In the last few posts (from the summer) I’ve talked about my pointe shoe issues, to which a few of you beauties suggested a dance forum with a lady who evaluates feet for shoes via pictures. I took y’all up on it and sent my pictures to her and had her evaluate my shoes, with the fitting happening yesterday.
This is that story.
(Apparently I’ve been watching too much Law & Order. Oops.)
(hopefully at least one person read that the way it went in my head to make it make sense)
My friend Annika and I (with Natalia on the first day) drove up to The Woodlands (near Houston) for a concert. (about a 3.5 hour drive.) There’s a great dance store down the road from where we were, Jazz Rags, so I called for a pointe shoe fitting appointment for the day after the concert. I had been in this store on a whim once before a few years ago, before I was en pointe, and they told me about their fittings and I was very hopeful. Plus, Annika had gone back in May and had great success there.
We were a little early, so we looked around the store at all the leotards and ballet gear they have (literally anything you can think of. Is this dancer heaven? Quite possibly. Self control was really difficult) then went up for the fitting around 3.
Hannah helped us, and she was wonderful. I always find myself getting really nervous to go to pointe shoe fittings for a number of reasons.
1.) I’m old. You typically find dancers at my level to be, like, twelve, so I tend to take people by surprise. Or they expect me to be freaking awesome since if this were a career I’d be seeing the end more than any beginnings.
2.) I don’t “look like a dancer.” Again, the stereotype of the perfect ballet body is far from what I have.
3.) I’m awkward as heck. Because I don’t know how said person is going to respond to 1.) and 2.)
Hannah wasn’t phased. She was incredibly helpful and even enthusiastic about the prospect of helping me out. I told her about the shoes I’ve tried, the shoes I’m in now, about Ms. Clara and her recommendations, and we went to town. She brought out the recommended shoes as well as others just for kicks and clarity. We discussed toe pads options and everything we could try to try and get a good fit and the most comfort possible.
We tried the Russian Rubins first (the most recommended shoe by Ms. Clara) which also happened to be one of Hannah’s favorite shoes.
She tends to favor the V-cut but agreed that the U-cut was better for me.
(Don’t mind my rolled up jeans)
I really appreciated her honesty. She wasn’t just out to make a sale, but to get me the best fit out there.
(This is the fabulous Hannah! Hope she doesn’t mind that I put her face on the interwebz…)
(Here’s some of the other shoes, though I don’t remember what is what because I think I tried on half of their stock.)
The other recommendations were the Bloch Heritage, but they paled in comparison to the Rubin’s. There were a few other Russian Pointe brands that were decent, but the difference was minuscule, so I stuck with the Rubins. They seemed to look better, too.
I was impressed with how I even felt lifted in the shoe. Many times I’d try one on, go up en pointe, and feel how I felt like I was fighting the shoe. Hannah even told me she could see certain ones were holding me back. Before stating her opinion, she would ask me what I thought of them, which was cool to see what I felt was also what she was seeing and gave me a better understanding of the complications that is trying to find the right pointe shoes. I was also really grateful to try on the other suggestions to know what the feel like, what is out there, and to feel the difference between what was okay and what was great. There was even this really cool shoe from Bloch that has a split sole but a full shank. They felt cool, but weren’t as good as the Rubin’s. Still, they were fun to try. I feel like I was able to get a better understanding of my feet and of pointe shoes through this fitting, which I greatly appreciate. (plus, Hannah has her own experience in these bad boys, so she knows the struggle and the importance of a good shoe.)
Towards the end, I put on my current shoes, just to show her. I went on pointe and sunk in to them so badly, I said, “I don’t even know how I danced in these.” Hannah responded, “Honestly, I don’t either. That just seems like a lot of shoe.”
I was so so so incredibly happy with how the fitting went. I felt so comfortable there and Hannah was so helpful and kind, not to mention informative. She also had all my favorite elastics and ribbons. She even pulled out her drawer of secrets to try and see if there were any tricks in there to help with the pain I tend to get on my big toe. I’ve never had someone try so hard to help me. (Although the Capezio fitting was pretty great. They still get major props, too.)
I also found me a great new leotard I hope to wear to Monday’s class, though I’m a bit nervous about the class itself. I’ve gotten so used to Adult Ballet that these mixed interim classes make me a little hesitant to be super thrilled. But I’m sure it’ll be okay. Just a bit of a different environment. And as long as I’m aware it should be okay. Take the class for me, right?
I’m sewing the shoes on Sunday so hopefully I can try them out on Monday. I’m really hoping the sizing is okay, since before my feet have been too cold at the fitting. But those were also rather rushed fittings and this one wasn’t rushed at all.
If y’all are ever in the Houston area and need a good fitting, call up Jazz Rags. They’re by appointment, but it’s more than worth it.
And, here is Annika, helping me out with the sweet photos
Also, they had theatre seats. Which was really cool.