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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 8:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19616
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I was speaking to my Aunt who trained with Betty Oliphant, founder of the NBoC School, in the 1930s. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Ms Oliphant would not put girls onto pointe until they were 13. She also taught them anatomy so that they had a better understanding of how to protect themselves from injury.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 2208
Location: Australia
great story about the shop, mom2 - HOW EMBARRASSING for the teacher!<P>trouble is, teacher's aims may have been well-intended, but how do you stop that girl going 'en pointe' alone at home, once she's GOT the shoes (don't kid yourself! the lure is too great! Image ) - and unsupervised is worse than IN the class, of course...<P>usually in this situation, mom2, the student would buy demi-pointes, which are stiff and unfriendly just like pointe shoes, so enable you to get used to the difficulties the shoes present, but which do not have the shank/arch support, so do not assist much in balancing en pointe (which is not to say it's not possible - of course it IS - but it's not so 'easy'). i'm sure you know this.<P>you are quite right about parent communication - it can be hard to get parents to pay attention, though - everyone is in such a rush these days,.....<P>and another thing is that one takes a lot for granted, until as a teacher you are presented with every possible misunderstanding, misconception, false assumption, etc from the parents/students - you soon learn to anticipate ANYTHING..and be surprised by nothing....it does get tiresome though, how repeatedly you have to say the same things....

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2000 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 28
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Assuming the teacher is correct that the child is ready for pointe, or of the correct age, there is another place at which failure can occur; the fitting at the shop. This is escpecially true when the student is new, she doesn't know how it should feel or what to look for. And, sad to say many times the clerk at the shop knows just as little. (Yes, I know that there are wonderful shops with very knowledgeable people - but opposite is also true.) <P>When I sent one of my students to a Capezio shop to buy her first pair, I recommended for that particular student Niccolini, and my student was told that the shop only carried Capezios - I knew we were in trouble. Thereafter, I would try to gather together several of the girls about to go on pointe and meet them at the shop and help them select the shoes. It actually saved a lot of time and bother, of having to return shoes that were unsuitable. <P>There was also a lot to tell them besides how it fit on their feet. I taught them to first look at the shoes before they ever put them on. Place them side by side and compare. Were the shanks twisted? Were the vamps even? Were the boxes off kilter? Were the lasts straight? Shoes that were not constructed correctly could be eliminated before ever trying them on. <P>I could also at that first shopping trip, help them select the correct ribbons - length and width. And the shoe size was to be considered both by length and width. <P>Then, we often had a sewing party - where we would gather at the studio, with some munchines to eat AFTERWARDS and I would teach them how to sew on the ribbons and elastics. That also, in the long run, saved a lot of time. I found that all of this gave them a feeling of togetherness, and a feeling of confidence. Basheva


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2000 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Ontario, Canada
You all have such wonderful advice!<P>I truly enjoy my visits to this board!<P>With regard to my "shop" story above, I should just mention that the teacher did expect that the student would purchase pointe shoes, not what my daughter calls "soft blocks". I actually just saw the "soft blocks" this summer, when daughter attended some adult classes. The ADULTS, interestingly enough, were wearing them. <P>You are all correct about the diversity in shop personnel expertise...and in the few years I have been buying pointe shoes I have seen quite a range, so I can only imagine what you teachers have experienced! In the town where I live there is a store which can do a tolerable job if you know exactly what you are looking for. Otherwise, they really don't like taking time with you (which is of course often necessary....)<P>On the other hand, in Toronto there is the wonderful Carol Beevors at the Shoe Room. This woman is a gem, an absolute delight, and well worth my long drive to see. She was with the NBOC herself in earlier years, but for many years now she has been the shoe expert to both the company and the National Ballet School.<P>Fortunately for many of us, the store is open to the public and clientle not limited to NBS students. While the store deals only in Freeds, they have just about every possible make imaginable, even the elusive Maple Leaf. I believe that Ms. Beevors had a hand in the development of the Maple Leaf and that it is not widely available. Here my non-dancer brain sinks in as I am not 100% sure about what makes this shoe special (other than it is a good match for my daughters feet). I think that is is a bit wider than the typical Freed, and it comes with a 3/4 shank.<P><BR>As for parents not paying attention, I sympathize with all of you teachers...the other extreme is a nasty parent like me who reads too much and visits boards like this and has overly high expectations of the dance teacher at the local studio after meeting all of you!!! <P>How do I overcome that???


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2000 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 11327
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Dear, Dear Mom2 !! An informed parent is a delight for a good teacher - only an incompetent teacher is afraid of an informed parent. So don't be afraid of availing yourself of information. The ultimate responsiblity for your child - is YOU - and the health and welfare of her feet is part of that package. <P>Since your daughter seems to do well with Freed's you are fortunate that the store you mention carries them. I, myself, could never wear Freed's - I was a Capezio gal. <P>Never assume that the same size and style will always be right for your daughter - feet change over the years - at least that was my experience. Treat each visit to the store like a first visit - be willing to try on different sizes and styles. Shoes are made by hand, and every pair is different. So when you decide on a style and size have the clerk bring out several pairs in that size and style.<P> Sometimes the left foot can be quite different from the right foot. In that case the dancers purchases two pairs of shoes -one pair for one foot and one pair for the other. <P>There are also many ways and different placements for the ribbons and elastics - and that too, could change over time as the dancer's foot changes, matures, strengthens. Shoes are as much an art as the dance, it seems!!<P>One of my old teachers used to say, "A poor dancer blames her shoes". - Well, that may be true - but it sure helps to have a good pair of shoes on your feet.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2000 4:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 2208
Location: Australia
excellent advice from basheva...mom2, i will be making a new topic out of your last para, so have a look for that, if interested.<P>re the shoe fitting - i know excatly what mom2 means - we have one lady here too, who i send all my students to, knowing they will be well looked after in shoe-fitting. that's a real plus to a teacher, to have that security - after all, we can't keep up with the developments in EVERYTHING ourselves!<P>like you basheva, i could never wear freeds, though i liked the look of them on other people. i wore bloch's, but keep meaning to go and get fitted in something completely new, now, to experience some of these new shoe developments, and acquire a better understanding of how pointe work feels with all these cushy extras now available!

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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2000 12:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3602
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Haven;t looked at this post for a while - and boy has it moved on.<P>Grace i know all about parents not reading info given to them. The amount of letters I send out headed IMPORTANT INFO - PLEASE READ and the amount of Parents I get coming up saying they didn't know anything about the subject of the letter three weeks after they recived it or asking questions which blatantly tell me they haven't read the correspondance. I never mind answering parents queries but I like to spend time answering questions provoked by my correspondance to them not reiterating basic info. With my notice board and folder i find it is the same interested parents that read them too. I do it for their benefit - the other parents if you hit them over the head with the info they probably still wouldn't read it - Enough of this - feel less stressed now - recital coming up in about six weeks.<P>Re Point shoe fitting - I heard a story from another dance teacher about a pupil of hers who went to a carnival store which also sold dance wear to buy pointe shoes. the staff in there sold the girl a pair of pointe shoes without even getting her to try them on! the teacher went back to them and really tore them off a strip. Quite scary really - but realy it confirms the obvious always go to specialist dance wear stores.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2000 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 11327
Location: San Diego, California, USA
In line with what Joanne is saying - there are quite a number of dancers buying shoes without ever trying them on!!! They buy them from mail order catalogues. I am contacted by E-Mail and IM in AOL, by quite a number of dance students with questions. As soon as they mention shoes, I always ask - are you buying them at a store or by mail? It is distressing how many are buying them by mail. I then ask them, would you consider buying any other type of shoes by mail? The answer is always "no". WEll, then - why buy ballet shoes that way? By the time you pay the postage and handling you surely haven't saved much money. And, look at what you are giving up!!!!! I could never imagine buying shoes that way.<P>My old pointe shoes never die. After they are thoroughly decrepit (there's no other word for it) I tear out the shanks and use them as floor shoes. That's what I used to teach in - and still take my non-pointe classes in those wonderful (probably smelly - you would have to ask my cat) scruffed, torn old pointe shoes. Frankly, at my age I need a little more in the sole than the thin leather of a true ballet slipper. <P>Then, when finally I have little more left then ribbons and some bits of leather and satin on my feet - I remove the ribbons and wash and iron them and use on the next pair of shoes. Some of my ribbons are 20 plus years old.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginning Pointe: DISCUSSION THREAD
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2000 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 2208
Location: Australia
so basheva has a cat, too! (trina, maggie, paquita - take note!) soon it will bcome a requirment for CD moderatorship! you MUST have at least one cat! Image<P>hi again, joanne. i know EXACTLY what you mean about notes not getting read, messages not getting thru, noticeboards being ignored, etc - isn't it annoying? i have started another thread to whinge about parents....really it's to think about what makes the good ones good! please contribute! Image

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