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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet shoes with ribbons?

Guest coupe66

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Guest coupe66

Hi Everyone,


I have a quick question. My dd (almost 9) is currently dancing Level 3 at a Vaganova-based, pre-pro school, and needs to wear ribbons on her ballet shoes. I am not familiar with this, and was wondering if anyone could tell me what the purpose of this is? Thank so much!

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My DD had a Paris Opera trained teacher who told her that one of the benefits of wearing ribbons on her ballet slippers had to do with learning how to tie pointe shoes (for those with the potential for pointe later). I am not sure what other benefits there may be. It seems that there are many European schools which advocate or require the use of ribbons on ballet slippers.

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Purpose is for when the elastics accidently become detached in ballet class, the ribbons are there to back them up. :grinning:

That's not the reason we use them! If a student has ribbons they don't use elastic aswell.


At our school they have them from Grade 3 onwards instead of elastic. I really don't like them but they need to get used them them as they are required for RAD vocational exams and of course for pointe shoes.

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maybe just to get used to being able to tie ribbons. From my childhood memories of ballet (now that was a long time ago) i remember having to have ribbons on our shoes for RAD exams and they took some getting used to tying them and i might be wrong here so happy to be corrected, but i seem to remember it feeling different dancing in shoes with ribbons rather than elastic. As i say though it was a loooooooong time ago now

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My daughter's vagonova school also has ribbons on flat shoes - but she is going to attend the Kirov's summer school and they say both ribbons and elastics which I find odd. I am not sure about why both... i thought the ribbons were just a tradition thing.

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The ribbons are traditional and that lends itself to one of the reasons not mentioned yet for wearing them. They look good. They look right. They may instill in the student a feeling of being part of a long heritage of classical ballet. Usually only required at Vaganova schools, ribbons on ballet slippers continue the tradition the teacher grew up with and now passes on to her or his students. I remember, many years ago, when my daughter's Vaganova teacher/school director told her summer students that she preferred ribbons. The next day every student showed up with ribbons on her shoes, they so esteemed her (and wanted to please her).


nilorack, my daughter attended Kirov's summer program twice, in the 1990s, and I remember that requirement. Perhaps it is because pointe shoes have both.

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As Marga says, in classical ballet ribbons on the pointe shoes are a requirement. Female children/students studying the Vaganova method wear ribbons on their ballet slippers because it creates a better line for the legs and feet. There is no other reason at all, as there are with pointe shoes. :yes:

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