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:
Mind 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.
What 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.
Here are all three of Abigail’s pairs in progression – hundreds of dollars of sculpture right before your very eyes.
Now, I leave you with a fun and informative video called “How Ballet Dancers Prepare Point Shoes for Performance.”