pointe shoes

Ready for your pointe shoes ?

Meedhu Miriyam advanced, ballerina, Ballet, dancers 1 Comment

 There is no reason for a ballerina to go on full pointe if she cannot do anything when she gets there.                                                                                                                                                            – George Balanchine

Every ballet dancer would love to tell you the experience of receiving their first pair of pointe shoes. After all, the feeling of perusing through those pretty satin shoes, slipping into them and going en pointe for the first time is a dream that every ballet dancer envision the day they join the class. It is also a confidence booster for the young dancers because getting the go-ahead signal from your teacher for your first pair  is not easy.

There is immense responsibility for a good teacher to determine the readiness of her student– both physically and mentally to take up pointe work.

What is pointe work?

Pointe technique is a ballet technique in which a ballet dancer supports all body weight on the tips of fully extended feet within pointe shoes.

To say the least, pointe work involves risks. If you do not carry the strength needed to stand on your toes and balance your body weight, you may end up getting injured. This level of strength and endurance comes with considerable years of training. A strong foundation is imperative before the students  take up the pointe work in ballet. So, it is not a decision that your teacher will make lightly.

You cannot rush into pointe work just because of your desire to dance en pointe. Most ballet teachers will agree that pointe work is an extension for a dancer who has undergone effective ballet training.  It is for those who are  ready to commit to more serious work in ballet. No teacher, who has a good knowledge and understanding of ballet, will ask you to put on your pointe shoes just because ‘you have to perform’. No good teacher wants to see her student learn bad habits in dancing or get injured.

Simply put, if your teacher says you are not ready to move up the grade or start your pointe work, respect her judgement and knowledge. A student’s basic ballet technique,  strength and mobility of the feet and ankles are important factors that determine the preparedness for pointe work. Other factors include turnout and core control along with bone development.

What to do if your teacher says no  to pointe shoes ?

Of course, there will be disappointments. Remember, this will also be your learning curve.There will be a set of reasons as to why you are not ready. Listen to your teacher and make a commitment to work on the corrections the teacher gives you. Be consistent in your practice and work with your teacher to make improvements. Eventually, you will be good enough . Your pointe shoes will reach your hands sooner or later.

Here are four of our  company dancers sharing the experience of receiving their first pair of pointe shoes.

Elina Wisung – Ballet soloist with Yana Lewis Dance Company

pointe shoes

Your experience getting your first pointe shoes

Getting my first pointe shoes was pure excitement. I want to say there was a hint of dread too because of the pain that can come along with it. At the time, however, when I was in store for my first fitting, it was joy and probably a sizable amount of pride that filled my head.

Pointe work is

Tiring, satisfying, painful and beautiful all at once. It requires technique, time, strength, an enormous amount of hard work and a will of iron to be able to effortlessly float across a stage on your toes.  When you finally achieve it, your soul lifts and takes flight too.

Sushmitha Margad – Ballet soloist with Yana Lewis Dance Company
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Your experience getting your first pointe shoes

When I was first told I was ready for  my pointe shoes  it was a pleasant surprise. Though I adored pointe work, I never thought I would make it that far. However, at the end of the first 20 minutes of pointe work, my feet were in agony and crying out for rescue. I could not wait to get the shoes off my feet. Slowly and steadily I worked my way up. The feeling of that first pirouette en pointe is something I will never forget. I felt like I was flying in the air.I felt on top of the world. Finally, I fell in love. I fell in love with pointe work.

Pointe work is

Painful but it gets better with time as you get stronger and you will start enjoying it. You can create magic up there but you have to work for it. After years of pointe work it still gets painful. I sometimes want to take my shoes off unable to bear the pain, but I am certainly stronger now and I eagerly look forward to pointe class and enjoy dancing on pointe . There are blisters and pain but there are moments of miracles and that makes it all worth it.

Nana Ota – dancer at Yana Lewis Junior Dance Company
pointe shoes
Your experience getting your first pointe shoes

When I got my first pointe shoes, I was really happy. I felt like one of those advanced grade students who I admired whenever I saw them in their pointe shoes. I was really excited that I could finally dance in pointe shoes. During my first class, I was surprised at how difficult it was to even stand with the shoes. It was painful, but I knew that if I got better at it, the pain would go away. The pain did not stop me from practicing more. The more I put in my effort , the better I got at it.

Pointe work is

Something that motivates me as a ballerina. I really love ballet. I think when I practice in pointe work, my skill and technique in ballet improves so much.

Nikaya Polsani – dancer at Yana Lewis Junior Dance company
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Your experience getting your first pointe shoes

I was elated. I felt as if I took my first step from being a regular student to becoming a ballerina. Most importantly, I felt accomplished and proud that I got into these almost fairy tale like shoes. The thrill that I experienced when Yana said I can start my pointe work, to buying the shoes and putting them on for the class has still not worn off. I love pointe work because it is absolutely beautiful.

Pointe work is

Pain, hard work, blistered toes that  haven’t healed in time for the next class, accomplishment and lots of tape around my toes. Most importantly, it is a transformation from a clumsy girl who can barely stay up on pointe to someone who can end an hour long class and still be up for more. Pointe work is  a journey of hating a step to loving it because of the hours of hard work you put in.

So , there it is.

Pointe work is beautiful. To put it rightly, your hard work, dedication, willingness to push yourself even in pain and under pressure while making it look effortless is what makes ballet beautiful.

We would love to hear your experience of your pointe work classes. Tell us.

 

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  1. Pingback: Journey of an Indian Ballerina - The Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet

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