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Ballet Talk for Dancers

February Frustrations


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Well, in the last few weeks, owing to scheduling issues (my own, other girls in my class', the studio's) I have gone from having 5 ballet classes a week to having 3 :) Hopefully this is only till the end of this university semester though...

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  • dancepig


  • Serendipity


  • swantobe


  • Gayle


Same happened to me - I had to give up a couple of classes due to changes in teachers and a change in the level of two classes. However, my main frustration is that my one good ankle has started acting up in a not-so-normal way, and so has my hip. I'm not a happy person right now!

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I can't get my brain engaged properly to do well in class lately. Secondly, with my herniated neck I can't turn my head around fast enough to do my pirouettes. Personally I think it's an underlying fear, but it may be the injury.

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I'm having a crisis of confidence and a sudden loss of interest in continuing with ballet. I'm hoping this is just a temporary thing. It coincides with return of hip/sciatic pain, but also I'm very, very tired. I keep wondering why I bother now, when I could more easily just go to the gym and do what I want there.


I hope this feeling passes. Took the weekend off and went out instead, no exercise of any sort - just tried to enjoy myself. I went back to class last night and seemed to be fine but even now, I have a heavy reluctance to attend class. Since I already paid for the summer intensive (Richmond), I'm going to force myself to keep up the work, then might stop after this summer. I don't know. Just feeling generally down. :-(

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Pondfly - hope your neck is feeling better!


Serendipity - hang in there, I'm hoping to see you at Richmond!


I'm missing class tonight and my "makeup" class tomorrow due to the snow and will probably only get in two classes this week since it doesn't look like it will get cleared up until Thursday. Oh well.

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Finally got back in the swing of regular classes and now Mother Nature has provided a two-week break....arrrrrggggh!

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Sorry to hear that Serendipity. I know I also have days (like today) when I just don't feel like ballet (especially because it requires such concentration and control) :wink: How many classes are you taking a week? Perhaps you need to consider cutting down for a short while rather than considering stopping completely?

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I had an ok first class back from vacation. I couldn't take class on vacation because the Super Bowl hiked up car rental prices to more than my plane ticket home! My gripe is that after 5 weeks of class the floor is still extremely slippery and going across the floor I still hold back because I've fallen on the floor before (in modern on bare feet). It's wood, and there are tap classes so no rosin is allowed- just water on my shoes. I keep messing up basic steps because my feet slide out from under me if I go full out. I also feel crampy and gross this week- my neck cramped from the long flight, my calves cramped, girl parts cramped, psoas cramped- I'm a mess, and massage isn't until Wednesday!

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For those adults who have a feeling of "low energy", lack of energy, enthusiasm, "why go to class", etc., have to say, been there, done that. I have found it does help to take a few days off, do what you want/need to do, then go back and if you can - take a private class. I found it really helps to "get your groove back" to find what makes you tick. I went through several months of actually not wanting to attend class (but found I was always glad I attended class after class). Then I dropped one class that was difficult to attend, and focused on one studio where I could easily get to class and found I did well in what was expected of me. Then - the big relevation was when I was in a private class (just because no one else attended) and wow - I was able to get back into the swing of thingsl We worked on my bad habits, found what was causing some of my problems and I really made progress. That making progress made me more motivated to get back into it than anything else I've found to assist with motivation during the dull drums. Don't stop - just cut back if need be, and it will come back to you.


Hope this helps!

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Thanks. I did take some time off - just a few days, went off to do something else. I'm going to two different studios over this coming holiday weekend and looking forward to those. I think part of it is that I'm going to class with a teacher who, while she's lovely, doesn't really help me much. I feel I'm rushed through the exercises, very little correction or attention. It's not that she doesn't do any corrections, but no attention really isn't motivating. The rushing through exercises (due to starting late and not giving the full hour of class because she wants to finish on time, actually) also gets me WAY down. It's really her classes I don't like but I haven't much alternative on those particular days, right now.


Another class with a teacher I really love is also getting me down, again, lack of attention. Sometimes corrections, rarely any praise or notice. But I like her and she's good overall. It's the one class I can do a recital with so I don't want to give it up.


There are a few other classes I absolutely adore, but they're in recital mode and I'm not part of that as it's only for the kids in the classes. *sigh*


That, plus the pain (which has subsided substantially now, thank goodness!), really got to me. Good thing is that I found a set of pointe shoes that work and had no ankle or hip pain after three hours en pointe. So I'm taking the happy bits when I can!

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Thanks for the well wishes. I had four facet injections of Cortisone from C2-C5 on Tuesday bringing the total injections to nine in the past eight months. This is a three year old line of duty injury. Everything is a lot better now, but I'm not holding hope out.


I believe that it is partial fear of injuring it further and loss of muscle tone. I just need to practice more at home to see what it is.

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Stupid nightshift work is making me so tired, I woke up at 3.30pm this afternoon and totally missed my ballet class which was at 1pm. I even slept through my alarm. :)

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Serendipity--I can relate to being in classes where corrections are few and praise even rarer. It can be so frustrating to put your all into an exercise without getting any sort of feedback. One of my instructors offers corrections to the entire class rather than singling someone out. It's a tactful approach, and I always pay attention, but I nevertheless wonder if I was the one prompting the comment. It would be nice to know if I was doing it right to begin with.


On another front, I am slowly coming to grips with my pointe situation--improperly fit shoes and/or wimpy, middle-aged feet. I went to a different store today in hopes of finding a better fitting shoe, but discovered that they only carry Bloch Serenades. The woman said this shoe works well for most beginners and that the store is too small to carry a wider variety. I went ahead and tried on the shoes, even though they are not right for me according to Ms. Devor's chart. I figured it couldn't hurt. The shoe felt OK on my left foot, but my right sank down into the box. A narrower shoe brought about my all-too-familiar pinkie toe crushing just by standing flat.


The saleswoman said that my current Russian Pointes look to be too small. When I told her that I had tried the next size up and it was way too big, she said that maybe I needed more width.


I appreciate that she tried. I didn't buy anything--I wasn't about to when all they had was one brand and style. So, for the time being, I practice strength and balance in short bouts at home, and add whatever padding I need. The current shoes work fine in that sense, and as long as I don't stay in them too long, I avoid the unbearable pressure on my big toe joint and the squashing of my little toe during demi-pointe. Much as I would love to take a formal class, the pain becomes too great for me to last the entire session.

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Gayle, for your pointe shoe frustrations, are you using a spacer between the first and second toe? If not, that might help with your sinking problems. Or, if that doesn't work, you might want to try using a box liner. I wear RP's (Saphirs) and start with nothing except my usual padding, then as I break the shoes in, I add a box liner on the left, then a spacer on the right, then a spacer and a box liner on the left, then (when the shoes are almost dead) I add a box liner to my right foot. My right foot is a wee bit wider than my left foot. This really helps keep my feet from sinking down into the box as the box breaks in and seems to get wider. Since you say you're having pinkie squashing problems, I'd start with using a spacer, if one thin one doesn't work, switch to a thicker spacer.


Hope this helps that pointe shoe problem!

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Thank you for the suggestions. I wear Almaz, which I hear are quite similar to the Saphir. Pinkie toe spacers have indeed helped with the squishing, although not every time. I just learned about box liners and got a pair to try out. The larger toe spacers haven't helped.


I was very interested in your description of the progressive adjustments you make with your shoes. It makes sense that as a shoe breaks in, you need to modify how you cushion your feet. But I am also confused, because I've been told that if you have to make adjustments to your padding, then your shoe wasn't fit properly. Perhaps I misunderstood the speaker. I do suspect that my shoes are too large in some way, based on Ms. Devor's articles and the videos I've watched on the Russian Pointe website. I tried a size smaller, but there was absolutely no pinch in the heel. I've also wondered if the style is correct and I need a less-tapered box.


I've tried to educate myself about pointe shoes and how they fit in order to understand what could be going on with my feet, but there's still so much I don't know. Then there is the age factor. I've been unwilling to concede that age-related changes to my feet may be the problem. Guess it's part of the whole clinging-to-youth/drag-me-kicking-and-screaming-into-middle-age scenario.

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