The World’s a Stage

With the exams currently happening and a lack of sleep, my emotional balance is a bit off sometimes. Mostly I’m just tired and sick of learning, but I know from experience that everything can become a huge drama if you don’t hold yourself back. And often, mostly before an oral exam I worry for, I tell myself one should always maintain one’s dignity and self-control. Like the exam is a stage, you’re going up, smile and wave, and if you need to breakdown, do it backstage.

If there’s one thing you learn from dancing, it’s to keep going no matter what’s hurting, no matter how tired you are. Unfortunately this virtue mostly only exists in me when I’m in a dance class, and not so much when I’m studying. Though I must say I have become pretty good at smiling and waving when I actually really want to cry. I used to take the test when I was really angry, then I’d go to a mirror and smile as charming as possible.

But the same counts for physical pain. I remember hitting someone during my last show and it hurt like hell even weeks later on (poor me). What to do what to do? Easy – you smile and that’s it. The world is a stage and even when you hit someone, or someone hits you, you have to smile and keep going. I know it’s easier when you’re really on stage and there’s music playing, but in the end you’ll be the one curtsying elegantly, so you win.

Ballet has this really good tool to help you train this ability. They’re called pointe shoes and make you dance on your toes. Really on them? Yes, on top of your toes. Is that uncomfortable? What do you think, darling? It’s not the most comfortable thing ever, no, but when you have the right shoes and they have been molded a bit, it’s actually not as bad as you might imagine. I had my first pair of pointe shoes when I was 13, but I didn’t have class, so I trained a bit by myself. They got too small, but I still kept using them. This year though, my teacher decided we would have pointe class, so now I’ve got a new pair which really supports my feet and look great.

Me is happy!

015

Am I a ballerina now?

Getting pointe shoes is a big step for every dancer. It’s like a dream coming through – even if that dream kills your toes. It’s the cherry on the cake. Because really, pointes give a kind of magic you can never really get without them. They make you look so light you can just dance on your toes like it’s nothing, while in fact it needs year of training. Also, in ballet lines are very important. When you’re not on pointe, your line always gets broken by your toes sticking out. Eech.

020 - kopieFor those wondering, it are Blochs serenades. For others wondering, that’s the door to my room. I don’t think the floor is real wood, but it is very cosy.
Now, where was I? As you can see lines keep going in these. Together with the ribbons showing off how small and nice your ankles are – I must admit I like slender ankles – it makes you look very elegant, perhaps fragile, while in fact you are really strong, especially in the legs, and your toes probably look bruised and battered. But you know, it’s all about illusions, as you might remember.

002It might be due to the many years of practice in the too small pointe shoes, but I’m actually quite okay in them. I managed to do a double pirouette already, I am able to do some rather inelegant fouettés, and the hops Giselle does across the stage (hops on pointe indeed!), I should be able to do those too. Though of course I only practised everything in my room. In our dance class we’re doing the obligatory exercises to strengthen your feet and ankles, but I’m not patient enough – I actually want to dance in them!

Now the only thing left to do for me, is to be ‘discovered’ by a ballet company and become the ruling star there. I feel like I’m getting closer already… But above all I get to learn to stand on my toes and smile though they feel a bit crushed. However much they get to hurt, you just keep going because it looks good and is fun somehow, and in the end you will get to curtsy, just like you deserve.

018If you’re wondering now whether it was all just an excuse to show you my feet in pointe shoes, well, it totally was.

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37 Comments

  1. I always wanted to be a ballerina and used to stuff tissues in my mom’s slippers to be “on pointe”. Now I just plan to try a barre exercise class and hope to not fall over in that.

    Twirl on, NBI! :-)

    Reply
    • Haha, great! :D I used to pretend all my shoes were pointe shoes, but eventually they broke down due to the abuse.
      Really do so! I believe it’s a great way to work out while feeling elegant :).

      Reply
  2. Nice feet!

    Reply
  3. You do, indeed, have elegant feet.
    Closest parallel I can think of is my climbing shoes, which are incredibly uncomfortable and tight.
    But I wouldn’t want to scale a cliff in anything less.
    (Plus my feet feel so good when I take them off!)

    Pointe on, NBI!

    Reply
  4. I could so develop a foot fetish right about now. Beautiful photos, so graceful.

    Also loved this:
    If there’s one thing you learn from dancing, it’s to keep going no matter what’s hurting

    Good luck with exams!

    Reply
  5. That’s a very dainty pair of feet and pins you have there, Astrid.

    That top pic of your feet pointing outwards makes me feel a tad ill. I’m sure it takes a lot of training and athleticism to do it, but it looks icky.

    And Belgian plug sockets are brill.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Michael! I’m pleased to have these feet and legs.

      Actually that’s my natural turnout. Of course it probably helps if you do ballet, but that is as far as I can turnout without falling over and break my knees. But no worries, I walk with straight feet ;).

      And yeah, they almost take all attention away from me…

      Reply
  6. Beautiful in the pointe shoes.

    Reply
  7. Oh, and I understand what you are talking about from figure skating. Yes, you just go on. This is true even at the recreational adult level.

    Reply
    • Yes, even when you do it just for fun you just push yourself to the limits. Are you a figure skater? That’s really cool :).

      Reply
      • I was a figure skater and ice dancer, but only at the adult recreational level. Let me tell you, a performance is a performance is a performance. Many bad, and many good — and many falls preparing! Professional or not. I started skating at 48, and actually did ok recreationally. Now I’m back to riding and ballet (things I never did well when I was younger but I have a “passion” for them).

      • Ah, so nice. But scary! I don’t understand how you can thwirl in the air and then just land on a fine line. Incredible.

      • LIke they say, it’s like knives strapped to (sort of) tennis shoes. I only did single jumps. Those were plenty hard enough!

      • I believe so! I truly respect everyone who even has the guts to start such a jump. I’d be terrified to fall and knock my teeth out or something.

  8. RO

     /  January 15, 2014

    Very nice comparison, the world’s a stage! I agree with you on that. In my daily job I am always acting, being a teacher is all about smiling when you are not really amused and acting angry when your’re not really mad.
    Oh and btw: I’m super duper jealous of the way these pointe shoes look on your feet!! And WUUT?? hops en pointe? Fouettés en pointe?? PIROUETTES EN POINTE? Oh stop it now…To think I have the exact same pair… gosh… Well done on those pictures, turnout looks gorgeous!!
    Good luck studying, remember.. keep on smiling!

    Reply
    • Ah yes, and you have to be patient and everything… But I believe you’re the kind of person that loves teaching enough to keep on smiling!

      Don’t think too much of the fouettés, I can get back on pointe once but I’m probably waving my arms while bedning my knees and looking terrified :). The most important thing for pirouettes seems to be courage… And recklessness!

      Thanks, and I will! I just had a good exam and that keeps you going!

      Reply
  9. Omg! How cool! You just put them on and you look like the most graceful thing on the internet instantly!
    But I agree – people often take for granted as to how complicated the art of ballet really is :)

    Reply
  10. You rock those pointe shoes young lady, you totally do and I’m in awe. I can hardly stand on my feet never mind my toes lol

    Reply
  11. So pretty! I would love to be able to do that. Your form looks excellent! But that’s coming from someone who knows nothing about ballet form! I like the look of your slender ankles too :D

    Reply
  12. That last line totally made me laugh

    Reply

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