Pointe Me In The Right Direction

Pointe Me In The Right Direction

I was actually intending to post last night, but was so exhausted that I couldn’t. I thought I’d tell you about why I was so tired, and not in the sense that I’m moaning either! Here you go:

Lucas laughs at me when we’re stretching at the beginning. I’m at my least flexible when I’ve not warmed up, and that’s saying something. For someone who loves dance I’m remarkably ill made for it, but I’m getting there. I stretch often enough that I shouldn’t look like this for much longer. I glare at him – he can get his head to his knees easily. I’m about eight inches away. At last Jenny lets us get up, and we all sigh with relief.

We drag the barre to the centre of the room. It takes three of us to lift it, not because it’s heavy but because the legs’ll slide out and fall over if we don’t hold them. When it’s in position, we try and find a space, but the piano has to be pressed into service too. Lucas and I take our places there, since we’re tall enough for it not to be a problem. This is the biggest class I go to.

This isn't my class. Just so you know. All images from Google!

The music begins. The other students are new to this repertoire but I was in this class last year, so I make sure I’m doing it right so that they can copy me. It’s just a booster for me, or would be, if after the first exercise Jenny hadn’t called out, “Hannah, Maisie and Miriam, you can put your pointe shoes on.”

I love them. I really do. They’re so silky and beautiful, even if the toes are made of goodness knows what. I love just holding them, and putting them on makes me feel like a proper ballerina, though when I walk across the floor they’re loud and make me sound like I’m wearing clogs. Taking my place by the piano again, I join in the exercises, this time balanced on a box about an inch and a half by an inch in size.

This is almost actual size.

I did pointe for the first time on Saturday, one barre exercise. Well, I say for the first time. Technically. Of course I’ve been up on my toes at home – who could resist when the shoes are just sitting there? But nobody needs to know that.

Tthe three of us on pointe lead the class in the exercises they haven’t learned yet. “You did this grade most recently, Miriam, you can lead this one.” So I taught them the jumps, and every time we landed my shoes thudded against the ground. How to stop them? When they’re new like this, they’re not at all softened.

But pirouettes are my favourite. Relevé, relevé devant, pirouette, and then the same on the other leg. The first three times we do it without turning, just holding our lifted position, which I’ve never been able to do. I actually find it easier on pointe shoes, as my feet don’t get in the way of each other.

But at the end of the third time without turning, my ankle is beginning to ache. Is it safe to do this? I’ve not done much pointe and I’m doing my best to draw all my weight upwards like they say, but I’m not sure I’m succeeding…I wish she’d tell me if I’m doing it right. I guess she’ll let me know if I’m doing it wrong, won’t she?

And then they let us turn. Spinning, en pointe! The moment I’ve been waiting for. Sure, so I’m not particularly elegant and I finish rather clumsily, but I’m turning without any part of my body touching the ground, just the tip of a shoe. I’m a proper dancer now.

The class draws to a close and we stand with our feet apart, reaching down to the ground. When our fingers are against the floor we bend our knees, and stand slowly up again. My muscles are trembling enough that I can hardly complete the exercise. Afterwards, when I gather my things and head for the bus stop, I’m still feeling wobbly.

So much for my easy, grade five booster class. It’s been one of the most tiring and exhilarating classes I’ve had in a long time.

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