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Do You Really Feel The Effects Of Darning Your Pointe Shoes?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday, August 16, 2019

To darn or not to darn, that is the question. I started darning my pointe shoes back in 2012. (I think) I never, ever darned my shoes while I was at school. I trained at the School of American Ballet in New York City where it is an extremely uncommon thing to do. It never even crossed my mind.

Once I was in Denmark for a few years, I became curious about one of our principal ballerina’s that always darned her shoes. I asked her all the questions that you are probably asking yourself right now.

Does it really help?
-Does it make your shoes last longer?
-Is it true that it can help your balance?
-How long does it really take?

Is it really worth the effort?

She swore by it for herself and told me to just try it out. I tried it and never stopped. Now, I hate wearing a pair of pointe shoes that haven’t been darned.

Here are my answers to the questions above. I hope it helps you!

Does it really help?
Yes! I can feel so much more in my shoe. The darning makes it so it is more difficult to roll over the front of my pointe shoes. Meaning, that I can now feel where the end of the platform is on my shoe when I stand on pointe. I can easily feel when to hold back or maintain my position.

Does it make your shoes last longer?
Yes! It eliminates the possibility of your shoes going soft at the tip/ top part of the shoe towards the vamp. TIP: I add HotStuff or JetGlue to the top part of my darning. The glue keeps the thread from falling down. See below.

HotStuff/ JetGlue

Is it true it can help your balance?
Yes! Because you can feel more in your shoes, it allows you to feel the entire platform that you are standing on. You will learn to know exactly where to balance.

How long does it really take?
If I am fully concentrated and I have all my supplies, I can do both shoes in 45 minutes. Realistically, I’m darning my shoes while I watch something on TV. 🙂 That easily adds an additional 15 minutes. I say, it takes 1 hour per pair of pointe shoes.

Would you really say it’s worth the effort?
Yes! I really like it. The best combination is soft and darned shoes, in my opinion. That is ballerina heaven for me. I wouldn’t make the darning too big even though it can be tempting. Stray away from “bigger is better.” If the darning becomes too large it can be very noticeable from stage and not the most elegant.

Confession: Sometimes, I wish that I had never started because it is a big, time consuming effort. It is very, very possible to dance wonderfully without it.

WARNING: Darning is like the Pringles saying, “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.” Except it would go, “Once you darn, you just can’t stop.”

What is an Easy Ballerina Meal For Someone Who Doesn’t Cook?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, August 12, 2019


Amen! So feel ya here. I am not a good cook. It never interested me all that much to take the time and effort in to creating a meal. When I’m busy, I view food as simply… fuel. No time to master chef! That said, I LOVE being spoiled and having someone cook for me.

Here is a very simple, quick, and delicious recipe that I happen to eat a lot. It looks a lot like a poke bowl. The bowl consists of a cauliflower salad with pomegranates, avocado and salmon.

To make this dish (for one) you will need.

1 Cauliflower, 1 Pomegranate, 1 Avocado, 1 Package of Smoked Salmon, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper.

The cauliflower salad recipe I learned from the mother of these two cute, future ballerinas, when they treated me to dinner at their lovely house. Thank you Marie Andersson!!

Let’s start!

Step. 1

Wash and cut your cauliflower into smaller chunks.

Step. 2

Place the cauliflower into a food chopper to cut it in to even smaller pieces. (Of course, you can chop it up yourself with a knife. A food chopper is great if you are like me and when you are hungry, you no longer have the patience to wait for your food.)

Step. 3

Place all the chopped cauliflower in to a large bowl.

Step. 4

Grab your pomegranate and cut it in half. (Fingers crossed it is a juicy, ruby red)

Step. 5

Beat your pomegranate with a spoon so all the seeds fall in to the large bowl with the chopped cauliflower.

Yumm!! Look at those red seeds! Go ahead and mix it all up.

Step. 6

Grab an avocado and peel it. Cut it in to slices and add the entire thing to your bowl.

Step. 7

Drizzle olive oil over the entire salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step. 8

Open the salmon package and add as much as you’d like to your delicious, healthy bowl.

Step. 9

ENJOY!

What Do You Do 1 Hour Before A Show?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday August 9th, 2019.

I usually get to the the theater around 6:15pm before an 8 o’clock show. The first hour is for changing into ballet warm-ups, turning on some country music, getting my hair organized and lastly, putting on my stage make-up.

Calming Tunes. Photo: Morning Projects

Once my makeup is done and my hair is all good, I’ll grab my dance bag and go upstairs to the studio to warm up, around 7:15pm. Still with my country radio playing in my ears. 😉 I love listening to country music before a show. Country singers tend to sing about the simple things in life that makes one happy. A cold beer. A date night with your love. Blue skies… Reminds me of non- stressful things which I appreciate at this hour. 😉 I’ll do a small barre including stretches for about 15 min. Then I’ll tape my feet and head down to stage. (Still in my warmups)

Photo: Sofie Mathiassen

I ALWAYS test my pointe shoes on the stage before a show. The dance floor on the stage feels different then in the studio. I want to be 100% certain that I feel good and confident in my pointe shoes. Pointe shoes can’t give you your technique but a good pair of shoes can definitely give you an extra boost of confidence to help you perform at your best. Getting the right pair of shoes just sets it all off on the right foot.

Usually, the theater has audience members on a tour of the theater about this time. I almost always get to wave and say hello to a few people. I think it is nice taking a break for a quick hello. Brings you out of your own head.

Photo: Susanne Grinder

After that, I go back upstairs to my dressing room, use the bathroom for that final nervous pee, put on my costume, add any extra jewels, earrings, head piece and look over my notes to give me those final thoughts especially, before playing a character. Then I head down to the stage to start the show with a water bottle in hand.

Photo: Tejs ‘Olm

Let the magic begin…
xoxo
-Hol

What Are Some Ballerina Diet/ Eating Tips?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, August 5, 2019
Thank you for the Question Mette.

Yea body image… It is a part of a ballerina’s life. I hate that it is, but the fact is, we have to be conscious of what our bodies look like. Our bodies are our tools. To be physically fit goes hand in hand with a balanced eating lifestyle. I’ve listened to so much advice on this subject and it can make you go crazy. Everyone has a theory. You end up just getting more confused than when you started. Once, I tried cutting all bread and ended up feeling extremely fainty in the studio. NOT WORTH IT. I’ve tried replacing a meal with one of those diet drinks. Oooh bad idea. I did not feel good.

My biggest tip is to tune in to yourself and be aware of how your body feels after you eat certain things. Food is so individual and your body is telling you what you need to know.

For me personally, a truly balanced diet is the way to go. Don’t deprive yourself of anything but be aware of your choices. (not including summer vacation 😉 )

I find that running is a huge benefit in my regime. I was always told that running built the wrong muscles and that ballerinas shouldn’t run. I haven’t found this to be true. Ballet alone isn’t enough for me to maintain the ballerina weight. Running helps me stay in check. There is also a balance to running because you don’t want to exhaust yourself. Some months I run a lot (June, July, August, September) but as the season’s performance schedule increases, I decrease my runs. In December, I don’t run. The Nutcracker marathon is enough exhaustion (When I go for a run, I run between 20-30 minutes. Nothing crazy.)

Here are a few Eating Tips that I keep myself aware of too.

Bread. Be a bit aware. I feel it right away in my body if I’ve eaten a lot of bread. Other carbs such as potatoes or pasta work much better for me. Something in bread makes me feel puffy. I do not eliminate it completely but rather only have it at one meal per day.

FISH! I love fish and my body feels great after eating fish. Salmon is a regular for me before a show. I truly recommend.

Sweets. For me, I don’t crave cakes and pies so much as gummies. Oooh gummies are my weak spot. Don’t cut out all goodies but be realistic, knowing that you can’t eat a ton of sweets everyday and have an athletic ballerina body.

Popcorn. My go to snack in the evening is popcorn. If I want to nibble after dinner without feeling like I’m entering junk food land. Popcorn satisfies, especially if you are obsessed with Ranch like me and can add a Ranch Seasoning!

Bananas. Great energy snack. I have at least one everyday.

Eggs. I love starting the morning with eggs. (My trick. Use the water boiler to cook your eggs. Fill the kettle about half way with water and place two eggs inside. Wait for it to boil and click off, then set your timer for 8 minutes. BOOM! Two perfect soft boiled eggs. and no mess. )

Water. Never stop. Keep your system hydrated so it can work properly. I’m a fan of adding Emergen-C in my water bottle. I forget more days than not but I’m so happy for it when I remember.

No Wine. When I’m in season, I don’t feel like drinking all that much, but when I do I never reach for wine. Always hard alcohol or beer. My body reacts to wine by making me feel puffy and my body feels worse the next day as if the inflammation never calmed down after the show.

Never lose the joy of food or all of life’s events that involve food. First and foremost live.

xoxo
-Hol

What Are Pointe Shoes Made Out Of?

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Ballet

What Are Pointe Shoes Made Out Of?

Awww the beautiful, little slipper that ballerinas wear. Think again! Pointe shoes, from afar look silky, smooth, and light. Up close, knock on the box and many people would guess that they must have metal inside of them. Ouch!

The outisde of the pointe shoe is made from satin, making a feminine, ballerina look. The box, (where the ballerina stands on her toes) is made up of densely packed layers of fabric with cardboard or paper, and lots of glue. The shank, (the inside part of the shoe, running along the bottom part of the dancers foot vertically giving support) is typically made out of layers of cardboard. The shank can be custom ordered and replaced with leather (my personal favorite), plastic, cardstock or even layers of hardened burlap with glue. The sole of the shoe (the backside of the pointe shoe) is made out of a thin layer of leather.

Satin, cardboard, leather, and glue is all there is to make up the shoes that allow ballerinas to create that infamous illusion of whimsical beauty.
xoxo
-Hol

Do I Have To Be Able To Do a Million Pirouettes To Become A Professional?

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No! It’s true, we have all seen those videos of girls and boys doing many amazing, beautiful pirouettes. 6, 7, 8… Wow! If you can do all those turns that is amazing! Don’t stop turning. It must feel amazing.

In order to become a professional you should be able to do a clean double to the left and to the right. If you can do a triple on your good side, that is a bit of a plus. If you can’t do a triple yet. Keep working on it. It’s on its way.

Always try to finish your turns up. Don’t spin them to get around. Spot clearly.

Insider TIP: Keep the underside of your upper arm feeling lifted throughout the entire turn. Turns aren’t just leg power and balance. Your arms will help you, I promise.
xoxo
Hol

Where Should I Sew My Ribbons and Elastic On My Pointe Shoes?

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We have all been here. So excited to have your first pair of pointe shoes! But wait, how do I sew my ribbons and elastic on properly? (Or how does my mom sew my ribbons on properly?) This question is best answered visually. Please keep in mind that every foot is individual so what works for me, may not be the best for you.
Here is what I do. Try it! If you don’t like it, then play with it and see what suits your foot best!

ELASTIC:

I sew my elastics just off of the back middle panel of my shoes. Its roughly, 1cm away from the stitches on either side. I do recommend to sew your elastic on in a big square pattern instead of simply straight across. This way, when your foot pulls your shoe, it will pull the entire shoe starting from the bottom.

RIBBONS:

When sewing on your ribbons, look for the middle stitched seam on your shoes. I sew my ribbons about 3cm away from that seam. I again, would recommend the square stitch style. This way the entire ribbon pulls even the lower fabric of your shoe up with your foot!

Give it a try and let me know if it worked for you!
xoxo
-Hol

How Do Ballet Dancers Remember All Those Steps?

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You’ve just spent two and a half or three hours in your seat watching a beautiful ballet. Have you ever had the thought, “How do they remember all those steps!?”

Photo: Kasper Nybo

Ballet dancers have two major tricks up their sleeves.

1. MUSIC. The music does absolute wonders for dancers. Once the music becomes familiar, the steps are 100 times easier to remember. Even if you haven’t performed a role for several years, if you hear the music, usually the steps just start coming back to you.

Photo: Kasper Nybo

2. MUSCLE MEMORY. Ballet dancers have a tool that they’ve been training from the very first day that they took a ballet class. Our muscle memory is highly tuned. When we are preparing for a premiere, we practice the steps for 4-6 weeks. Our muscles get familiar with the sequences, until they are so familiar that we don’t even have to think about the steps anymore. Eventually, after hours of practice, the steps just come and we get the luxury to finally let go and perform.

xoxo
Hol

Do Professional Ballet Dancers Get Help With Their Hair Before A Show?

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Please Help Me!

Absolutely! If you are like me, where hair styling is not a talent, then it is a must. I have been that girl who thought she didn’t need a hairdressers help and then, my hair came out on stage! Luckily, it was during first-act Giselle, which made it somewhat ok.

Having hairdressers is a luxury which most major ballet company’s have, but (!) never underestimate the power of teamwork and helping each other, in case a hairdresser is not an option!

Photo: Kasper Nybo
Photo: Sofie Mathiassen
Napoli First Act Preparation

At Royal Danish Ballet, you can choose to do your own hair but between the wigs, the headpieces, the fancy braids (Bournonville), the curlers and the slicked back French twists, most of us choose to take advantage of the help. Boys and girls. It feels nice to let someone fuss over your hair while you can take a few moments to calm down and zone out before the curtain goes up. Over time, the hairdressers become your friends and a permanent part of your preparation routine before a show. I’m extremely grateful that we have such lovely colleagues to work with.

Queen of Hearts Wig

xoxo
-Hol