Monday, August 24, 2015

What's in Alli's Dance Bag-- My tricks of the trade!

It's that time of year again! Back to school and back to Ballet!! (yay!) Today was the first day of my NINTH SEASON with Ballet West!  I can hardly believe it! Time is flying.  My summer was filled with exciting new adventures like the #IAmYourFriend Benefit Dance Performance Rex Tilton and I produced in SLC to raise money for the non-profit organization, Fahodie for Friends, as well as the inaugural year of my very own summer intensive called The artÉmotion Summer Intensive with my new business partner Ballet in the City!  I am really excited to finally be back in the studio and back on stage myself!  I spent the weekend shopping for what I need in my dance bag to keep me on my toes and I thought it would be great to share some of tricks with you!  All summer, especially from my artÉmotion students, I would get questions about what I do to deal with pointe shoe issues, or blisters, etc., so here it is for you all!

First up, pointe shoes!!! (And how to make them last longer!)

Professionals are lucky and we get shoes from the company.  But, trust me, I remember the days when my parents had to buy me pointe shoes all time! They are expensive!  Lately I've been enjoying wearing dead shoes. I don't recommend it for young dancers starting on pointe or still developing their strength, but its just what I am preferring right now.  With that being said, if you are not able to get new shoes as often as you'd like here are a few tips on dealing with dying toe boots!

Trick #1 Glue is your best friend!  When your box is getting soft it can be painful and cause bruised toenails, not to mention turning gets rough! Us Ballet West girlies use a brand called Hot Stuff!  We simply put it in the inside of the box! It keeps them going strong for a very long time!  If you need help on how to apply the glue correctly watch my silly How to sew Pointe Shoes video on YouTube! The video also shows you how I like to sew my shoes as well, which leads me to.....

Trick #2 Sew with dental floss!  I really wish I could remember who taught me this nifty trick, but instead of yarn or thread I use waxed dental floss to sew my shoes!! It is so heavy duty and reliable! I promise it will work and it's cheap and easy to get!

#3 Use duct tape to fix a broken shank!  Have you ever had that perfect pair of shoes and your shank decides to break in half? Or they break and you're waiting for your new shoes to come in the mail?  The perfect remedy for a broken shank is duct tape!  It keeps your shoes lasting a bit longer and it helps you not to get cuts on the bottom of our feet!  I do this all the time so make my favorite pairs last longer!

Trick #4 Use rubbing alcohol instead of water to soften your pointe shoes!   When I first break in shoes the only place I really like soft is the box around where my knuckles of my toes are.  I used to use water to help soften that part of the shoes but it often stained my shoes and made them look bad. I had a friend who suggested rubbing alcohol!  I tried it and its amazing!  It doesn't stain the shoe and it works perfectly!

Trick #5 Options, options, options! If it's possible, try to rotate a few pairs of shoes at a time!  I usually operate with three pairs any given day.  When one pair starts to feel sweaty and like they are softening up, take them off and let them dry out.  Use another pair and continue the cycle. I find it keeps shoes lasting longer!

Second up, tricks to keep you on your toes!

When your feet and body hurt, you dance bad.  Let's face the truth, we all know it! Here is a list of a few ways I try to keep my pain to a minimum!

Duct Tape! Again, but this time colorful!  I find that taping my toes with duct tape works the best.  It stays when my feet get sweaty and it never breaks or moves around.

Band-Aids.  Always have them on hand in case a blister or some other type of wound pops up!  You don't want silly injuries to get infected! 

Corn cushions and corn pads.  I suffer from corns sometimes and they can get really painful.  I usually just wrap a corn pad around my toe but corn cushions work just as well! You can tape the cushions around a nasty blister, too!

Arnica Cream. Arnica is a savor.  If you have a bruise or sore muscles you can rub arnica cream into your injury for relief. It's safe and natural and I use it often.  I had a stone bruise on the ball of my foot last week and I applied arnica to it everyday for three days.  I do not feel it any longer.

Toe spacers.  If you have a large gap between your big and second toe like I do, using toe spaces help relieve pressure that can be put on your bunions.  I never dance a day without them!

Extra toe pads.  Even if they are old, keep them in your bag.  You never know when you can lose one!

Pain relievers!  (Ask your parents about these if you are too young to take them by yourself!)  I always keep ibuprofin, Pepto-Bismol dis-solvable tablets and Tylenol Cold in my bag! You never know when something will spring up on you!

Lastly, snack and other important items!

I'm always preaching to my students about snacks!!!! We burn so many calories while dancing and it is important to keep your body energized! Today for example I brought crackers, clementines, raisins, and a protein shake!  Whatever you prefer will be great! Make sure it's full of nutrients! Also, don't forget to drink water!! 

 I have a locker at work, but I always like to keep a few pieces of warm up clothing in my dance bag at all times.  I have one shirt to wrap around my waste, a pair of pants, socks, leg warmers, a jacket and a clean leotard to change into after lunch!

I like to have extra bobby pins and hair elastics, toe nail clippers, chapstick, a brush and foot spray in my bag!  The foot spray is refreshing after a long day and helps with foot odor!  I also have deodorant in my purse!

My last few tips!  Have thera-bands and a tennis ball handy!  You can use the ball to roll out tight muscles and if you're on a small break it's always great to get a few ankle exercises in!

Well, that's it for now!  Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope my "tricks of the trade" will help you in the future!  If you have any additional info you think is useful add it to the comments below!  It's always great to help your friends!


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