En Pointe

Professional Pointe Shoe Advice

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Mirella go en Pointe

Posted by [email protected] on September 6, 2013 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Mirella go en Pointe

New style: Bloch's sister company Mirella have brought their Pointe shoes to the UK. By working closely with Bloch designers and manufacturers they have achieved a fabulous start. Featuring an arched shank, supportive wing strength and noise reduction qualities. These Pointe shoes also have new elements such as a luxury padded lining, toe cushion insert and a formed heel piece. Mirella have combined professional qualities with design luxuries.

 

Can Men Dance En Pointe?

Posted by [email protected] on April 28, 2013 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Can men dance en pointe?

 

 

Yes they can! We see wonderful productions such as;

 

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

 

Balletboys

 

 

 

 

To the comedic performances;

 

Men in tutus

 

Men in pink tights

 

 

 

 

The success in this field has resulted in a growing trend of men dancing en pointe. Men bring another element to pointe work, which has evolved the industry with strong lines and powerful performances. With such strong performances comes a lot of hard work, and there are many benefits that can be gained.

 

 

These include better foot strength and flexibility, but one element that cannot easily be attained is understanding. Understanding enhances any aspect of teaching as it introduces empathy with students and aids in overcoming any possible problems.

 

 

But what are the risks?

 

As for any dancer correct technique is vital, without this there is a higher risk of injury and losing tone. To avoid specific injury to your feet well fitted pointe shoes are essential, not only do correctly fitted pointe shoes give you the required support, but they give a polished and an ascetically pleasing finish. To be fitted for Pointe shoes you must find a reputable and qualified fitter that understands and caters to your needs. Then you can be assisted correctly to finding pointe shoes that aid and support your dancing.


The House of Suarez Productions

Darren Suarez, fitted at That's Entertainment Dancewear.

Keep Your Pointe Shoes Clean

Posted by [email protected] on November 4, 2011 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

 

It's virtually impossible to keep satin clean, but now you can protect your shoes with Pointe Shoe Covers! These covers fit neatly around the shoe and have a none slip sole so that you can wear the covers on your shoes whilst you dance.

Ideal for when you have an exam that needs clean shoes that are ready to dance in.

You should find at your local Pointe Shoe retailer, RRP £7.99

No More Darning!

Posted by [email protected] on November 4, 2011 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

No More Darning!!!

You can now buy Non Slip protection that simply glues into place. At last for your Pointe shoes, just what you've been waiting for: Leather Suede for Pointe Shoes. The suede tip has smooth leather one side to glue into place and rough non skid leather on the other that helps protect the satin to avoid ripping, and helps to avoid slipping. You can normally buy this for your Pointe Shoe retailer for around £2.50, just a fraction of the cost to darn your Pointe Shoes.

We recommend to use a strong fabric glue, evostick or no more nails glue. Super glue is not suitable and will not hold the suede tips in place.

What exercises should I do to prepare for Pointe work?

Posted by [email protected] on October 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

When preparing for Pointe work your main focus should always be building up strength in you feet, not necessarily flexibility. There are many aspects of you ballet that need to be strengthened before you start your Pointe work, one key area is the metatarsal muscles in the feet, here is a guide on how to do this and there are photographs to ensure you are following the steps correctly.

http://en-pointe.webs.com/exercises.htm

When following this exercise it is important to warm up before you start. You want to follow the steps carefully and you should start off gently with low repetitions in each foot, and increase as you progress. This exercise will be more effective when performed slowly and carefully

Strengthening all the correct muscles used during ballet, particularly when working your feet will build up your control over key areas needed for pointe work and improve your alignment. The guide (http://en-pointe.webs.com/exercises.htm) is designed for use with a fitness band, giving you a resistance to work against. These fitness bands come in different strengthes, do not automatically buy the hardest strength as you may strain or injure yourself. Instead ask a sales advisor what would be best for your grade in ballet.

If you focus on your floor pressure in classwork particularly when executing tendu movements, you will find that the pressure against the floor makes your feet work more and therefore strengthens key areas.

Am I Ready To Go En Pointe?

Posted by [email protected] on October 31, 2011 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Going up en pointe is what thousands of young ballerina’s aspire to.  Watching senior girls dancing gracefully and effortlessly across the floor inspires many, just watching them put on their pointe shoes is magical. 

It shows delicate strength and beauty that only ballet can exude.  Getting to go en pointe though, requires years of work, hours of training and plenty of stretching.  It truly is something that many dancers have been preparing for since they were very young, and once they start they know they have achieved a great standard of ballet and they are a true ballerina.

Can you simply put an age on being ready for pointework? Are all girls at the age of 12 at the same ability and development? No. Being ready means a lot of different things.  An age doesn't reflect any reference to their ability and maturity. So what do you really need to know before you go en pointe?


Part of being ready for pointe work is physical strength, part is flexibility, part is body shape and size.  A dancer must have the proper control of the small muscles in the feet and toes as well as the larger muscles in the legs, hips and central core.  More specificly a dancer has to have the discipline required to maintain attention to technique, she must have the technical skill, and she must have the maturity to be aware of herself and her body.

The amount of physical strength required to go on pointe is often underestimated, in part because trained, skilled dancers make it look effortless and beautiful.  Pointe work requires more than strong legs, which are decidedly important.  Strength and ability in controlling small muscles of the feet and toes is important.  In particular the strength should be built up in the metatarsal , this is the muscle under the ball of the foot.  This muscle is used when going through demi pointe and raising en pointe.

Preparation is crucial to successfully dancing en pointe.  If not ready a dancer not only risks injury, but she may also learn and form bad habits that put her at risk for more serious issues later.  Dancers are cautioned to not purchase or use pointe shoes before a trained instructor or teacher has determined her readiness for pointe work.


If you want to prepare for Pointe work then you can look at being fitted for Demi Pointe Shoes, these help in many key areas, including building up strength, balance and becoming more familiar with how a Pointe Shoe will feel.

 


 

How Long Do My Pointe Shoes Last?

Posted by [email protected] on October 31, 2011 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

If you want to get the most out of your Pointe shoes you must ensure that you store them correctly after using them. Your Pointe shoes react to the heat of your feet, so when you wear your Pointe shoes, they gradually soften and mould to your feet. So after you have worn your shoes you need to cool them down again so that they harden.

To do this you must NEVER put them in a plastic bag, you should always take your toe pads out of the shoes, and avoid leaving your Pointe shoes in your dance bag. Instead you want to find a cold dry place to hang your shoes, so that the air can circulate around them and thoroughly dry them out. You should hang your shoes for 24-48 hours.

If you are dancing more than twice in a week then you should consider buying two pairs of Pointe shoes, so that you can alternate them as you dance, and reduce the wear on each pair of Pointe shoes, this will really help with looking after your Pointe shoes, as it will give sufficient time for each pair of shoes to dry out and harden.

Depending on many factors you should be looking at your Pointe shoes lasting for about 6 months to a year. If it is less than 3 months then you need to take them to a fully qualified Pointe shoe fitter, to see if they can identify what caused such a short lifetime, and hopefully avoid this re-occurring.

If it is your first pair of Pointe shoes then you should book an appointment at a fully qualified and reputable Pointe shoe fitter, they can explain everything you need to know about the shoes you are fitted with, they can answer any questions you may have, and help you overcome any concerns.

New Grishko Pointe Shoe

Posted by [email protected] on September 16, 2011 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Grishko TRIUMPH


New style of Pointe Shoes from Grishko.

Another traditionally made Pointe shoe by Russian makers Grishko. This innovative shoe is lightweight and easier to roll through demi pointe, making it a more suitable shoe for beginners. It features a U-Shaped vamp, a square toe box and a wider platform. It captures the true beauty of a Grishko pointe shoe and combines it with features suitable for a beginner.



Why do I need demi pointe shoes?

Posted by [email protected] on September 3, 2011 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

You may have heard of soft blocks, exam shoes, delcos, or demi pointes, these are all the same thing. These shoes are in between a flat ballet shoe and a pointe shoe, they are designed to build up strength and balance and they help you to understand how a pointe shoe is going to feel, I will explain:

Typically a pointe shoe will have 6 layers built up in the toe block, this is obviously alot harder than a flat ballet shoe, but a demi pointe shoe has only 4 layers, so again harder than a ballet shoe, but softer than a pointe shoe. Because it is harder than a ballet shoe it works the feet much more. But as it is softer than a pointe shoe you do not actually go en pointe.

A pointe shoe has a very thick sole compared to a flat ballet shoe, this is because it has a shank on the inside of the shoe for support en pointe. Similarly a demi pointe shoe has a thicker insole than a flat ballet shoe, but not as thick as a pointe shoe. Due to the leather sole alot more strength is needed in the foot to point. Also beacause the leather sole is raised on the outside of the shoe it can feel wobbly the first time you wear them, and more balance is needed to control the shoe. This therefore improves balance in the foot, strengthens the muscles around the ankles, and the muscles that support the arch of the foot.

Demi pointe shoes should be fitted as neatly as a pointe shoe, the foot therefore has to get used to working in a much more compact/confined space. It is hard to begin with and the muscles will ache. It is exactly this extra work required of the feet, ankles and calf muscles that will make and keep them strong.

Usually demi pointe work will be started in Grade 5 in preparation to start pointe work in Grade 6. If you intend to start pointe work earlier than this then you should also start demi pointe work 1 year before pointe work. It is important to continue to wear demi pointe shoes once you have started pointe work. Wearing demi pointe shoes will make you feet strong and keep them strong.

 

How do I break in my pointe shoes?

Posted by [email protected] on September 3, 2011 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Breaking in pointe shoes is a necessary step whenever a dancer acquires new shoes. If a dancer dances on unbroken shoes she risks discomfort as the shoe is not molded to her foot properly.  The process must begin with an expertly fitted pair of pointe shoes.

Please note this section does not refer to Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, as these have a different design to them.

Ideally you should break in your shoes as you wear them, they do not need hammering down, or bashing in the door. You don't need to steam the shoes to get them warm. All you need is a bit of time and your feet.

First things first, how does a pointe shoe change shape? A pointe shoe is not a wooden block, it  consists of glues and materials layered up. Because of this technology in the shoe it is designed to react to the heat and moisture from your feet when you dance. The shoes reaction to this heat and moisture? It gradually softens and molds to the shape of your foot. So, by just using the strength in your feet you are breaking in the shoes to your ability. Often the pointe shoes are scored under the metatarsal area of the shank to allow you to rise through demi pointe.

If you are struggling with this or you have an upcoming exam, then I would suggest breaking them in by hand. Again this doesn't require much force, it's just simply applying pressure in the correct areas. By doing this you will be softening parts of the shoe, and therefore you will be shortening the life of the shoes, so don't apply too much force.

To mold the arch of the shoe closer to you foot, you should put on any padding that you will be wearing during dancing, then put the shoe on. Rest your foot en pointe.  Turn the heel piece inside out. Feel down to your instep. Mark the corresponding place on the inside of the shoe on the shank.  Remove the shoe and using thumbs and a hard surface work that part of the shank until it bends nicely.  There may be some cracking or popping sensations as you do this.  This is normal.  Do not entirely break the shank, just soften it a bit.  Then put the shoe back on the foot.  Again, place that shoe en pointe.  The shoe should now have a nice bend in it and fit closer to the instep of the foot. Repeat with the other shoe.

Another area to mold in is the metatarsal: Holding the shoe in your hands place the thumbs on the inside of the shoe; using a floor or other hard surface roll the shoe through a demi-pointe position.  Breaking a shoe in this way allows a dancer to have more control over the pressure used to bend the shoe.  This will initiate breaking in the shoes, making it easier for a dancer to continue to break in her shoes as she rises through demi-pointe to full pointe.

It is a wise idea to consult your dance teacher or pointe shoe fitter regarding breaking in pointe shoes for the first time.  As some brands and models have different needs.

 

How should I store my pointe shoes?

Posted by [email protected] on September 3, 2011 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Did you know this is one of the most important things about your shoes. You are dancing on your shoes and they very quickly become warm, but if they stay warm this will cause you problems. Why? Most pointe shoes are designed to mold to your feet and break-in. This happens because the shoes react to the heat of your feet and soften in. There are ways of speeding this up (see the information page under The Breaking-In Process).

After you have worn your shoes they remain warm and soft, to keep the shape you mould you need to cool down the shoes and let them dry out. To do this you must first of all, never:

  • Keep your shoes in plastic packaging
  • Leave your shoes overnight in a dance bag
  • Leave toe pads inside the shoes
  • Leave in sunlight, or above a radiator
  • Dance everyday with one pair of Pointe Shoe*

Instead you should:

  • Leave your shoes in a cool, dry place
  • Leave for 24-48 hours
  • Have more than one pair and alternate wearing them*

*This particularly applies to students in college.

The way to know if you have been incorrectly storing your shoes is that they will feel mushy around the block of the shoe, you will feel more pressure on your big toe when you are dancing en pointe.

When this happens you need to get a new pair of shoes to avoid damaging your feet.

 

Why have my pointe shoes snapped?

Posted by [email protected] on September 3, 2011 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

There are many reasons why a shoe may snap or break, to identify the possible cause it is advisable to seek professional advise by finding a reputable pointe shoe fitter. They can examine your shoe, to look for indicators as to why there may be a problem.


For Example, within a class situation your mind is often occupied by your routine, arm position, head position and just remembering the steps, then if you are required to go en pointe during this ,a student may forget to pull up through the core, resulting in 3.5 times your body weight forcing down on the shoe. The consequences of this will more than likely weaken, if not completely break your shoe. A good pointe shoe fitter would be able to identify this.

Should I keep swopping my shoes from one foot to the other?

Posted by [email protected] on September 3, 2011 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Some students ask whether they should keep changing the way they wear their shoes to even out the amount the shoes wear out. Is this really the best thing to do?

With your shoes you do want to get the most wear out of them, and there are ways of doing this (please see the information page). But you also want to mold in your shoes to each foot. There are often small differences in the shape of each of your feet and you are likely to notice these differences in your pointe shoes, as they will be fitting very securely. If you do swop you shoes over you are likely to mold the pair of shoes to your bigger foot, and this will make your dancing harder for your smaller foot (the backs of shoes will slip off, and you may feel added pressure on your big toe).


When you have purchased your shoes, checked them over with your dance teacher and are happy, you should try your shoes on again. Try each shoe on each foot and see what you prefer. Some pointe shoes have slight differences even in a pair, and this may feel better on certain feet. Once you know which shoe you will be wearing on each foot mark which one is for your right foot, and which one is for you left foot.


By following this process you will also be helping out with your next pointe shoe fitting. A professional fitter can often identify which is your stronger foot, any areas you are struggling with, or why a shoe may have snapped. (For more information on these topics please refer to the information page under Pointe Shoe Problems)

Will pointe shoes damage my feet?

Posted by [email protected] on August 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Pointe shoes are designed to support the feet. It is not a natural position to be en pointe, but a well fitted pointe shoe will support all the correct areas, allowing a trained dancer to balance en pointe. Pointe work can look effortless, but alot goes on for a dancer to acheive this. They have usually trained for more than 4 years, to build up their strength and flexibility as a dancer.

A dancer must have the proper control of the small muscles in the feet and toes as well as the larger muscles in the legs, hips and central core.  In particular the strength should be built up in the metatarsal , this is the muscle under the ball of the foot.  These muscles are used when going through demi pointe and raising en pointe. More specificly a dancer has to have the discipline required to maintain attention to technique, she must have the technical skill, and she must have the maturity to be aware of herself and her body.

Preparation is crucial to successfully dancing en pointe.  If not ready a dancer not only risks injury, but she may also learn and form bad habits that put her at risk for more serious issues later.  Dancers are cautioned to not purchase or use pointe shoes before a trained instructor or teacher has determined her readiness for pointe work.


By factoring in the above you are far less likely to damage your feet when you are dancing. There are also ways of protecting your feet, but if you have any of the following, then it is best to improve these before you begin pointe work as they can make your dancing en pointe more difficult.

  • Lowered arches
  • Rolling ankles (either rolling out or in)
  • Developing bunions
  • Bad alignment of the joints
  • Inflexible joints
  • Fixed toe joint
  • High arches
  • Incorrect point

For information on how to improve these areas, please refer to the information page provided.


How can I keep my pointe shoes clean?

Posted by [email protected] on August 27, 2011 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

It is very sad when you have a beautiful new pair of pointe shoes and within one lesson you have already started to mark your pointe shoes. So what can you do?


Because the shoes are satin it is very difficult to clean them once they have got dirty, and you cannot wet a pointe shoe because it will go soft and mushy. Some dancers do, however, use calamine lotion to "white out" (also known as pancaking) the shoes, or effectively cover any marks on the shoes. To do this you must:


  • Stuff your pointe shoes as tightly as possible with paper, to avoid the shoes shrinking
  • Apply very light layers of the calamine with a sponge, try not to get the pointe shoes too moist
  • Leave to dry out between each layer of calamine lotion
  • Once you are happy with the coverage leave the shoes overnight so they have dried out completely
  • Remove the stuffing from the inside of the shoes.


Another way to cover marks on pointe shoes is by dying or spraying them a different colour. To dye the shoes you should use a Dylon cold water dye, DO NOT add salt to the dye (adding salt will leave uneven marks on the satin of your shoes) follow the instructions above, but use a toothbrush to apply coats of dye. Dying your shoes also keeps the sheen of the satin.  To spray your shoes you need a shoe spray like Magix, this way will cover marks on your shoes, but will also lose the sheen of the satin. To spray your shoes follow the directions above.


The most effective way of having a clean pair of shoes is to use pointe shoe covers, this way you avoid marking the satin, keeping your shoes beautiful. If you have an upcoming exam using the covers is ideal, adn saves having to buy a new pair of pointes just so they're clean. These protective covers can be worn whilst dancing, as they have the suede protection on the soles and tips to avoid slipping.

Should I always buy the same pointe shoes?

Posted by [email protected] on August 27, 2011 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)

You will find that as you dance en pointe your feet will change shape and you will build up the strength in your feet. Because of this it is important to be refitted each time you need pointe shoes. This will enable your qualified fitter to look at your progress in your last shoes, and factor that in as they fit you for your next pair.


If your feet are still growing then you definitely need refitting as it is not just the length of the shoe that may need to be changed. Your fitter will also check whether you need a different shape, width or strength of shoe.


You  may find that you go through many different pointe shoes before you do find a pair of pointe shoes that are ideal for you. To speed up  this process, though, it is good to find a reputable fitter with alot of knowledge of different styles of shoes. If they keep records of the shoes they fit, then I advise that you go back and build up a repor with that fitter. They will quickly come to know your needs very well, and if you have problems then they will have records of these, any causes of these problems and how you have benefitted in certain styles of shoes. Using this information they will be alot closer to finding a pair of pointe shoes that you enjoy dancing in.


Obviously once you are happy with your shoes, you will most likely stay will this size and style of shoe, but a fitter may still feel that a different strength would benefit you, so by being refitted they can check your progress in your shoes, and with your feedback they can make a decision on what to fit.


Once you have had exactly the same shoes 2 or 3 times, then you will likely stay with this for quite a long time. It is important to note that technology is always changing with pointe shoes and a good pointe shoe fitter will keep up to date with this information. You may find that a newer shoe or style is available and with the fitters knowledge they may recommend a new style that you may find suitable for your dancing.



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