What can I say..? It’s every little ballerinas dream: to one day put on those magic shoes which will make you fly over the stage on only the top of your toes. What is the first pointe shoe class like? Does it hurt? How do you prepare a brand new pair of pointe shoes? For how long will they last?
This blogpost will be all about pointe shoes with special focus on your first pointe class. To begin with, you need to have the right shoes. They should not be too wide, too narrow, too big or too small. It should feel as if a glove is holding your foot, giving it a gentle pressure without hurting. Unless your teacher is really strict and prevents you from wearing protection, which I think is rather rare nowadays, you should wear protection to reduce the pain. I use the ouch pouches from Bloch, I believe.
Dancing in pointe shoes may hurt; depending on what brand of shoes you are wearing, how used to it you are and the time you are dancing. For me, I did not have that much pain from using the Grishko ones but my Freed shoes always hurt a lot. Remember to try to keep your blisters as clean as possible, you don’t want any infections!
There are many different brand out there, Sansha, capezio, Grishko, Bloch, Russian pointe, gaynor minden and such. It is important that you’ve gotten professional help from people that really do know that the shoes chosen for you is a good pair. I got my pointe shoes when I was 10 and have been using Grishko 2007s the majority of my time on pointe. Though I’ve lately gone over to Freed II as they give my feet a nicer look.
Well, back to the first pointe class. I often get the question: What should I bring? To start with you should, unless your teacher says differently, be dressed just as you would be for a normal ballet class. Hair in a bun, tights, leotard, bring a water bottle and your soft shoes. It may only be a pointe class but bringing your soft shoes is always a good idea.
Before the actual class, make sure your shoes are nicely prepared and ready to use. Check with your teacher whether you should put wrist bands as well and what he/she would like the top of the shoes to look like. When at home, you want to make the fitting even better. After preparing them, start by stepping on the box before putting them on. This will soften them a bit. Another good thing to do is to put water on front on the sides of shoe. After that, put on socks to keep your feet warm. Start doing rélévées- parallel as well as turned out.
I can’t say any specific number of weeks/days that my pointe shoes last for. When dancing intensely in Freeds for example, they may only last a few classes while my Griskho shoes can be kept for a week or so. People that are not dancing that much and may only do it as a hobby might keep the same pair for months! It all depends on who you are.
This is pretty much it! The key things to keep track on is that the shoe is fitting your feet nicely. Always make sure you are completely warmed up before going en pointe and be careful that you always work through half pointe when dancing- this will prevent injuries as well as strengthen your feet. Additionally, to make the pointe work even better- keep doing foot exercises outside class. Rélévées in soft shoes, theraband exercises, flex/point, etc.
Good luck with your pointe shoes!! ❤