When I was younger I did a lot of ballet. I once got a pair of hand made and personally fitted pointe shoes from an old Russian pointe shoe maker who had ended up, of all places, in Perth Western Australia. The idea being that shoes made to fit your own foot measurements would make the agony of pointe work less painful than off the shelf pointe shoes. I was a bit of a late comer to pointe work as a dancer and an old sprain injury in my right ankle made pointe work doubly difficult for me to master. So I thought an investment in personally fitted shoes would help.
I must have looked a bit crestfallen after my fitting with him, perhaps having brought all my struggles of getting en pointe to weigh down on me as I watched each foot being traced around with a pencil on pieces of paper. When I came to leave the shop he tilted my chin up and pressed my shoulders back gently and said with a kind smile "Once a dancer, always a dancer!".
It's a phrase I never since forgotten, especially when I find myself lacking in confidence and my chest caves in and my shoulders start to droop. I find myself tilting my chin up and pressing my shoulders back with his heavily accented English goading me along in the back of my mind. It's not just in those nerve wrecking moments before a performance when I start to doubt myself but even after shows or classes where I feel I haven't performed as well as I could have. It helps to just pull yourself up to move on and face the next challenge. It even helps me to think of it when I am at my day job and not feeling confident. What the performing arts teaches you which can be applied in other areas of your life is that sometimes it helps to fake confidence.
Although I gave up ballet years ago for flamenco it played a big part in my life and I still love the aesthetic. This pink full skirted dress is a ballet dancer's dream and I bought it to wear on my birthday earlier this year and wore it again recently to a restaurant with friends. You can take the girl from ballet...
It was called the flamingo feather print dress - don't you love that name? I love the reference to flamingo feathers too. Funnily enough often when I tell people I do flamenco dance they pipe up with "oh I love flamingo dancing!" Why? Why?
Actually the combination of flamenco, flamingos and feathers reminds me of one time I was coming back to visit the UK whilst living out in Spain studying flamenco. I was asked by the big burly and very jovial London gentleman at border control at the airport, in his thick cockney accent as to what my business was visiting the UK and what was I currently doing out in Spain.
When I replied I was studying flamenco in Spain he blurted "oh I love all that flamingo dancing!" I gently tried to correct his pronunciation and point out that the flamingo was a species of bird. "Is that so? Well whatever darling, I love all them feathers you use, just beautiful!"
I gave up at that point and just smiled, nodded and went on my way, completely bewildered as to what kind of vision of flamenco he had in his head!
Linking up to Patti's Visible Monday over at Not Yet Dead Style and Share in Style at Mis Papelicos!
Flamingo Feather Pink Dress: Whistles Limited Edition; Shoes: Miu Miu; Knit Ballet Wrap: old Max Mara; Gold brooch on wrap; Vintage via Ebay