Back to School in Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes - Organize Your Life and Nurture Your Spirit
Posted Aug 11 2008 9:00pm
Omg there is so much to worry about! Back to school fashions, getting in the best courses, a new schedule, a new ballet class schedule, and how much it is going to hurt after that first back to school ballet class. If you've had a month off, or even two weeks, you know you will hardly be able to walk up and down stairs the day after you start ballet again. Or was that just me.
Not to ruin your vacation by focusing on back to school organization, but that little bit of stress (or big chunk) that is running at the back of your mind already, could be channeled into changing your life direction for the new semester coming up.
Back to school fashions abound on tv ads. You are immediately immersed in the images of everything you do not have. Isn't tv wonderful? As an artist, your career success depends on your uniqueness. But right now, fashion and school and social profile demand a horrible conformity. Ironic, life is.
In the world of ballet wear, excluding pointe shoes and toe padding, a catalog of leotards and tights from the 1960's would not look too much different than dance catalogs and an online ballet store do today. Less variation then, but leotards are leotards and tights are tights.
Pointe shoes are a different story. Start fitting and ordering shoes now. It is a good time to car pool with some friends to a distant and bigger dance wear store, try different brands, and explore more options. If you are among the men in ballet and want to try pointe shoes for developing better professional footwork and virtuoso balance, start looking now. You may have to special order your size, and you may not want them in pink.
If you are changing dance studios, you can use your power of visualization to imagine your first class. Everything feels good. The other students are smiling at you. The teacher is pleasant and helpful. You feel included. You are so relieved!
Keep up, or start foot exercises for your intrinsic foot muscles. This will lessen the sore calves and shin splints that you may get from returning to class after a long break. Do a gentle barre at home, and do your stretching.
If you are a serious student already working out every day, remember to rest properly, relax and stretch well to maintain good muscle tone.
Right now you are older, stronger and know more than you did a year ago. Do a private check on how your life has changed since then. Are you more stressed now? Is it harder to organize your life or have you given up on that for a while? Have family obligations and school been overwhelming?
If you are a typical ballet student, you are generally more organized than others your age. You have to be, to keep up with just getting to class and maintaining acceptable grades. Get a picture of how the next stage is going to play out for you - stretch for optimism! Nurture your spirit with some quiet time, with a parent, friend, or by yourself.
Whether you are a pre-teen, teen or young adult, I would say the same to you that I would say to an adult. Journal or make lists if you find yourself worrying. Take action on the things that you can. Know what you need to do every day to make your routine less complicated. That is a big way to nurture your spirit, even if it doesn't seem spiritual.
If you are involved in ballet because of a compulsive disorder of any kind, you have probably done all your preemptive moves in preparation for the coming back to school days. I encourage you to start a blog, or use dance forums and tell us how you do it. For one thing, you could get support for creating a more balanced life. And you will have come up with details and insights that we in the less intense mode will never think of. We need you.
You are still growing and experiencing days of fatigue and low moods. This is normal. Learn what you need to know about nutrition and health, as much as you can. So much information is at your finger tips, if you want it.
My ideas are far less important than any that get provoked for you in reading articles like this. Get more tips from the many experts on how to train your brain, prepare for pointe shoes, eat well, and balance body and mind. The days before going back to school used to feel like a run-away train to me. Fortunately, by the time I saw all my friends, and got the schedules figured out, it felt like the engineer and brake man knew what they were doing, after all.