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Pointe shoes and teachers

Holly Golightly

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For the first time in several years I have been doing pointe I seem to have found a good fit: I don’t sink, I don’t need tons of padding to releive my big toe, no pain at all, better balance, these shoes don’t make me knuckle and I manage to work comforably in them because they really seem to work with my feet.


Great, ain’t it?


Well, my problem is that my teacher doesn’t like them. According to her I am sickling, or better pushing my heel back (does this make sense to describe my mistake) and she blames it on the shoes. :blink:


Now, I do not object in the least to the fact that my feet don’t quite look as they should, especially when I am in seconde, but I must admit I don’t agree it is the shoe. In my very humble opinion, it seems like it is ME to give that “wrong twist”, or maybe a result of bad turnout. It may even be that a tapered shoe like my Maya IIs can emphasize that kind of look (do you think it is possible?). But why does my teacher wants me back into Récitals simply because of my heels? “You were better in the other ones, you should check the old pictures”. I don’t remember such great shots of me en pointe in the past six years, the only decent one (which I think is what she has in mind) is in a position that doesn’t really allow much judgement – profile and parallel, on one leg.


I am by all means NOT a questioning student, but I have triangular feet, and I had to use a ridiculous amount of padding, and I could really feel myself sliding in at times. Not to mention knuckling, and the fact that the box didn’t last at all :wink: . She wants me back in those :o – and I can’t understand WHY. To me it is plain as the sun that I am better placed in these. Not that I claim the authority of 40 years of experience, nor I want to correct mistakes in others, but maybe after 17 years of ballet I can recognize if I am knuckling, not pulling up, et cetera, when I look at myself in the mirror.

But I also have to add that what makes me annoyed is that she added “you weren’t doing that when you wore the other shoes, those that everybody else is wearing”.


Well forgive me, but that doesn’t make much sense to me. I didn’t change shoes because they were “cooler”, and I always took care (and lots of time) of pancacking them so that they wouldn’t stand out. Is it so utterly wrong to take initiative in these matters? I was just trying to be critical on myself and find ways to improve myself. Should I go back to the old shoes because she likes them better?


I have never in my life complained for being rebuked for a mistake, it is not my style, so this is making me feel a bid, dunno, sad, because I was heartedly trying to do “the right thing”. Am I wrong doing so :shrug: ? I simply think it is my fault (technical, or anatomical, or whatever), not the shoes’.


Am I missing the point of something??? What behavoiur would be appropriate of me? I didn’t really say anything, except that I do have developed a bit of a sickle in my right foot – which is absolutely true, but that also happens in street shoes, and I only realized it because my mother, walking behind me, asked me what had happened to my foot because I wasn’t placing it on the ground as my left one. She just told me to echappé and said it is the shoe that “hurts” me because it has a narrow platform and that I do it on the left foot as well. I do not doubt I am making a mistake, and that I must work hard to correct it, and I will – but my shoes don’t hurt in the least!


I feel kind of saddened and let down, and wonder if I have done something terribly wrong. Forgive me if this is more of a lenghty vent than anything else :blushing: , but I’d really appreciate some advice (especially from the teachers) because I don’t how to behave, nor how to feel about this. Thank you.

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Do you have the old shoes still? Why not do a side-by-side comparison?

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I unfortunately don't have those anymore - I haven't worn them for more than two years now. Sure, I could spend 40 Euros and buy a pair if necessary, but I think I'd have to order them in a narrow width (apparently not fashionable around here :rolleyes: ).

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In my opinion, it could be worth it to spend the 40EU and do your best at getting them fit right, including the narrow width. That would give you and your teacher an honest side-by-side comparison.

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Perhaps this is something totally obvious that you tried immediately when the problem arised, but before you spend 40.- euro on shoes you didn't like in the first place:

Did you take some classes really focusing on not sickling? Perhaps your technique just needs to adjust a little to the new shoes.

Shoes generally don't CAUSE sickling exactly (well, provided the platform isn't bizarrely lopsided somehow! :rolleyes: ), but some definitely accommodate it more than others. So if that is the case with these, then perhaps you just need to work a bit harder on aligning your foot than used to be necessary in your old shoes.


The thing is, I do understand your teacher's concern, because sickling en pointe changes the distribution of weight in such a way that you can seriously harm your ankle. So if I'd have to choose between either wearing loads of padding or sickling per sé, then I'd prefer the padding as well - at least that doesn't cause actual (potentially long-term) physical damage!

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I'd like to see pictures. It's hard for me to give you my best advice without actually seeing what is going on.

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Aren't your usual shoes rather narrow (and you were wearing Celestas at one point, weren't you)? The Recital recommendation doesn't make sense to me. Mimi's observaton could have something to it. I wonder if focusing on the sickling may help. I also wonder if a narrow shoe with a larger platform may be what she wants. I wonder if the RP Sapfirs would work (unless those are the shoes in question)? i think some communication fixes are called for. She's told you what doesn't like about the current pair, what does she like about the 202? What do you like about the current pair and what didn't you like abut the 202? What has Ms. DeVor recommended? I agree about pictures. Some barefoot as well.

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ok, first of all, thanks everybody for your help... :)


With order:

I do wear very tapered shoes, missvjc, you are right.

Pics can be done, sure - what positions exactly? I would only be able to send those with the present shoes though, would that be alright?

I am going to order the shoes anyway, I think.

Mimi - I generally try not to, but I will try in my next class to really focus on that as "first on the list".

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I need to see you in your current shoes, en pointe in:

1. Parallel position from front

2. first position

3. parallel position from the back


In other words, I want to see what your teacher is seeing.

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