(POINTE TRILOGY 2/3) Your Most Important Instrument: 10 Signs of a Great Pointe Shoe Fitting.

I strongly believe that your very first fitting can have a massive impact on your experience of starting pointe work. Just as subsequent re-fittings are key to how you develop from there!

Sadly, it’s not uncommon that an adult’s experience of being fitted is not as good as it could be, and/or doesn’t bring the hoped-for outcome: To find a perfectly suitable shoe, so you can start learning pointe with confidence and joy! I have talked to SO many adults, both IRL as well as in my amazing group of Instagram friends, and have witnessed many frustrations and endless finding-the-perfect-shoe sagas. The challenge is that you don’t necessarily know how a good fitting and a perfect should feel when you go for the first time, so even if you come out with a shoe, it might not be necessarily the best one for you (but You will find out only much later).

BUT, all is not lost! Many others have had great fitting experiences, and fitters are getting more and more catering to fitting adults.

While there is no guarantee that you will score the best possible shoe during a fitting, there are ways to ensure that you will most likely be successful.

(POINTE TRILOGY 1/3) Sooner, Later, or Never - When to go on Pointe? Evidence and Adult Ballet Reality.

Going on pointe is probably one of the ultimate dreams of a ballerina life! Especially for those of us starting ballet as adults, it might feel like the pinnacle of our work. Plus: The flood of gorgeous pointe shoe pictures in the Instagram adult ballet community. Together with captions that suggest anyone can go on pointe after a year or so, they may give the impression that you, too, can and should as soon as possible. Or that you’re missing out, or way behind, or learning too slow if you’re not up there on three.

So naturally, hard questions come up: When is the time to give it a go? And is pointe work really for everyone? And how do you determine if you’re ready? After all, going on pointe increases the forces placed on a foot by up to 12 times the body weight, and the coordination required is so much higher than regular ballet.

While these questions are tricky to answer already, the typical scenario of an adult ballerina doesn’t make it easier.

Why Doing Beats Anthing: Quick Life Lesson From 4 Street Performances in 4 European Capitals

When I decided to do four street performances in four different European capitals, it was mainly because it seemed like a cool idea.

Even though an uncomfortable one.

It meant packing two costumes, equipment, pointe shoes, and some supplies to keep the pointe shoes alive (concrete wears them like nothing else). In addition to stuff for 11 days, my son and his wheelchair.

But mainly, uncomfortable because it makes a regular vacation trip more stressful, way ahead of the performance.

Online Ballet: Four Ways to Sabotage Your Learning Progress

I believe that online courses can be a game changer. The Internet gives you access to teachers, knowledge, systems, and training resources without being limited by distances or hours of operations. It is an amazingly rich opportunity to supplement your in-studio work. Done right, you have the chance to create that pre-professional environment right in your living room!

But as with all amazing conveniences and living room comforts, there is a caveat. Or several.

Have You Given up on Your Adult Ballet Body Yet? Four Bodyweight Myths, Examined.

PREAMBLE: I have been in the area of strength and conditioning and working with the body for almost 20 years, but have always shied away from teaching nutrition. Because it can be such a messy topic. And I didn’t want to present yet another way of doing it, nor play yet another guru. But for almost as long, I have known and felt deeply that nutrition and everything that is connected to it has a huge impact not only on the appearance of the body, but on competitive performance, health, mood, and your whole experience of the activity you’re training for.

Why Your Adult Drop-In Classes Are Failing You (Even When They Are Excellent!) - And What You Can do About it

How long do you think does it take to get really good at ballet? (Let’s say “good” means approximately the level of a trained dancer.)

And is it possible to get good at all, for someone who started late, as an adult?

I remember a phase in my own ballet learning where I was completely obsessed with these questions. I would google them indefinitely. I wanted answers. I wanted proof and evidence that what I was attempting made sense and had a reasonable chance of success.

But there were no answers.

From Adult to Adult And Online Course Talk: How You Can Co-Create Your Ballet Body Evolution!

So….if we are friends on Instagram you alread know the big addition to this blog that has come around since the beginning of this year: I have started to walk the talk, to teach what I preach!

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In a nutshell: Late to The Party Ballet is evolving into a virtual, ballet-specific performance center for ballet students who started as adults. And because ambitious and brave adult ballet dancers are everywhere, I wanted my teachings to be available from wherever in the world you are located. What better way to do this - than through online courses!

Let me give you a short recap of what has happened over the last two months, how things are evolving, what’s truly and deeply driving me to do this, and what’s up next!

Point Zero

It had been brewing for a long time. As my lovely reader, you may remember that I have a background in physics and sports, and lots of experience in teaching/coaching professional athletes in strength and conditioning. Plus, all the research and studying about the brain and its ability to change at any age - which came about through my son’s disablity.

And five years ago, I entered the world of adult ballet. I got to dive deeply into it, and witnessed how ballet is taught to beginning adults. How the regular classes are often failing them - and it’s not the classes’ fault! There is simply a discrepancy between the formal content of a class and what the body and brain need in order to change. Into a sculpted ballet body. Displaying the grace and fluidity of a dancer.

And so slowly, by bringing my prior experience into it, and with the help of amazing teachers, my Adult Ballet Body Evolution framework came together. But still - how would I teach this?

The Co-Creation Process

I came up with a simple answer to this (inspired by learning from a great teacher herself, Lindsay Padilla): By co-creating with exactly the people who would benefit from my material. My students! Letting them tell me what they need. So earlier this year, I launched a first co-creation test shuttle: A 2-week course which I ran through Instagram. Eight students from US/Canada and Europe joined in a private group - and we dug right in. I taught them biomechanics, how to feel proper muscle activation in the body and where, and we even did a barre together on the last day of the course! (Let me know if you would like to take a peak at the course material - I am happy to give you access to the group for three days, so you can get a feel for my philosphy and teaching style).

It was a great way to see how to teach, what works, and what doesn’t. For example, I learned that I was a bit over-ambitious with my content (too much, too fast - that’s just how I roll 😁). I learned the nuts and bolts of technology. It was far from perfect (e.g., I lost several Live videos that I had planned to make available for replay whenever). But it was a great starting point, I got amazing feedback in the outtake surveys (and they were anonymous!) - for taking it up a notch.

Taking Co-Creating Even Further - and Hitting a Roadblock

Then something interesting happened (and again, it has to do with too much, too fast :-)). I thought I was ready for The Big One, a real Signature Course. Everything in one 12-week course: Activating the ballet posture, biomechanics, a full strength building program, nutrition, neuroplasticity and skill development (for any skill of your choice). Everything still in “beta” mode, co-creating with anyone signing up for the course.

I geared up all my strength, put out an info/sign-up page, got my payment collection up and running, started promoting it, working on the content and syllabus…..until I realized that something felt weirdly off.

Again - too much, too fast (it’s just my personality). I felt overwhelm. I realized that I was trying to put too much in one course, and that it would probably not only overwhelm students, but also myself teaching it. And that’s kind of a killer for teaching and a good learning experience. Also, I did not see much interest/sign-ups for the course, and I suspected that the price gap between the 2-week course and this 12-week course was maybe a bit steep for some people.

Dialing it Down, to Get it up 💪

So I revamped everything! Here is what I decided:

  • Split the Big Course into two courses. The first one, starting next week, will still cover all the Adult Ballet Body Evolution juice: Activating the ballet posture, biomechanics, a full strength building program, and basic nutrition. I will teach it over 10 weeks, with two implementation weeks inbetween (in those two weeks I won’t teach new content, but be available for support, questions, and feedback - so you can deepen your understanding and/or catch up)

  • Price the first course starting next week 40% lower than the original big course.

  • Teach the second course either right after the first one, or later in the fall, depending on student’s needs and wishes. That second course will be a framework for you to pick any ballet skill of your choice that you want to professionally improve. You will learn about neuroplasticity principles, create your own game plan, and then enjoy the before and after videos!)

And btw, in spirit of true co-creation, I did not decide only based on my own impressions. I actually ran my thoughts by a new student who had already signed up for the 12-week course and asked her what she thought about this. This is exactly what I mean - all this is for YOU, so I want YOU to have a say in what YOU need and how it can work best for YOU and me together!

Why am I Creating All This With You?

  • Because during my time as an adult ballet dancer, I saw that adults starting ballet miss crucial steps and phases that are a natural part of a trained dancer’s training. And that’s where most of the gaps between the appearance of an adult vs trained dancer come from - and not so much from age and starting late!

  • Because all this is created by a true adult starter herself. I am going through the same pains and sticky points as you, and I have an understanding of what dance body concepts are difficult to grasp. Plus the background to do something about it.

  • There is so much value in knowing how your body works on the inside. When you know what it is that you are activating, it can help you with activacting correctly. In a regular class, this kind of anatomy- and biomechanics-based approach is often not addressed due to time constraints.

  • Because I want to create a strong community of adult ballet dancers with aspirations. I believe that this kind of community can create new opportunities and avenues beyond what we think possible. Right now, adult ballet is sort of hovering behind the “real” ballet - why not challenge and shake this up a bit? 💃🎉

Let’s do this together!

More details about the course here!
Or if you can’t wait to sign up - you can do it here 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

See you on camera! 👩‍🎤

Shifting Your Brain by 90°: How Adult Ballet Starters Lose Turnout - And How to Fix it

Shifting Your Brain by 90°: How Adult Ballet Starters Lose Turnout - And How to Fix it

Is this you: When you stand in first, you have a pretty ok to quite good turn-out.

You may even be able to keep it quite well at the barre, following certain cues and sensations.

But once you get moving in the center, the turn-out goes. Comes back when you think about it, and then you think you have it, but on pictures or videos of yourself - it’s lost again.

Why is it so challenging for adults to lock it in place?

The Gift of a Failed National Ballet School Teacher Training Audition

I didn’t make the cut.

Well, what was I thinking? Auditioning for the prestigous Canada’s National Ballet School Teacher Training Program, really? As an adult ballet starter, after, like, less than five years of ballet experience? And hoping to make it to the next round?

I must admit that while I did not have any expectations, and I certainly shouldn’t have had them, I did feel a sting of disappointment.