I could be doing any number of useful things on this, a relatively-free Friday, but here I am, reading through my old blog entries(1) just because.
- …And occasionally being horrified at how very cyclical is the learning of ballet. I realize that what I mean when I say, this year, “I need to get better at placing my arms” or whatever, I actually mean something different than I did two years ago … but jeez. The problem is that you’re always fixing the same body that has the same basic problems; it’s a question of degree rather than kind, I guess.
Anyway, I’ve stumbled across a couple of old reviews, and I figure I should update them.
Thus, here we go:
Sansha Mulberry 2 Legwarmers (discontinued, unfortunately)
When I bought these, I weighed 10 pounds more than I do now and my thighs were bigger than they are now. They’re still huge, but at this point they’re more “male ballet dancer” huge and less “Robert Förstemann, German indoor track cycling champion of the Universe” huge.
^^I’m not this guy. Honestly, I wasn’t even this guy when I used to joke about basically being this guy. But you should watch this video anyway, because it’s seriously the most gripping video ever about toasting a slice of bread.
At the time, they stayed up and served pretty well. Their grippy texture made them less than ideal in a tight sus-sous, as they tend to grab on to each-other and twist as you pull in, but on the balance they were, and are, good legwarmers.
The problem is, of course, that I am now rather leaner, I’ve discovered one minor flaw in the Mulberry 2s: they stretch out more than most legwarmers, and now they won’t stay up on me unless I layer something over them (something tight, that is).
I plan to take them in a little at the top, and then they should be as before: thin, warm, comfortable, but a little grippier, perhaps, than is entirely ideal.
Sansha “Silhouette” Shoes
I believe these have also been discontinued, though they’re still available for purchase in some sizes.
I liked these a lot; for a long time, they were my go-to shoes. They nicely balance the classic good looks and durability of a leather shoe with the breathability and flexibility of a canvas one.
I still haven’t encountered a shoe that shows off my feet quite as well as these. However, I’ve since switched to Bloch’s Pro-Elastics, and I actually like those better than anything else I’ve tried. They simply fit so beautifully, without the need for fiddly adjustments of the top elastic, that I’ve fallen in love with them.
For leather-shoes-required situations, though, I’d still go with Sansha’s silhouettes, most likely.
It’s worth noting that dancing changes your feet, so shoe preferences can also change over time. If you have very flexible feet like mine, you might experience a really significant change in the shape of your feet as your arches strengthen, which can lead to new adventures in shoe choices.
Bloch “Pro Elastic(2)” Shoes
- I’ve linked to the “women’s” version in black on Amazon, because for some reason the Amazon offerings of this model are a mess and even Discount Dance Supply doesn’t do a great job listing them. Meh. Rest assured that it really doesn’t matter which gender your shoes are if you’re ordering Pro Elastics: just order by size and width.
These are now my go-to shoes.
I think they’re one of the models that dancers either love or hate. I love them.
On the Pro Elastic and the similar Synchrony, Bloch has done away with the elastic lacing that runs around the top of the shoe, which can exert pressure either at the Achilles’ tendon or at the instep.
I have high insteps, and that can make it hard to get a good adjustment with the elastic lacing on many shoes(3). The Pro Elastics eliminate that concern.
- K.H. Martin’s flex-canvas shoe, which comes in two cuts—one for dancers with high insteps, and one for dancers with low insteps—is one notable exception. My white shoes are K.H. Martins, and I quite like them.
My feet also tend to run hot, and the Pro Elastics breathe well. They’re light and airy and tend to pretty much disappear when you’re dancing in them (assuming you’ve got the fit right).
The only real drawback, here, is that they don’t come in white or grey. Blargh. I really wish these were at very least available in white, because they I would never need to buy any other shoe ever again.
Oh, and the tights I wore for our performance were M. Stevens’ Milliskin tights, which are simply the best tights that have ever existed, and you should go buy some.
Anyway, I need to do a bunch of housework before tonight’s rehearsal. That about covers it for re-reviews right now. I still need to review the Dance Jox dance belt (which is quickly becoming a favorite) and get around to finishing my epic 4-way comparison review of All The Dance Belts, which I guess will have to be a 5-way review now.
*Yeah, sorry. I’ll try harder next time. So tiiiired.
I’m grooving on my Blochs. I like how they just kinda get out of the way so you can do your thang. I think I’mma buy a second pair in black.
I have discovered that they fit really well with the new tights I ordered from Sansha (edit: I’ll drop the model number here later; these aren’t the only men’s tights Sansha makes). The tights in question are cotton-and-lycra, and thus a bit thicker than my others, both of which are synthetic.
My inner jury is still out about the tights themselves—though not because of any shortcoming of the tights themselves. Rather, I’m a sweaty little bastard, and cotton absorbs sweat instead of wicking it. My knees and shins were surprisingly damp after class this morning. Weird.
On the other hand, they dry more quickly than I expected, and they’re comfortable. The fit is really nice (I ordered a size 5 in Sansha’s unique Dark Magic sizing system), and I like the fact that the straps are sewn in (I lost one of the straps that go with my other black tights :/). I do, however, wish they were sewn in crosswise in back, as they can slip off. In practice, though, that only seems to happen when I’m loafing around between classes.
Oh, they also look nice. Classic matte finish, nice lines, etc. I was all Serious Ballet Boy Is Serious this morning (or, well, my clothes were).
The tights in question are not, by the way, convertible (unless you get jiggy with some scissors, presumably).
Even with the combination of secure shoes and comfy tights, however, I was not a great turner today. This was likely a function of mild sleep deprivation.
We had a new teacher, who I’ll call J2 for now, since I’m too lazy to look up his full name. It was a great class; really nice combinations, and we got to do grand allegro, which doesn’t always happen. I couldn’t keep my head on straight during the petit allegro, though I did the steps well enough. I just kept forgetting that there were two changements at the end of the first phase. I did however, manage to do royales when they were called for instead of automatically doing entrechats.
Still, not my best day.
I made up for it by practicing one-foot relevé balances on the flat side of a Bosu ball. It was kind of a pain, as that really isn’t the intended purpose of the flat side in question, but nonetheless remarkably successful. I think I’m going to purchase a proper wobble board for that.
So that was Sunday. Tomorrow is mostly a rest day, except for rehearsal.
These arrived today after wandering terra incognito for a full week.
Just tried them out in the kitchen and got a triple from fifth of of them, easy as 1,2,3. o.O
I have never actually done a triple in my kitchen before because there are too many things to crack your skull on if you really fall out of a turn. These shoes, though—they sport giant front half-sole pads that feel incredibly secure.
The fit is pretty good—a tad looser than my Sanshas in the toe box, which is nice, but still narrow enough in the arch, instep, and heel (my feet are just a bit duckish).
I might try size 8 as well, but 8.5 leaves room for my extra-long (and rather prehensile) second toe.