Thursday, June 10, 2010

Get to the pointe!

I grew up reading Ballet Shoes and other dance books by Noel Streatfeild where her ballerina prodigees hanker after pointe shoes, and I always wondered what they were like. I imagine it must be like yearning to wear high heel shoes for the first time - no longer little girl gear but adult ones.

Pointe shoes signify your readiness into serious, "grown up" ballet. These are shoes which allow you to go en pointe (where the ballerina balances on her toes). Only girls after a certain age may wear pointe shoes as going en pointe too early can be disastrous for weak ankles.

Having passed her Grade 5 ballet (with merit!), Lesley-Anne moved on to Grade 6 in April this year, and a few weeks ago, came home with her very first pair of pointe shoes. I always thought there was a "block" inside the toe of the pointe shoe to make it rigid but I was surprised to find that it's not so. The toe portion of the shoe is just made of very stiff and unbendable material that is flattened to form a platform for the dancer to balance on. In fact, you can probably whack somebody senseless with it.

Wouldn't this be uncomfortable, you say? Well, that would be the understatement of the year. It's like wearing an extremely hard pair of new shoes except these won't get significantly softer when worn in. And you're supposed to balance your entire body weight on your little toes in these. The teacher has already warned the girls to expect bleeding toes and cracked feet.

Ouch. Talk about suffering for your art. Too bad they look so beautiful on the outside.


Lilian said...

Ooooh, the shoes are so pretty! And well done, Lesley-Anne, on your wondeful ballet exam results.

Monica, aiyoh, no wonder these girls get so thin, imagine the hippo-types having to rest ALL that weight on these two think will sink into the ground? *chuckle*

monlim said...

Lilian: Hahaha, I'm thinking of the hippos in Fantasia! Not just balancing, imagine leaping if you're horizontally challenged and landing with a big "thump"! Not very elegant. Like it or not, physical appearance is so important in ballet.

NYMacMom w 3 said...

ooooooh, blood and cracked nails! Something for my Grade 4 ballerina to look forward to, yikes! Well done to L-A on doing so well with Ballet.

monlim said...

MWAM: Thanks! Yeah, who would've thought something sweet like ballet could have such a gory backscene!

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