Demi Pointe Shoes

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1 Response

  1. Caron Jones says:

    When I was fitting pointe shoes and demi-pointes I often found myself having to explain the use of soft blocks, particularly to mothers who saw them as an additional, unnecessary expense. ( I would always fully explain how to save money and break down old pointe shoes and convert them into soft-blocks).

    If you consider the extremes of two key types of footwear worn by (usually) female ballet dancers, that is ballet slippers and pointe shoes, they are poles apart. It’s not an easy transition for many dancers. It can be a bit of a shock putting on pointe shoes for the first time. The sheer rigidity of a new pair of pointe shoes can be a battleground in psychological terms but more especially in physical terms – breaking shoes in through demi and threequarter pointe, balancing on flat and demi-pointe, especially away from the barre, jumping let alone pointe-work itself.

    So demi-pointes provide a useful transitional form of footwear. In my explanation I would suggest that your soft shoes get harder and your pointe shoes get softer so that you get to a stage where you can wear one pair of shoes for everything. (I know that this isn’t an absolute, you do need strong, almost new pointe shoes for certain steps and the opposite also applies but this explanation gets a concept across). What this actually means in practice is that you bash the life out of your first pair of demi-pointe shoes so that they are not that far removed from you ballet slippers. The first pair of pointe shoes are often very rigid for a long time until you are doing enough work for them to break down or until you master what you need to do to them to meet your own particular needs and comfort. Also, more experienced dancers develop greater strength and are less dependent on their shoes.

    The arguement that demi-pointes cause and/or conceal curling and scrunching toes might not actually be true. I believe that these habits start long before dancers ever get to the pointe shoe stage and need to be addressed before dancers go en-pointe.

    I found that ballet slippers fitted or worn to large (with the dreaded growing room notion) contribute to not fully stretching the toes when pointing. If a young dancers has no contact with the inside of the shoe because it’s too big, in a vein effort to find something to press the toes against in order to get the shoe to respond and conform to the arch of the foot, she (or he for that matter) will end up curling their toes. That is why a glove-like fit is so important whether ballet slippers, soft blocks or pointe shoes.

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