Friends in the right places

My friend, Jacie, (Cheyanne’s mom) told me yesterday that Gaynor came out with a 5 box shoe, and that the local dance store had them.
Now, I don’t know how long they may have had the 5 box available, but regardless, the risk would have been rather great to just get them blindly. Anyway.
My friend Abby–the Wicked Witch from Oz last year–teaches at the studio attached to this dance store, so I messaged her and asked if she knew anything about them. I had a photo shoot yesterday, which got me out of work early, thus giving me time to meet up with Abby to see about the shoes.
(Cue all the happiness because I haven’t seen her in I-don’t-know-how-long and miss her terribly, so this was a win just stepping out of the car and hugging her neck.
She only had 15 minutes before her class started, so she got me started seeing how the Gaynor’s did.
The best part about having Abby there is that she already knows me. She knows my dancing, she knows my feet, she knows my quirks and what struggles I have. She knows about the nerve damage in one leg, the extra length the other gives, the un-square hips, the short toes–all of it.
She knows about Swan Lake. I told her what Mrs. Alex and Ms. Munro had told me. And I expressed my concerns. I asked her my questions on if she knew what I could do better or try to work on.
She. Knows. So. Much.
She put me in Gaynors, and put me in some Grishko’s, and they had the hard shanks on all, which was wonderful. I showed her my current shoes, and how I seem to knuckle over in them.
She had to rush to her class, so Mrs. Coker helped me from there. I explained to her the bit of my pointe quirks that I could, and asked her about the knuckling over and the way the shank shifts, especially on my left foot. She explained how it will do that if your weight isn’t centered in your shoe, and I asked if there was anything I could do about that. My toes being so insanely short definitely has an effect, so she tried me in a narrower shoe, but then my foot knuckles (is that what they’re called? That’s what they look like. Whatever) are painfully smooshed. It’s a very complicated predicament, as most people have either one or the other. I have two toes relatively close to the same length, then the other three are relatively close to the same, but polar opposite, length.
Rolling up is complex. Mix that in with my uneven legs, causing knee pain if I’m not super careful, and the struggle is so real.
She had me try on pretty much all the Grishko’s they had. Some were more painful, but seemed a better fit–if that even makes sense– and others didn’t put as much pressure, but I would sink right to the bottom. They were all hard shanks, which my arch was lost in, but I was able to get all the way on the box of, so I figured if those were best, I would just break them in. I was actually impressed with their shanks, because Capezio’s hardest shank was almost like perfectly broken in shoes for me now when I first wear them. Which is great, except that they don’t last long at all.

It came down to the Gaynor’s and a pair of Grishko’s. Mrs. Coker said she thinks the Gaynor’s were better, but Abby had expressed concern of them still causing me to knuckle over. She came back by with the spare minute she had between classes to see me in them again and approved vigorously. That made me feel so much better about the risk of getting the shoes.

I went to class, danced on my old shoes, and hated life.
Dramatic, obviously, but I could tell how dead those really were after having been in new shoes for the greater part of the previous hour.

When I got out of class, I had a text from Abby saying that Mrs. Coker told her that I was the hardest fitting she’s ever done. (This made me feel quite accomplished.)
We got to talking, and she was telling me what they thought about my feet. She says she doesn’t think my feet are weak–quite the contrary. She thinks my feet are actually rather strong, and that’s why I keep killing the shanks and may be why I’m hesitant to fully pull out of my shoe since it will cause me to go too far and end up eating dirt going over the top of the box. She mentioned that getting over on the box of a hard shank Grishko is nearly impossible, that she can’t even do it, which is unheard of being that she is solid muscle. Seriously. Gosh, I miss her…
She said she thinks maybe it’s my ankles that are weaker. Which would make sense. My ankles give me trouble for seemingly no reason. Especially before starting dance, I could just be walking down the street and suddenly my ankle would give out. Mrs. Coker had also told me some specific theraband work to do to help with my foot shifting the way it does in the shoe that causes the shank to shift.

Over all, yesterday made me feel so much better. I have answers, and though they may not technically have solutions, I have plans of action to try and make this work. At least I know it’s not because of laziness or lack of work or something.


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