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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Wearing pointe shoes/soft pointes for barre work


Xena

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I know I have a problem with sickling in my left foot. I spoke with my teacher and she says it is because I 'over point' my foot. I now make a concious effort to rectify this problem. Normally I wear split sole ballet slippers for ballet classes, and demi pointe shoes when I feel like it, or if I forget my normal slippers. My teacher asked me last night, 'why don't I wear pointe shoes for barre work?'. My answer was because I didn't want to. But do you think it will help me more in strengthening my feet, especially with regards to the sickling problem I have if I wore pointe shoes during barre? or should I be working in slippers still and working on the problem wearing them? In other words, would they help or hinder my problem? or is strength not an issue here?

 

thanks

 

Jeanette biggrin.gif

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Jeanette, my personal feeling on this is that you learn to work your feet best in soft shoes, and that any problems need to be corrected in these shoes before trying to fix them in pointe shoes. I also feel that doing all pointe work, especially at the barre, does not work the small muscles of the feet well enough to develope the articulation of the feet as well as if you use soft shoes for your technique classes and pointe shoes for pointe classes and rehearsals. For the most advanced dancers, doing some of their classes all on pointe is okay, but still not all of them.

 

Some schools will disagree with this, and like all of their advanced classes to do everything in pointe shoes, all the time. I don't feel that this works as well, in my experience. They may get stronger on pointe this way, but they lack correct usage of the feet and really good articulation.

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Yes, that was my intuitive feeling as well. I will work harder in soft shoes and sort out the problem before progressing. Do you think it is okay to wear soft pointes though?

Thanks

 

Jeanette

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Jeanette, I have absolutely no experience at all with soft pointes. Have never worn them, and have never, in all of my years of teaching, had any students who wore them. Major Mel will have some information on this, as he teaches RAD, and I believe they are the only ones who wear these shoes.

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Yes, thats when I heard of them first and thats when I had to buy a pair. But that was before whenI was going to do my RAD exams. I do like them, but my feet absolutely ache after wearing them.

Thanks for your advice though biggrin.gif

 

Jeanette

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Guest Colleen

I personally detest soft pointes because they never fit properly, make my feet look ugly, and prevent me from fully using my foot. I hate them and wish RAD would let us use regular shoes for the Major exams. Maybe that's the next great reform smile.gif

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Colleen, I have never even seen these shoes, but I must say they sound quite odd to me. Perhaps I am too old, but I tend to think one is either in soft shoes or pointe shoes. Never felt the need for anything in between smile.gif

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Ms. Leigh, on the same topic of shoes, what are the benefits of wearing leather vs. canvas shoes? I have not worn leather shoes since I was 6 and first starting, so i don't remember the difference. The school I teach for now has leather shoes as part of the dress code. What is your opinion? If i choose to take classes there, I will have to switch and really don't want to. i do remember how ugly they make my feet, however...

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Soft blocks are nothing more, really, than the old-fashioned Capezio Russian Ballet slipper, but with a satin upper. You can use them if you choose, to make your feet work rather harder. My teacher used to use the Russians as an indicator that the student was ready for pointe, and was just getting the last preparations before actually getting pointe shoes. Maybe your teacher has some sort of therapeutic regimen in mind; we can't see, so it's hard to judge. The shoes certainly won't hurt, but your feet won't look as nice for awhile.

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At one point I wore old, deshanked pointe shoes (more a necessity then choice), but that did make my feet stronger. However, I don't think it would prevent sickling. Here is an interesting bit I read in Suki Schoerer's book on Balanchine technique. One should think of "presenting" the foot when pointing so that the heel is always forward. The imagery she uses is serving a cup of cofee on your foot. I thought it was kind of neat to explain it that way, and I have been thinking about it when I am doing tendu and develope exercises. Anyway, that's my two cents.

 

Danja

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Guest wally_wombat

this may sound odd but i have riped out the middle of pointe shoes and done nomal classes only to get the last of the wear out of them. i have found out thay are almost like a demi-pointe shoe. in doing classes it was good but outher ways not so good. you couls flip a coin for the pros and cons.

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Guest Colleen

What you've done is exactly what we're talking about wally_wombat. And because people usually make their own soft pointes rather than buying them they aren't particularly flattering usually. A dead pointe shoe with a soft box no longer conforms to the feet as it used to and I personally find that my very narrow, very tapered feet just swim in them. And even worse, they don't look as pointed and often look sickled just because the shoe moves around my foot. I'm hoping to take my Intermediate/Advanced II exam next year and what I'm dreading most is not the technical demands but wearing those silly shoes rolleyes.gif

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