Ballet Shoes & Mickey Ears

The happenings of this Disney-obsessed runner and dancer!


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It’s That Time of the Year!!!!

Wow. I can’t believe January is almost over. Time flies. It snowed a lot here where I live this weekend, and it’s been pretty cold. And to think at this time last year we were in sunny, warm, Disney. Oh how I miss that place!!! But anyways. With January comes “that time” of the year. The time of the year where we start working on our recital dances in ballet. We’ve been working on our pointe dance a few months now, and it’s really looking great. We’ll also be doing our pointe dance from last year too, but changing up some parts since we are more skilled now. TWO pointe dances! I’m so excited. I think we even get to wear tutus in our new one. How cool is that?!? We’ve also started on our Ballet 1/2 and Ballet 2/3 dances as well. Both dances have awesome music….I can’t remember their names though. The Ballet 1/2 dance is off to a good start. I feel really confident and comfortable with what we are doing. That class is definitely my more basic class. Last year, we had a separate Ballet 2 class, which was my most challenging dance (With that dreaded double pirouette!!!) This year the classes have been combined to have just two different classes/levels. The Ballet 2/3 dance is definitely more difficult. It’s chock full of turns right from the get go. Double pirouette, fouetté, fouetté, attitude. And then soon after that two pique turns, fouetté, fouetté, attitude. These turns are definitely kicking my butt!! But I love the dance and music. I am pushing hard every week to work on my turns. It’s funny… I can do several fouettés after just a single pirouette, but I’m struggling with pulling them off after a double. I think it’s just a matter of getting used to it (I’ve never tried them this way before) and being more confident with them. The girls in class are very supportive and are always pushing me to do better and not give up.

I help teach a Beginning Ballet 1/2 class, which is mostly 6-8 year olds. We’ve picked an awesome Irish sounding song that’s played mostly with a violin. So cool! The little girls love it and it’s so cute watching them dance. We’ve been searching for the “perfect costume” for this song, and I think we may have narrowed it down to a few options. So exciting!!

We haven’t started much with the teeny tiny kids in the Saturday classes yet. We’ve narrowed down their songs and have started working on some choreography. These girls are just so stinking adorable. We’ve had a big increase in attendance too which is just amazing. I think we had 20 girls in the 3-4 year old class and about 16 in the 5-6 year old class!! I’m doing really well with teaching them, and I’m becoming more and more confident. My teacher is still always there, just in case I need her. It’s nice because some days the kids just need some more assistance in class. Things have been going good! I am loving teaching the little ones. With my teacher being out due to her injury from time to time, I also get to fill in and teach the Beginning Ballet levels too. Which I am absolutely loving, when I get to do it. I remember being so scared and nervous the first time I had to teach way back in October. Now it’s just fun! The girls have gotten to know me and I’m (slowly) learning and trying to remember all their names. I think I was meant to be a teacher sometimes! Hah!!

The show will be here in 5 months. I just know that time is going to fly by. Pretty soon we will be ordering costumes, which is also exciting. This means I also have to finish my prototype tutu! I started making a tutu for us to possibly use in our pointe dance, but I’m struggling on figuring out how to finish it. I have the stiff tulle to put under the softer tulle, I just need to figure out how to sew the stiff tulle in the correct circles and then attach it to a brief. Should be easy right?! Hah!! Luckily my mom is an excellent sewer/ quilter/ crocheter/ any-type-of-crafter-extraordinaire, so I’m hoping she can help me. There’s always my mother in law and grandmother in law (lol!!) to help too. If this doesn’t work, we might just stick with using the classic black tutus my teacher already owns.

I also just got a new pair of pointe shoes in the mail! Just ordered another pair of my trusty Gaynors! So I have to remember to sew my elastics on before class this Tuesday because my old pair are dead. Like beyond dead. These ones will most likely not last until the recital. The dances we are doing are just killing my shank. But the timing should work out well to order another pair before the show and get them broken in just right.

Hope everyone in the ballet (and running!!) world are doing good! Happy dancing people!! 🙂

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Looking Back…. And Looking Forward

I cannot believe that December is over already. This year has completely flown by. I thought I would do a little end of the year recap on both my dancing and running. Ya know, take a look back and see what I’ve accomplished and what my goals for next year are. I’ll start off here with my dancing and save my running recap for another post. So here goes!! I apologize for the the long post!

This past year has been a lot of fun. My dancing has greatly improved and I’m becoming more confident in things I never thought I could do. I had my first real recital as an adult in June. I performed in 3 different numbers- 2 lyrical ballet ones and 1 pointe dance. I really liked all of the dances and felt pretty good about my performance. I got a copy of the DVD from our show and watched it several times. I was able to see where I did good and where I needed to improve on things. One thing that needed improvement was my turns. All of them. I needed to be cleaner and more solid. I also needed to work on my nerves and my confidence. I needed to become more secure with pointe and trust myself more. I’m stronger than I think.

Summer session came and went quickly. I remember the first or second week into it we were working on pirouettes. Without even thinking about it, I started doing doubles. On both sides. What?! I had just struggled a few weeks prior with landing a double pirouette in our one dance, and now I could just do them! My teacher told me it’s because the stress was gone, and she was right! Ever since then I’ve been easily doing doubles on both sides and even starting to land triples on my right. Holy crap! I was so happy. My teacher was proud of me too, along with some of the girls in class. I have come such a long way! I remember my first few lessons with my teacher where I was too afraid to even try a single pirouette at the barre. Now here I am working on triples. I also started improving on fouettes, at least on my right side. I went from not being able to do one on my right to doing 8 in a row in class this week! I even received compliments on them from my teacher. I was so proud of myself. Now, fouettes on my left are a different story. I struggle to even get one. Hopefully that will improve with time and practice. I still notice that turns to my left in general are still difficult for me. I can do a double pirouette but that’s about it. I haven’t tried for triples yet on that side because I can just feel my body is not ready. My chaîne turns to the right have really improved. I’m becoming faster and more solid, which is a great improvement. My turns across the floor on my left have improved some. My chaînés are the best out of the turns on my left. I really struggle with getting all the way across the floor with my piqué and soutenu turns on my left side. I try every week, but just feel like I’m not improving lately.

Pointe has been going great. I’ve finally got a good pair of shoes that I can really work and look good on my feet. I decided to stick with the Gaynor Mindens in the hard shank. I could use a little tapered of a box, but don’t feel like special ordering every pair of shoes. My shoes seem to last for about 1.5 – 2 months before the shanks are really broken in. That’s where I’m at right now, but I’m not having any pain yet. I’m starting to fall off of pointe on some things because of the lack of support, but I’m still able to dance in them. I will probably buy a new pair after the holidays. My feet are getting even stronger and I’m becoming more confident. I can even do pirouettes on pointe now and I’m even trying for doubles on my right. I couldn’t be happier! We started working on the choreography for a new pointe dance and I love it so far. It’s definitely more complicated than last years. So far we have two pirouettes in the dance, one of them being a double! Wowza!!

My flexibility is still meh. I haven’t really worked on it much though. I have found some stretches that I do routinely in class now. I can now do a few things I couldn’t do before, but my flexibility still has a long way to go. I’ve injured something in my inner thigh, right where it attaches to my pelvis. It’s really tight and really sore, but I’m trying to stretch it. I don’t know what I did to it. Boooo.

Teaching dance has been going great. The kids are starting to know me and I’m starting to know them. I think I finally might know all of their names now?! Hah! When my teacher unfortunately broke her wrist in October, I was asked to fill in and teach some other classes too. I had a good time with it and the girls in every class were very helpful. We started working on one of the recital dances in the younger class and I think we finally might have the songs picked out for the the 3-4 and 5-6 year old classes. I’m loving teaching and have become more confident in myself because of it.

I also got to partake in a few different Master Classes this past year. I got to take class with Allison DeBona of Ballet West, Daniel Ulbricht of NYC Ballet, and Ashley Bouder of NYC Ballet. I learned some things in each class, and got to see other little future ballerinas from schools all around the Cleveland area. It really was a good experience! I’m looking forward to taking class with Allison DeBona and the men of Ballet West again in the Spring! I’m so excited she is coming back- Allison was a great teacher. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to take these classes.

Sooooooo. All in all this past year has been great! I’ve learned a lot of new things, got to see an amazing ballet, and had some good experiences in master classes. I started teaching- which I love. Overall I’ve become more confident in my dancing. I’m not afraid to try new things anymore. And I’ve formed relationships with the girls in the studio through teaching and just being in class with them every week. I can’t believe 2013 is almost over, but I’m looking forward to 2014! Here are just a couple goals I have for the next year in dance:

~ Land triple pirouettes on my right
~ Land double pirouettes on my right in pointe
~ Increase my flexibility
~ Improve my turns across the floor on my left
~ Improve my fouettes
~ Become an even better teacher
~ Work on making my upper body softer while I’m working my lower body

Do you have any dance goals for 2014?
Did you achieve any dance goals in 2013?
What was your favorite thing about dance this year?
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HAPPY DANCING!!!


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Broken….

Well. My love affair with my Grishkos is officially over. They are already broken. After my second class wearing them, I was massaging the box area of my one shoe in my hands after class. I put slight pressure on my box and I heard a craaaaaaaack. And then I felt a softened area all the way down the middle of my sole leading into the box. My shank had cracked vertically. Like, I can’t even make this up. How the heck does this happen?!? My teacher said the shoe was still usable, but to switch it to my weaker foot. And that went ok. Then I said that I wasn’t liking how stiff the demi pointe area was and even after 3 weeks of working them, they were just too stiff for my liking. It’s such a change going from Gaynor’s to traditional shoes again. I’m just not liking it. Maybe it’s the shoes. Maybe it’s my feet. But I just don’t know what to do. Anyways….my teacher said back when she danced they would wet their shoes to help mold them to their feet better and soften any tight areas around their feet. So I thought this is exactly what I need! So we wet them and I walked around in them, stood in demi pointe and did plié relevés. I took them home and let them dry out. Except, I hung them from the elastics and I guess some water pooled in the platform area on my already broken shoe. This caused the platform to have a bulge area that did not allow me to stand up on my platform. Sigh. Like, seriously?? I think the pointe shoe gods are against me. Last night in class we tried to fix them. The broken shoe felt comfortable at first, but I noticed after we wet it again that the entire bottom sole of my shoe was super sticky. Like the glue from the shank sticky. My teacher was blown away. In all her years of dancing she has never seen a shoe do this. She had me do my barre exercises on a rug, only to find that this shoe was basically completely disintegrating. I couldn’t stand up on pointe anymore it was hurting my toe so bad. So, feeling defeated,I just decided to take them off for the rest of class. I couldn’t do any of the turns or center work anyways because of the glue on my shoes, so it was ok. Maybe my shoes were older and dried out? And that’s why the one cracked so easily? Who knows. It’s no big deal though. I will just get a new pair. I think I’m going to try to call Gaynor Minden and see if they can do a custom order for what I need. I need my size in a Box 3. I’m not sure if it can be done, but I will try!

Other than my constant pointe shoe problems, things have been good. My husband and I just celebrated our 3 year anniversary! We went out for dinner after work to our favorite Thai place. It was so good. So good. I like getting presents, so of course we got gifts for each other. I got 2 Sparkly Soul headbands (they are awesome, you should check them out. No really, check them out!), a book I wanted, a Disney necklace, and some I love running bumper stickers. But I don’t put bumper stickers on my car, they will be used for my running scrapbook thing I have. I got him a Star Trek shirt, Star Trek cups for his man cave, a Breaking Bad mug, Breaking Bad tshirt, and his own iPod shuffle. Now he doesn’t have to steal my pink one 🙂

I can’t believe summer is almost over. I feel like it just started. We had our last summer session dance class last night and we don’t start back up until September 5. While I’m going to miss class, I plan on using my free time to run, run, run. I have this half marathon race I signed up for in October to run. I’ve also been doing pretty good with the stretching at home. It’s almost a necessity for me since I’m running now.

I also have some exciting dance news! I will be teaching this fall! My teacher needed some one to teach her little kids (3-6 year olds) on Saturdays. I love kids and dance so I was like why not?! I will be teaching two separate classes, a one hour class for the 3-4 year olds and another one hour class for the 5-6 years olds. I’m so excited. I also will have a helper each time too. One of the older girls I already dance with and am familiar with, so that makes me not as nervous. My teacher said she would also stay in there with me until I was comfortable and got the hang of things. I can’t wait to let you all know how it goes! And if anyone out there has experience doing this, please, I welcome advice, ideas, or suggestions!

Hope everyone has been well. Sorry I’ve been so quiet. I’ve had a lot going on the last few weeks. We are currently in the process of remodeling our bathroom and my hours at my job have been adjusting to the new schedule. We’ve also been watching our friends dogs. So we have four furry doggies in our house! Yikes!! But it’s fun. Talk to you guys later 🙂


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Curiosity Killed the Cat

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You know the saying….curiosity killed the cat. Well, tomorrow I will be said cat. Even though my Gaynor’s have been treating me pretty darn well, I can’t help but be curious. I have the desire to try on pointe shoes again. I know I’m probably crazy for doing this, but I just have to. Since I was fitted for my first pointe shoes, I’ve learned a lot about my feet. Who would have known there were so many details in your feet?!? My current pointe shoes, my Gaynor Mindens, aren’t really giving me too many issues. The only problem I’ve been having is pain on both my big toes again. This has caused me to start stuffing lambs wool in both shoes. It wasn’t bad at first, but now it’s driving me crazy. I’m having a harder time feeling the floor now. And it just starts to bunch up once my feet start sweating. Sigh. I don’t get blisters or any bruised toe nails, so I know I shouldn’t be complaining. But since getting to know how my little (or quite large) feet respond to being on pointe in different shoes, shanks, widths, etc. I’m curious to try on some traditional shoes. Luckily my teacher and a few girls from class are going tomorrow, so I will go with them! This will be the second time I’ve tried on pointe shoes with my teacher there with me. I’m excited! I’m excited to see the other girls try on shoes too. It will be fun. Who knows if I will find anything I like. Probably not, but who knows! 🙂


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Bruises from Running??

Ugh. This is how I feel right now. Just ugh. I’ve been having problems with my left calf now for a couple of weeks. Last Sunday, not in yesterday, but as over a week ago, I attempted to go running. I was scheduled to run 5 miles. I ran them, but was in pain the entire time and had to keep stopping. It felt like I strained it maybe? Or it’s just being overused? Then I woke up the next day with this:

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Yes that’s a huge bruise. Except I didn’t hit it off anything. I simply ran. I’ve had this happen before on my thighs/hips from just stretching for dance, too. It appears more like broken blood vessels. Not good. I’ve had this bruise on my calf now for over a week. I tried to run again on Saturday, another 5 miles, and had the same pain/problems. After attempting to run, I’ve been having strange sensations in my left leg. Almost like a cold sensation starting from around the bruised area going down into my foot. Weird. My leg isn’t a different color either. I’ve been wearing a compression sock on it today, and when I take it off that cold feeling comes back. As long as it’s in the sock, it feels better. Who knows. I’ve decided to go see a doctor tonight though. I’m hoping nothing serious is wrong. I think I’m mildly anemic, so maybe it has something to do with this? I’m also resting this week from everything…running and dancing. It sucks, but I have to give my calf a chance to heal. I’m just hoping that this bruising problem isn’t what’s causing the discomfort I’ve been having when trying to run. I’ll keep you posted!

On a positive note….my new pointe shoes are working out perfectly! I’ve actually decided to only wear my hard shank on my left foot and keep the broken in supple shank on my right foot. It’s working…but my right foot needs a little more support still. So after I figure out my calf problem, I’m going to try the hard shank shoe on my right foot. Our recital dance is coming along beautifully. We even get the opportunity to add some of our own choreography with a partner for a couple of counts in the dance! So exciting and fun! I have some good ideas for my partner and I’s part, I’m hoping we can use them!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I think the weather has finally broken here in Cleveland. No more crappy cold weather! Bring on Spring!! 💐🌸🌷☀☔⛅


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Pointe Shoe Update

Ok folks we have progress!! Are trying to dance in my broken Supple shank pointe shoes last night, it is confirmed that they are in fact broken and I need a stiffer shank. My teacher is confident that my hard shank ones will be ok. I will be able to soften them slightly in time for the recital so I should be ok. I’m feeling way more relaxed and at ease now about my pointe shoes problems. I’ll give these hard shanks a go again and see if I like them. Now that I’m almost 100% sure on my sizing in terms of length and width/box size, it’s just a matter of finding the most suitable shank I feel comfortable with. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?!!? Hah!! I know I want have any pain in my hard shanks, I just hope they allow my feet to still work. We shall see.

I did not have a good class last night either. I knew, just KNEW that as soon as I said my IT band wasn’t giving me any problems since I began running that it was going to flare up. And right on cue….my IT band flares up. I can’t win. I felt a little twinge of discomfort on my 3 mile run on Wednesday evening, but ignored it. Then I tried running my 4 mile length Thursday morning only to have horrible pain in my right hip. I was super upset. I pushed through my 4 mile run breaking it up with running/walking to get through. I immediately used my foam roller once I got home and that helped with the discomfort. I was pretty stiff and sore for ballet class and it showed. I was really wobbly and had a difficult time with everything. I used the time in the studio to get some stretching done in hopes it might help. I didn’t think I was going to make it to pointe class, but it started to feel a little looser as the night went on. While the hip wasn’t causing any pain in pointe class, the choreography sure was. I don’t know what was happening but I just could not for the life of me pick up the new choreography. I was getting frustrated and so were some of the other girls. With some encouragement from our teacher though I pushed through and it ended up finally clicking. I need to work on just relaxing during pointe. I tend to overly stress on every little detail. Deep breathes here, deep breathes. I know I will be ok, I just need to trust myself. Having good solid pointe shoes will help too.

Well, here’s to hoping my IT band stays quiet for my 5k tomorrow morning. I’m also hoping the weather will cooperate. It was 83 degrees yesterday and by tomorrow morning they’re saying it will maybe be 40 degrees. Stupid Cleveland weather. Pick a season and stick with it. Please.


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Trouble in Pointe Shoe Paradise

Sorry for the silence over here! I’ve been super busy lately. Between work, dance, and running…oh and being an adult too, I haven’t had as much time to write. Anywho….no big news to report on the ballet front. Our recital dances are coming along. Two out of the three are completely choreographed now. Yay!! We are working hard at our pointe dance still. It’s proving to be difficult week after week. I’m seeing improvements though with myself from when we first started piecing it together. I’m becoming more confident and learning to just go with the flow. This means I’m just using my feet more and relying on them to get the steps done instead of letting my mind talk me out of it. Stupid mind. We’re also only waiting on one more costume to come in. So that’s exciting. And now we come to pointe shoes. Oh how these little things are such a pain! As an adult dancer, I’m constantly nitpicking my shoes. The size, the width, the shank. I feel like right now there is still room to improve the fit of my shoes. As I mentioned in my previous post, I thought I had somehow managed to break the shanks on my Gaynor Mindens. I wore them to class last week though and was still able to dance in them, except I started getting a lot of pressure and pain on each of my big toes. Not good. This either means that my shank is definitely broken because I’m not getting enough support, or I’m starting to sink into my box. I feel like I’m starting to fall off pointe more frequently too. Like I’m not getting enough support under my feet to keep me up. I spent more time today on the Gaynor Minden dance website. I read their fitting guide….again. From what I see when I’m up on pointe is this: my shoes are not holding me back and they are not allowing me to go over too far, or knuckle. My box seems to be the correct width, although there’s a chance I might fit into a slightly tapered box, but they don’t carry that in my size. My length is correct. So how did my shoes end up getting like they did? Who knows. It’s like those old Tootsie Pop commercials with the kid and the owl. How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?? The world may never know!! Why do I keep having problems with my pointe shoes?? The world may never know!! Hah!! In my frustration after class last week (and the pain) I decided to order yet ANOTHER pair of Gaynors. I decided that I just needed to go back to the hard shank. So I get them in the mail on Monday and check them out. They felt really stiff. I don’t remember my first ones feeling this stiff. After researching again today online I’m starting to think that I don’t actually need the hard shank. I think it’s too stiff. Maybe I need the Exra Flex? That’s the shank down from hard and before Supple, the shank I currently wear. Why does this have to be so difficult?!!?!?

So needless to say…my new shoes are not sewn yet. I’m thinking now I might return them and possibly go with the extra flex. Or even possibly try to tinker with the current ones?! I tried putting one of their blue pads in each shoe. I placed them a little to the sides, so that my big toes are not using them. I’m hoping this helps take some of the pressure off my big toes and redistribute it to the rest of my toes. We’ll see how that goes tonight!!

In running news….I’m officially crazy. I’m actually thinking of trying to do a half marathon in oh about 9 weeks. I’ve dove head first (or foot first?!) into a training plan. I need to run 10 miles by mid June anyways, so this shouldn’t be too much worse. Right?? I did 3 miles last night and another 4 miles today. I have a 5k race on Saturday, too. Holy cannoli. I’ll keep you updated!

Oh and I might have some exciting news to share soon! Still figuring out the details…so I will let you all know when I can!! Have a great weekend everyone 🙂