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Simply Adult Ballet: the progress of one adult dancer who took up ballet later in life


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What about contacting BBO for that in Battersea there are bound to be some free days there in August. Maybe not such a lovely location but nice enough and a break in London. Remember football season starts mid August usually so Adrian could go to a few games!! 

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Hi LinMM

 

I'm reluctant to use anything in London as the overall cost is likely to be very expensive, in any case I would be looking at a 5 day Monday to Friday hire from 9am to 3pm which was based on the 2021 hire requirement in Scotland for next year, and of course an adequate teacher for much of that time, that we certainly had, she was exceptional.

 

For the moment I'm trying to link them together, I have one teacher that was supposed to be coming back to me last Monday, but no response as yet,

I have another school and teacher in mind that I may sound out, otherwise I’m likely to try something completely different

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  • 2 weeks later...

My rep lady has finally got back to me, suprise suprise, she trained at my favorite ballet school in Scotland. I have arranged to have a meeting with her, really to check the right chemistry exists between us, as what I am looking for in rep coaching is somewhat different in culture to that of a regular ballet class, its more of a partnership where I have ownership of the choreography and how its interpreted and the schedule too. I really do hope its a successful meet and I can get on with 2020/2021 schedule towards our weeks intensive showcasing our work.

 

Ive managed to survive my first month of on-line pointe training and have booked the next 5 sessions for October, however I haven't got off scot-free. I have a very sore little toe on the right foot, I guess to some extent that has always been there as I remember many years ago when I did a little bit of pointe-work at Lincoln I used to use the silicon tube protectors on both little toes, but I didn’t do pointe-work for very long and next to no practice at home.

 

When I first started back at the beginning of September I had no problems with either of my little toes at the end of the first class, I was really pleased about that, even though the class didn’t go particularly well as I had no preparation.

 

Subsequent sessions I have put in considerable prep between of 6 and 8 hours although the class is only 20 minutes, it seams the more I do the worse the right little toe becomes and the longer it takes to recover. Mostly I try and do pointe practice for a few minutes then rest for a few minutes for some recovery, the really annoying thing is the left foot is absolutely fine GRRRR.

 

For me working and resting is an inefficient way of working and I really need to find a solution that will ease the discomfort of that little toe so I can get on with my practice to progress the following week. The only thing I found which came out of sheer frustration, (This is not something I would normally do) but I shoved my feet with my pointe shoes on, under the settee to stretch the ankles, strangely enough quite a lot of the discomfort disappeared from the offending little toe, it may be that it gets pulled back a little, I'm not really sure.

 

I've tried moving the little toe around with my fingers to establish just what area is sensitive and its very difficult to determine. I'm using a size wider pointe shoe on the right foot, and both feet are cushioned by Perfectfit pointe shoe inserts. The fit itself appears to be fine, it just get aggravated the longer I use them, I'm open to ideas as I really need to put the time in on this training activity.

 

 

 

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Have you tried with normal padding instead of the perfect fit? Is there any of the moulded material over the little toe or is it one of your contact points? If you need a fitting dancique in Birmingham are great and very patient (with adults too! Some places don’t seem to be bothered with adults!) 10 to 15 minutes per session is normal for a beginner. It’s something you have to build up very slowly I think and as an adult most of us tend to be somewhat taller and heavier than an 11 or 12 year old so it is hard on the feet! I’d go get a fitting tbh

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Hi Peony

 

Yes I’ve tried with normal padding, silicon and fabric ouch pouches, the little tuby things for the little and the toe next to it. I also tried increasing the depth of lambs wool under the Perfect fit inserts, but I think the main problem is once the little toe is angry, its difficult to distinguish the differences between the options.

 

Yes there is molded material over the little toe but not very much, but there is fare more than that of the left foot where there is no problem.

 

I'm not convinced fitting would help at all, firstly if the foot was calm as in not being on pointe for several week, then I don’t expect this issue would show up with my existing pointe shoes with the first hour of fitting, also the fitting does not allow for the differences of the shoe flexing once its broken in.

 

Consequently my dilemma is, If I went for a fitting for new pointe shoes with an angry toe, I cant help but think virtually all the shoes would result in aggravating it.

 

I take your point about height and weight of us adults being greater than that 11– 12 year olds, but tell that to my good foot, in any case I need to take all of my weight on to a single leg in the releve just using the supporting leg starting with the gesturing leg off the ground at cou-de-pied, that's hard, ( I know one can cheat by a little push off with the gesturing leg, our teacher has caught some of us doing just that) although I have managed it now and again, I still cant do that one in quick succession properly, I think its basically a combination of lack of strength at the mo and also a lack of confidence. That why I need to get a good deal of practice time under my belt.

 

Oh poo, I think I have found it, the skin is red at the junction of the little toe and the toe next to it, now its less aggravated as no pointe practice since class on Thursday, looking between those two toes with a camera I’m not sure but there appears to be a hole with no skin covering it which seams to be the site of the soreness, grrrr I guess that needs seeing too, not what I wanted to find.

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There is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

After spending almost a week with an angry little toe on my right foot, and my next pointe class approaching rapidly. In sheer desperation I tried one of my old pointe shoes on my right foot, it was the same type a Bloch Serenade, although that toe was still angry, it just felt so comfortable in that shoe, I tried going on pointe as it had been rejected by my pointe fitter at the time as having a broken back as it is quite floppy. But I had no problem at all getting on pointe and it seamed quite stable, but never the less I was still unsure weather to trust it.

 

In the meantime I need shoes that I can trust, so I have booked a fitting with our own “Just Ballet” at Wisbech for the 12th , in the meantime I had to find an interim solution to cover two point classes. A bit more experiments with the new offending shoe using the previous narrow Perfect fit point insert, a silicon protector over the little toe, a fabric protector with a solid piece of silicon down one side placed with the silicon between the little toe and the toe next to it, and finally a large silicon protector that completely encapsulated the big toe, my logic thinks it may push the rest of the toe back just a tiny amount. But anyway it allowed me to get through last night class with no additional soreness to the little toe and its quite calm today. I also did somewhat better on the single foot releves last night too.

Conclusion, it will get me through next weeks class, but cant wait to get my new fitted shoes from Just Ballet.

 

Starting one-to-one rep with my new teacher on the 5th Nov, at last things are coming together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I met my new teacher for rep coaching last week in Lincoln, it was basically a meet and greet to check out chemistry between us and look at the studio facilities. The studio geometry while not ideal, not purely rectangular, does have a reasonable diagonal path for travelling turns etc, and the upstage left corner has the greatest distance from stage front where most solos start from, so quite usable. Chemistry between me and the teacher was great which is extremely important to me, especially when we swap rolls, cant wait to get started on the 5th now.

 

Pointe work this week was a bit of a disaster, Zoom had done an update on my laptop the day before, when we started my pointe class via zoom I had virtually no sound. It was extremely low and came from the laptop and not from the 55inch TV that's linked via HDMI, I check the laptops sound driver settings, I could switch it on the screen between the TV and the Laptop, but the sound remained with the laptop. During the class I had to make do with following the teacher the best I could, when there were verbal only instructions I had to follow some of the other girls feet from the smaller gallery display sized images. At the end of class I told me teacher. After class I went on to youtube and loaded a video, switching the sound driver between the TV and laptop, that worked normally suggesting the issue was with Zoom. I've since added another audio circuit in from the laptop to present the output to another speaker system if it should occur again, as I have another Zoom class tomorrow.

 

Whoopee, going for a pointe shoe fitting tomorrow at Just Ballet, I've managed through with my old shoes for the last two weeks with my very sore toe, at least it hasn't got any worse and I haven't missed practice or a pointe class yet.

 

Cecchetti ballet doesn't get any easier, I'm getting more and more homework strait out of the Syllabus spec, it truly is a road of discovery, especially as the Faculty of Cecchetti at the ISTD still haven't released the Advanced 2 DVD covering this standard Grrrrr.

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Whoopee

 

At last the faculty of Cecchetti have released the new Advanced 2 DVD, this must be close on 2 years late. Finally it appeared in the ISTD shop, I know it wasn't there last week, needless to say I've ordered it, now just got to wait another 5 – 10days for delivery. I'm on break for two weeks after tonight from my Cecchetti class, at least when I go back me and my teacher will be singing from the same song sheet, cant wait.

 

Had quite a detailed pointe shoe fitting with Just Ballet, with examining my foot and toes before I got to try any, (that hasn't happened at other fittings I've attended), I did take a collection of my old pointe shoes for info though. After trying lots on, there were only two pairs that didn’t anger my little toe on the right foot, so I bought both.

Hopefully I can start to make real progress with my pointe class once the shoes are properly broken in. The shoes I have chosen are the Russian Rubin Radiance and the Bloch Hannah, I'm currently breaking in by wearing the Russian ones, Thursday nights pointe class will be the acid test to see how well my little toe does in them.

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New release of Advanced 2 DVD

My Cecchetti Advanced 2 DVD finally arrived in Monday morning post, needless to say I played it through Monday evening. Many of the exercises are very similar to those of Cecchetti Ballet Inc of Australia, although I feel the Australian videos are slightly better presented. I haven't seen any exercise that has be dropped, some have been altered and there are some new ones in the centre work that look quite pretty for the Cecchetti style. What I do like in this version, some of the barre exercises are done on both sides with connecting steps in the music, so it becomes one exercise, I'm all for that.

At least now me and my teacher have a good reference source rather that relying on written descriptions which which spans 4 documents, which is open to interpretation.

 

COVID scare

I had a little bit of a scare yesterday when one of my ballet teachers said she was having to revert to on-line teaching as she was self isolating as a precaution as a parent of one of the children she had been teaching had verified positive for the virus. My teacher confirmed last night that the child's class was later in the week, so my Wednesday ballet and fitness classes are in the clear. It just goes to show how risky things have become.

Initially her posting was made to the fitness group on messenger, it didn’t say when she last taught the child, if it had been before either of our classes, what are the next steps, do we all need to self isolate and those in our bubble too?

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you only need to isolate if you are contacted by test and trace or have symptoms or a positive test. If the child had no symptoms and hasn’t tested positive your teacher wouldn’t be required to isolate. If your teacher hasn’t tested positive and hasn’t got symptoms you wouldn’t be required to isolate. The test and trace is only triggered by a positive result and then those in close contact would be contacted. If you have the app with Bluetooth turned on it should  tell you to isolate if you’d been within 2 metres of someone positive for more than 15 mins, however, you need to be careful if you leave your phone in a bag or pocket etc during the class, it may be right next to somebody else’s phone and you may not have been near them!

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I think the parent of the child is the one who has to tell her direct contacts ...so people she has been directly in contact with and it’s those who have to isolate and get a test if they then develop symptoms. 

I assume if you have not been in direct contact with this parent or child it wouldn’t affect you. 
I also assume dance schools are different to ordinary schools in that there is more social distancing going on than in a school classroom. 

It is difficult though for example when I attend my weekly ballet class where social distancing is in place if one of the other dancers had symptoms and then tested positive would we all have to self isolate or just her own close contacts possibly some work colleagues and family etc. 



 

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I still don’t think I’ve got a grip on this whole test and trace thing! 
For example if my partner and I go to a restaurant and we leave our details etc. 
We are there from 7-9pm say. 
We are sitting on our own table socially distanced from others there. 
Then somebody who happened to be in the restaurant at the same time later in week tests positive for Covid would everybody who was in the restaurant between 7-9pm get contacted and have to self isolate or just the people that person was personally with 🤔 
 

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Apart from household and support bubble contacts who automatically have to self isolate the decision as to whether you are at risk is made by test and trace or the app based on a risk assessment. So you don’t need to decide yourself. Generally if you’ve been socially distancing you should be low risk but the risk assessment takes into account multiple factors I believe. A positive test would be considered confidential health information so the teacher wouldn’t be able to give you details which could identify the person. This could potentially include identifying the affected class, so although it looks like the teacher only had contact with the contact they may not be able to give all the details of the interaction etc! Obviously the tracing system has had a lot of problems 😫 but it is a better way because it removes the need to interpret your risk and it’s confidential so avoids any slip ups and difficult situations. 

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I'm set up on the test and trace app although so far I have only been to one place where I have had to check in.  When I went there on Wednesday at about 2pm and checked in the app told me that I would be logged in there either till midnight or till I checked in elsewhere (whichever was sooner).

 

Would I still be contacted if someone checked in at 6pm when I had left over 3 hours earlier?

 

I don't have to check in when I go to the supermarket or the corner shop (just about the only other places I am going to).

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It’s major problem with the app although it’s the same many manual check ins in  cafes, museums etc. They don’t note down what time you’re in/out either. You would have thought it would be much more straightforward to build that into  the app though. 

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Just now, Peony said:

It’s a major problem with the app although it’s the same with many manual check ins in  cafes, museums etc. They don’t note down what time you’re in/out either. You would have thought it would be much more straightforward to build that into  the app though. 

 

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