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What's the point of soft blocks?


annaliesey
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I'm going to really show my ignorance here and ask what the point of soft blocks is?

 

My daughter, due to start RAD inter foundation is waiting patiently to be told when the time is right to go and get some pointe shoes

 

There's been some conversation going on about soft blocks and I've been told they don't actually go up on them but just strengthen the foot and get the feet used to wearing them.

 

An analogy I heard today was to think of it as a training bra!

 

So I just wondered what the point of soft blocks actually is if a student is heading towards pointe shoes naturally anyway in their own good time? Should they bother and would they use them alongside normal pointe shoes?

 

I would have asked dance teacher today but things really busy in the studio reception and not much chance to talk

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There are a few threads about soft blocks on here, but basically their purpose is:

 

- to get used to dancing in a heavier blocked shoe (as ballet dancers wearing pointe shoes in a ballet need to do allegro etc in pointe shoes & so dancers need to learn how to control landings etc in a heavier shoe)

- to help strengthen the feet for pointe - thicker some provides resistance to work against & makes it harder to balance.

 

Of course it's absolutely not the only way to strengthen for pointe, & many dancers are perfectly able to gain strength without soft blocks. They are a kind of inbetween shoe, I suppose going from split sole satin shoes to pointe is quite a leap so soft blocks kind of prepare for the difference.

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At my school we don't use them between flats and pointes but I've heard of lots of other schools who do! The only reason that I have a pair is that they are compulsory for RAD exams above a certain level :) due to this we've found great ways to break them in quite well so they don't feel too difficult to wear!

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I'm going to really show my ignorance here and ask what the point of soft blocks is?

 

My daughter, due to start RAD inter foundation is waiting patiently to be told when the time is right to go and get some pointe shoes

 

There's been some conversation going on about soft blocks and I've been told they don't actually go up on them but just strengthen the foot and get the feet used to wearing them.

 

An analogy I heard today was to think of it as a training bra!

 

So I just wondered what the point of soft blocks actually is if a student is heading towards pointe shoes naturally anyway in their own good time? Should they bother and would they use them alongside normal pointe shoes?

 

I would have asked dance teacher today but things really busy in the studio reception and not much chance to talk

 

I never used them or had my students use them and we all managed to transition to pointe work quite well.  However, the only real problem I would have with them is the temptation on the part of the student to attempt full pointe in such a shoe.

 

I am not sure that going to demi-pointe in a shoe with a thicker sole without actually continuing onto full pointe teaches where the balance should be or gives the foot the correct resistance for strengthening.  For me, resistance is a passive modality whilst continuing onto full pointe is an active exercise.  In other words, one would have to stop the action at demi-pointe - while the real work still lies ahead in pusching up to full pointe.

 

I am sure others feel differently.

 

As for thinking of it as a "training bra" - it begs the question of training for what?

 

Training wheels, I understand.....but.....training bra?  :) 

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