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How do Ballerinas Dance on Pointe?

Updated on November 12, 2014

Ballet On Pointe

As a young dancer, I loved Ballet. I even danced with Ballet West as a Professional Dancer for a few years. However, as I grew, my extreme passion for ballet turned more towards jazz and contemporary. Despite that, Ballet always has and always will hold a dear place in my heart!

Have you ever wondered HOW or WHY Ballet Dancers can dance on the very tip of their toes?

Within this article, I hope you will be as memorized as I was learning more about the art of Pointe and Ballet. I believe that there is something so uniquely soothing and satisfying about seeing these women prepare their Pointe shoes and begin to dance!

En Pointe! - A ballerina's life is spent on the tips of the toes. In this meditative mini-doco, three of our dancers take us through their personal pointe-shoe

Throughout my Ballet years, I often began to wonder why the shoes don't just already come the way dancers like them. Why are they so stiff? Why are they not better shaped? You wouldn't buy a shirt that needed mending, or pants that needed to be fitted to your legs, but why is it lke this for dancer's shoes?

The more I thought about this and wore my own pointe shoes, it became more clear that everyone's feet are different and each woman like their shoes to be certain ways with different specifications.

For example, The Western Australian Ballet's Andrea Parkyn, not only rips out the entire sole lining, she marks the shoe where her arch is and then breaks it in half with her hands

Arantxa Breaks in her Pointe Shoes

Avoiding Pointe-Shoe Injuries & Improving the Shoe!

In this next dance video we will be able to learn from principal dancer, Amber Scott, as she describes how she covers her feet in tape and sews on big elastics to help her avoid injuries.

"It's time consuming, but what would be more annoying is being unable to dance because of the pain," Amber says.

As a dancer, I never do too much to make my shoes better, besides break them in, but not all dancers are like this. One professional ballerina actually cuts and rips out the enitre sole of her shoes and then super-gluing it all back together. This is apparently to allow the shoe to have greater flexibility!

How to prepare pointe shoes with Andrea Parkyn

Ritualistic Preparation - Pointe shoes do not arrive ready-to-use! Every dancer prepares their shoes differently. Soloist Callie Manning shows us her very deta

As Marilyn Monroe would say,

"Give the girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world."

For professional Ballerinas and other dancers, this is nothing but the truth!

New York City Ballet - Pointe Shoes


Have any dance questions, concerns, or topics to discuss? Don't hesitate to reach out to Lai Rupe's Choreography. I am here to spread the beauty of dance.

To Improve your dance-self more and more each day, please follow me and check out some of my other great articles like, "Dancing To Her Own Tempo; an Interview of Lai Rupe."

Thanks for your LOVE and Support!

~Alaina (Lai) Rupe


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