This post is dedicated to my butterflies and their class as well as to all of the aspiring dancers who dream of being 'en pointe' one day.
Pointe Shoes–any girl who takes ballet dreams of the day that she will get to wear them. When she will gracefully skim the stage. And when she makes balancing on her toes look effortless. Pointe shoes are, in some ways, the trademark of the ballet dancer and when she puts them on, magic takes flight.
Usually girls get their pointe shoes around age 11. When you get your shoes depends a lot on your maturity, strength and placement. Your teacher is the best judge of when you should go on pointe.
Pointe shoes are made of layers of glue and fabric and are quite hard when they are not "broken in". There are several parts to a pointe shoe. Here is a diagram showing them.
When you first go on pointe, you usually only do exercises at the barre. Then, as you get stronger and more comfortable in your shoes, you will move to the centre. After a few years, you will be able to do whole classes on pointe.
Many people will tell you that pointe is a pain and that you don't want to do it. I do not believe this. Pesonally, dancing on pointe is one of my favorite things to do. As to the pain issue, it really does not hurt that much. Often, if there is too much padding in your shoes, your toes will fall asleep which is uncomortable. Also, if there is no padding in your shoes it hurts too. So, don't put too much padding in your shoes (especially gel). I recommend lambs wool pads.
In your dancing life, you're bound to get a few blisters from pointe shoes. This is caused by your foot rubbing against your shoe. To prevent blisters, it helps to tape your toes. This reduces the friction between your foot and the shoe. If you do get a blister, take care of it so that it will heal faster. If you have to dance with a blister, put some extra padding around it and it should not bother you.
Dancing on pointe is a great privilege for a dancer and with it comes great responsibility. You must be technically strong and work very hard. Make sure you apply the corrections that are given to you by your teacher. If you do not, and work incorrectly, you can injure yourself. Overall, dancing on pointe is a wonderful experience and with hard work and dedication you will be able to wow you audience by gracefully skimming the stage.
Diagram from here
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! ~Romans 10:15b