The American Kestrel - Falco sparverius, is a small falcon, and the only kestrel found in the Americas.
Photos by Brandon Holden.
You see these fuckers? They’re my pointe shoes. Now, I don’t know how much you guys know about ballet, but pointe is a style of ballet where the dancer dances on their toes. There’s a wooden box like thing on the tips, and is flat on the front, which makes us able to dance on our toes like we do. It’s called the box or platform. These shoes need to be the perfect size, otherwise the dancer can easily seriously hurt themselves. If the shoes are too small, their toes could break, but if they’re too big, they could snap their ankles. No two pairs of shoes are the same, so you can’t borrow anyone else’s. They need to be yours because otherwise the shoes won’t fit with your foot and how you dance.
These shoes range from 50-85 dollars, depending on where you get them and what they’re made out of. They’re stiff as a board when you first get them, so you need to break them in. Breaking them in takes months. You have to dance in stiff, hard boxes until the shank and vamp finally takes to your foot. You will bleed. Some people actually cry because the pain of breaking the shoes in is so bad. Once they’re finally broken in, dancing in them is wonderful, even if it still hurts a little. But when they’re broken in, they only last a few more months until they fall apart completely. Then you need to get a new pair and break those in.
In order to dance on these shoes, you need the proper cushioning for your toes, whether it be cotton, a soft gel slip over your toes, or wool. Your toenails need to be as short as you can make them, so that your nail can’t splinter and dig into your skin as you go up. Sometimes it happens anyway. Before a dancer can even consider dancing on the floor away from the bar, they need to practice for months, perfecting their balance, the set of their core, where their shoulders need to be, and how to go up.
Going up is key to staying safe while dancing pointe. If you go up wrong, theres a 95% chance you will hurt yourself. To go up, you need to roll up from your heels to the tips of your toes, flat, and with precision. If you hop up, you’ll break your ankle. If you roll the wrong way, you’ll break your ankle. It literally needs to be perfect. Before leaving the bar, you need to be able to balance for about sixty seconds, to assure your instructor and yourself that you will be save doing forte turns and pirouettes, as well as gran-jete, glissade, leaps, and even waltzes.
The next step is grace. You can’t blunder across the stage. You need to glide, flowing from each step to the other. The dance needs to look like a single step, moving continuously from each pose to another. Fingers need to be extended, necks elongated, shoulders down, chin up, stomach and butt tense and in, legs and back straight and toes pointed and turned out. The dance must always continue, even if you hurt yourself. If you can still move, you can still dance. If you’re bleeding in your shoe, there is no stopping and fixing it. You finish the dance and when it’s over you patch yourself up in the dressing room and continue on with your next dance if you have one. If you fall, you make it look like it was supposed to be in the dance. Your facial expressions and body need to reflect the music, so if you have a melancholy song, you must look forlorn, and depict it through your body and eyes, as well as the set of your mouth. Same as if your number was happy and upbeat, you need to reflect that.
There are two major styles of ballet: Russian and Italian. An ideal ballerina knows both forms, and can tell the difference between the two. A dancer must follow the song with it’s beat as well, and the tempo can go from counts of four to sixteenth counts.
Pointe dancers sometimes need to put resin on their shoes so that they don’t slip and risk breaking an arm, or even their neck. But if you put too much resin on, your shoes will stick, and you’ll fall while trying to turn.
In conclusion, DANCE IS A FUCKING SPORT, OKAY? ESPECIALLY BALLET. WE RISK OURSELVES EVERY PRACTICE AND SHOW, SO DON’T YOU DARE FUCKING TELL ME THAT WHAT I DO ISN’T A SPORT. I PRACTICE FOR HOURS, JUST AS EVERY OTHER PERSON WHO PLAYS SOCCER OR FOOTBALL OR LACROSSE. I GET HURT AND I FALL AND I GET BRUISED AND I BREAK THINGS, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO PLAYS ALL THOSE OTHER FUCKING SPORTS.
So kindly fuck off if you think otherwise.
Ballet is the most hardcore thing ever. People are all like “Oh football players are so tough!” Pbbbbt. Ballet dancers can dance through pain that would make a football player cry like a bitch.
This is true guys I attended a professional russian ballet school for 10 years of my life it’s so fucking true
Someone said it
Also, one of the girls in my dance studio has flat feet, which you can’t have in pointe, so she has to use a contraption to B E N D her feet so they have an arch.
Ballet is fucking crazy.
I danced from age 3 onward at a professional ballet academy. By age 8 I was starting pre-pointe and the moral of the story is that my feet were still developing and so now I have fucked up ankles for the rest of my life.
Don’t fuck with ballet if you’re not hardcore.
I feel like ballet was a super graceful art form that was reasonably difficult and took a lot of skill when it was in France and then when it got to Russia they were all like
LETS MAKE IT PRETTIER
BUT ALSO HELL
Ballet is metal as fuck
Because of dance (ballet and competitive Irish Step Dancing) I have not know a pain free day since I was 15. Because of dance I have walked with a cane since I was 17, and will continue to walk with one until my unending pain puts me in a wheelchair. My right leg is constantly on fire, frozen, being electrocuted, stabbed by a thousand knives, an being crushed by a 100 ton weight, ALL AT ONCE. FOR 8 YEARS.
And I would give anything to be able to dance again. Even knowing how broken I end up, I would do it all again in a heart beat.
And I will use my cane to beat time on anyone who claims dance isn’t a sport, or an art for that matter. It’s both.
When you are 13 years old,
the heat will be turned up too high
and the stars will not be in your favor.
You will hide behind a bookcase
with your family and everything left behind.
You will pour an ocean into a diary.
When they find you, you will be nothing
but a spark above a burning bush,
still, tell them
Despite everything, I really believe people are good at heart.
When you are 14,
a voice will call you to greatness.
When the doubters call you crazy, do not listen.
They don’t know the sound
of their own God’s whisper. Use your armor,
use your sword, use your two good hands.
Do not let their doubting
drown out the sound of your own heartbeat.
You are the Maid of Untamed Patriotism.
Born to lead armies into victory and unite a nation
like a broken heart.
When you are 15, you will be punished
for learning too proudly. A man
will climb onto your school bus and insist
your sisters name you enemy.
When you do not hide,
he will point his gun at your temple
and fire three times. Three years later,
in an ocean of words, with no apologies,
you will stand before the leaders of the world
and tell them your country is burning.
When you are 16 years old,
you will invent science fiction.
The story of a man named Frankenstein
and his creation. Soon after you will learn
that little girls with big ideas are more terrifying
than monsters, but don’t worry.
You will be remembered long after
they have put down their torches.
When you are 17 years old,
you will strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
one right after the other.
Men will be afraid of the lightening
in your fingertips. A few days later
you will be fired from the major leagues
because “Girls are too delicate to play baseball”
You will turn 18 with a baby on your back
leading Lewis and Clark
across North America.
You will turn 18
and become queen of the Nile.
You will turn 18
and bring justice to journalism.
You are now 18, standing on the precipice,
trembling before your own greatness.
This is your call to leap.
There will always being those
who say you are too young and delicate
to make anything happen for yourself.
They don’t see the part of you that smolders.
Don’t let their doubting drown out the sound
of your own heartbeat.
You are the first drop of a hurricane.
Your bravery builds beyond you. You are needed
by all the little girls still living in secret,
writing oceans made of monsters and
throwing like lightening.
You don’t need to grow up to find greatness.
You are stronger than the world has ever believed you to be.
The world laid out before you to set on fire.
All you have to do
Chronic pain and illness is associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts and attempts. Please, help raise awareness.
Some witches worship Satan.
Some witches worship The Devil.
Some witches offer blood, skin, meat, and fur.
Some witches work with the dead.
THEY ARE STILL WITCHES.
And you should still respect their beliefs.
Stop shaming people and what they believe because you disagree with it.
IT ISN’T ALWAYS ABOUT YOU.*
*(Cultural Appropriation is not what I’m talking about, nor am I talking about breaking any laws.)
Get more dirt. I’ve run out of courthouse, schoolyard, and crossroad dirt. Still plenty of graveyard dirt and Cloister Dust. But those are for special occasions I should get every day graveyard dirt too.
Also, make cunning woman business cards.