Friday, January 25

dancing shoes


Like my friend Caroline, I've been hauling trash bags out of my house all week. Some to the garbage bin, some to the D.I., some to be recycled. I got everything cleaned out to the very back of my closet, where a black bag resides, housing what is left of my dancing days. It's stuffed with black and pink ballet slippers (split-sole, stitched-on elastics). Black tights with slits at the bottom for easy pulling up into leggings. Heavy pink tights---only the ones with stitching up the back of my calves would do. Split-sole jazz shoes, a few hip-covering and spaghetti-stringed leotards and one ballet skirt, made by my ballet instructor in 9th grade. We got to wear skirts for half of the class, if we behaved well. There are also some of those spandexy black dance pants that hugged everything from your waist to your calf muscle, and then fell loosely to the bottom of your heels. They made your legs look six feet long. Even me. Everyone had to have them, and we had to have them custom ordered. (Remember, Janae? We did a two-for.)

Is it hard for anyone else to throw out stuff like this? They're musty and haven't been used in at least five years. (Five years!) And I think it's time to say goodbye. Give up the ghost. Leave dancing to modern classes at the community center and weddings with bad DJs, where you'll always find me cutting some rug. I thought maybe if I photographed these, they would be easier to get rid of. But this turned out a little too sentimental and wispy for even me.

Here's a video about how pointe shoes are made. And then deconstructed by dancers.
Here's a link to one of my favorite ballets. The soloist stepped off the stage, through the aisle, into the lobby where she grabbed a trench and umbrella, and out into the London rain. All on film for those of us still in the theatre.

p.s. I was no ballerina. I was more of a contemporary/jazz gal. But ballet training is imperative. Just ask my lady Lausanne. Or that woman who mothered Travis and Danny and trained a bunch of the other impeccable dancers on SYTYCD. Try-outs in SLC on Feb. 4.

I think that's enough journaling for now.

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13 comments:

lottie said...

your post really made me smile - I still have lots of my old pointe shoes and I haven't danced for over ten years... all those hours spent darning the toes and then splitting the soles after wearing them just once...

Robin said...

You're so good - I really need to clean out my closets. It's SO hard for me to get rid of things with sentimental value. Or pretty much anything. Taking pictures and journaling about it always helps. Maybe your shoes and outfits at the DI will start another girl on her dance career!

Also, I'm pleased to be on your "making me happy" list! Thanks!

Parisian at Heart said...

I have the same bag of dancing shoes sitting in the back of my closet. And I haven't danced since middle school (I am now 26). I guess maybe I should move on too...

Janae said...

Oh I remember and I still have all of that stuff as well. Even the skirt Lisa made us. If you haven't gotten rid of that stuff don't. Just my advice, one day your little girl will love looking at your old dance shoes and love twirling in the same skirt that mom did in her ballet class. What long hours and great memories we had at that studio and all because of you. You were the one who introduced me to Lausanne..Thank you thank you!

becky said...

amen ali and janae! i loved those dancing shoes and don't get rid of all of it. you're going to want to remember (just like you did here) 20 years from now. i totally forgot about those skirts in 9th grade and lausanne, those were wonderful days...miss them.

Ann Marie said...

Ha! I'm thinking that I too have old dancin' shoes stored somewhere...why? Who knows. I do still wear around my ballet slippers for house slippers though.

chelsea said...

You should keep one pair. My mom kept one pair of her toe shoes and I used to have them hanging in my bedroom.

andrew & brittani said...

It was tragic when I threw away my dance shoes. They were smelly, old, and useless but it was still hard to let go...good memories of all that hard work with bruises, twisted ankles, burning muscles, and all.

Sara said...

Ali. . . fabulous post. Took me right back to good old Dance Corps Esprit, our trip to NY together, and all those early mornings. I am not a pack rat to the extreme. . . I probably throw out too much. My advice. . .keep a few things that are especially meaningful or that were always your favorite and the rest can go. Now you got me wondering if my old dancing shoes are still in my old black bag in my old closet at my moms. . . huh?

Anyone remember those horrible ballet costumes we wore for a point number. . .can't remember the music (sort of Spanish I think) but it was maroon with black and white lace and rhinestones? It now lives in Mya's dress up bin and she made me put it on a while back. . .hilarious! Also, I still have our “Choo Choo ChaBoogie” number. . .and no matter how much she begs, I refuse to put in back on.

Amy said...

Oh gosh, I am terrible at throwing away things with a lot of sentimental value. I was going to suggest you take photos to keep instead, but it looks like you already tried that. I'd suggest what someone else said, keep at least 1 pair. Everything else, though, as hard as it is...if you don't need it and it's taking up space, then it's probably time to get rid of it.

Lori said...

I have all of my old baton twirling costumes and even some shoes. I have not twirled the baton for 20 years. I feel your pain. i don't know why I keep them because like my 29 year-old self would every have use for my 9 year-old possessions. However, my plastic charms have come in handy on several occasions.

bop said...

i loved this post! i have a small purple bag with a graphic of bright pink dance shoes on it. it's sitting in my closet still after all these years. i just can't give up my shoes. every once in a while i lace up my point shoes and do a few stretches, missing the old days of dancing. sigh.

lane said...

Ali, you are one of my favorite dancers of all time. I know that if SYTYCD existed ten years ago, they would've snapped you up and you would've been a crowd favorite.

Dance is hard because it's so beloved, lovely, and such a big part of your life until it just isn't anymore. Not many places for a retired dancer to go--but I'm still never sorry I did it (and still so glad you did--the most gifted of us all). Like most things that are the most beautiful--it's fleeting.