shops/online. Adjustable straps still have lots of extra room in case you need to reposition or re-sew (the leotards come with the straps unattached so you can customise fit). £15 incl. postage and packaging.
  15. That's interesting to know! DD is wearing her trainers a lot more than ever before and she has complained of heel and ankle problems a lot of over the past few months, particularly after ballet classes. I had it down as growing pains but am trying to find a dance physio nearby (no luck thus far though) just in case it's caused by too much dancing (6.5 hours of ballet), but maybe the shoes aren't helping and are part of the issue. Will look into that as well.
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