The Random Questions That Lead People to Adult Ballerina Project

If you’re a blogger, I’m sure you’ve looked at some of the questions that have caused readers to end up on your blog–and I’ve gotten a few random (and weird) ones–so I’ve decided to answer some of them here for those who probably didn’t find the answer:

Why are tendus in ballet important?

They’re one of the most important moves in ballet because they’re a foundation move for a lot of different movements, especially jumps.

What are toe spacers used for in pointe?

I use toe spacers because it helps distribute the weight between my toes and take some of the pressure off my big toes.

Why shouldn’t dancers run?

Unless you’re a professional (or pre-professional) dancer and worried about too much stress on your legs, there’s no problem with running. A lot of my fellow adult ballet buddies run and it’s actually helped improve our stamina in ballet class.

What is covered in adult ballet?

The same things that happen in any other ballet class. There is usually a barre section, then center, adagio and allegro. For more information, see here.

What is it like to dance in pointe shoes?

I’ve only taken a couple of pointe classes so there are probably better answers out there from other people, but it’s a lot different than dancing in ballet slippers. My feet always feel weird and super long when I’ve got them on and they’ve taken some getting used to.

 What is your favorite ballet leotard brand and what leo?

I really like my plain, simple black camisole Capezio leotard. I own a few others, but I usually end up wearing the black one as long as it’s clean. I don’t really care for my BraTek one, however.

 Do adult ballet beginners perform on stage?

Some do–a lot of my fellow adult beginner ballerinas do–Legal Ballerina and Disney Ballerina have recitals coming up, Dave Tries Ballet and loveballet89 have performed in productions I believe.

 As an adult, how often do you take ballet?

Anywhere from once to five times a week probably. I’m trying to fit in at least two (three when I’m not busy)–which is all my budget allows.

Make boyfriend take ballet?

You can’t make your boyfriend take ballet, but there’s certainly reasons why he should. I’ve dragged taken my boyfriend to a ballet class a couple of times now and he’s enjoyed it and plans on going to another one in the future.

When is too old to take ballet?

NEVER! I’ve profiled people who are in their 70s for this blog. They’re awesome.

Does ballet make your feet ugly?

YUP. Pointe especially with make your feet ugly and you might lose a toenail. I’ve ended up with some bruised toes just from dancing in slippers, too.

 Is it safe for a beginner to practice en pointe at home?

Not until you’ve had some classes in a studio en pointe, otherwise you’d risk injuring yourself.

 How to make pointe shoes out of leg warmers?

Ummm…you want to do what? You shouldn’t try to make pointe shoes. There’s a lot of crazy homemade ones out there on the internet…I’m not even going to link to them because they’re so unsafe. Stick to professionally made ones. They’re worth the cost.

*I’m not an expert or a ballet teacher, these are just from my own personal experience.


What crazy search terms have led people to your blog?


Ugly Feet

(Note: This is a repost from my old blog, so some of you may have already read it)


Dancers (especially ballet dancers, because of dancing en pointe) are known for having rather beat up feet. It’s been brought up on several dancing-focused shows like Breaking Pointe, Dance Academy, and of course, on Bunheads, where the girls enter an Ugly Feet contest for dancers (and win).

Despite that all the major ballerinas having less-than-pretty feet, I didn’t expect this to become a problem for me, since I only take once or two classes a week.

But, ugh, I was wrong. At class on Tuesday, two of my toenails cut into the sides of my toes (I keep my feet well-groomed mind you) and my left big toe’s nail started peeling back again (I slipped once in the pool locker room and OUCH! bent my entire toenail back).

On top of all that, my ankles often get black and blue (because they’re so weak) which results in me taping them like crazy (although the bright pink KTTape I just bought I must say looks pretty cool).

I think I see a pedicure in my future.

Do you have “Ugly Feet” because of dancing? What do you do to make your feet pretty again?

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post to help me enter in a DanceAdvantage contest: Top Dance Blog Contest 2013: Recreational Dancer

How-To Tips: Make Your Own Tutus

Super Fluffy Aqua Iridescent Tutu

(Photo credit: pumpkincat210)

Even though I’m 21 years old, I’ve still always wanted a tutu, even though I don’t need one for a performance or a class. I want one for a photos I’ll be taking for the blog in the future, although I’m a bit wary of spending $20 dollars for a cheap one on the Internet (although I love DiscountDance for many, many reasons), because I won’t e able to compare colors to my leotards.

While the idea of making my own has crossed mind, I’m not big on sewing. This tutorial looks great (and for the most part, it’s no sew–just sewing a ribbon, which I’ll do by hand). Although it’s not going to hold up to a lot of dancing, since there’s no elastic, it still looks like it’ll be great for a photo shoot (the creator made them for her daughter to run in a race).

Do you own any tutus? Have you ever considered making your own?

My Christmas Present: Pointe Shoes

pfMerry Christmas/Happy Holidays from Adult Ballerina Project!

Recently, the studio I go to, Major Moment (as part of Philly Dance Fitness) has started offering a Pre-Pointe/Pointe Workshop every month. The first two workshops I missed, in October because of my left ankle’s injury and in November because of a second bad case of tonsillitis.

Finally, in December, I was able to make it to the workshop.

My ballet instructor told me to not buy shoes before attending the workshop in December (although most girls wore pointe shoes for the workshop, about five of us did not). It  was held after our regular Saturday class so that we would be warm. We worked on exercises at the barre to help strengthen our feet and ankles as well as get used to pointe shoes. This is one of the reasons one of my main goals for winter break is to work on ankle strength. Yes, I know it’s not going to happen instantaneously and it’s going to require a lot of work, but I feel like I’m up for the challenge, especially since I should have more free time during my Spring semester at college.

When I return to Philly in January, the workshop will be offered twice a month, covering a lot of the same things.

For Christmas (with the help of my parents), I got my first pair of pointe shoes, which are Grishko “ProFlex” Pointe Shoe. Discount Dance describes them as

 ProFlex is ideal for dancers who wish to build strength through use of a flexible shoe, find it challenging to reach full pointe, or require a quick break-in for performance. 2007 models fit a remarkable variety of feet, with an anatomical form designed to relieve pressure on the big toe joint, based on targeted studies of foot shape and pointework dynamics. 2007 ProFlex is lightweight and comfortable, with a somewhat tapered box and medium platform, supportive yet non-constrictive medium-height U-shaped vamp, and 3/4-length pliable shank. Shank: Flexible.

Getting fitted for them at the Rosin Box wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it was going to be. When I arrived, the owner asked me some simple questions such as where I took classes, if it was my first time in pointe shoes (it was) and how often I’d be on pointe. He helped to pick the shoe based on the fact I’d only be doing very basic barre work en pointe two times a month. He also determined that I had “normal people feet.”  The first shoe he pulled out (the ProFlex shoe) fit pretty well. Going up en pointe for the first time was weird. While I tried on a couple more pairs, I settled on the ProFlex. Everything else felt weird and just not right.

Since I’m obviously no expert on pointe shoes, I asked everyone for advice about a month ago. Some of the best advice that appeared in the comments follows from this post.

From Purple Magnolia:

Some of the things it’s really good to think about when actually have the pointe shoes on are:
Are my feet completely in the box?
Is my big toe touching the end of the shoe without any backward pressure? (Make sure you clip your toenails before you go to be fit)
Are my toes being tightly held together, or are they on top of each other? (They should feel tightly held together)
Can I wiggle my toes?

Oh and make sure you were tights, and clip your toe nails before you go. It’s also a good idea to get pointe shoe fittings done at the end of the day as your feet are at the widest then.

The other thing that I think is quite important is that your fitter knows theat you’re a first timer for pointe. There are some shoes, like gaynor minden and shoes with 3/4 shanks that are not really suitable for beginners. 3/4 shanks because it takes a year or so to build up the strength and control in the intrinsic muscles of the foot to a good level, and beginning dancers in 3/4 shanks often ending up sinking down onto the back of the shank instead of fully supporting their weight through the whole foot. Gaynor mindens because they are quite a customised shoe and really until you’ve experienced a few pairs they’re not worth the extra cost.

From Legal Ballerina:

(1) Do not be scared, but I understand why you are. If your teacher said you are ready for pointe, you are ready. Do not question him/her. Let your teacher’s confidence in you give you the strength to power through your own feelings of self-doubt, ok??
(2) Don’t be intimidated about how it feels when you try pointe shoes on for the first time. It is a real weird feeling and it takes some time getting used too. Don’t worry; you will get used to it.
(3) Do not be surprised if your first pair of pointe shoes (i.e. size, maker, etc) ends being your “perfect” pointe shoe. Once you are en pointe for a while you will really understand your feet and what your needs are.

From mercitchatons:

Fitting was interesting. You want it to hold you firmly, but not squish you so when your foot is flat on the floor it doesn’t cramp. You can’t demi at the store and it’s kind of important to know how the shoe will break in when you go through demi. If it breaks in a certain way and is uncomfortable you’ll most likely have sore feet and or serious blisters. Don’t let this discourage you though. Usually your first pair will fit well until they are broken in and you need to get a whole new pair and realize what you’re starting to look for in a shoe.
Make sure your foot isn’t sinking and that there isn’t excess fabric bunching around here or there. It’s better to have a fitting shoe than a pretty shoe. But excessive bunching means the shoe is probably too big. Listen to what your foot/body says, they kept giving me metatarsal support/winged shoes and every pair was uncomfortable to me. She finally stopped. Do not go on other peoples recommendation of shoes that they love, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can always try their suggestion, but know it may not work.

If you have anymore advice, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Are you a bunhead?

The one thing I can never seem to manage is to get my hair into a perfect bun for class (I have the thickest, curliest, most unruly hair in the world).

One of my best “bunhead” days, and it still looks kinda crappy.

While it’s by no means a necessary part of ballet, sometimes it just makes me feel more like a ballerina, when I manage to do an okay job at (and my ballet instructor always comments that I’m officially a bunhead now!)

So what are your tips for doing your hair in a bun? I have to do my hair when its sopping wet with lots of hairspray (sorry environment!) and a ton of bobby pins.

And if you don’t do your hair in a bun, how do you keep your hair out of your face for class?

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