Tag Archives: Ballet

Video of the Week #105: Four Swans

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Video of the Week #105: Four Swans

Alice’s Adventures in Covent Garden

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Thank you to Donna of My OBT for this guest post about the fabulous ballet, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! Click “View original post” under the photograph to read the article and see the videos. I especially like the caterpillar.

My OBT

ballet ROH/Johan Persson

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Video of the Week #99: Art. Color. Ballet.

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Video of the Week #99: Art. Color. Ballet.

Creative Juice #42

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Creative Juice #42

Twelve recent articles to challenge your preconceptions and open you up to new possibilities.

Guest Post: Pas de Degas

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Guest Post: Pas de Degas

Thank you to Donna from MyOBT for this fabulous guest post. I love all things ballet!

My OBT

degas 1 Ken Browar & Deborah Ory for Harper’s Bazaar

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Creative Juice #30

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Creative Juice #30

A baker’s dozen of artful articles (better for you than donuts!):

Creative Juice #25

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Creative Juice #25

Fourteen more articles to start your Friday creative streak:

  • Melanie McNeil shares the quilts she made in 2016.
  • I think you may be obsessive compulsive if you do this, but I love the results. I may have to try this idea…
  • Nostalgia time. My husband had one of these in his classroom to help his students improve their listening skills.
  • Are you jealous when you see all the creative things other people are doing?
  • Combining loves of ballet and reading.
  • The illustrations of Hanna McCaffery.
  • I think a dragon is the perfect subject for a quilt.
  • A grandfather posts a drawing a day for his grandchildren on his Instagram account.
  • Um, some of these one-of-a-kind Etsy finds are examples of creativity gone awry.
  • Scrap paper sculpture.
  • Joel Kioko, a young ballet dancer from Kenya.
  • The embroidery of Humayrah Bint Altaf
  • Norm 2.0 is known for his Thursday Doors photography posts, but here he combines doors and street art.
  • How do you do free-motion quilting at a retreat? Like this.

Guest Post: New Yawk, New Yawk

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Guest Post: New Yawk, New Yawk

A treat for those of us who love ballet. Thank you to Donna for this guest post, which originally appeared on her blog, My OBT.

My OBT

dance 0 Kevin Richardson

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Creative Juice #20

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Creative Juice #20

Ten articles that will tickle your artistic brain:

Ballet Feet

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Ballet Feet

I used to think that ballerinas’ feet must be dainty and beautiful. How else could they move so gracefully?

But the reality is that ballet dancers suffer for their art. Literally. Between the many hours of daily practice, rehearsals, and performances, up to 90% of dancers suffer injuries. For females, dancing en pointe (on the tips of their toes) can cause severe damage; men often get hurt when landing after a leap.

To stay in shape, professional dancers generally take a class five days a week. The last 15-20 minutes typically involve jumps. Here are dancers from the Pacific Northwest Ballet in class:

Millicent Powers, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Silicon Valley Ballet, says, “Dancers’ bones and bodies frequently exhibit signs of premature aging: bunions, bone deformations and tendons that are missing, damaged or otherwise impaired.”

Ballet feet

Dancer Dane Youssef explains, “In nearly any other sport, one is allowed to wear shoes that are stuffed to the brim with nice comfy padding. In ballet, traditionally—the feet have to totally absorb the brunt of the shock…I’ve heard of lot of ballerinas who have to switch majors when they break their feet.”

Some common afflictions of dancers:

  • Achilles Tendonitis—inflamation of the long tendon on the back of the leg
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Blisters—caused by rubbing of the shoes
  • Bruised and broken nails
  • Bunions—a deformity of the bone that causes the big toe to lean in towards the other toes
  • Dancer’s Fracture—a break of the long bone on the outside of the foot; typically occurs after the dancer performs a jump
  • bones_footDancer’s Heel—Posterior Impingement Syndrome—a bump caused by wear-and-tear which forms on the back of the ballet dancer’s ankle, preventing her from dancing en pointe
  • Hammertoe—misalignment of toe (usually the second one) so that it bends toward the big toe and looks like a hammerhead; often genetic, it may develop in dancers as a result of tearing of the ligaments on the bottom of the toes
  • Heel Spur—an abnormal growth on the bottom of the heel bone
  • Ingrown Toenail—painful condition in which the skin grows over the toenail; untreated, can lead to an infection
  • Metatarsalgia—pain on the ball of the foot, which bear the brunt of “pushing off”; named for the five metatarsal bones
  • Neuroma—a pinched nerve causes burning pain in the forefoot and numbness in the toes
  • Plantar Fasciitis–irritation and inflammation of the fascial covering of the sole of the foot
  • Sesamoiditis (Turf Toe Injuries)—inflammation of the two sesamoid bones in the forefoot causes pain underneath the big toe, like the sensation of walking on rocks
  • Shin Splints—pain and swelling in the front or inside of the shin, indicating that the lining of the bone has torn away; can also indicate chronic exertional compartment syndrome, where pressure builds inside the muscles
  • Stress fracture

While the ballet movements themselves tend to have the most noticeable detrimental effects on a dancer’s feet, ill-fitting shoes can also be the cause of foot pain. Calluses, fractures and ingrown toenails can form very quickly if dancers wear unsuitable shoes.

800px-PointeShoesToe shoes, worn by ballerinas dancing en pointe, have a hard base made up of layers of paper, leather, or burlap, and must be padded to adequately support and cushion the dancer’s foot. Professional dancers can wear out two to six pairs of toe shoes per week, at $70 or more per pair. The New York City Ballet spends $600,000 per year on toe shoes.

Dancers with the best chance of avoiding injury while performing en pointe tend to have toes all about the same length and strong ankles. “Pointe can jam the joints of the toes and feet,” says Dr. Brett Fried of South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers. “I would limit pointe, especially in pediatric patients.”

For more about the effects of dancing en pointe, see the following articles:

The next time you see a ballerina (seemingly) effortlessly pirouetting across the stage, appreciate that those moments of sheer beauty have a cost—literally, blood, sweat, tears, and pain.