It's funny because he's a fucking creep who consistently uses his position to coerce his employees into indulging his fetish!
If the shoes are supposed to be like that as how the women are mending it, why can't the ballet shoe manufacturers just do it in the first place? :/ I'm not trying to be mean, I'm really curious and intrigued.
It looks like each ballerina has different preferences for where they need additional room, where the pointe should bent and where is needs to be fortified. I think that is why they need to make adjustments
The elastic and ribbons need to sewn in to match your feet, to get a proper fit. You want them snug but not too tight. Otherwise you can fall and be injured. Many shops will do the sewing for you but it’s expected that you learn so you can fix it yourself should you need it. My daughter keeps a sewing kit in her bag, as do I. I’ve fixed shoes and costumes back stage.
One major thing all the cutting and bending and burning to is to allow the shoe to break in easier and in the right spots. Back when I was en pointe all the time, the worst part was breaking in new shoes. Each of our arches are different, so the shoes need to be rigid and then loosened up in the appropriate places for each individual foot. For example, I would bend the fuck out of mine right behind the toe box, because that's where my foot bends the most. Other dancers might not do that at all or they might bend it farther back. Taking the fabric off the tip makes them less slick. Some dancers like that. Other's don't care. We all use different combos of stuff inside the toe box for padding. Some wrap their toes with tape. Some use pads. Some use loose lambs wool as padding. There's a ton of things we did. Some dancers get their toenails removed even. Each person and production has preferences on the ribbons and their placement. It would be impossible for the companies to manufacture shoes to cover the gazillions of different preferences. Also, it's tradition to personalize your shoes.
Introduction: How to Sew Pointe Shoes for Beginners
Getting your first pair- or even a new pair-of pointe shoes is a very exciting time. It’s like a right of passage you strive for growing up in the world of dance. Yet, it can become frustrating having so many steps before actually being able to put those bad boys on. It’s like a gourmet meal, there is a lot of preparation involved, but the end result is worth the effort. My hope is that whoever reads this can find a quick, easy flow for sewing their pointe shoes!
Step 1: STEP ONE: Gather Materials
-pointe shoes (your personal brand – I recommend getting fitted at a dance shoe store with a specialist)
-sewing needle and thread matching the color of your shoes OR dental floss (a matter of preference)
-elastic for each shoe
-ribbons for each shoe
Step 2: STEP TWO: Placement & Measuring of Elastics
DISCLAIMER: I will be demonstrating how to sew pointe shoes with one elastic per shoe.
Start by trying on your first shoe. It doesn’t matter which one, but the shoes will mold to you feet over time so keep track of which is which (I recommend labeling them on the inside). You will need to try on your shoes once or twice more to find the right length and positioning for your elastics. When you purchase pointe shoes you will be given one long elastic band that you will have to cut down into two pieces, one for each shoe.
There is a vertical seam on the back/heel of the shoe. (See photos above) On either side of this seam is where you will be sewing the ends of your elastics. With your shoe on your foot you will hold the end of the elastic on one side of the seam on the inside of the shoe. (See photo above) While holding it down, pull the rest of the elastic over the top of your foot. Bring it to meet the end of the elastic that you are holding down and place it next to that end on the other side of the seam. Measure a length that is comfortable for you. Remember to make it snug enough to allow for support and for the elastic to stretch out over time but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. Take your time with this step to make sure you have the right length and then cut your elastic accordingly. Like my Grampa says: measure twice, cut once!
Repeat steps with the second shoe.
Step 3: STEP THREE: Measure Thread
As I mentioned in the first step, you can use thread or dental floss for sewing. Some people use floss because it provides a stronger base for elastics and ribbons. I personally prefer thread because of the resulting cleaner look. Again it doesn’t affect your sewing, so you can decide!
I usually go for about an arm’s length of thread to begin. Cut the end of your thread. Thread the needle and pull the thread through, so that the ends of the thread meet. This results in a double layer of sewing, which creates a stronger stitch.
Beginning sewers may think to make a knot right away, but have patience grasshoppers.
Step 4: STEP FOUR: Sew Elastics
Take your first shoe once again and place the elastic next to your heel seam as in STEP TWO. Hold it down with your thumb and forefinger of your non-sewing hand. Starting from the inside, close to a corner, begin to sew. Make one small (1/4 inch or less) stitch about 1/4 inch from the elastic’s edge. Once you have pulled your first stitch through now is the time to make a knot with the end of the thread and the thread you pulled through. (See photos above) Continue to sew along the first edge, being sure to pull the thread tight after each stitch. You will sew a square to bring your stitches to meet with where you started. (See photos above) Your last stitch should be on the inside of the shoe so you can tie another knot using the ends of the thread from your first knot. Snip your thread and start on the other end of the elastic. Make sure your elastic is not twisted. I recommend putting on your shoe once more and pulling the elastic over your foot to double check placement.
Repeat steps for sewing second side of elastic and again for the second shoe.
Step 5: STEP FIVE: Placement & Measuring of Ribbons
Similarly to the elastics, the ribbons are sewn next to seams. There are seams on either side of your pointe shoes (at your instep and on the outside). The ribbon will be sewn right next to the seam on the heel side. Place the end of the ribbon far enough down to perform the same box pattern you stitched on your elastics. The opposite end of each ribbon will remain loose, as the ribbons are wrapped around the ankles and tied to secure the shoes further.
Step 6: STEP SIX: Sew Ribbons
You will be following the same pattern as the elastics. Go back to STEP FOUR if you need a recap. You will use these steps for all four of your ribbons.
Step 7: STEP SEVEN: Singe Ends of Ribbons
It’s time to grab an adult and some matches or a lighter. Carefully take the end of your ribbon that isn’t sewn and lightly singe the edge. It will only take a second and you will see that the edge hardens. This will prevent the ends of your ribbons from fraying. Do this to all the other ribbons. This concludes your sewing experience!
Getting your first pair of pointe shoes is an exciting time in any ballet dancers life, so in this post, I have decided to write a pointe shoe fitting guide to make your first experience on pointe as comfortable as possible for you.
If you were to dissect ballet down to a single, iconic image, it would most probably be the pointe shoe.
As young children, we always fantasized about dancing on our toes, but we knew that the pointe shoe was only for serious dancers and is the first step towards being a real ballerina.
It is the ultimate achievement in ballet to progress to pointe work, but be warned, the first time you go up onto those pointes, those tears of happiness could turn into tears of pain, but it is a pain that most dancers, in time, get used to.
When Is The Best Time To Start Dancing On Pointe?
As a rough guide, the absolute earliest age to go on point is 11, although 12 or 13 is more common and probably safer.
Going on pointe should be at the onset of puberty and never before. The dancer should have at least four years of ballet training under her belt, and if she is only taking one ballet class a week, four years then isn’t enough.
Starting later rather than earlier is always best because, in young bodies, the bones are yet to harden, and starting too early can cause enormous damage to both the bone formation and the growth plates in the feet.
Remember that there is absolutely no reason at all not to start later.
A good test for readiness is to do a series of releves devant on demi-pointe. Try sixteen on one leg in the center holding the body with balance and security. When you can do this well on both legs, you are probably ready for pointe work.
Remember that the shoes don’t do the dancing, the dancer does, and the dancer needs to be prepared both mentally and physically. Sometimes children are ready physically but don’t have the concentration to do justice to their pointe training.
What Is The Ideal Foot For Pointe Work?
The ideal foot for pointe work is said to have the first three toes the same length, but that doesn’t happen very often as it is the luck of the genetic draw.
Any dancer can work on strengthening their feet with tools like resistance bands and working against your own body weight.
Feet with high arches, although very pretty, will need extra strengthening, as they tend to be the weaker type of foot.
Remember that it is not only the strength of the foot that is important but the body as a whole. A dancer on pointe has to be especially strong in the core.
A foot that has an arch that is neither too high or too flat is usually ideal.
Pointe Shoe Fitting Guide
Now the monumental occasion has arrived where you will go and buy your pointe shoes, armed of course with your pointe shoe fitting guide, it can still be overwhelming.
Before you go for your first pointe shoe fitting, cut your toenails short.
Make yourself some notes from this pointe shoe fitting guide and use it as a reference. If you don’t write it down, you won’t remember.
It can be confusing going up on pointe for the first time. You are not sure how you are supposed to feel when you go up on pointe – is it supposed to be so sore?
The most important advice I can give is to get a professional pointe shoe fitter. Never buy your first pair of pointe shoes online without trying them first.
Never be scared to ask questions.
Try as many pairs as you can in different brands so that you can feel the difference.
You should be able to plie in your pointe shoes with the big toe just touching the end of the shoe. The pointe shoe should feel like a tight slightly suffocating hug around your forefoot. The toes should still be able to spread.
When you rise on your pointe, you should feel your big toe make contact with the floor, but also the feeling that your pointe shoes are supporting your foot evenly across the whole foot.
The toes should lie flat and not be clenched within the shoe.
The vamp should cover the toes, so in other words, no toe cleavage.
The shoe must be snug across the knuckle of the toe, but not squeeze it so much as to inhibit movement.
When on pointe, there is likely to be a bit of spare fabric at the heel – that’s ok.
Make sure that the shank of the shoe lines up straight with the sole of the foot. If you find it twisting to the side, then you probably have the wrong width of shoe.
When you get it right, the shoe actually becomes an extension of the body.
The most important part of this pointe shoe fitting guide is that you should not rush your fitting. Pointe shoes are an investment and you need to be absolutely sure that they are right for you before you purchase them.
Breaking Those Shoes In
While most pointe shoes are still made with traditional materials, there have been many advances in technology over the past few years.
Some shoes now use more flexible polymer in the shank and box and even shock-absorbing cushioning.
Even the more traditional shoes have changed gradually to suit the more modern dancer. They have become softer and don’t need as much breaking in as they used to.
No more is bashing and hammering required, and you will just need the heat and the sweat of your feet to do most of the work.
The prep work you will still need to do is sew on your ribbons and maybe elastic. Make sure you find out from your fitter just where the best place is to attach them and at what angles for the best fit.
In the past, we had to darn the platform for extra grip, but nowadays you can also purchase small suede patches which you can glue to the shoe – much easier.
Prepping Those Feet
To prep our feet, we were told to dip our toes in surgical spirits to harden them, but nowadays, it is suggested that moisturizing the feet works better so that your skin stays more elastic.
Lambswool is an old favourite, but now dancers tend to tape their toes to stop the skin from splitting. There are also gel toe-spacers available to keep toes aligned and avoid bunions.
Silicon pads to slip over the toes also work a treat. The less bulky the better, or you won’t be able to articulate the joints.
Of course, now that you have your shoes, you are probably rearing to go, but remember that pointe work must start slowly and gradually – maybe ten minutes at the end of class.
Practise walking in your shoes so that you get comfortable in them, then walk and run in three-quarter pointe, until those shoes feel like extensions of your feet. Click here for some more tips on starting pointe work.
With good fitting and good teaching, pointe work will become a joy to do.
If you have any more points to add to this pointe shoe fitting guide, please feel free to comment below.
By MicioGatta Fabuland Blog Follow
I searched on Instructable but I didn’t find any tutorial about pointe shoes. I’m trying to do it myself, but I have to warn you: I’m not a professional dancer, I just dance and I like to dance. This is how I prepare my pointe shoes.
Note that I do not cut the inner sole as Natalie Portman does in “The Black Swan” and I don’t tear away the fabric sole as they do in “Center Stage”. With this I don’t mean “they are wrong”, but I mean “for me, for my feet my way is better”.
One pair of pointe shoes of your choice – this tutorial is done on Sansha shoes like Recital, Premerie e Partenaire
One pair of feet – yours 🙂
Elastic bands 4 cm and 0,5 cm tall
Cotton thread for sewing and for crochet
Whatever kind of stockings and pads you use
Step 1: Measure
Generally new pointe shoes are not left or right, so decide which will be your left shoe and which will be you right shoe. I know that some dancers switch them so they will not be worn out only on the side most used, but I prefere to use them only on one foot because the shoe takes the shape on my foot and this makes the pointe work less painful.
I write an “S” on the sole of my left shoe (generally I go over the S in Sansha mark) or in the inner sole. The reason of the “S” is that in Italian “left” is “sinistra”.
Take off all the things you won’t use, as labels and elastic bands (I don’t like the transparent band Sansha sews on the pointes, it always breaks my stockings. ).
Put on you stockings and toe pads and everything you use for pointe work. Then put your foot in the shoe.
Without totally putting on the shoe, go on demi pointe. Where your foot parts from the sole there is the spot where the shoe needs to be bended. Mark the inner sole with a pencil.
Go en pointe. You obviuosly now that know the shoe isn’t in touch with your foot’s arch. No problem, you’ll break your shoe later.
Put two safety pins in the spots of the shoe where your arch feet is higher.
(Please note that in two of the images it seems that the notes on the image can’t stay in the right spot. I don’t know why. )
Step 2: Sew the Ribbons and the Elastic Bands
In the spot you inserted the safety pins you have to sew the ribbons. Given that if you’re reading this guide you’re not a professional dancer, you may want to add here a 4 cm elastic band. I did and I found that it really helps in keeping the shoe in place. This band should not squeeze you foot, I used a 6 cm long band plus the part for sewing.
Sew another elastic band on the heel, that should go around your ankle. It should be more or less 12 cm long plus the part for sewing.
Normally, dancers use only one of these elastic bands, not both, but I found out that is very comfortable to have both, they keep the pointe in place very well. All this almost turns a normal pointe shoe in a Sansha Futura.
Lots of dancer use a 0,5 cm elastic band too, more or less 2 cm long. I put it between the two parts of the ankle band. When you tie your pointe, you have to pass the ribbon in this band, so it will be more stable.
I’ve seen a lot of different ways to sew these bands, many dancers just sew a little band near the ankle, but not around. I just write what I do and what it’s good for my feet 🙂
Pull the string carefully, it would not be painful. You would hide the knot in the shoe when you wear it.
Step 3: Two Ways of Preparing the Platform
I’ve used two ways to prepared the platform and once I’ve used them together (in the ReArt pair).
This first one is the simpler: just buy a pair of leather tips and glue them on the platform.
The second is less simple, but it seems to be more effective. Take a big needle and the cotton thread for crochet. You should “embroid” some stitches all around the tip. This way makes the platform more lasting and if you do it very well, the pointe shoe should stay up by itself, given you more help. Maybe you’ll have to use pliers to push and pull the neddle in an out the tip.
Some dancers cut away the fabric on the platform and some other don’t care about threads that go out of the pointe shoe, but being a “crocheter” too, I prefere to hide all the ends.
In my ReArt pair I glued the leather tips and then I sewed them.
Step 4: Breaking in the Pointe
There are a lot of guides about how you should break your pointe shoes, but here I tell you how I do.
First I break them to be en pointe. I put them on and I go en pointe, trying to pull my heel as back as I could. When the shoe is bended a little, I pull it of and bend it with my hands.
Then I put the heel part of the shoe in the crack of the door and I open and close the door repeatedly, so that part will be softer. This is because I don’t need a hard part there. As I said in the introduction, Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” cut it totally away, more or less down to the half of the foot. I prefer a lot of support.
Step 5: Breaking for Demi Pointe
To me, this is the more difficult part, I once ruined a pair of shoes for breaking them in the wrong spot (I then saved them :-)).
You should break pointe shoe where you foot parts from the sole, but this spot is nearer to your toes than it seems. Go en pointe, than bend carefully up the sole. Mark the part of the outer sole where it should bend. Take off the shoe and bend it with your hands (you should hear some “crack” sounds). The spot is generally near the box.
In one case, I cut the sole with a cutter to easy this passage and it went very well. The cut is only on the outer sole and when I go en pointe the sole is “reuinted” so it gives me the support I need.
Scratch the sole near your toes with a pair of scissors or something sharp, making X patterns.
To finish in breaking them and start to take your feet’s shape wet the harder parts (the ones that hurts) with alcohol and/or water and do a lot of demi pointe/pointe exercise and violà! Your pointe shoes are ready 🙂
New pointe shoes, and breaking them in, can be daunting for a beginner in ballet toe shoes. Softening the shank at the heel end, and softening the very edge of the box where the metatarsal joints bend on your foot, can help to avoid pain when your dance pointe shoes are brand new.
If your fitting went well, you should be able to rise up onto demi (or three quarter) pointe without the vamp preventing you from fully extending your ankle joint. If the box of your pointe shoe presses into your foot when you do this, you can gently soften the very edge of it with your hands.
Just bending about a quarter-inch edge of the box that hurts your foot, can ease this discomfort without diminishing the support that you need when you are on full pointe.
The heel end of the shank can be softened so that it will bend, and this is where your heel’s weight will rest when you are on full pointe. This will prevent the shank from snapping in the middle of your arch, taking away the support of the shoe.
If you have lower arches, your feet probably will not snap a shank, but you also will need to soften the heel end of your toe shoe in order to get right up onto the platform of the shoe. While you may not think that your feet are as pretty as a more mobile-jointed foot, your feet can develop strength in pointe shoes more easily.
Some ballet dancers’ guides for pointe shoe sizing will suggest that you choose two or three sizes smaller than your street shoe. And the same is suggested for soft ballet slippers. This does not always get you the right ballet shoes, because many people are not wearing the right size street shoe to begin with.
Commonly, street shoes are too small, without the room in the toe area that you need in order for toes to spread comfortably as the body weight shifts onto them.
The perfect transition from soft ballet shoes to Pointe Shoes
Code: SSBD Sizes: UK 1 to 8 1/2 including half sizes Widths: Medium (no X stamp), X, XX and XXX Insole: None
- – Hand lasted by Freed of London Pointe Shoe Makers
- – Constructed entirely from natural and biodegradable components
- – Deep vamp cut round, – Light, soft block
- – No insole to enable the full articulation of the demi pointe
- – Straight cut side
- – Cotton drawstring
- – Worn by many students for senior exams
- – Recommended by many teachers to prepare the feet for pointe work
- – Made in UK
A lightweight shoe for the young dancer’s first steps of pointe work
Code: ST1/BT Sizes: UK 1to 7 including half sizes Widths: Medium (no X stamp), X, XX and XXX Insole: light flexible insole
- – Hand lasted by Freed of London Pointe Shoe Makers
- – Constructed entirely from natural and biodegradable components
- – Flexible insole for easy transition from flat to en pointe
- – Deep round cut vamp to support the metatarsal
- – Light weight malleable block , – Naturally angled platform
- – Straight cut sides
- – cotton drawstring
- – For the young, petit beginner, to help make the first months of pointe work fun
- – Made in UK
The legendary original Freed of London shoe and still the most popular.
Code: SBTD Sizes: UK 1 to 8 1/2 including half sizes Widths: Medium (no X stamp), X, XX and XXX Insole: Regular strength
- – Hand lasted by Freed of London Pointe Shoe Makers
- – Constructed entirely from natural and biodegradable components
- – Regular strength insole
- – Deep round cut vamp, – Standard weight block
- – Naturally angled platform, – Straight cut sides
- – Cotton drawstring
- – Can be worn by all levels of dancer. Standard strength that gives support, while enabling the fluid and quiet movement of the foot
- – Made in UK
For the dancer who loves the Freed Classic shoe but wants a little bit more strength
Code: SBTWB Sizes: UK 1 to 8 1/2 including half sizes Widths: Medium (no X stamp), X, XX and XXX Insole: Medium strong
New ballet shoes in shades of brown signal shift toward inclusivity
A long overdue issue in the dance world has finally been addressed on a large scale as the result of a petition that received more than 300,000 signatures online.
Shoe maker Capezio responded on Wednesday to an online petition asking the manufacturer to make brown pointe shoes and inclusive clothing. The 133-year-old company announced it will start selling darker shades of its popular pointe shoes in the fall.
“As a family-owned company, our core values are tolerance, inclusion, and love for all, and we are committed to a dance world free of bias or prejudice,” Capezio CEO Michael Terlizzi said in a statement to TODAY. “We support all dancers’ dreams to express themselves through the beautiful art of dance. While we provide our soft ballet slippers, legwear and bodywear in a variety of shades and colors, our largest market in pointe shoes has traditionally been pink.
“We recognize that custom made pointe shoes in any shade or color may not meet the needs of our customers. We have heard the message of our loyal dance community who want pointe shoes that reflect the color of their skin, and now will offer our two most popular pointe shoe styles as an in stock item available worldwide, Fall of 2020 in darker shades. We remain committed to adding colors and sizes to our global product offerings. Capezio is here to support the dance community worldwide. Thank you again for reaching out to us.”
The petition also resulted in another major ballet shoe brand, Bloch, to announce on Tuesday that it will be introducing darker shades of its pointe shoes in the fall.
The petition, started by Pennsylvania woman Megan Watson, amplified the issue that ballerinas of color have done for years. The dancers spend time and money painting traditional pink ballerina shoes brown to match their skin tone, in a process called “pancaking.”
Briana Bell, an 18-year-old black dancer from Dallas, brought attention to the petition with a tweet that has since been retweeted more than 150,000 times.
Black dancers everywhere have to come out of their pockets to buy cheap foundations to “pancake” their ballet shoes continuously to match their skin tone as opposed to their white counterparts for which the pink satin ballet shoes are made for. Please sign this petition to help!! pic.twitter.com/epKemadekN
— BriBrat🦄 (@BriianaBell) June 7, 2020
“Black dancers everywhere have to come out of their pockets to buy cheap foundations to “pancake” their ballet shoes continuously to match their skin tone as opposed to their white counterparts for which the pink satin ballet shoes are made for,” Bell wrote. “Please sign this petition to help!!”
Bell, who has been dancing since she was three years old and is now a high school graduate headed to Alabama State University as a dance major, said that even three hours a week of dancing causes wear and tear on her pointe shoes.
“Imagine people who are professionals who go through six to 10 pointe shoes a week,” Bell told TODAY. “Having to get my shoes ready, you have to make sure your makeup (on the shoes) dries on time, and you’re having to constantly break in your pointe shoes, and our white counterparts don’t have to do that.”
Bell said she has heard from many white commenters who didn’t even know about the issue.
“I think that it’s very important because a lot of dancers kind of just take it because we’re used to it,” she said. “Us being left out of stuff like this, it seems normal to us at this point. A lot of white people have expressed their surprise that something that seems so simple has not been a luxury afforded to people of color.”
Rigid, flat feet can be problematic on pointe. This foot type is often accompanied by limited ankle mobility, making it harder to rise fully onto the platform. But a professional fitter can assess your feet and find brand and model options based on your individual needs. Mary Carpenter, a pointe shoe fitter based in New York City, notes that there are two different schools of thought about what works best for feet with low or flat arches: Shoes with a softer shank and lower vamp allow dancers to get over the platform more easily. “The second school of thought is that a harder shoe with a pre-arched shank can give you a little push over the box, sort of like a pole vault,” she says. You may want to try both of these designs to see which is more helpful for you. In general, though, look for shoes with a shorter vamp and softer side wings—a high vamp or hard box will pull you back off the platform.
If you have flatter feet,
try shoes with a shorter vamp
and softer side wings.
Carpenter also recommends these DIY tricks of the trade: To improve the line of your arch and provide better weight distribution, three-quarter- or even half-shank your shoes (practice on an old pair first). Then, stitch one long ribbon in a U-shaped pattern (secure under the drawstring casing on one side, continue under the arch and up the other side). “That helps pull the shoe towards your arch so that it’s more flattering,” she says.
Most importantly, dancers with flat feet and poor ankle mobility should invest extra time in cross-training exercises to develop articulate footwork and a better range of motion. Talk to your teacher about a stretching and strengthening program that includes Thera-Band exercises, slow élevés and passive stretches.