Friday, November 30, 2007

Dancing In Pointe Shoes - Not More Homework!

This is homework about dancing in pointe shoes you are going to love. Why? How do I know that?

Because I know that young dancers are serious, and usually quite organized. And they beam with satisfaction when they can do something that was extremely difficult a week ago.

In the book about the perfect pointe preparations, the organization is handed to you. Charts, progress notes, are all there for you to use.

Learning new information is quite thrilling when you may have been wondering "why don't my feet arch over as easily as hers"? Or "how can I get my foot into a pointe shoe when my toes are such different lengths?"

Thinking that you are simply stuck with the feet you were born with is quite discouraging. Every student is eager to know if her foot can be more flexible, to make pointe work easier, or if she is truly ever going to be able to control her hyper-mobile foot joints and progress without injury.

Having the tools you need to do more homework, safely, and more homework that you love and get results from, is being empowered to progress.

I think it takes a lot of the mystique out of the undefined "talent" idea.

When I first studied dance, I thought that talent meant you had the long legs, high arches, long neck, etc., etc., and I thought that because those dancers got all the attention in class. And yet, as a child, I thought that those girls didn't need the teacher's help much - she showed something and they just did it. And it looked right. So why weren't the less physically able helped more? That was logical. I had so many questions, but didn't expect that the teachers would want to illuminate my curious mind. I always felt I could do more. And I did more and more homework - getting up early to stretch, getting to school early to practise. I made some progress, but I could have used my time much better with guidance.

Talent is a mixture of abilities and charisma. And soul.

I never knew anything about foot bones, their shapes, and their potential to work better - or not.

I and my fellow dancers often suffered from shin splints, agonizing. We had no idea how to release the tibial muscles and work our feet muscles more. Yet we had fantastic world class teachers. But, then, "dance is suffering". No one ever said that, but the teachers acted like it.

Even the most physically able can get into trouble. I remember watching a rehearsal of a fellow student who later became a world class ballerina. She had highly domed arches and was rehearsing in pointe shoes that were mushy. I watched her bending way over her shoes, and sickling out too. I think back on that and wonder "why didn't anyone stop her?" She could have done one rehearsal on demi pointe, or been allowed to get different shoes. But protocol was rarely broken. At the risk of injury.....right before a tradition and the concept of discipline blinds us sometimes.

Luckily the present is much different. Education is available, those with the passion to do more homework and build strength and a good dance technique independent of class schedules, can do so! Safely, methodically and with results.

Get the finer details about dancing in pointe shoes.

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