After dancing at the Sports Hall of Fame last night and being interviewed by the Fox/ABC news team, we are waiting for the video to show up online so I can post it here.
We are waiting for construction to be done at Academy Ballroom so we can get another lesson with Eddie. Best not to breathe paint fumes and drywall dust while learning the mambo. Oxygen intake is key for that one, I can tell you.
I am also waiting for my pointe shoes to wear out so I can buy a new pair. When I danced en pointe the first time around, approximately 25 years ago (holy crap!), there were not nearly as many styles of pointe shoes available as there are now. At least, they weren’t available in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma where I lived. Everyone wore one of approximately four styles made by Capezio. By contrast, our local dance store here carries at least 5 brands that I know of. And I just looked on Discount Dance Supply (don’t even click that link if you like dancewear; you’ll be there all day) and they have 57 styles of shoes from 11 different brands. It’s a buffet of pointe shoe choice delights!
I got Bloch Serenades for my first pointes of the 21st century. They are not a terrible fit for my foot, but I’m starting to see that they are not ideal, either. I’ve started to notice that my feet sink down in the shoes and the front of the box puts pressure on the front of my big toe. It absolutely kills. I talked to my teacher about it and she said I should feel like I’m pulling up out of the shoe rather than sinking into it. She thinks I need a shoe with a shorter, more V-shaped vamp. So I have been looking at Russian brands since they build more shoes that way. I’m looking at Grishko 2007; the reviews say they are good for tapered toes and the Internet seems to love them.
I also (eventually) want to try a pair of Gaynor Minden just to see what all the fuss is about. Gaynors are, as crazy as this sounds, very controversial pointe shoes. Instead of having boxes (the hard, flat part of the shoe that enables the dancer to stand en pointe) built out of layers of glue-stiffened paper or similar (called “paste”), they are made of some kind of space-age polymers. They are supposed to require no breaking in and little or no padding worn inside the shoe, and they are supposed to last longer while preventing injury. That all sounds good, right? Well, in the tradition-driven ballet world, they have been greeted with tremendous interest and tremendous suspicion. Some studios apparently require them for dancers beginning en pointe while others forbid them. Read the reviews on Discount Dance and you’ll see some people singing their praises and some people calling them “cheating shoes” that let you go en pointe without requiring as much foot strength and proper technique as a paste shoe.
Dare I admit that at this stage of life, I am not against a little cheating? No, that’s not quite true. I want my feet to be as strong as possible and my technique as correct as possible, but I also want to be as comfortable as possible. If I am miserable, I can’t work as hard. We are pushing ahead in my class with more pointe work and I want to be able to do every repetition of every exercise without feeling like my toes are on fire. So stay tuned while I work on wearing out my Blochs so I can justify buying my next pair. I told my teacher on Wednesday that even though my feet are hurting right now, I can’t quit. My legs have never been so toned in all my life!