You probably know by now that I love tutus; long, short, bell shaped, pancake or not, you name it, but a classical ballerina is not really complete without her pointe shoes. I know that some of my fellow adult dancers will disagree with me, but just as much as I like dancing barefoot or with feet thongs for contemporary or jazz, let's face it, for classical work there really is no way around it.
|Photograph by Kike Calvo - National Geographic Stock|
Instruments of tortur or not, I absolutely loved dancing with them. I had my fair share of pointe work when I was ...ahem... let's say - younger. Unfortunately I stopped that some 20 years ago when I had stopped dancing altogether when going to college. Despite the numerous amount of pointes I have litteraly danced to ribbons, strangely enough I never really thought about how they are actually made.
|Used pointe shoes|
Pitty that all my used pointe shoes have disappeared in the meanwhile. I would have been so proud to show them to my girls. I though they were safely stored on the attick at my parents home, but no, they threw them out some years back! Can you imagine that? Throwing out the results of years of blisters, blood, sweat and tears!
|Photograph by Bill Cooper - The Royal Ballet|
Professional dancers report that the average life time of a pair of pointe shoes is about 8 hours and some principal dancers even require more than one pair per performance! Dancers rotate some 10 pairs of pointe shoes at a time. So they may have one pair that they use for class every morning; other pairs designated for rehearsals, and special pairs that feel really good reserved for one performance.
They are also responsible for re-stiffening their shoes with special glue once the shoes are broken in, but they must also wait until the pair is completely dry and sweat-free in order to do so. Pointe shoes can be high-maintenance!
|Autographed pointe shoes|
Anyway, and so it came to be that when I stumbled accross this vid explaining how pointes are made, I just had to share it with you. If you are interested in reading in more detials about pointe making, you can find an excellent description here.
And then I found this one from the Dutch National Ballet , explaining how just as easily they are ... unmade. Ha, I remember the tapping and hammering.