More Pointe Shoes

Pointe Shoe Success!

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You might say I’m obsessed with this topic, but when you’re driving to the outer reaches of the planet to drop $100 on a pair of pink, satin shoes every three months, you start to get very interested in the process. All Abigail wanted for her birthday this year was for me to take her to Beam & Barre in Greenwich, an hour away, to shop for Russian Pointe shoes. (One thing I learned is that Russian Pointe is a brand, not a kind.) I decided to do it.

I am very grateful to Marissa Behuniak for going down with us to help! She even brought her delightful Jeffrey. As you can see, I had a fun time photographing him as well. Toward the end of our visit, he became very interested with the dressing rooms and learning how to open and close the doors and what it felt like to stand inside of each one by himself.

Our fitter that day was Gretchen, and she was incredibly helpful and patient, pulling out what seemed like 50 pairs of shoes, taking them out of the boxes, and discussing the good and bad characteristics of each shoe for Abigail’s foot.

Between Marissa and Gretchen, I felt very confident that Abigail would leave the best fit for her!

Happy dancing, my little lovely one, and happy 13th birthday.
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Abigail Participated in Her First Ballet Competition

Fooling around in the hallway during the competition

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My little lovely one, Abigail, participated in her first ballet competition this past Sunday at the Holiday Inn in Bridgeport. Linda Giancaspro with Artistic Dance, Inc. ran it very beautifully, and I am grateful to her for having created such a friendly and welcoming environment for all the dancers.

Abigail placed 8th out of the entire 28 who were competing, which included high school students.

We were especially grateful for the visit and support from Kara Engstrom, Anna Cerino, Marissa Behuniak, and Joyce DiLauro. Thanks, guys! I know it was no small task in the first place, but for all of you to face that snowstorm on the way home! We’re feeling the love.

Scroll down for photos and a video!


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New Pointe Shoes Are Very Pink & Very Expensive

Nice Pink Pointe Shoes

I’m learning more than I ever thought possible about pointe shoes this year.  Abigail went “en pointe” in ballet on February 2, and we are now into our third pair of pointe shoes.  My bank account is begging for mercy.  What’s worse, I’m finding myself incredibly intrigued about them… information that is seemingly useless to me.  I even watched several You Tube videos about them.  Here’s one about how they are made, which, after you watch it, you’ll wonder that anyone could afford to buy them at all.

When brand new, they are so lovely, shiny, and pink:

Nice Pink Pointe ShoesOf course, Abigail prefers the more expensive Bloch Heritage ones.  She says, “Well, at least I’m not asking you to buy Gaynors!”

Bloch Heritage Pointe ShoesMind you, these shoes do not come ready to dance in, and if they weren’t expensive enough already, you can’t even wear them out of the box.  They aren’t even complete shoes.  You have to buy pink ribbon and elastic separately and SEW THEM ON.  One of the things I learned in the You Tube videos was that dancers are supposed to sew on their own ribbons and elastics so that they fit the foot perfectly.  Well, I’m 49 and have been sewing my entire life, and it took me over an hour to sew these on.  I can’t imagine handing this task over to my 11 year old.  Imagine how depressed I was upon learning that it only takes professional ballerinas five minutes.

Here was my first try in February.  If you have any experience with pointe shoes, you would notice that I sewed the ribbon on wrong-side out.  Dang it!  Fortunately, Abigail had mercy on me and just dance in them like that.

Sewing Ribbon & Elastic on Pointe ShoesSecond try in June:

Second Try Sewing Pointe ShoesThird try in October.  While it looks pretty good now, I just learned that you’re not supposed to sew anything to that drawstring casing.  Ugh.Third Try Sewing Pointe ShoesThen you cut and burn the ends so they don’t unravel.

Burning Ribbons on Pointe ShoesWhat comes next is breaking in the shoe.  In my mind, this just makes the shoe look old and worn out as soon as possible.  You practically have to beat the things to death, bathe them in vats of rosin, and set them on fire before you can even bear to put them on your feet.

First, you must break in the shank – the nice wooden plank in the sole of the shoe.  Check out the difference in the new shoe versus the broken in shoe.

Breaking in the Shank of New Pointe ShoesThen they must be danced in a great deal before they even start to feel right.

Pointe Shoe Tips

Dirt & Rosin


Here are all three of Abigail’s pairs in progression – hundreds of dollars of sculpture right before your very eyes.

Progression of Pointe ShoesSee the difference in form from new to old?

New & Old Pointe ShoesAnd, for the right price, you too can have these lovely shoes!

Pointe Shoe ReceiptNow, I leave you with a fun and informative video called “How Ballet Dancers Prepare Point Shoes for Performance.”