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  1. Sadielou, I have no specific experience or advice I can offer (I clicked through the thread thinking it was about COVID-related concessions), but wanted to extend my sympathy. What a horrible set of circumstances. Reading between the lines however, it seems like a lot of emotional weight has been placed upon this being a "last ballet exam" at the highest level, before stopping being a "dancer" and progressing onto an academic career. Isn't a retake possible, especially when she is already at standard, but for these circumstances? Whilst it's nice to have that symmetry to closure, the two don't always coincide. Regrets (I have a few) but a close parallel is my piano performance diploma, which was not quite ready before I left for university, and which I elected not to continue whilst there, wanting a "fresh start". A decade on, I wish I had put in those few months, just to put a crown to the multiple years of work to get there, even if I had wanted to leave serious study of music behind at that juncture. Sending you and your student virtual hugs whatever you decide.
  2. At least in my experience, Capezio runs small even with the conversion - I'm a UK 4.5 and wear a Capezio 8!
  3. I find both brands to run small in length, even after their conversion into UK sizes. I have to go 1 to 1.5 sizes up from what Capezio's own website recommends. For Sansha, 0.5 to 1 size. I have extremely narrow feet (Grishko X and Capezio NN in pointe shoes) but N flat shoes in both Sansha and Capezio have been fine.
  4. That's exactly the problem I'm having now! Never used to notice as I was burning through shoes, but the Dreampointes I have now have seen double the wear of the previous ones. I was pondering rosin or a suede brush. I'll just have to dig into the anatomy, as I think the DP might be plastic right underneath the satin of the platform, which I can imagine being even more slippery!
  5. Interesting. I've never darned my shoes but always thought that flattened stitching might be *more* slippery than suede (even after all the gunk sticks to it). Your description of going round the edges (I assume letting the satin wear away in the middle and expose the canvas?) makes sense!
  6. I had quite a transformative teaching moment many years back. I'm quite proud to have introduced many newbies to the ballet in my early twenties, with a vast majority going on to go of their own accord and take people with them; apparently, being able to break down the storylines with passion, point out just enough choreographic highlights (and over wine), and bringing awareness of cheap but decent seats was a winning strategy. But one performance at the Coliseum with the ABT was humbling. I don't remember the production, but Gillian Murphy was dancing the lead, and I neither loved her interpretation, nor her performance on the day. I remember the exchange vividly. Me: "You call that an arabesque penche?!" (demonstrates with arms) Friend: "I loved that moment... let people enjoy things that are nice to them." I think there is a perfectionist tendency, with the "high" arts, to obsess over the performance aspects but especially the technical: the more we know, the more performances we see, the more we are educated and can truly appreciate the exceptional. I think there is some truth in that. The depths and breadths to which Rojo & Polunin's Marguerite & Armand stirred me in her swan song were through being able to subconsciously make comparisons to every other interpretation and performance I had seen, bring in forgotten emotions from the lives I lived building up to then, and I truly believe it was heightened because of that. But when I learned to appreciate beauty in rawness, and (partially) switch off the analytical brain, I did find a new - albeit different - source of enjoyment. I book for role debuts much more these days!
  7. Thank you both! With a bit of time to spare, I did end up de-shanking one of my pairs, and can report back and say that the entire process on Grishkos was a complete waste of time and actually counter-productive. My distant memory was of removing an insole, ripping out the shank and gluing the insole back again; easy. NOT so with the Grishko 2007 family: the shank is firmly stitched and firmly glued into a fabric pocket, which needs to be snipped, twisted, pried and yanked apart with so much force that it took my body-builder partner about half an hour for one shoe even with various tools. (To be fair, it took me about the same time with more knowledge of the shoe anatomy to work with!) The end result? It turns out that there is so much fabric stitched into the box/platform that the hard shank basically disguises and flattens out. Even with a new insole, there is a dent/ hole right under the ball of the foot that almost folds one's foot in half lengthwise at the ball when dancing. As an experiment, I wore a second dead pair for just one more hour for flat/demi work, really pushing through the demi-pointe and left them to cool down. Whilst they didn't feel as supple as an unshanked/soft block when I put them back on, within 5 minutes of warming up they were supple enough that I could get to my highest demi-pointe without much resistance (I break the demi first in all shoes; in fact, the boxes are often close to intact when my traditional shanks die). Lesson learned!
  8. Has anyone noticed that Laura Morera is credited with staging, alongside Christopher Saunders? That seems new to me, but happy to be corrected?
  9. I filed this under my "left due to emergencies" category, but I did leave the Cunning Little Vixen after the interval due to an *actual* row with my first serious boyfriend of four years, which turned into us breaking up in the amphi bar... Several months of not speaking later, we bumped into each other, again at the ROH, during an Insight event. There was one ticket on our joint account and both of us thought it was us who had booked it! Luckily it wasn't full, and I recall the staff being really understanding (and amused). We're able to look back on it now and laugh, and have become extremely close (platonic) friends. I still can't face Janacek, though.
  10. Yes! In this case it was the continued aural assault. I have respect for what MacGregor is doing conceptually, but the combination of it not being aesthetically pleasing to me, and the music choices, have made me give up! You've just reminded me - I did leave before Act III of Beauty on one occasion. I love Florine/Bluebird and of course the final PDD, but could happily pass on the rest and it's just so long. I think it was just one of those days where I weighed up the potential moments of beauty (no pun intended) with how utterly exhausted I was.
  11. From memory, they changed the staging to have wider viewing angles, as I do remember seeing it again (though booked the "right side" just in case anyway). I think they learned their lesson about checking the staging from more than just the stalls after having to refund or partially refund 1/3 of the house in that debut run...
  12. Thank you both! I definitely prefer dead pointes to soft blocks (and my wallet does too) but the question is more, do I really need to go through the de-shanking process if I can work through them whilst leaving the dead shank in place? I've only heard one argument for continuing to remove the shank, which is to make them feel different enough to pointe shoes so one doesn't accidentally go up on pointe - I just don't think that will be an issue for me though.
  13. Except for mid-performance emergencies or where I've planned in advance not to see part of a triple bill, only one: the Tristan & Isolde staging at the ROH which left half the auditorium only able to see a white box. Though I would have walked out of McGregor's Entity at Sadlers Wells, had it not bored me so much that I fell asleep despite the deafening music.
  14. He does, doesn't he? There's something so warm and encouraging about him whilst working people hard! Loved seeing how he managed to keep the entire class moving when several complete beginners on a hen do turned up and still giving them the attention they needed. I've also seen the incredibly positive way that he's rejected dancers who have asked to move up to his Ele/Int class but weren't ready. Normally that could be disappointing, but whilst being methodical and clear about why and what would be needed in order to do so, also outlined the positives in their dancing and gave encouragement to keep working. He is an absolute gem and I am sad that my timetable doesn't allow me to take his classes more.
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