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Dear Dream Seekers

Dear Dream Seekers,

You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.

I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.

Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.

And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)

And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.

I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.

Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.

I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.

Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.

But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.

Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.

Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.

So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.

Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.

Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.

These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.

When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.

I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.

If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.

But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.

Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.

So, in summary…

1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.

2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.

Always remember why you’re doing it.

Always respect yourself for doing it.

Always hold your head high.

Remember,

You deserve to be in the room.

Zoe xxx

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Working Up A Sweat

I have never sweated so much as when I used to do ballet classes, before the break. 

I had actually never really experienced sweat like that before. I remember at my Sydney studio, where the class standards are super high, I would have beads of sweat dripping from my wrist to the floor towards the end of the first pliΓ© combination. It was the first time I had ever seen people take sweat towels into a dance studio.

I loved that. 

For me, apart from the burning muscles, the sweat was the most immediate concrete evidence of how hard my body was working.

I really, really, loved that.

Then once I had some recorded private classes to learn from at home, I started, and continued, to work up that fabulous drenching sweat during my home classes too.

I posted many a sweaty post-ballet photo on Instagram. 

As someone who had never been good at ANY athletic activity, I was wearing that sweat loud and proud!

And I’m delighted to say that I have started getting my sweat back. Which is telling me that I’m able to work my body harder and harder. 

This is exciting stuff for me right now.

Today, I wasn’t able to do anything else apart from my ballet and exercise bike/physio, as I’m very wiped out from a few big days, BUT I’m sweating y’all! 

And… I. LOVE. IT. πŸ™‚

In fact, today I managed a warm-up tendu exercise, a full pliΓ© combo left and right AND just a little bit of extra foot work.

With the addition of the bike straight afterwards, I was drenched in sweat! 

So, here’s to sweating it out!

Zoe xxx

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Let's Talk Ballet Shoe Drawstrings

Okay, so there’s the thing, I love my Bloch PROLITE II shoes. They are okay on my very narrow feet, they are soft, they are supportive on the souls of my feet and they don’t cut my circulation off — thankfully, ’cause I like being able to feel my feet! πŸ™‚

But I am wondering what other people do with their drawstrings? I mean, what actually works? I know of the tucking the bow under thing, but that hurts my skin, so I am looking for an alternative to that.

I read about tying a knot and then stitching it so that it never comes undone. Or others taping the ends of the bow/elastic to the upper inside of the shoe. Does anyone have experience with any of these? Do they work in terms of comfort and not losing the drawstring?

I’d appreciate anyone’s input.

BB

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Bush Ballerina Goes to Sydney!

Well, it looks like my end of 2013 blessings are continuing into 2014, as just one week into the new year, I’m heading to Sydney!

I’m actually piggy-backing onto the back of my husband’s trip to Sydney for business, which was meant to be later in January but was brought forward — and is why it is so sudden.

I had hoped to catch a ballet class at Studio Tibor while I was in Sydney later in January, but now that we are going to be there earlier, and regular classes won’t be back on then, I’m in a bit of a Tibor-ballet-class-pickle. Tibor’s wonderful assistant has been in touch with me and I can say that there is a small chance I may get a private class with Tibor. But I’m just not getting my hopes too high for this. Everyone is time pressured and I don’t want to be a hassle to anyone.

So the ballet class is a maybe. BUT going to a real-life Bloch store is a definite!

Yep, while I’m in Sydney I will be going to the York St Bloch store. It is the largest store in Australia and is always fully stocked in their whole range! How do I know this? Because I asked them. Yes, yes I did. Like a true ballet geek, and after suffering from multiple online shopping dramas with Bloch, I emailed them to check that this was the right store to go to — that they would more than likely have the shoes I’m looking for, that fit me correctly. I couldn’t think of anything worse than getting all that way and then not being able to purchase the gear I need.

I received a lovely email back from the manager, confirming that they are always fully stocked. Wahoo! She also asked, in the email, if I was wanting to be fitted for pointe shoes, because they would arrange for a professional fitter to be available for me if I was. Ahh, while I read this, I felt my heart swell with blissful desire. How amazing would that be? I wanted to scream “Yes, yes! Let’s fit me for pointe shoes!!!” Hahaha. Luckily reality was right by my side in that moment, and helped me to come crashing back down to earth. BUT a thought that remains with me is that this might some day, maybe, sorta, kinda, somehow … be a question that I can answer with a big fat “Yes!”

The night before I read that email, I had a dream that I was dancing en pointe. I seem to be having more en pointe dreams. And in each one I get more comfortable in the pointe shoes. This most recent one felt beautiful. I’m sure those dreams are more about me feeling more comfortable in my ballet skin, but still, it’s nice to see my mind opening up to pointe possibilities.

So, next week I will be going here…

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I look forward to keeping the blog updated with our trip happenings as we go.

BB

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So, a Girl Walks Into a Bloch Shop…

But unfortunately that girl wasn’t me. Oh how I wish it was. I would do a fair amount of crazy for a proper ballet flat fitting right now as my online order was not exactly satisfying. I’m not expecting the perfect fit. But I would like the best fit possible.

So I bought a pair of Bloch Pro Elastic ballet flats online. Had to be online as I have no access to a store. I liked the idea of no drawstring as it seemed like less hassle and less pain on my sensitive skin. And I liked the contoured look that they speak of in the advertisement for them (and the photo.)

I ordered to the size recommended on the Bloch sizing chart. And I wasn’t sure about width as my feet are very narrow, so I emailed Bloch and asked if width “A” would suit a very narrow foot. I was told that almost nobody fits a size “A”. Only those with really, really narrow feet. I must admit that I found that pretty useless information. Perhaps a width measurement would have been more helpful? I ordered an “A” width anyway.

Shipping was prompt. My flats arrived quickly, despite us only receiving mail three days a week out here. I was an excited gal and enthusiastically ripped open my parcel.

Unfortunately the first thing that was noticeable was that I have “really, really, really narrow feet”. Uh oh. It turns out that basically these shoes are not a great fit for my feet. My toes swim around in them, so when I move my foot across the floor the front part of the shoe bunches up and drags across the floor (because it’s not tight on my foot) which I just find distracting and uncomfortable.

I also found the elastic where the drawstring would be normally, was too tight!

What I like about them:

– The sole. BEAUTIFUL! Soft and supportive to work on. Very comfy.

– The canvas, also very comfy. Not at all stiff.

– The lack of drawstring.

– The doovy-lacky technology that makes the sole of the shoe form to your sole when you point your foot is lovely. Really felt snug and comfortable on my under arch (is “under arch” even a term? lol)

Being a ballet desperado, rather than send them back I just took to them with scissors and needle and thread. I cut and re-sewed the back seam to basically make them smaller in length. And I cut the back of the elastic drawstring to let that out a little.

They were comfortable enough to replace my old cheap-and-nasties and convince me that I can never again wear old cheap-and-nasties. I can definitely feel the actual support they have in them.

So essentially I really like these shoes, for someone else’s shaped foot.

I have now ordered a pair of Bloch canvas pump flats, in a size smaller. Still in “A” width. Will see about the drawstring.

I’m very open to hearing of different brands that others use? Or if someone knows of a particularly good flat for someone with narrow toes? Would love to hear about them as I really want to be as comfortable as I can while dancing.

Okay, okay, so here are some photos in case anyone is wondering what these shoes look like or if they are thinking of buying some. I quite like the look of them. My foot shape just doesn’t fit them really well.

Here are the photos of these shoes on my feet:

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This is the photo of these shoes on the Bloch website:

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Ballet Slippers — Leather or Canvas?

Okie dokie, let’s talk ballet slippers. I’m going to purchase my second ever pair of ballet slippers tonight, on the line, and I’m a little bit stuck on which to buy.

I’m thinking of going with Bloch as I am more familiar with their products, but I haven’t bought Bloch slippers yet so I don’t know what will feel best on my foot.

No, I can’t get to a store. That would be a 4 hr drive away. So on the line it must be! πŸ™‚

I am thinking canvas, but not sure. I definitely want split sole. Ha! Nearly wrote “split soul”. That would be interesting!

I have two main questions…

1) Do you all prefer canvas or leather? And why?Β 

2) Bloch widths? I have very narrow feet. But an email I received from Bloch said that unless you have extremely narrow feet you would not want to get the “A” width. That most with narrow feet fit the “B” width slippers. So I’m a little confused. I have found it hard to buy normal footwear to fit my feet in width because they are so narrow, but then again, maybe with the stretch in the slippers, a “B” will be okay?

I know I will have to take a leap, make a purchase and hope for the best, but just wondering about thoughts on this.

Thanks!

BB