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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Technique class in pointe shoes on flat???


Guest Yknuby

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Is this a common practice in ballet-taking technique class in pointe shoes but staying on flat, not going up on pointe? What is the purpose? Is this typically done after a dancer has reached a certain level of training? If so, what level/age would that be?

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It is a relatively common practice for advanced students, although they don't do it all the time. The purpose is to work on the use of the feet in pointe shoes and the balance in the center, which is more difficult with the pointe shoe. Also jumping in pointe shoes.

 

There are some schools who want their advanced students in real pointe shoes ALL the time, no soft shoes at all. These schools are primarily those with training in the Balanchine style.

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Would the above practice as described in my first post be appropriate for the serious ballet student between ages 12-14? These dancers are in a class that is the level immediately below the highest level in the school, which is reserved for the high school/early dismissal students.

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That is up to the teacher to decide, Yknuby. Personally, I don't care for it.

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My dd is 12 and has been known to wear "de-shanks" to help improve strength and articulation of the foot. The de-shank is just a little harder to work in than a soft ballet shoe, thus helps improve strength, etc. She does not wear them consistently in any one class, but will be asked by her instructor at times to wear them - she has recently started wearing them in company class following teacher request. She feels they are very helpful with articulating through demi-pointe. Gotta love my husband's look when he sees a pair of pointe shoes being demolished even further after they are unfit for further pointe work. My feeling is that we are at least getting a little more "wear" out of them. :)

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Interesting that you mentioned using de-shanked shoes. Some of the dancers in my granddaughter's class asked if they could use de-shanked shoes and they were told no. They were told that they could use dead pointe shoes, however, since they wouldn't be going up on pointe.

 

Here are more details about her class the other day. They started at barre in pointe shoes but did it on flat. They switched to technique shoes for center. Then they put their pointe shoes back on and had pointe class which consisted only of center work with lots of releve combinations and an echappe (sp?) combination. Does any of this make sense? This is a very different sequence than she has ever had before.

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I'm sure the teacher had a purpose in mind, although I do not generally like barre in pointe shoes for anyone other than the most advanced students. I just don't feel that they learn to work their feet as well because they are not strong enough when younger. However, some might feel that they will get stronger through using the pointe shoes. I prefer to have them feel the floor and use the floor to develop the muscles in the feet, however I would not say that the other way is wrong, just different.

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And the St. Petersburg and Moscow academies used to have dead pointe shoes for even the rawest beginners, who of course were hand-picked, but they did away with this expedient awhile ago. They were getting cases of fungal infections from the old shoes, so they stopped doing it.

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