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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 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