Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pointe Shoe Quest! Fitting Freed Pointe Shoes and More.

This is a post compiled of information obtained in an email conversation with a very helpful online friend. She danced professionally for 17 years and began ballet at age 6, pointe at 11, and thought that she could help share some advice from her own seemingly endless pointe shoe quest. She danced professionally in numerous companies, US and European and we are so excited to have her insight!

Thank you Kelly!

All about FREED in Kelly's words.

In the end I found my shoe to be a Freed Wing Block maker Crown with cut down sides and lowered heel. Similar to Robbie,  I have wide, rather square feet with a narrow heel.  Now these shoes were a special order, but if you really are interested in trying to find a Freed shoe, maybe at least for auditions or performances, I would suggest you try to find a stock shoe in a maker that suits your toe configuration and then build a special order from that (shorten vamp, lower profile, cut down heel to help eliminate bagginess, customize shank, etc).  The beauty of Freed is that you can change almost anything once you find the right length and maker.  There is a spreadsheet I have with all the current Freed makers and their box shapes from tapered to wide and square, it might help if you are in a store looking by yourself.

My recommendation is to contact Clara76 (screen name) on “Ballet Talk for Dancers by Invision” .  I read the pointe shoe posts weekly and am amazed how she can fit shoes, Freeds are her specialty, by looking at some photos of your feet and certain measurements.  She is the shoe mistress for BalletMet and knows Freed, the makers, and how to help fix issues through special orders like nobody I have ever met.  I would highly consider sending her the photos and measurements and photos they request and see what she suggests for size and makers to try.

The other shoe fitter on the site is Victoria Leigh and she could help with suggestions on shoes by all available brands.  You have too beautiful of feet to be hiding your arches, whereas the right Freeds would be beautiful on you.  Keep in mind though that Freeds, in general, are a softer shoe and will break down faster than say, Grishko.  When I did not have a company paying for all of my shoes (sometimes 7-10 pairs a week) I would wear Grishko in class and rehearsal and Freeds for dress rehearsals and performances because you can break them in quickly and they are quiet on stage.

Otherwise, if you find yourself in NYC this summer for a SI make sure to make an appointment at the Freed USA store in Long Island (check out their Facebook page).  I would ask to be fitted by Brenda, Marie, or Mary.  Another source to check out a little more about Freed would be posts on YouTube.  Check out the youtube video featuring Marie Johanssen talking about makers and different toe configurations. (embedded below)

Personal tip for Robbie: From watching Robbie's past videos I would stick to a classic Freed and stay away from the Freed studio line.  They have a very strong 2.5 shank and can be hard to break in even for taller and heavier dancers.  Robbie may also want to ask her teachers about 3/4 shanking her shoes.  It is easy to do yourself and would really emphasize her arch.  I would experiment on an old pair of Suffolks before trying on a new shoe since it does feel different. 

Quick Tip: If you know your current Suffolk size that would be the same as your Freed size. Freeds are generally fitted 2 1/2 sizes down from USA shoe sizing.

The life of a pre-professional ballet dancer - Interview w/ Scout Forsythe age 16

Get your popcorn ready. Fifteen minutes talking to Scout Forsythe about the last few months. She talks about YAGP France, scholarship offers, attending JKO and ABT company class with Paloma Herrera and David Hallberg , pancaking shoes and she even gave me a signed pair that she wore in YAGP France 2013 to auction off as a fundraiser for my SI ! The link will be at when I have it ready .

Tips on Traveling with a Tutu with Scout Forsythe

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Q & A with Flexibility Expert Stacey Nemour

At present, Stacey has six DVDs available, Anytime, Anywhere Kung Fu, Secrets of Splits & Flexibility, Extreme Flexibility for Pro-Athletes & Teams, Stretching for the Least Flexible People On The Planet, Flexibility Fixes for Golfers & Tennis Players, and Secrets of Splits & Flexibility 2. She contributes articles regularly to the Huffington Post on: Kung Fu, Meditation, Flexibility, Spirituality, Health and Well-Being. She also helps prepare accomplished synchronized swimmers and rhythmic gymnasts for competition. Stacey has her sights set on shooting more DVDs, to move into more t.v. and action films, while continuing to be a positive female role model in the martial arts. 

Stacey is available for private lessons, small group classes, seminars, and consultation. Please use the "contact" link at to enquire about Stacey's program.

Q: Should I stretch everyday and what time of day is best?

A: I stretch everyday and what time of day is best? I feel everyone is different, for example some people are morning people and that time works best for them. I peak in the early afternoon. Also it is important to pick a time that works with your schedule and commit to that as you would brushing your teeth. Listen to your own body clock in regards to best time of day. 

It's alway good to warm up and cool down before and after you train.  For serious or professional dancers or athletes, 5- 6 days a week of stretching is good with 1 or 2 rest days a week. The body needs time to process, heal and repair. As far as daily training in your sport, it helps to cross train and work different muscle groups. So the other muscles can repair. This helps one progress. Most importantly, make sure you are stretching correctly with good form. Never force or bounce.

Q: What are the most important areas or muscle groups to stretch for increased flexibility for legs (for arabesque, develope, split leaps, splits etc)?

A: Since everything is connected- it's good to take the time to stretch the entire body and do it in the correct order. I like to start with upper body to get the energy going. Then work my way down, with each stretch gradually becoming more intense. Don't forget to stretch your calves, it will make it easier to stretch the hamstrings and low back. You want to get that whole line stretched.

Make sure you really open up your outer hips (t-band) & stretch the waist to get the low back to open up. Don't forget the inner thighs too which is also a necessary area to prep to do moves listed above in the question. Ankle weights are good once you are warmed up they help tired and strengthen the muscles to help you go the extra length!


Q: How do I know if I am overdoing it? 

A: If you are feeling constant fatigue, soreness and your body is not performing at it's best. I recommend getting plenty of sleep and taking some rest days so the body can repair and store up energy. This will help tremendously. Also, massage and going for a walk can help get rid of the lactic acid.


Q: How can I recover flexibility after a hamstring injury? 

A: It's helpful if you are able to see a chiropractor that does the activator method and knows how to use the activator gun. You don't want to stop training completely. Train around the injury with stretching and in your sport. This will keep you in shape and get blood circulating to the injured area.This method can help one come back even stronger. Don't do anything that causes the bad kind of pain. It also helps to visualize and see your body pain free and in top form.

Stacey's complete bio and DVD's are available at...

Stacey's articles in the Huffington Post

Stacey also provides expert instruction in the DVD "Flexibility Training on StretchGym™" (