O pointy birds, o pointy pointy

Ok I’ve had two pointe classes now, so I hereby officially say that pointe is easier this time around than it was in 2011.
Wait, easier sounds wrong. Less unnatural? More…right?
Huh. I’m gonna go with easier.
Easier as in my feet feel like they fit better in the shoes, which are the same old Bloch’s as before, with the same padding, nothing new or different.
Better as in my feet don’t hurt until the end of class, and even then it’s a mild hurt, and it feels like the correct part of the shoe is contacting the correct part of the floor (heh, like the floor has a correct part), and I have room left over in my brain to think about how I’m standing, not just that I’m standing.
But easier makes no kinda sense! At all! It’s been three years of not doing pointe, how could I have gotten (even the tiniest bit) better at pointe?
Well, you know I love some theories, so I’ve been collecting theories in regards to this pointe-y weirdness, and here they are:
Theory A:
Maybe it’s possible to learn something not by studying or doing or even focusing on the specific thing, but just kinda having that thing in the back of the mind for a long long time. Not exactly thinking it over, but just touching on it occasionally until it is somehow fully incorporated.
Teachers, does that make any sense? Is that a thing? If so it’s probably the least expedient way to learn something Ever, as it basically means you learn accidentally and super slowly, whereas in every other learning situation one would set out with a time frame for mastering the thing.
But sometimes accidental learning means a certain level of competency is just, like, there when you out-of-the-blue get to take pointe again.
Theory B:
Last time I took pointe I had been taking ballet for not quite a year and a half. Now it’s been that same year and a half plus three years minus about ten months of baby time which equals a stronger, steadier, all-around more correctly-footed and better-postured Adult Beginner.
This is funny to me because when I take pointe, I see the improvements in regular class, like pretty much immediately, but it never occurred to me that it works the other way too, that taking regular class brings obvious improvements to pointe. I mean now that I see it, duh. (How’d you get so smart, Adult Beginner?)
Theory C:
Last time pointe class was an hour long and we started cold.
This time pointe is half an hour immediately following regular class. So, to say we begin pointe properly warmed-up is to put it politely while excluding words like dripping, sweat, and buckets. Plus pointe is shorter. Less time to become exhausted and blistery and fall out of form.
Theory D:
I’m starting at the beginning.
Last time I joined an ongoing class. A class that was doing things in center, and I was being encouraged to come out to center, and I did, but in the intervening years I’ve often thought that if I ever got to do pointe again, I’d like it it be with a teacher who let’s me stay on the barre for at least a class or two, dammit, and it turns out that that teacher is my teacher, I just had to catch him at the correct point of his teaching trajectory.
So those are my theories.
Or maybe it’s all due to
Theory E:
I’ve been wearing a skirt for pointe and skirts are MAGICAL.

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
This entry was posted in Ballerina Class, and other pointe-y stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to O pointy birds, o pointy pointy

  1. Janet says:

    I think that you now have more ballet experience so you are stronger than before. I also think that having pointe after your regular class, and being able to start at the beginning is a help. Of course, the magic skirt could explain everything. Do you think that having your pointes ready to go makes a difference?
    Have fun. I am glad to hear that you are back on pointe!

    • Probably having all my padding ready to go and knowing that the pointes are on correctly is helping. I got in about four pointe classes total back in 2011, maybe five, and at least three of those were begun with a lot of fussing around and second guessing and re-tying.

  2. Joanna says:

    Skirts ARE magical! I dance so much better when wearing a skirt as opposed to shorts or leggings. And I’m also surprisingly less self-conscious, considering most of my skirts are pretty sheer. Total magic, I say!

  3. All of the above. Particularly E

  4. amandakash says:

    DEFINITELY E. I’ve tried all manner of shorts for class (I’m not in pointe, just regular class) but they never make me feel okay. Probably because most of my weight is right in my midsection and the shorts just draw attention, whereas a skirt is flowy and wonderful. Plus a skirt won’t ride up in my crotch area. I made about 3 of the SAB skirts but I think I need to make a waist for them. Until then I use a spandexy Body Wrappers one. Yippee for skirts!

  5. Stephbo says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s Theory F: All of the above.

  6. Agreed with Stephbo. It’s F, all of the above!

  7. anoint my head, anointy-nointy

  8. A few years ago I had the same experience in life drawing class. It was hard in the beginning, but whenever I had a break for a few weeks, I came back and it was easier. I go for theory A. I like to think of all our skills to be like a muscle that needs to be stretched, and then need to rest. Repeat. How could we not improve like this? On the other hand, the things we do sediments from knowledge to experience or wisdom after a while, it just need some time.
    Does this make sense?

    • Yes! Stretching and then resting makes total sense. I’m so glad someone else has experienced this, sometimes I’m concerned the idea of learning this way might just be my own lazy wishful thinking.

  9. wedoballet says:

    If I had a stack of cash, I’d put most of it on “B”, and almost as much on “D.” I wouldn’t ignore any of them though… I’ll take a piece of all that action.

  10. Zebra says:

    Yeah, B, C & D with a touch of E, because balletskirts ftw!

    B: Don’t think I know any ABs (as opposed to Returners) but you who’ve been let start pointe after only 18 months of ballet (& Returners had Done Pointe Before & generally not had TOO huge a balletbreak). There’s just so much stuff you need in place for pointe – all the Revelatory Moments Of Win in normal class you’ve had over the last three years (& a bunch of slow-steady stuff you don’t notice happening) will’ve translated to Pointe Working Way Better.

    C: Yeah, being warm before you start pointe is A Thing. Guy whose class I used to do wouldn’t let you take class unless you’d done regular class beforehand. The shorter class is prolly helping too – an hour en pointe can feel like a [painful] eternity…

    D: Like with everything else, leaping off ahead of yourself isn’t so awesome. Am glad you’re getting more of what you need this time around. Ballet is totally about Being The Tortoise. The tortoise in (E) Magical Balletskirts, obviously…

  11. Alissa says:

    Am I the only supporter of theory A? (Well, if my dancing improved equally to the amount of time I spent thinking about dance, I would be a triple World champion by now :-) but recalling and thinking about dance moves makes a significant difference between classes for me.)

    • So far you and Jessica up above like A.
      I’m liking A more and more lately because all the other reasons (except E) make so much logical physical sense, but there are so many logical physical reasons why pointe should be harder for me this time around: I’m older, I’m a little bit heavier, I take fewer flat-shoe ballet classes per week now than I did back then, so I kind of like A as a mental explanation to combat all the physical realities. It makes no quantitative sense but it’s happening.

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