Combining dance & school, how do we do it?

Should I stretch or study? Study or stretch? Haven’t we all been there? If I stretch I won’t have time to prepare my shoes or finish the English essay.. but if I finish the essay will I have time to go through today’s corrections from class…? 

As you might have guessed by now, this post is about combining dance and academics, how do we do it?

My top tip is a classic one: be organised. Being organised will not only help you knowing what you have to do; when and where, but planning and organisation are keys to manage a busy schedule. Use your phone, notebook, computer or any other device you feel comfortable with, to write down dues, goals and to do lists. I suggest you keep everything in the same book, device or planner. So that in your calendar, for instance, you mark your exam dates for school as well as upcoming important events for dance. Doing it this way will help you anticipate your work and you’ll stay organised.

I personally prefer using my phone the most. In the app notes (where I’m writing this blogpost this exact moment 11.05pm 17/6) I write everythingggg. Especially during busier days filled with homework, meetings and ballet&dance stuff. I write what I have to do and structure it so I know what’s more important vs not so important.

Another thing I do in order to manage combining ballet and homework is to multitask. I LIVE for multitasking. I used to prepare pointe shoes while watching documentaries for school on my computer and stretch at the same time. Try to squeeze in as many things at the same time without loosing control. Easier said than done but keep in mind that quality always wins over quantity in most cases, be careful not to try and manage too many things at the same time.

Lastly, I want to bring up the fact that you need to remember that you’re only human. Although dancers are very inhuman most of the time, don’t get ahead of yourself. Relaxing is just as important as rest is and vice versa. It’s all about balance.

So as a summery: always stay organised. Try to write down everything you need to do. Know what to prioritise. Try to multitask but on a fair level, don’t overwork yourself or plan overconfidently. Be realistic. Stretch while watching TV, fix shoes when commuting to school or dance. Study during breaks. If you’re a night person, take an extra hour in the night for things you need to get done by that day, or as a morning person (me) wake up earlier to finish work.

Take care!! 

A visit to Old Delhi 

Spices. Richaws. Cows. Dogs. People. All squezzed up on narrow streets with way too many cables. What I am talking about is Old Delhi. 

My mom has joined this group of expats called 7 cities. Every Wednesday, they go on a tour, visiting different places in and outside Delhi, for sightseeing. Today Old Delhi was on the schedule and since I am here, I came along. 

We left our apartment a bit before eight. After driving for almost an hour, we got to the red fort parking lot, where we met with the others.

First out was walking along the sides of the red fort, which by the way were covered in marijuana plants, until we got to the richaws.

We shared a richaw in groups of four. Other stops during the tour were a mosque, crowded streets in Old Delhi, the spice market and we finished off with some Indian lunch (which mom and I had to rush from, to be in time for the appointment at the physio).

As you can tell by the photos above, Old Delhi was amazing. Though it was humid, around 40 degrees, loads and loads and loads of people it was really cool to experience the older part of Delhi. Almost as if we travelled a 100 years back in time. Just take a look at who that woman was ironing the clothes!

If ever visiting India and Delhi, going to Old Delhi is a must! To that end, only if you want to experience true Delhi 😉 

First ever pointe shoe class 

What can I say..? It’s every little ballerinas dream: to one day put on those magic shoes which will make you fly over the stage on only the top of your toes. What is the first pointe shoe class like? Does it hurt? How do you prepare a brand new pair of pointe shoes? For how long will they last? 

This blogpost will be all about pointe shoes with special focus on your first pointe class. To begin with, you need to have the right shoes. They should not be too wide, too narrow, too big or too small. It should feel as if a glove is holding your foot, giving it a gentle pressure without hurting. Unless your teacher is really strict and prevents you from wearing protection, which I think is rather rare nowadays, you should wear protection to reduce the pain. I use the ouch pouches from Bloch, I believe.

Dancing in pointe shoes may hurt; depending on what brand of shoes you are wearing, how used to it you are and the time you are dancing. For me, I did not have that much pain from using the Grishko ones but my Freed shoes always hurt a lot. Remember to try to keep your blisters as clean as possible, you don’t want any infections!

There are many different brand out there, Sansha, capezio, Grishko, Bloch, Russian pointe, gaynor minden and such. It is important that you’ve gotten professional help from people that really do know that the shoes chosen for you is a good pair. I got my pointe shoes when I was 10 and have been using Grishko 2007s the majority of my time on pointe. Though I’ve lately gone over to Freed II as they give my feet a nicer look.

Well, back to the first pointe class. I often get the question: What should I bring? To start with you should, unless your teacher says differently, be dressed just as you would be for a normal ballet class. Hair in a bun, tights, leotard, bring a water bottle and your soft shoes. It may only be a pointe class but bringing your soft shoes is always a good idea.

Before the actual class, make sure your shoes are nicely prepared and ready to use. Check with your teacher whether you should put wrist bands as well and what he/she would like the top of the shoes to look like. When at home, you want to make the fitting even better. After preparing them, start by stepping on the box before putting them on. This will soften them a bit. Another good thing to do is to put water on front on the sides of shoe. After that, put on socks to keep your feet warm. Start doing rélévées- parallel as well as turned out.

I can’t say any specific number of weeks/days that my pointe shoes last for. When dancing intensely in Freeds for example, they may only last a few classes while my Griskho shoes can be kept for a week or so. People that are not dancing that much and may only do it as a hobby might keep the same pair for months! It all depends on who you are.

This is pretty much it! The key things to keep track on is that the shoe is fitting your feet nicely. Always make sure you are completely warmed up before going en pointe and be careful that you always work through half pointe when dancing- this will prevent injuries as well as strengthen your feet. Additionally, to make the pointe work even better- keep doing foot exercises outside class. Rélévées in soft shoes, theraband exercises, flex/point, etc.

Good luck with your pointe shoes!! ❤ 

How do I become more flexible? 

I receive this question many many many times a week, sometimes on a daily basis as well. How do I become more flexible? How do I get my needle? What stretches are good for turnout? How can I get my oversplits? Do you have any flexibility tips? And so on… This post is more dedicated to the actual stretching itself. Because I know many of you are beginners- of course not all, but I even though you’ve been dancing for 10 years sometimes going back to the basics is just as good. So here we go.  

I have to start by telling you this, some people are born natural flexible while others naturally have a stiffer body. There’s nothing wrong with either of them, but it is a fact that does matter a lot in the long-term aspect how flexible you are able to become. I am natural flexible but that doesn’t mean it easier for me- I have the flexibility easier but the opposite with strength. Natural flexible but natural weak as well… is a way to put it. People that are stiffer in their bodies tend for the most time to have a stronger body as well.

In every stretch you do, you need to be careful & listen to your body- the fact that I can do a stretch without feeling anything, doesn’t mean it will be the same for you. If you haven’t stretched in your whole life, stretching will of course hurt. It doesn’t necessarily need to be painful, but keep in mind that having slightly pain while stretching is just a way for you body to show you that what you do works. As long as it’s not bad pain. That’s another thing to keep in mind, the difference between- will this pain make me a little sore because my body isn’t used to do it but it won’t affect me too much? Good. Will this pain that comes with this stretch make me unable to walk properly or do I have to adapt my daily moments in a bad way? Don’t stretch like that.

So, I hope that every person out there is aware that if your body is warm when you stretch, the possibility to hurt yourself reduces rapidly. Your body stretches much easier if you are warm as well, the results will be better. Either you can go for a minimum 15-20 min walk outside- outside walking is good for you- if you don’t live in polluted Delhi. Walk fast, breath & feel how the blood flow starts increasing in your body, making your muscles warm. Running is also great. If you do an intense workout beforehand, take 5 minutes doing leg swings to make sure you hips are nice and warm.

There’s something in your body called Fascia. This is the biological fabric that holds us together, the connective tissue network. Understanding fascia is essential to the dance between stability and movement – crucial in high performance, central in recovery from injury and disability, and ever-present in our daily life to the last breath we take.

The stretch I always start with- is the famous hamstring stretch. You know the one where you sit on the floor, legs stretched in front of you & then bend forward. I can easily put my head to the floor while doing that- but then it’s no point of doing it if I don’t feel it, right? Instead, grab your feet & flex. Stretch your legs as much as possible (if you have hyperextended legs, like I do, let your heels go off the floor & the stretch will increase), while trying to make your back completely straight: butt out, shoulders back & keep an open position in the upper front of your body- that’s when it stretches. This will really stretch your fascia. Hold from everything to 30s 3 reps, 2 min, 1 min 2 reps etc. I would say at least 30s as a minimum. This will make you warm from inside & out. It’s a lovely stretch when you get the hang of it- really intense but definitely essential in your daily stretching.

I won’t give you any other stretches today. Always remember that whatever you see online, when you try a stretch at home- be careful & don’t ever do anything too intense, that hurts too much, too many times. An example of this is the famous needle- constantly doing that when my body was still growing & not having enough muscles, broke my back. Although, better flexibility improves your performance in physical activities. It can also decrease your risk of injuries, helping your joints move through their full range of motion which enables your muscles to work most effectively. Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle.

It’s all about balance.

🖤 ❤

 

Fantastic beasts and where to find them

Today we started out the morning with a delicious brunch at Espresso House, I then met up with a friend while Rut took some time studying, for their upcoming humanities test. It was so nice meeting my friend again, we haven’t seen each other since June & we had loads to catch up on.

After that, I had to hurry to the hotel my dad is staying  to fill in a bunch of papers to the boarding school. At 5 o’clock I met up with Rut & Wilma at the cinema, we had a really nice time watching the new movie: Fantastic beasts and where to find them. That was a great movie with lots of excitement, I recommend it to everyone out there loving fantasy, magic & Harry Potter. We passed by a supermarket to buy some groceries on our way home. We then ate a very late dinner, tomato soup with pasta. Simple & tasty.

Tomorrow I will watch my friends’ ballet class, in the morning, then I will meet some other friends in town over a coup of coffee.

I hope you all have had a good weekend, I wish you a good start of the new week! 

5 makeup & beauty tips 

Hello everyone! This post will be scheduled, but right now I’m on the train on my way from my friend’s house. It will take an hour. So I mean, why not write another one of these blogposts then…? I’ve been asked to write more beauty & fashion as well: so here you go! 

Lorac Pro, MAC, Too faced, Urban Decay, Covergirl, the Balm & so it goes on, there are endlessly many great makeup brands out there. Although the makeup is good, it doesn’t necessary mean that the look you create will be a good one. It’s all about finding your own way of using what you have, to make your face look the best- if that’s what you are aiming for. Here are 5 makeup & beauty tips, that may or may not help you creating a better look:

1. If you have dry skin: mix your foundation together with a skin moisturiser. I do this in the winter, to keep my skin moisturised all the way through this cold season. The cold always tends to ruin my soft hands & skin. By mixing the foundation with a little moisturiser- will make such a big difference to you with dry skin. It will feel more like a tinted moisturizer but still give great coverage.

2. If you are too lazy to do your makeup everyday, but still want to look somewhat presentable; colour your eyelashes with a black color (specially for you eyelashes, I use one from Depend for example) – then bend your lashes with an eyelash curler: it will make a huge difference.

3. If you feel like your mascara is starting to dry out: put some eye drops in the mascara tube & run it under hot water from the tap, for a while. It really does help!

4. Applying a little highlighter to the top of your nose does lift up the whole appearance of your face. It brightens the look itself, makes you look both more awake & gives you a glowy finish- without looking like as if it is too much. Try it!

5. If you don’t want the most visible eyeliner ever- use a grey/ black eyeshadow to create the liner. This is what I do for my everyday makeup, it is easy & gives a very settle look.

Remember you are beautiful both with or without makeup. I hope you liked these tips, take care!

Back injury INFO

The reason for me being in India right now and not in Zurich- is because of my back. Which I am sure all of you already know. So… What is the problem? What will I do about it? Will I ever heal? 

I have spondylolysis; a stress fracture in the L5 bone- in the (left) lower part of the spine. This could have been here since birth- we don’t know that, but it wouldn’t change anything. The main problem isn’t on the left side, it is on the right side. On the right side, I have this really bad stress reaction, which would rather soon become a stress fracture as well, if I push it too hard in the wrong movements. This is causing me a whole lot of pain. It was much worse before, but since I am currently having a break from dance- the stress reaction is already better.
I also have scoliosis, a curve in the spine. This makes my right shoulder blade stand out more & the left back muscles looks bigger. The physiotherapists also discovered that my pelvis has a certain twist, which then later makes a little difference in my legs. All the things mentioned, plus being very flexible and pushing my body too hard in the wrong intense back stretches, without that many muscles- might be the reasons for the stress fracture.

But nothing that cannot be fixed. The doctor have told me that there are none of the things in my body that make me not being able to dance, everything can be fixed & I will be fully recovered. I have really good hopes. 

What will I do to recover this injury?
Well, I do physio here in Delhi, 2 hours 3 times a week, where I work with both passive & active sessions.

Passive session means the physiotherapists work with me. They try loosen up parts of my body, to get the pelvis straight, treat the scoliosis & so on. Guess what…? It actually works really good. My pelvis is basically straight now & my shoulder blade on the right side does not stand out as much anymore. How good?!

Active session means me working on exercises with the physiotherapists. This, to build up A LOT of strength in my body, with specific focus on the core, abdominal, glutes & back muscles. Exercises I have gotten so far, is to do side plank, bridges (for the glutes, pelvis pressing up against the ceiling, on both one & two legs) & some more abdominal things, which are too hard to explain.

Later on, we will go down to only 1 hour per day, 3 days a week. When I have gotten more things to work on, alone at home. I will rather soon also start working out with my ballet friend here. She has given me so many great exercises, which has helped me a lot, I cannot wait to work with her more. So thankful for the weird coincidence that we are in India the exact same time. Some things are just meant to be…

I had a meeting with the doctor yesterday. He already saw a difference (in a positive meaning) in my body & was very happy with the fast improvements & results. He will, in the beginning of next week, call the doctor in Zurich/ taZ. Where he will explain everything regarding my back; healing, recovering, the actual injury & so on. This, so she understands more what the problem is and that it actually can heal. My mom & I are in great contact with the school as well. I hope for my life that I recover & have a possibility to go back… It is an absolutely amazing school. 

Every morning, after breakfast, I start with a “morning walk” in the gym, for at least 30 minutes. I cannot yet run, but walking is definitely better than not moving at all. Then I go back to the apartment & do strengthening exercises. I do what I mentioned above, as well as loads 0f foot work. For example, I do 100 relevés 2 times everyday. I really work on building up the strength in my feet. In the evenings, I tend to repeat what I did in the morning. I am used to 8 hours dance every day, repeating a workout doesn’t hurt.

I am very careful in everything I do though. I have come to a point where I have realized that this injury might actually mean something. I am now aware that I have pushed my body way to hard, in the wrong ways. IF I would have been more careful, I probably wouldn’t have gotten this fracture…
But there’s nothing bad that doesn’t come with anything good. When I m fully recovered and back to dancing again, I am SURE I will be stronger (mentally and physically) than ever before!

Keep working hard (in the RIGHT ways)!
Kisses