Thursday, September 27, 2012

Capezio Demipointe Shoe

I just got an email that Discount Dance Supply had updated their shoe collection for fall (shoes!), which was super exciting just because I like looking at all the shininess. What I didn't expect was coming across something new - the Capezio Demipointe Shoe

Broad Demipointe Shoe - Style No 1118
Photo Credit
Here is the description from the DDS website:
This broad fit demi pointe shoe best accommodates a broad forefoot with even length toes, has no shank and is designed for the dancer preparing for an introduction to pointe work. Features include a broad toe box, an internally cushioned broad platform, a stitched toe box with quiet toe construction, a low vamp and round throat, a soft cotton lining and foam insole, a light strength box, a 3/4 feathered pasted box with very light wings, bias side seams, satin binding, elastic drawstring and a short suede outer sole with compo construction.

Essentially, it's a pointe shoe with no shank and a little less structure. It's what I do to my old pairs of dead pointe shoes (take the shank out to make a soft shoe), and it's $40+. I don't know if something like this is necessary for pre-pointe, but it could be useful in preparing a beginner for what a pointe shoe feels like. Best of all, it's an introduction to choosing a pointe shoe - a generic shoe that will give the wearer an idea of what pointe shoes can feel like so that they will be more informed when choosing their first pair of real pointe shoes.

Other than that, I don't necessarily see a point(e) to this 'demipointe' shoe. What do you think?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Injuries You Can Heal: Foot

Starting a new series! You guys said you wanted lifestyle tips, so this one is going to be based on my own experience with physical therapy, the dance kinesiologist in my department, and my experience with alternative healing. I'm not a professional and I don't pretend to be, so please take my advice with a grain of salt. This blog post is no substitute for a doctor's visit if you're really in pain!

I've talked before about how I shifted/dislocated a bone in my foot. It wasn't fun, and it really impacted my dancing for a long time. Since then, I've also dislocated a bone in the other foot and in one wrist, so I'd say I'm kind of qualified to talk about this.
Photo Credit
  1. The problem: Dislocated/shifted bone in foot
  2. What it feels like: Dislocated bones in your feet most likely will not be the most painful experience (unless a nerve is pinched) - it will only hurt when doing certain movements (for my cuboid, releve and inversion). When I say 'hurt', it will be a clear but moderate ache that kind of says "hey, remember me?" when you do certain movements.
  3. Solution: Pinky ball. There are spots on the soles of your feet that are accessible to the bones you've shifted, so lightly/moderately rolling out the bottom of your foot can reset the bone and "remind" it where it should be. Don't mash your foot too hard, as that may bruise or exacerbate the problem. If the pinky ball doesn't work within a few minutes, see a doctor.
Usually, the hardest part of fixing a problem is diagnosing and accepting the treatment for it. If you have serious chronic pain and have experienced it for some time, seeing a doctor and getting a second/third opinion is a good idea. The actual treatment process may mean you don't dance for a while, or that your movements are modified, but in the long run, it will add to your overall strength and longevity as a dancer. Be careful!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 Finale?

I'll be honest - since I've come back to school, I haven't been watching SYTYCD ::gasp::. I know, bad dancer. But I've kept up with the results, and I'm excited about the changes this season!

There's finally going to be one male and one female winner - two winners! Even though this may make the title a little less "prestigious," it makes it much more fair. Girls are competing against girls, guys against guys. No girl can compete with some of the amazing tricks and stunts that men can do (can you tell I'm biased towards male dancers? I'd give anything to be a male dancer).

Every season, it makes me sad that someone got left behind. Melanie Moore's 2nd runner up Marko (season 8),  Lauren Froderman's runner up Kent (season 7), and Jeanine Mason's runner up Brandon (season 5) were all absolutely brilliant dancers who I would loved to have seen share the title. If they had only come later, they probably would have!

I think that Nigel had it right - as time goes on, each season's dancers get better and better, more and more accomplished. More is demanded of them, and pieces develop more emotional depth, demand more technique, and require more finesse to master. However, I felt that seasons 2 and 4 were peaks for me - they had the most characters and a plethora of people who are making it big in the dance world today. But I digress.

Whoever wins tonight should have all the likability, versatility, and technique required of them in today's dance world. It's also the first season where the top 4's specialties are all outside the realm of contemporary - extremely exciting! I wish them all luck and hope that they will carry the name of America's Favorite Dancer(s) well!

Edit: Eliana and Chehon! A ballerina and a ballerino! We will never again see two ballet dancers winning SYTYCD, but let's enjoy it while we can, shall we? They're beautiful, and so deserved the title!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pet Peeve: "I want to be her"

This isn't really a new concept to anyone reading or to this blog - I've discussed something similar in another Pet Peeve post. It is a little different though, and I think it deserves a category of its own.

Even if you're not a negative person and don't think in terms of "Wow, she needs to stop being so good" or "Wow, I want to kill her for being so good," you might think in terms of "Wow, I wish I was her." This 'positive spin', I think, is an even worse offense than the competitive negativity of the first two statements. We all have had moments when we wish we could be as brilliant as the girl in front of us at the barre. But what does that really mean?
From an episode of Bunheads: Photo Credit
When you wish that you were in someone else's shoes and living their life and dancing with their talent, you're giving up the notion of your own individuality. You relinquish everything that makes you uniquely you. You're acknowledging that their existence is worth more than your own. Should it be that way? Absolutely not!

As is with many art forms, imitation is the highest form of flattery. Imitate all you like - choose the best from the people around you, make note of the worst, and dance the way you see as "perfect" in your mind's eye. But don't wish you were someone else. Never doubt that you have something that they don't - and that maybe they were wishing they were you too.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ideal Dancer's Body: Perfect

I have a ballet teacher, whom I absolutely love, who always says something like: "All you every have to be is...perfect. I'm only asking you to be perfect. But by perfect, we don't mean the model of perfection. It's impossible to determine what that is, because every dancer is different. What I mean is be perfect for your own body."

I can't say that I agree with anything more.

This topic is on my mind because my university dance department puts all of the auditions for fall choreography in the first week and a half of the semester (death), and when do we think about being perfect more than when people are watching and judging us? Auditioning is one of the most self-conscious times for a dancer, because not only are you worried about what you look like, but you're worried about what you look like to people who may have a large impact on your future.

I've learned, though, that bodies come in all shapes and forms, and that your body doesn't determine your ability or limit your expression. Some of the most fabulous dancers I know have 'abnormal' or 'not ideal' body types - short (5' & under), large, gangly, disproportional (apple or pear-shaped), pigeon-toed. I knew that I wanted to be a part of the dance department I am currently attending when I saw a girl about 5' tall do a chasse that was twice as big as any other girl or boy in the class. I wanted to be daring and push the boundaries of what is "accepted."

Really, the secret is not to think about your body. If you think that your body was born too inflexible or fat or short, you'll never be able to work past what others deem is "possible." I didn't know it was possible for a large girl to land a leap without so much as a small tapping sound, but I've seen it. It really is much easier to do something that's impossible if you don't know it's impossible.

So go out, be daring. Fall down, risk being laughed at, because if you don't take risks, you'll never get better, you'll never dance to the full perfection that your body can achieve. And that would be a shame!