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Pointe shoes - shapes, sizes and evolution


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I am taking the liberty of starting a separate thread so this topic doesn't 'block' the Sleeping Beauty one (please excuse the pun!)

@Katharine Kanter's post is a good place to start so I will quote it here.

 

Allow me to suggest that the reason for much wider block and higher vamp  on shoes is PROTECTION:

 

1/ Choreography is become far more athletic and dangerous over the past 30 years.  The combination of hyper-extensions, hyper-flexibility and pointe work, is hell on the body.  Forsythe for example, is far more dangerous for the woman, than for the man.  Dancers including female dancers, are weight-lifting, cross-training, etc.  It’s become a competitive sport, rather than a branch of theatre.

 

2/ Until 40 years, « Cecchetti » or spring technique, was used in the West for getting up onto pointe, save in adagio work.  This places the foot straight under the line of aplomb, and considerably lightens the load on the metatarsals and phalanges.  Hence the « weightless », « floating » quality of pointe work prior to the mid-80s when Guillemitis and its cortège of ills, struck.  We now roll up onto pointe, placing the foot farther from the line of aplomb.  The strain on the ligaments and small bones is very considerable.  Even Darcey Bussell, not precisely your bold iconoclast, has referred to this as a serious problem.

 

3/ The current commercial-aesthetic fad is for Posers rather than Movers.  We like it when the dancer hard-points the foot (terrible for the calf-muscles inter alia), and then “nails” the pointe into the floor rather than “rising above it” as it were.  To get the “big arch” look, the dancer then pushes the arch right over the vamp of the shoe (many female dancers today wear a big fake arch, one can buy them on the Internet …), rather than standing tall and ramrod straight on pointe as we did until late 1970s.  Even men can no longer get a job today unless they have the big arch, and corresponding S-shaped knee-joint – an Accident waiting to Happen, as we have seen with Hallberg.

 

4/ In furtherance of the Poser craze, tempi have got glued down into treacle since the 1980s, poses and balances are consequently held far longer, and à la seconde positions are expected to be held on pointe with the gesture leg waving somewhere behind the ear.  Without an armoured tank of a shoe, the foot would buckle.

 

4/ all this, and more (I could go on….) helps to explain the need for Gaynor Mindens (good shoes, BTW) and generally, the extra-wide platform.

 

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fonteyn feet.jpg

Edited by maryrosesatonapin
Correction of spelling of Katharine's name
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The picture of Fonteyn above is, to me, the embodiment of an aesthetically pleasing ballerina.  The shoes are delicate and elegant.  The legs are not over-developed.  Fonteyn has a small waist and a womanly shape.  Obviously her beautiful face with its huge eyes, framed by dramatic black hair, helps.  You may have seen the interview with Monica Mason where she explains that Fonteyn manufactured that look to an extent.

If, as Katherine says, today's female dancers are weight-lifting and cross-training that could explain why some of them are changing shape to have flattened torsos and over-developed leg muscles.  But on the topic of shoes, it is worrying that dancing is changing so much that uglier shoes have to be worn so as to help ward off injury.

On the other hand, to my mind (and I didn't see her live) Fonteyn's dancing was every bit as virtuosic as today's dancers and a good bit more poetic than most.  But are today's dancers really more athletic and if so, should they be?

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Well that could be as these sorts of more supportive shoes became available....she was still doing a lot of dancing between ages of 40 and 60....not so usual really....imagine needed all the support she could get ...even with “good” feet a career that long must have taken its toll. 
 

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Today’s shoes are not “clumpy”, they’re safe, tailored to the individual’s foot (with the exception of Osipova) and ensure that a dancer can safely continue a career en pointe without exacerbating existing bunions and damaging the feet in future.   As I said in the other thread, how tapered or square the box is is entirely dependent on the dancer’s foot shape, toe length, degree of tapering and metatarsal width.   We should be grateful that these days, pointe shoes can be made in almost infinite combinations of shape, vamp depth, profile, construction style, shank hardness and length etc to ensure that a ballerina won’t have to hobble on damaged feet in later life. 

 

It’s a shame that some audience members seem to prefer an overly tapered shoe for “prettiness” than a shoe that has actually been made and customised to fit the dancer comfortably and safely.  

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I couldn’t agree more, Anna C. Pointe shoes have developed so that dancers can now almost always find shoes which suit their feet in every respect and can choose different shoes for different roles if they so choose. Whether or not the audience consider that the shoes are the ‘prettiest’ is absolutely immaterial. Furthermore, the wider, more square-looking shoes are not being worn to make balancing easier (DD, only ever an amateur dancer, was quite clear that the size of the platform did not affect her ability to balance once she had danced in the shoes for half an hour or so) but because they are the right shoes for the dancer. 

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16 minutes ago, Anna C said:

Today’s shoes are not “clumpy”, they’re safe, tailored to the individual’s foot (with the exception of Osipova) and ensure that a dancer can safely continue a career en pointe without exacerbating existing bunions and damaging the feet in future.   As I said in the other thread, how tapered or square the box is is entirely dependent on the dancer’s foot shape, toe length, degree of tapering and metatarsal width.   We should be grateful that these days, pointe shoes can be made in almost infinite combinations of shape, vamp depth, profile, construction style, shank hardness and length etc to ensure that a ballerina won’t have to hobble on damaged feet in later life. 

 

It’s a shame that some audience members seem to prefer an overly tapered shoe for “prettiness” than a shoe that has actually been made and customised to fit the dancer comfortably and safely.  

 

Ok you touch upon something that really angers me about balletomanes (not all, but some). They seem to act like Degas in that they view dancers' bodies as their personal aesthetic hobbyhorse. A dancer does not OWE you to wear your favorite/prettiest brand of pointe shoes. A dancer does not OWE you to dance on a tiny tapered platform so it looks better. A dancer has a job, and that job is to get through his or her dance assignments preferably without injury and a minimum of pain.

 

All those pictures of older dancers dancing on tiny tapered pointe shoes were re-touched. There's plenty of evidence that in real life these dancers wore more practical shoes -- just watch the films. Do you see the same tapered tiny toe shoes?

 

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Having been a ‘watcher’ of the forum for a while, I’ve decided to take the plunge and sign up!

 

Would not a picture like the below explain the width of platform that the dancers balance on? (I hope I inserted it correctly!) If the platform where to be any narrower I’m not sure where a dancers toes would go! If you were to use a platform that was wider than the width of all of your toes when on pointe, then surely that would be dangerous for the dancer as there would be a lot more room for movement within the shoe when on pointe/balancing and therefore a lot less support from the shoe. The box of the shoe is designed to encase and support the toes, to keep them straight and aligned when on pointe. This Wikipedia article does explain about the history, development and construction of the pointe shoe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointe_shoe

 

 A properly fitted pointe shoe should match the shape of a dancers foot especially their toes and support the correct alignment of their foot: e.g. if you have long tapered toes, then you can use a narrower box/platform, but if you have shorter even length toes then you would need a wider box/platform. Useful article here on RussianPointe.com: https://www.russianpointe.com/perfect-fit/finding-your-perfect-fit/perfect-pointe-shoe-fit/

 

I know that most professional dancers have customized shoes, but as I understood it they alter the length of the vamp, how high the shoes comes up on their heel and along the sides of their feet, how long the shank is etc., but I'm not they would alter the width of the platform?

 

Pointe.jpg

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Welcome from me too, EVWS.  The dancer herself can’t alter the width of the box or platform (darning around the edges of the platform is primarily to stop the satin fraying if you cut it off the end for grip) but she can be fitted in a box wide enough to firmly hold the sides of the foot (too tight and you get unsightly wrinkles like Osipova, too loose and your foot slips down in the shoe).  How tapered the shoe is depends upon foot shape.  What you don’t want is your toes squeezed together in an overly tapered shoe.

 

Different styles of shoe (and at Freed, different makers of the Classic style) have different degrees of tapered or square box, angle of platform, width of box, width of heel and so on. 

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As an example, when my daughter was 12 she was wrongly fitted with one style and make of shoes (top) - too hard, too tapered for her and they made pointework very painful for her.   At another shop, she was fitted with a customised pair of the shoes at the bottom - you can see that they are less tapered and more square - she wore variations of the squarer shoe all the way to Advanced 2 and never had pain or blisters again: 

 

 

FEEE54B0-0396-4457-BF44-1C6E4E428034.jpeg

3E7D6E82-2A98-419C-B1EF-35F6C2BFCA3E.jpeg

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To my despair, Amazon are selling pointe shoes and I have seen comments like “My five year old loves walking round the house in them”! The sellers say they aren’t for children etc etc but people are taking no notice. Another person and I commented that they weren’t safe unless a teacher approved and I added my polite opinion but Amazon has chosen not to publish it. I despair.

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1 hour ago, Fiz said:

To my despair, Amazon are selling pointe shoes and I have seen comments like “My five year old loves walking round the house in them”! The sellers say they aren’t for children etc etc but people are taking no notice. Another person and I commented that they weren’t safe unless a teacher approved and I added my polite opinion but Amazon has chosen not to publish it. I despair.

 

Absolutely ludicrous, Fiz. 

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I'm sure we did not get this level of choice back in 50's 60's and 70's!! 

I only ever went to Freeds back then.....but wouldn't now....but am pretty sure they weren't that customised to my feet! 

Ive got terrible bunions now and am sure they were caused by pointe work but whether this was because I was on pointe too early so wasn't really ready for it or whether I just always had the wrong shoes for my feet on or whether it was over wearing of the shoe ( till it was soft) I don't know!! Luckily although my feet are very unattractive I've still got lots of movement in the bunion joint so only have problems if I wear ordinary shoes that are too narrow.

 

Im very glad there is such a choice now but probably only Professional dancers would have individually customized shoes made for them.

Ive got a wide squarish foot with an average arch so probably needed the wider platform blocks .....which I certainly didn't have ....I'm sure I would have loved Gaynor Mindens!! 

 

 

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Gaynor Mindens are great for my daughter’s bunion Lin, especially now she’s not dancing full time!  Freed will alter a shoe and do a special order for anyone though, not just professionals.  It might be as simple as a “heel pin” which alters the size of the shoe by about a quarter of a size, changing the cotton drawstring for an elastic one, lowering the vamp and so on.   When my dd’s favourite “Maker” left Freed, she was able to have another Maker’s Classic Pro shoes customised and ordered two or three pairs at a time.  

 

Freeds certainly aren’t for everyone but if they do suit your feet (and you get one of the Senior Fitters) they can be tweaked in almost every way. 

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  • alison changed the title to Pointe shoes - shapes, sizes and evolution
5 hours ago, Ivy Lin said:

 

Ok you touch upon something that really angers me about balletomanes (not all, but some). They seem to act like Degas in that they view dancers' bodies as their personal aesthetic hobbyhorse. A dancer does not OWE you to wear your favorite/prettiest brand of pointe shoes. A dancer does not OWE you to dance on a tiny tapered platform so it looks better. A dancer has a job, and that job is to get through his or her dance assignments preferably without injury and a minimum of pain.

 

All those pictures of older dancers dancing on tiny tapered pointe shoes were re-touched. There's plenty of evidence that in real life these dancers wore more practical shoes -- just watch the films. Do you see the same tapered tiny toe shoes?

 

 

Yes I've observed this too.  I once sat behind 2 men who spent the whole interval discussing the fact that one of the dancers was apparently carrying more weight than she had last time they saw her.  They weren't commenting on her dancing skills but entirely talking about her bodily proportions and comparing them unfavourably with a different dancer.  They seemed actually quite indignant that she had dared not to maintain the same weight.  Honestly I was quite annoyed by the whole thing as it was her body and no business of theirs. 

 

I've always viewed pointe shoes as a tool.  You choose the ones that work for you bearing in mind the feet you have and the works you're performing in. The information on how they can be customised is deeply fascinating though.  I had no idea they could do so much to adjust them. 

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34 minutes ago, Tango Dancer said:

 

Yes I've observed this too.  I once sat behind 2 men who spent the whole interval discussing the fact that one of the dancers was apparently carrying more weight than she had last time they saw her.  They weren't commenting on her dancing skills but entirely talking about her bodily proportions and comparing them unfavourably with a different dancer.  They seemed actually quite indignant that she had dared not to maintain the same weight.  Honestly I was quite annoyed by the whole thing as it was her body and no business of theirs. 

 

I've always viewed pointe shoes as a tool.  You choose the ones that work for you bearing in mind the feet you have and the works you're performing in. The information on how they can be customised is deeply fascinating though.  I had no idea they could do so much to adjust them. 

 

I think it harkens back to a very ugly "tradition" where rich patrons often "owned" a ballerina and feel like they had a right to tell her how to dress and look. I mean think of this: do we dare go up to say, a professional tennis player and tell her that her sneakers are ugly? Or that she should wear prettier outfits on the court? Ballerinas are professionals who have difficult, dangerous jobs. They should wear the shoes that most help them achieve their dance assignments. 

 

The other thing is that many dancers simply do not have beautiful, arched, tapered feet. All this talk about Margot Fonteyn -- Balanchine once called her feet "slabs of butter" and Ninette di Valois used to say "Nothing we can do about her feet." 

 

From the side her feet did not have an especially high arch:

 

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That is not her fault. It's not the fault of Alina Cojocaru, Natalia Osipova, and other dancers who have bunions. It's also not the fault of, say, Svetlana Zakharova that she has such beautiful arches:

 

16331828261_2675f971c4_b.jpg

 

Dancers are born with what they are born with.

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Beauty in the eye of the beholder etc…  I find the photograph of Zakharova terrifying, an object lesson in What Not to Do, If this is an Art Form.  If it’s not, NO PROBLEMO.

Zakharova’s technical range is limited – the less she moves, the, euh, better she looks.  What “outsiders” may not realise, is that all those curves – the excessively high, arched “banana” foot, the knee pushed back into an S- are actually hyper-extensions of the articulations (”Jambes en X”).  Until the 1980s, people with that sort of body were as a rule, discouraged from entering the profession, owing to their great laxity and the attendant risks to the bone-structure and joints.  Or, they were given special attention, year in year out, to correct the over-arch and the S.

Since the 1980s and Guillemitis, this type of body, with the inborn physiological potential to take the leg and twist it round the ear, is the ONLY type deemed “ballerina material”.  And increasingly, for the man, poor dear, ballerino material.

I might add that Guillem herself, whose was born with muscle, ligament, tendon and bone structure of exceptional strength and resilience (probably about 1% of the population), openly acknowledges that she is such pain nowadays that she cannot get out of bed in the morning for about an hour.

If that’s what we want to do to people, why not call it the Roman Circus, and bring in the lions?

Yer pays yer money, and yer takes yer choice. 

 

1/ The topmost photograph of Fonteyn has not been touched up.  It was taken at a instant when her weight had been placed towards the very inside edge of the shoe – ¾ of the platform is off the ground.

 

2/ Russian dancers still today, despite an aesthetic that I for one, most certainly do not share, tend to be better trained than we are.  They still use the spring technique to get up on pointe – BTW, an absolute master of pointe work and foot-work generally, is Ekaterina Krysanova.  And the reason that people like Zakharova can dance at all, is that the basic training gives the Russian dancer great back strength – her otherwise fragile system is shored up by stronger postural muscles in the back, than most Western dancers.  Certainly stronger than the French.  However, I would imagine that Zakharova will be an arthritic wreck by the age of 40.  GET THOSE DAMN LEGS DOWN.

 

3/ Safe pointe work is incompatible with leg-lifting.  Why?  As one sees from the appalling bunions and damage to the two barefoot dancers above, the human foot was not designed by the Creator to go on pointe AT ALL.  However, if we insist upon doing it, we need to do several things,

-          Increase the distance between the floating ribs and the hip-joint to take the weight off the hip-joint and L5-S1.

-          Develop the postural muscles along the spine,

-          Avoid Forward Head Posture (FHP) at all cost, by strengthening the cervical spine, using a downwards-slanting eye-line, and AVOIDING SMART PHONES!!!!

-          Fully engaging the oppositions in the spine, to pull the weight upwards and off the small bones in the feet

-          Springing (rather than rolling) up onto pointe save in adagio work, so that the foot remains as close as possible to the line of aplomb, again to protect the small bones in the foot, and for biomechanical advantage

-          Keep the calf-muscles as long and relaxed as possible, by avoiding all hard-pointing (curling the toes under) of the foot.  The precise opposite of what is taught today in most schools.

 

One of the countless issues with hyper-extended leg-waving, is that it is physically impossible to lift that damn leg, and engage the oppositions.  The only muscle that can hold that leg above waist-level, is the psoas (hip-flexor), nowadays cramped and in spasm.  So one must rigidify the torso, to lift the leg that high.  AND KISS EPAULEMENT GOODBYE – épaulement, the main beauty of classical dancing.

 

Look at Zakharova’s torso in that picture – stiff as a board, ramrod straight.  Yes, as a decoy from the rigor mortis, she’ll flap or wave the arms about, as one does nowadays to distract from the problem, but rigor mortis it is nonetheless. 

 

As for Fonteyn’s feet, the complaint, in her day, was not that they were not “pretty” feet, as that was a non-issue at the time.  It’s that she had weak feet – her batterie was nothing to write home to Mother about, and as Ashton famously said “she would have preferred choreography with nothing but arabesques”.  

 

However, in Fonteyn’s day, the audience would look at the dancer’s head and torso.  They would bask in the épaulement, and in the quality of movement.  Today, our eye has been trained by Hollywood and video-games to crave the FLASH.  And I’m sorry to say, trained by the avalanche of omnipresent forms of pornography.  So we goggle at the dancer’s body, their legs and feet, or WHATEVER is on display in those hyper-extensions.

 

 

3/ Turning now to Natalia Osipova: she is a markedly demi-caractère dancer, who should have been left alone “dans son jus”, strong and bouncy.  Unfortunately, at school, they pushed her to stretch, and overstretch … there are frightening films of her at age 16 out there on the internet, with her leg on the wall, I believe, behind her head.  To paraphrase Cecchetti: “a ligament is like an elastic band.  Once stretched out, it will never recover its tensile strength”.  Osipova’s body has been weakened by hyper-extensions and stretching, and that has ricocheted down to her feet.  She is plainly in almost constant pain, and looks much older than her years.  She had a natural jump and general bounding quality, and should have been left alone in her proper, personal biomechanics.  But the Sorcerer’s Apprentices stepped in, and wreaked their wrongs.

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I agree with almost all of your post, katharine, but I would disagree that the Russians tend to be “better trained” when they are clearly encouraged to “sit back” into swayback knees.  

 

It is an unfortunate fashion that has developed though, that a “beautiful line” is almost an S shaped leg and foot with a swayback knee and banana foot.  The safest line for pointework is actually straight down from thigh to toe but this is not considered “beautiful” so dancers like Osipova with naturally straight feet feel they need to wear fake arches under their tights.  It’s ridiculous that a Principal Dancer in one of the World’s best companies feels she has to do that.  

 

I may be unusual but I find extreme “banana feet” distracting rather than beautiful during a performance, perhaps because I know how much more prone to injury they can be.  However, like straight feet, the dancer cannot do a thing about it except ensure that her shoes protect her feet as far as possible. 

 

Ivy Lin is spot on about shoes being a dancer’s tool - sadly, there ARE people who comment negatively on tennis players’ attire (think of the stick Serena Williams gets) but IMO commenting out of concern or a wish that a dancer would get refitted in safer shoes is fine; implying that today’s dancers are “cheating” or that their feet look ugly by having modern, well made shoes is not acceptable.  

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10 hours ago, Ivy Lin said:

From the side her feet did not have an especially high arch:

I don't think this photo is a very good example for comparison, Fonteyn is in the air, but not at full height when the feet would be stretched to the maximum.  Either she is on the way up and the toes have not stretched yet after pushing off, or she is on the way down and preparing the toes to "catch" the landing.  Standing on pointe Foneyn had good feet which can be seen in many photos and films. She didn't have the "steely" quality which some dancers have, but that is not mandatory. 

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Indeed, I had forgotten one major point, not to make too fine a point, er, on it ...

 

Pulling out of the shoe.

 

Suki Schorer comments in her book on  "technique", that when trained in California, they had taught her to pull out of the shoe.  She got to New York as a youngster, and found that Balanchine wanted his dancers to go over the shoe and push into the floor, to get that big-arch look.  He was, to put it mildly, obsessive about pointe shoes, pointe work, and the foot ...  And Suki went along with it.  Which is probably how we have got ourselves into this pickle today.  Bad as Chinese foot-binding, actually.

 

Anyway, Cecchetti, and earlier techniques, required that one pull entirely out of the shoe, which gives one the feeling of no weight going down into the floor at all.  As though one were a marionette on strings, and one "floats down" onto pointe.  The leg and foot then form one long straight line.  A perfect example of this is Alicia Markova - trained by the Great Man Himself.  Her pointe work was exceptional, and at 90 she had no bunions ...

 

That is how the late-19th Century dancers managed to do rather difficult things, with sub-standard paste-and-paper shoes:  they were virtually floating above the shoe.  Very well-explained here:  http://www.thececchetticonnection.com/observations-on-teaching-pointework/

 

 

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Katharine, I dont think you can lay all the blame on "but maestro Cecchetti didnt teach this way." Quite frankly modern choreographers demand different aesthetics than say Petipa. For instance MacMillan's Manon does require "leg lifting."

 

We really cant turn back the clock.

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Gosh Katharine Kanter so much info in your post I will need to re read a few times and now I know what people meant by S shaped knees couldn't for the life of me picture what this looked like 🤔 

I think one of the problems is that a dancer who has some unusual natural facility who then becomes a Principle in a ballet Company has a great influence on other dancers who then try to emulate something their bodies are just not built to do.

 

On the Doing Dance thread here there is a recent discussion on the Australian Ballet and how they are completely overhauling how they do their stretching and looking at individual dancers bodies much more. Essentially they are going for strength over stretch but that's just a summary the whole article is there.

 

I did eventually have a very good pointe teacher but did not discover him until I was 25!! But I've only ever been a keen amateur dancer so the level of pointe work would be nowhere near that of the Professional dancer .....or I might not be still dancing today!! I think my feet would have had it by 30!! 

 

Just to add Anna C I think it was just a sort of lack of knowledge on my part  that I didn't discover Freeds would customize a shoe like that....well not for the likes of me!! 

I must now have a discussion with dancing friends from back then about pointe shoes!! 

Im sure I just went in the shop tried a pair on that sort of seemed okay and as was very shy in my teens didn't really question too much if I should be in another shoe....if the Assistant said do they feel comfortable ( ha!) I probably just said yes!! 

And then just repeat the mistake and keep getting the same shoes with no idea there could be anything different! 

I went on pointe at age 11 initially back in the 50's and I can't remember how I bought my very first pair ...perhaps with the teacher? Certainly not my mum but there is a picture of me in the back garden up on my first pointes in my RAD dancing gear ( says 1959 on the back) obviously so pleased with it all but probably didn't have the strength in my back at that point to be honest.

 

 

 

 

Edited by LinMM
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Cecchetti's not my God - his quotes are useful though, because he was quite the pithy man, and articulate, not to say downright RUDE.  And when it comes to technique, he knew a hawk from a handsaw.

 

Many think the same as Uncle Enrico, but could not/cannot articulate in WORDS.

 

As for " We really can't turn back the clock."

 

Well, feeding Christians to the lions was all the rage 2000 years ago.  It was modern then.  Putting people on the rack or burning them at the stake for heresy, was extremely modern in the 13th and 14th Century.

 

But, bizarrely enough, we managed to "turn the clock back" to more civilised times - e.g. the early Pharaohs, or early Christianity, neither epoch was wont to feed people to the lions, or frazzle'em at the stake.

 

For the past thirty years, we have been sacrificing dancers to the Cult of Hyperextension. 

 

Anyone object to shutting down the Roman Coliseum?  

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@Ivy Lin ' I mean think of this: do we dare go up to say, a professional tennis player and tell her that her sneakers are ugly? Or that she should wear prettier outfits on the court? Ballerinas are professionals who have difficult, dangerous jobs.'
There is a world of difference between a sports person and an artiste.  I agree that dancers often have as physically demanding, or more demanding, 'jobs' but it is also their role to look beautiful.  That is what (traditional) ballet is all about - beauty.  It really doesn't matter what a tennis player (or most other sports people) look like so long as they can do the thing they are supposed to and do it well.  Not that I am saying dancers, or anyone else, should risk their safety.

 

@katharine kanter  Zaharova is already over 40 and showed no signs of arthritis during her beautiful performances in London three months ago.  I hope she stays well.  She herself has mentioned her hyperextension and various other physical attributes in interviews.

 

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53 minutes ago, katharine kanter said:

Cecchetti's not my God - his quotes are useful though, because he was quite the pithy man, and articulate, not to say downright RUDE.  And when it comes to technique, he knew a hawk from a handsaw.

 

Many think the same as Uncle Enrico, but could not/cannot articulate in WORDS.

 

As for " We really can't turn back the clock."

 

Well, feeding Christians to the lions was all the rage 2000 years ago.  It was modern then.  Putting people on the rack or burning them at the stake for heresy, was extremely modern in the 13th and 14th Century.

 

But, bizarrely enough, we managed to "turn the clock back" to more civilised times - e.g. the early Pharaohs, or early Christianity, neither epoch was wont to feed people to the lions, or frazzle'em at the stake.

 

For the past thirty years, we have been sacrificing dancers to the Cult of Hyperextension. 

 

Anyone object to shutting down the Roman Coliseum?  

 

Uh ... you didn't just compare a dancing lifting her leg above 90 degrees to throwing gladiators to lions did you? But also: then is all modern choreography to be tossed out? All Balanchine, all MacMillan, all Wheeldon, etc.? 

 

Also @maryrosesatonapin if you go up to dancers and tell them that they have to wear "beautiful" shoes that do not suit their feet then you are telling them to endanger themselves. Dancers today have custom-designed pointe shoes to fit the specifics of their feet. 

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