Ugly Feet

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

KAITLYN JENKINS, EMMA DUMONT

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

Ballerina Profile: Nellie of Knit Two, Pointe Two, Bake Two Together

ABP interview 004This week’s profile is of Nellie from Knit Two, Pointe, Bake Two Together. I wrote about the awesome legwarmers she makes a couple weeks ago here.

Adult Ballerina Project: When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

Nellie: Six years ago! Sometimes it feels like yesterday though…

ABP: Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

Nellie: I did: I took ballet and tap from being about three and five respectively up to just short of eleven when I decided I’d had enough for a whole variety of reasons. A few years later a friend from school found dancing lessons and – needing something to do for the sport part of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – I tagged along and did stage (which involved a lot of ballet and jazz) from fifteen to nearly eighteen.

ABP: Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

Nellie: I always regretted giving up ballet as a kid, whatever else may have gone down my childhood teacher had instilled a real love of ballet in my soul and I couldn’t really live without it. Shortly after I left university I was musing at a friend about how much I wanted to take it back up again, then I moved to London, she found a class and the rest, as they say, is history.

ABP: Where do you take classes?

Nellie: I take four classes a week divided between two studios which couldn’t be any more different if they tried!

ABP: What is your favorite part about ballet?

Nellie: There’s a feeling I refer to as ‘it’ because I don’t quite know how to put it into words but it’s when everything comes together and just feels ‘right’ and remember that this is exactly why I keep taking class.

ABP: What is your least favorite part?

Nellie: Turns to the left! No matter what I do, they just do not come together ever.

ABP: Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Nellie: Oh my, there are so many – so, so many. I could watch Marianela Nunez of the Royal Ballet for hours on end for incredible technique and stage presence. Cassa Pancho, founder and director of Ballet Black, is also a real inspiration for proving that anything is possible.

ABP: What motivates you to keep dancing?

Nellie: I guess it’s that endless pursuit of perfection thing, the fact that there’s always something to learn or work on. And dance wear – there’s nothing like having a legit reason to splash out on new leotards 😉

ABP: Do you take any other dance classes?

Nellie: Not at the moment – I took tap back up for a while, and I tried street (I was hilariously bad). I’d like to give jazz and contemporary a try at some point though if someone could just squeeze a few more hours in my day!

ABP: What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

Nellie: Knitting (cabled legwarmers and red and white Fair Isle are my ‘thing’ at the minute), baking (there is always a need for cake), reading (mmmmmm books) and sleeping (which I never seem to manage enough of)!

ABP: What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?

Nellie: Go for it, stick with it and enjoy it!

Beginner Ballet Tips: Using Pilates to Strengthen Your Core for Ballet

Pilates Exercise Video class

P\ (Photo credit: myyogaonline)

After reading this post about Adult Beginner’s Piyo (Pilates and yoga) class, I decided to try out some Pilates. I’d been itching to do some sort of working out beyond the stretching and yoga I’ve been working into my routine, so I decided to try one of my mom’s old Pilates DVDs, Pilates Weightloss for Dummies (yes it’s ancient and isn’t really available anymore).

Like Adult Beginner, I didn’t really “get” Pilates before I started ballet. Now it makes sense. In the standing portions of the DVD, there are series of plies, balances, and stretches which relate to ballet perfectly. Several of the exercises are done in a turned out first, second or fifth position as well, all with pointed (versus flexed) feet.

This article (Pilates for Ballet Dancers: How Pilates Can Improve Your Technique) states that “pilates is a body conditioning method that is focused on developing a strong “core.” The term “core” refers to the entire abdominal region as well as the lower and mid-back.” Core strength is ESSENTIAL for ballet. The article also states that if dancers don’t develop a strong core, it could lead to weaknesses which lead to poor alignment which leads to poor technique.

To me, Pilates sounds like an awesome supplement to ballet, and I quite enjoyed the short 35 minute workout. I’m going to test out another DVD we have, Hilary Burnett’s Pilates Intermediate, which is just mat work.  This should be a more intense workout than just Pilates for Weightloss for Dummies, however, I plan on incorporating the standing work from it to get some plies into my workout.

Lastly, if your in the Philly area, Philly Dance Fitness‘s Pilates Class will be on Sundays at 12 at Major Moment Studios. I’m so excited to be able to attend this class because previously it conflicted with a ballet class. I can’t wait to try it out, it’ll be my first Pilates in a studio.

Have you ever tried Pilates? What do you do to strengthen your core?

Beginner Ballet Tips: Two Week Stretch Challenge

twoweekstretchchallengeLast Friday I updated a page on the blog entitled the Two-Week Stretch Challenge. It has a 14 day plan to help encourage you to stretch everyday as well as vary the stretches you do each day. Each day has a different set of stretches from various fitness websites. Like the other stretch challenges I’ve (and some of my fellow adult ballerinas) have attempted, I recommend that you do some additional stretching so that you’ve stretched for a total of 30 minutes in a day (which can be broken down into 10 or 15 minute segments).

Although some of the stretches are specifically for running, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try them since a lot of running stretches are good for tight legs and hips.

Like the page says, this is a  total work-in-progress, and I would love your advice on how the stretches went for you. If you have any stretches you’d like to see worked in, that’d be great too! I’m hoping to eventually build on this to make a complete, 30 day challenge. I’m working on testing each day (I’m on Day 3) and I’ll have an update once I’ve completed it on which stretch routines I liked best.

Here’s what the challenge is right now:

Day 1: How to do Splits  From About.com

Day 2: 15 Minute Beginner’s Yoga Routine

Day 3: Fat Burning Yoga

Day 4: Post-Run Stretches from Back On Pointe, A Dancer

Day 5: Yoga Poses for Headaches

Day 6: How to Do Splits From FitSugar

Day 7: Yoga Poses to Get Rid of Back Fat

Day 8: Essential Stretches for Tight Hips

Day 9: Stretches You Can Do in Bed

Day 10: Good Morning Yoga Sequence

Day 11: Pick your favorite set from Days 1-10

Day 12: Runner Stretches (Good for Tight Hamstrings)

Day 13: Stretches that Help You Sleep

Day 14: Stretches for Splits–Barre Stretches (Don’t have a barre or these look tough challenging? Pick your favorite individual stretches to create your own stretch routine today!)

 

Top Dance Blog Contest 2013: Recreational Dancer

topdanceblog_2013Hello Readers! Every year the fantastic website Dance Advantage holds a contest to try and find the best Dance Blogs on the web. I’ll be entering in the category of “Recreational Dancer” since this blog focuses on profiling beginner ballerinas, my own experience, as well as tips for adult ballet dancers.

The Top 20 blogs with the most comments make it into the finals. Comment on THIS post to show your support for the blog. You can share why you read your blog, why you think it’s special, share your favorite posts or simply state “I love the Adult Ballerina Project.”

Thank you for your support!

The link to the contest can be found here, if you’re interested.

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