Spending Valentine’s Day with cats

After all the commotion of the day before, I wasn’t expecting very much for Valentines’. My man giving me a pebble (a shiny one) to signify his love (ya know, like penguins), was more than anything I can ask for. So after having lunch with my mum and uncles, I was quite surprised that he has booked a table for dinner. But, before that, we had some time to kill. We decided to make our way down to The Cats Museum, located at Purvis Street. Finding a parking lot was quite a hassle, but it was really worth it.

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Too fast too furious

Last Sunday’s class turned out to be one of the better ones. I had tons of corrections and praises by my dance teacher (which feels awesome and you know it). I even managed to keep up with the petite allegro cum piroutte exercise, which even my teacher was pleasantly surprised! I had one of those ‘good turn’ days, if you know what I mean. My pirouttes and fouttes were all in control. Left side was being gracious too.

If you saw my previous dance post, where I asked about cracked toe nails, well, I’m still battling with it. It has now gotten to a pointe (pun fully intended), whereby I can feel it (the toe nail, duh!) moving every time I go up en pointe. I know it’s a bit gross, my apologies, but I seriously know not what to do with it. It is a ticking time bomb on my toe.

Anyway, we were told to do posse turns en pointe, and for some unknown reason, I tend to spin out of control! Not exactly falling down, out of control per se, but more of the speed of my turns. I can start out slow, but as I kept turning, I just keep going faster and faster even though I wanted to slow down so bad. It came to a pointe where I am actually scared for my life and actually heave a sigh of relief when I end! So if anyone experienced the same thing, please let me know how you rectified this. It happens on both my left and right side, even though my left is somewhat wobbly, thus, fearing for my life.

Signing off~

Aquarium Overhaul

I had a bout of itchy green fingers again, and browsing through Pinterest, looking at the lush aquariums some people have done, isn’t exactly helping. Since last week was a long weekend in Singapore as Polling Day falls on a Friday (which I hope, all my fellow Singaporeans got whoever they voted for), I decided to give in, because what better to get rid of temptation?

I went Driftwood hunting a few weeks back, in the pursuit of that perfect, branchy looking one. Finally, I ended up with 2, rather nice looking ones. I had the idea of putting both of them into the tank, and went on to soak them in hot water for about 2 weeks prior to the overhaul, trying to get rid of any nasty stuff and tannin (boiling would be best, but I doubt I will be allowed to ‘cook’ my wood in pots used for cooking, with my germaphobe dad around).

Polling day came, my man bought me Macdonald’s breakfast, because, what better way to start the morning but with hot pancakes and scrambled eggs, before I went to do my part as a citizen, secretly hoping the potentially elected will result in a 5th mall in my area, and maybe, just maybe, Chacott will open a store here (hint hint). Anywaaay, after citizen business, its back to my tank. I drained about half the water out of my tank, which required several huge pails, since my tank is about 14 gallons, or 60 litres, not exactly fun. Luckily, my man was around to do the heavy duty. I then removed most of my plants, since it might be easier to get my fauna out without the obstructions. Which led to a conundrum, yanking my plants out will lead to an ammonia spike, which is why I wanted to remove my fauna in the first place. So which comes first?

In the end, I tried to remove the plants as gently as I could, praying that each cloud of dust will settle soon. At the same time, trying to remove as much fauna as I could into a little pail with an airstone, with little success, since I only managed to get about 1/3 of the population out. The Platys and Betta are not much of a problem, since they are relatively slow, some rummy noses were caught by trapping them against the glass and net, the Celestial Pearl Danios proved impossible, and the Shrimps and Otocinclus, needless to say, are impossible. I’m sorry to say, homegirl here has no patience in catching fishes. By now, I have removed most of my plants, except those that I thought looked good in that area and my tank was as hazy as Singapore right now. Occasionally, I managed to catch a glimpse of red (from the remaining rummy noses in the tank).

I kept the filter of the main tank running, to try to get rid of the cloudiness. I then proceeded to put in the Driftwood. Lo behold, homegirl has overestimated the size of her tank once again, and putting both driftwoods in would be impossible. It’s ok, I can work with one. Rescaping the soil would not be a great idea since I still have some fauna in there and I have no wish for them to die from the Ammonia (my heart breaks whenever one of them dies, don’t judge!).

After close to 5 hours of all these shenanigans, I am now really proud of my tank. It looks so much better and less cluttered than before! Still waiting for the Microswords and Micranthemum Monte Carlo to carpet…

So here’s the before…….

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….. and the after

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Let my know your thoughts, if anything else can be improved.

On the ballet front, I haven’t been going for classes, since I had exams and then it was term break for my ballet school. I feel awfully guilty for not attending classes as regularly. Anyhow, World Ballet Day is coming up soon (1 October!), and I’m super excited. They will be streaming 5 ballet companies LIVE on Youtube! It seems just yesterday, I was camping in front of my laptop, with bags of chips, and feeling the pangs of jealousy of how my extensions are not as high, or that petite allegro still befuddles me, BUT STILL, watching them practice is really inspirational! Even genius ballerinas do not get away with training! 23 hours of watching behind the scenes footage from The Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet.

Here’s the schedule if you need it:

British Standard Time
3 am – 8 am: The Australian Ballet live from Melbourne
8 am – 11 am: The Bolshoi Ballet live from Moscow
11 am – 4 pm: The Royal Ballet live from London
4 pm – 9 pm: The National Ballet of Canada live from Montréal
9 pm – 2 am: San Francisco Ballet live from San Francisco

Eastern Standard Time
10 pm – 3 am: The Australian Ballet live from Melbourne
3 am – 6 am: The Bolshoi Ballet live from Moscow
6 am – 11 am: The Royal Ballet live from London
11 am – 4 pm: The National Ballet of Canada live from Montréal
4 pm – 9 pm: San Francisco Ballet live from San Francisco

Signing off~

Broken toe nail =(

Its been a while since I blogged, but my exams and assignments are finally over (at last!), so I figured, why not?

I went for ballet class last weekend, and I’m not sure if its because I missed a couple of lessons prior (coz exams), but for some unknown reason, pointework seems to be really hard for me this week.

We did a short barre, so centre was about 1.5 hours. After doing a couple of demi pointes in the centre (the burrrnnn),  we moved on to pirouttes en dedan from fourth, when something really weird happened. I couldn’t go up on my left feet. There was a nagging pain on my left big toe, and no matter how I braced myself for the turn, I just couldn’t get up, and ended up doing it in demi pointe.

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Teacher-In-Training?

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. I have work piled up to my neck! Although tuition classes has stalled for the term holidays, I have been busy dealing with my never-ending school assignments, and also starting an online shop (reading contracts saps most of my energy)!

My dance teacher, then has to break her ankle. Before I know, I’m receiving a call from her, requesting me to help her with classes, just to demo. Well, if its just to demonstrate a few dance moves to a couple of kids, why not? How wrong was I.

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Perfect Pointe Shoe Quest Continues….

I am so excited! Over the weekend, I went for my first ever, pointe shoe fitting! Although I have been pointe work for years, I haven’t had the chance to get fitted to the point(e) (pun much intended) of choosing 9-10 pairs at once. As my current studio sells pointe shoes as well, previously Bloches and Grishkos, now Wear Moi (which personally, I feel, looks really bulky) I usually just get fitted by my teacher and buy whatever she recommends to me.

Now, I have been obsessed with Freeds of London, ever since I tried on an old dying(with still a few uses left) pair from my teacher’s daughter, and OH…….. feels like heaven! It was comfortable as hell (not sure if its because it has been broken in) or that the whole look of the shoe was gorgeous. Well, this was probably 2-3 years ago. But I haven’t forgotten that feeling.

So after my last pointe shoe died on me ( my second pair of Chacott COAD), I decided its time to get a pair of Freeds (at last and courtesy of mummy dearest). I made my way down to Chacott’s flagship store (yeap, they sell Freeds there now), all excited, that I totally forgot that I needed to make an appointment to get fitted. After all, I have never worn Freeds and thus have no idea what I should get. I did however, bring along my old pair of COAD, which hopefully might be of some help.

The lady at the shop was a tad annoyed, since I didn’t make an appointment and that she had another appointment in half an hour’s time, but she gave in after I kinda begged her (no way am I making my way there again, as its close to a 45 minutes drive, which le bf might probably kill me). We tried a bunch of shoes, starting from the Freeds Studios, which totally did not suit me, lots of sinking into the shoe, and gave a really bulky look, before finally settling for Freeds Classics Light.

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The feeling was so different! I felt supported, and really stable.

For people who have no idea what the difference is between the two, the Studios are manufactured (factory made) so they are readily available, while the Classics are handmade by different makers. Mine was made by O maker (Freeds gives such weird names to the makers), and his sign is stamped at the sole of the shoe.

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Doesn’t this feel extremely personal?

So I was thinking, why not create a list with reviews on my pointe shoe collection (note that there are quite a few that have been to the bin and thus forgotten)?

1) Sansha Ovation 3/4

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This was my first EVER pointe shoe. I made a terrible terrible misake with these. Since my teacher told me to get pointe shoes, I researched and got myself the cheapest in the market; at that time was about SGD$45. Although with 3/4 shank, it means that you will have a nice arch, but the box was terribly bulky and far too wide for my feet. I wore it for a couple of weeks before discarding it (thus the lack of real life picture).

I have a pair of blue ones as well, as an impulse buy when I went to Bangkok, Thailand. Could not really fit, but it was oh so pretty~ Of course, this pair has never seen the light of day, since we’re not allowed to wear other colours besides pink, to class.

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2) Bloche Seranades

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My teacher then proposed that I try the Seranades, since she was stocking them. It looks slightly better than the Sanshas, but the shank was too hard. Or maybe my feet was still weak back then. But yea, with the hard shank, I didn’t have a nice arch, it was hard to roll through demi. Will not ever get them again.

Funny story: One day, the stepmum thought that my bloches look really dirty and so decided to give it a wash. Long story short, the shoes had hardly a black spot on them, and they were as dead as it gets #booknerdalert.

4) Grishkos 2007 Pros

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I got these during Swan Lake season, so instead of pink, mine was white. I love these, and still do. They were relatively easy to break in and gave me a nice arch. They were really stable and really pretty. If Freeds do not work for me down the road, I will most likely go back to these.

3) Chacott COAD

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1st

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I had 2 pairs of these, bought within a span of a few months. The first was a second hand from my dance teacher’s daughter, which she broke in and didn’t like it after. The colour was beautiful, kinda in a salmon-ey shade instead of the usual pale pink and gave me a really nice line. The 2nd, was bought by my ballet buddy when she went to Hong Kong (or was it Japan? I can’t remember). Back then, Singapore didn’t have a Chacott store, so the only way to get it was either from Japan or Hong Kong. She knew my shoe size, down to the amount of Xs (that’s how close we are). Since my first pair was a hand-me-down and might not have much life in them, I told her to get me a second pair.

The first pair was great, but I had a love-hate relationship with the second pair. They feel oddly uncomfortable and unstable. I’m not sure if its just me, but there are times, I find it hard to roll through demi. It doesn’t look as good as the first, since it looks bulky and doesn’t show much arch. There wasn’t much of a support as well, so doing pirouttes en pointe can feel kind of daunting. Also, the colour can stand out quite a bit. Imagine, orange in the midst of pale pink, it can sometimes feel like its sticking out like a sore thumb.

Another funny story: I just figured out the night before why the 2nd pair was such a disaster. Turns out, my ballet buddy bought it in hard shank, as you can see in the pictures. Maybe she has too much trust in my feet. Did not realise that until I took photos of them.

So while I was looking watching some ballet videos on Youtube, I came across some Youtubers saying about how dancers should wear their toe pads under their tights to make their toe pads last longer. However, I don’t see how a thin layer of tights is able to do that.  Now, I’m not sure if its a cultural issue, but most all Singaporean dancers I know wear their toe pads over their tights, mostly due to the convenience when changing shoes.

What do you think? Do you wear your toe pads over or under your tights, and why?

Signing off~