It happened. I made the move. Me, Ivana, now own a pair of beautiful pink satin pointes ballet shoes. At 34 years of age, I never thought I would ever get to cross that off my bucket list but there it is. How did I get here?? Well, after taking the equivalent of many years of dance class, working out and 1 year of classical adult ballet, I asked the studio director if I could give it a try, knowing fully well that my goal isn't to be a center-stage ballerina, and he gave me his blessing on the condition that I would continue regular ballet classes on the side to maintain technique. I am still not sold that I can pull this off knowing how gruelling this will be, but simply knowing that I can try is more than enough for me. I will have gone all the way and, in the world of me, that road leads to no regrets.
Rossetti's 🙌 😍
After hearing all kinds of stories on how big a deal your first pair of pointes is, I felt like a fraud. Y'know, the usual: "I don't deserve this, after all, I haven't done the years and year of training this truly requires". But, I reminded myself that if my teacher gave me the green light, I must be going something right, there must be potential to unlock there. So with that in mind, I blew the dust off my childhood fantasy and on to purchase these "slippers" I went. Where did I go? Why, no other place than Montreal's famous Rossetti boutique. After all, I went there for my tap dancing shoes ten years ago and most of my ballet wear and all were great quality purchases. Yet, every time I went, I would admire the mountains of perfectly categorized pointe shoes and salivate over their beauty. Never would I even dare to dream I would one day own a pair. So you can imagine me today, as I walked in, knowing I was to be one of those girls who would be sitting in that old wooden chair having the pointe shoe expert Sean Winston ask me to get up on pointe and say "how does that feel?". But yup, it was happening.
Luckily for me, the lady managing appointments and serving clients seated me and kindly congratulated me on this rite of passage. Even after I explained my situation, she mentioned that most girls getting their pointe shoes aren't dancing for les Grands Ballets but rather for fun and that age is no longer a factor. Then, to my shock and delight, as though she read right through my heart, she turned to me and said: "That will be one more thing to cross off your bucket list!"...and that's when I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.
No easy task 🙄 👣
Needless to say, I wore fitting black leggings and white t-shirt with a wrap so as to show my lines better when rising on pointe. After lending me short nylon socks and comforting sockets, Mr. Winston immediately started to pick out shoes for me and adjusting size and style as he passed me different kinds. As I tried them on, I always felt a little jolt of "Oh my GOD! I'm doing it" but Mr. Winston wasn't satisfied with the fitting. Observing carefully my feet and how I behaved, pulling a little psychology on me: "you're hesitating, these aren't right for you". His mind was focused on finding what I needed and he remained kind and patient as I was placing the numerous pairs on and off my feet. I once mentioned that perhaps it was I who wasn't performing well enough and he said that was rubbish and that it was his job to find the right pair for my feet. I was so surprised by this generosity.
He believed in me and he knew I wasn't quite there yet, so we continued on our journey. We went though Russian shoes, Australian shoes, French shoes, all were different yet seemed to look the same. Every time I rose up to pointe, it wasn't to his satisfaction and he does his best to respect the dance studio's requirements. After an hour of trying on and re-arranging the shank and what not, we agreed on a pair that seemed to fit best for now. He wanted me to try one style with a shorter vamp *see image for ballet jargon* but he didn't have any at the store. However, because of their guarantee, I need not worry. I can return at any time and switch them. That's the cool thing about these old school trades and boutiques, the professionals working there honour their word.
So I slipped my pink Gazelles back on and paid for my childhood dream shoes. It is real now and I am well aware that I do not quite know what I am throwing myself into. Who knows? Maybe I will go to class on Tuesday and find out that this truly isn't for me or perhaps not. Ballet hasn't been easy thus far so I may as well try to make it though by knocking on the most resistant of doors: pointes.
Bee the black sheep ballerina,
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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