The Perils of the Sticky Ballet Shoe

It was one of those days. The alarm rang, but there was a strong urge to slam the alarm clock,  roll over and continue dreaming about those six o’clock developpés (hey, everything is possible in a dream, right?). But there were things to do: school, work, ballet class. So I gave up trying to chase that ballet dream, pushed that tempting pillow away, and dragged myself to the bathroom.

Outside, it was raining. But not the kind of rain an umbrella can protect you from. The air was saturated with small, suspended, fog-like droplets that made you wet no matter what angle you pointed that umbrella. Great, add wet to the list of “Good Reasons Why I Should Stay at Home Today”.  There was still ballet class to look forward to, right?

I arrived at the studio to find it empty. Finally, a chance to practice those super hard en dedans pirouettes without having the rest of the class watch. I did a few quarter turns rather poorly, and tried a full one. But I just couldn’t hold it together. Maybe my slippers are too slippery (because obviously my technique is soooooo perfect), I thought, sat down and pulled them off.  A close examination of the leather sole revealed that it was time for a new pair of slippers. The little patches of leather on the bottom were so worn, they were shiny.  But living on a student budget and far away from the nearest dance shop, means you have to get creative. There was no time to run to Kitchen Kapers to get a cheese grater to grate some friction into those slippers.  So without further ado I put the slippers back on, headed to the rosin box and dabbed some on my shoes.

At first, it was perfect. The shoe had just the right amount of friction. But sweaty feet, a humid day and old rosin-saturated slippers don’t mix well. During the latter half of the barre, it became obvious that my rosin solution was not the smartest thing to do. I had a hard time pushing my foot against the floor, my shoes make odd squeaky sounds during tendues, and once or twice, the ball of my foot stuck to the floor like a sticker. Perhaps a smarter person would have taken their shoes off and done the rest of the class in socks.  I didn’t.

So we moved on to doing glissade en tournant on the diagonal to the right. The shoe stuck in a few spots, but nothing major. Then we do the same thing to the left. Plie, extend the left leg, and tuuuuurrn…. except the shoe doesn’t want to turn. It sticks to the floor, while my body tries to turn. Result: one teary eyed adult beginner in the corner of the ballet studio watching while the rest of the class finishes the combination.

Let this be a lesson learned: everything in moderation, including the rosin.