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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Confidence, pointe class struggles

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Hi everyone, it has been a while since Ive been active here. There was some issues with my ankle (that let me alone for the 8months)  then I was overloaded with paperwork for opening my own business. Now that I all set, I though everything will be better, now my ankle decided to wake up after 8months alone and 2weeks break for the Holydays...argh

The subject is because of it I've been really struggling with confidence on pointe (afraid of getting injured again as everytime it flares up it's during pointe work), it's not a strength issue as I already talk to the teacher and she said that I had enough abilities for the class and exercise it was just my mind, it will come one day she said.

Today was our first real pointe class after the holidays and seriously it was just a less couldn't do a simple pas de bourré in the middle, but it already started bad at the barre... I almost cry when at the end, I looked like I should get down 2 levels for pointe work. The worst is on tuesday I got a class were pointe hoes are mandatory for me at least at the barre and that went quite well. I don't understand why now it's like crap. o today I went to see the teacher once more, to seek some advice. First up she said: your shoes are too soft in the shank I think you need a little bit more support (or at least support a little bit higher), so new pointe shoes for tomorrow I guess (its GM so I exoected them to last more than the 25h they've done), I didn't bring that to her as I though my shoes were fine. Then she added it was the 1st class after 2 weeks off for the holidays I'm not too worried for you, one day it will click !

I probably sound dramatic, but for now my ballet classes are all I have beside work (and that's stressful,will I be successful or not?). And now I feel like I'm going backward, but it's been about a year that I feel like I'm going backward. I know progress is not a straight line but when will the line stop dropping ?

I just lost at what I should do ? I've seen numerous medical specialists for my ankle everyone said it's fine. I just don't trust it anymore and no one could really help me, the physios I've seen all told me you're perfectly in the norm, it works fine. The teacher said it will click one day, but I'm lost at what I can do to help everything out...

Any advice 

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I struggle with the exact same confidence issues. I have an ankle that worries me, too.  What has been working for me  is that I stay at the barre for just about everything instead of trying it in the center. When I feel confident with particular movement at the barre, I then try them in the center. I tell the teacher that I’m going to work at the barre until I feel more confident with working in the center. Most of my teachers are understanding about that. 

I also switched to a harder shank for the time being. I usually take quite a soft one, but the harder shank helps me with stability until I feel I can go back to my normal shank. 

Just a few random thoughts that might help. As an adult dancer, our confidence is our most difficult area to deal with!

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yes the cofidence is the hardest. The teens just go for it without thinking, and I'm like, I don't want to get hurt again, I need to drive home, then walk the dog... go to work...  The teacher said it will click one day but as for now it's just going the wrong way for it to click, it's going backward fast !

Last time I asked to stay at the barre she told me no, you're strong enough go for it (we were doing sissone landing on pointe, and to be fair it was better than expected) so I guess I cannot do what you're doing even though sometimes I really wish I could... I also should add that I'm taking class with teens so sometimes exception cannot be done otherwise the teen will jump through it afterwards.

It's just so hard to be able to pirouette and do sissonne on pointe, fouetté en tournant at the barre on day and the week after not even being able to do a simple pas de bourré or échappé, the only thing that went right the balance (which is usually my weakest thing)

As for the shoes, I have taken a new pair (extraflex gaynor) and at least at home, I feel more stable, at my last fitting (october) I could not get over the harder shank in the store without my achilles starting to cringe (and these never said anything), may be it's different now. I will try to go for a fitting as soon as I can but as it's 5h away it won't happen probably before may. 

Thanks for your thoughts, I hope you're also going to feel moree confident soon, if you also need support...

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I have mixed feelings about this: "Last time I asked to stay at the barre she told me no, you're strong enough go for it."  I do think it is our teacher's job to push us out of our comfort zones, but there's also a point at which that is not beneficial.  We are adults, and know our bodies better than most... and know the difference between new-but-possible and dangerous.  If I feel strongly enough about something to speak up and ask for a modification in class, it's for a reason... and I expect my teachers to respect that.  Some weeks I'm a little off or tired or nursing a few sore spots, and trying to whip out something that's still difficult for me on my best day is just asking to be injured.

jd29, if I read your post right, you've been off pointe for the better part of a year.  It's going to take some time to come back - not just the strength, but all of the little details that get rusty when you are not dancing right away.  Why not drop down a level for a few months, or take a lower level class in addition to your own?  Going at a slower pace and working on things that you can do will do a long way to building your confidence.  Sometimes stepping back to address some fundamental things is exactly what you need to do to make a leap forward.

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This is a pretty old thread but I thought I would comment because I have been going through the exact same thing. Stable and confident at the barre but totally freaked out in the centre. Like, it feels so precarious to even try to step up onto one leg in seconde and retire. Like I'm on a tight rope or something! It's totally a mental hurdle. What I've been doing that has helped me greatly is when I get home from class I put my pointe shoes back on and put on some very slow music and just dance in them. Just improvise choreography and bourre around and just get used to them. When we were little kids this is how we figured out dancing on flat, just by dancing to our heart's content! I just do 10 minutes of free dancing en pointe but after two weeks I've been successfully doing pique turns across my living room! 

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I also have issues with confidence on pointe.  I totally psych myself out of pretty much anything that involves going up on one foot. I just feel like I am not stable and it does hold me back.  I have decent feet, but it is a mental game with me,

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You guys, if you're stable at the barre and you're not really holding onto it with a death grip, no worries! It'll be totally fine out in centre. Tell your brain to stop freaking out. Of course, assess yourselves at the barre, "How much am I relying on it? How much weight do I place on the barre, or how much do I use it to find my place before I balance?" if you aren't really depending on the barre, then please find a way to convince your brain that it's a-ok. :)

If you can do it at the barre pretty easily, then it's definitely mental. I believe in you guys.

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