A Canvas Conversion; and on Being the New Girl Again.

I went Bloch shopping this week! If you’ve been in London, maybe you’ll know about the conglomeration of lovely dance shops around a couple of streets in Covent Garden. I could easily spend hours cooing over them all. But a quick visit for new flatties is a Bloch stop.

Y’all know I love my satin. But I decided to try on some canvas just to see what it felt like. My problems with canvas include the fact  that canvas shoes on my feet just look like bags and don’t make me feel elegant at all; the line is just rubbish and just no no no. Part of the problem is the shape of my feet and toes. Whilst I have naturally very high arches, this means that over the years the pressure exerted on my toes has made them kind of crunch up – if I say I have curly toes, does that make sense? I don’t want to show you a picture of them!

However Bloch have brought out a new canvas shoes with ultra-stretch canvas. This means that instead of there being a huge bag over my toes where my toes don’t reach the end, the fabric forms to my shape! Here they are, they are the Synchrony :

Oh and trust me to choose the most expensive Bloch flat...

Oh and trust me to choose the most expensive Bloch flat…

They also have the elastic binding which is maybe not so important for the amateur dancer – I know my teacher has callouses from his binding and drawstrings over the years! – but it is very comfy.

So new shoes, I went straight into a new class! Double scary.

My plan at the moment is to mix up classes as much as I can. I have mega love for Fab Teacher, but his classes are so popular that it’s very hard to get specific, personal corrections. I work on the general class corrections of course, but I’m finding it difficult to get a good idea of where I’m going right and wrong.

Also I do tend to hang back from challenging myself, and will often push myself to get familiar combinations perfect before trying to do a faster or more complex class.

So along I went to a beginner/general class, and I’m already terrified at the “general” bit. I’m happy to report that I had a great time, that I knew most of the individual steps, but the barre was much faster and the centre a lot more “joined up” and complex. I have to laugh at myself attempting what I think of as a proper ballerina dance with balletic walking and everything. Also my new shoes felt great on the floor! I love a good floor-feel!

A new step for me was the pas de basque. I struggle with attempting to mimic during class and do need stuff breaking down, so along I went at the end of class and asked the teacher to demonstrate. I’m now trying to find an adequate video break-down online as I struggle visualising how to link it together!

It’s a big change for me being a new girl in a new class, as usually in my regular class I’m confident enough to go first in a group exercise. Just recently a girl taking our improvers class for the first time had hung back until the end of a centre exercise and the sub teacher expected her to go across the floor by herself. She asked me to go in front to lead her across, and I was happy to go across again, although I’m definitely not the best technique-wise for a new person to copy. I suppose the part of me that loves performance won’t pass up a chance to pretend to be Fonteyn either!

So new shoes, new steps, and a new mind-set to get to grips with. Any pas de basque tips gratefully received!

 

 

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The Pirouette Quest continues; and a strange thing

Well y’all, I can report I’m turning clean full pirouettes on BOTH SIDES. Fairly good hit-miss ratio, left ankle a bit weaker and so not keeping releve as well on that side, but a resounding victory none the less! I’ve finally got my pirouette!

(And still struggling against labyrinthitis nausea and dizziness. Waltz turns were nnnooott happening.)

So! I’m one of the people who doesn’t mind going in first group on centre exercises now!

A strange thing: a classmate who I don’t know, a bloke, tapped me on the arm as I was stretching my calves after class. He says, You’re gripping the barre too hard. I responded kind of interestedly and he demonstrated a flat hand not even gripping the barre at all, just barely touching.

Two things here. First, am I being over sensitive, or is it weird to correct a classmate on something the teacher hasn’t commented on?

Secondly, and this is what I said, a different teacher I take class with says the complete opposite. The barre is there in lieu of a partner’s hand, so grip it but don’t break his wrist! A good grip helps with alignment. And also, the barre is there for a reason, otherwise why do we bother with it at all and not just head to the centre?

He didn’t seem convinced. But I’m not changing owt until Fab Teacher tells me! Any barre thoughts over here?