Ballet Pointe Shoes - Managing Pointe Ballet

by Anna-Sophia
(Boston )

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Managing Pointe Ballet : -

I know I'm starting pointe soon, and well I pretty much know everything there is to know about ballet pointe shoes. I know how to sew on the ribbons and the elastic. I know how to tie my ribbons etc.

But my ballet teacher doesn't let us wear padding on our toes, I know this will hurt a lot more than of you do use padding, but I'm fine with it. My teacher has been teaching all her students like this and none of them have ever complained, and none of them have ever had feet problems (apart from the one you get from dancing anyway!).

I'm not scared to go onto pointe at all. I have really strong feet, if I ever stub my toe it really doesn't hurt. It's more like a tiny little pinch and then is goes away. But I have a few questions:

1) Can you clean your ballet pointe shoes? If so, how?
2)When you get blisters, should I put a bandage on for the next class, or leave it open?

Thank you!


Reply by Odette

to Ballet Pointe Shoes - Managing Pointe Ballet

Hi Anna-Sophia ,

Thank you for your questions.

I admire your assurance and certainty - it's good as a dancer to have that confidence.

It sounds as if you have very tough feet which is very good for ballet dancers!

When I first began pointe work, my school also preferred us to wear as less padding as possible - some animal wool or tape around our toes if necessary. The reason behind this, I can now see, is so students can work through their feet without having additional padding getting in the way.

It will be what works best for you and your feet. For example, my big toe is longer than my other toes so I often found the pressure was too much and had to wear more padding to support my big toe.

It's all about what suits you best as every dancer has very individual shaped feet.

You say you teacher doesn't let you wear any padding, and I'm sure she has good reasoning behind this, but if you do find your toes feeling tender or sore then I'd advise to put some tape on. This could mean putting a few plasters or toe tape around any pressure points to prevent blisters.

It all mainly depend on how much pointe work you're doing. As you gradually increase pointe work you may want to think about protecting your toes more.

Blisters... they are literally such a pain!! When you get blisters I'd advise you to let it air as much as possible so outside of class leave it open, but absolutely tape it up for your next class. If it's possible, do your best to avoid dancing on pointe with a painful blister as this will just make it worst. But I understand you will have to dance with blisters so just make sure it's protected.

Cleaning ballet pointe shoes is something I've yet to fully discover. Nowadays, I tend to just let my ballet pointe shoes get dirty and they stay that way, but there were times as a student when I was desperately trying to get them clean for a performance.

I used several different techniques - surgical spirit, calamine lotion (but this takes the shiny satin away), pointe shoe make up. - I will let you know if I come across any more magical methods!

All the best and good luck for starting pointe!!!


ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

ballet pre-pointe
Remember, just like I did before I went en pointe, ballet students MUST take responsibility for their own strengthening prior to beginning pointe work.

Australian dancer, Lisa Howell has made a video which explains how pre-point strengthening works.

Don't leave it to your teacher!

You can watch this pre-pointe video
yourself here
(just wait for the page to load up then the video is on the top right of the page).

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