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ballet shoes


dancerbabe82
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Hello everyone, I was just wondering what peoples thoughts are regarding ballet shoes. The RAD have now said that split sole shoes are allowed in exams but that they discourage use of split sole shoes for training. My old teacher (I'm over 30!) never let us wear split sole shoes because she said they made your feet weaker but I think I disagree - if a student uses their foot properly barefoot they can get stronger feet than a student in thick soled shoes - I've seen that myself. But teaching by myself leaves me quite isolated - it would be nice to hear what other teachers think, or parents for that matter!

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I think it depends upon the construction of the foot. If the foot is a loose construction - very arched - then pushing against both the sole of the shoe (non-split sole) as well as the floor (as an isometric exercise) could be beneficial in increasing the strength of the foot.

 

On the other hand a foot which is more tightly constructed - less arched - could well profit froma split sole in that it allows the student to feel the arch of the foot rising as the foot extends. The floor will still be used as an isometric exercise - that never changes.

 

But - one must also take into account where that arch in the foot occurs. If it is lower on the foot - that is a weaker construction whereas if the arch occurs higher on the foot - that is a much stronger construction.

 

So, it not only matters the degree of the arch but where on the foot it occurs. The optimum - giving both beauty and strength is an arch which occurs higher on the foot and balances in a true line through the center of the ankle and on up through the body.

 

If you take a picture of a well balanced arabesque on pointe, the center line of the shoe box (as seen in profile) should be lined up through the center of the ankle. In most dancers today - because of the emphasis on highly arched feet - the arch is in front of the center of the shoe box (as seen in profile) and the arch of the foot is thus spilling in front of the ankle and that line of balance is almost going up through the heel of the standing foot.

 

I know I probably made that about as clear as mud. :)

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This is really helpful - my dd has quite high arches and now you've explained it, I can see they are higher in the foot.

She's also got little feet (uk 3.5) and I was wondering whether the size of someone's feet combined with a high arch could cause problems?

 

Assuming the arch and the length of the foot are in proportion - and the arch isn't spilling over past that center line of balance it shouldn't cause a problem.

 

An interesting side issue is how the length of the foot - and the length of the dancer - affects "time." It takes longer to peel a long foot off the floor.

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I still think my dd works better in her split soles.she has a high arched foot but not to much and her ancle joint is very loose with quite strong feet for her age,but i have just been thinking about pointe shoes!they have a full sole,so maybe it would be better to stick to full soled or am i thinking to much.

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That's precisely why some teachers believe that girls should work in soft blocks for 6 months or so prior to starting pointework. Pointe shoes are even thicker underfoot than full sole ballet shoes because you're resisting against the shank plus the leather sole.

 

I know we've discussed this before but dd's ballet physio says that for girls like her who need to strengthen the feet, splitsoles are no good and that she should be working in at least full soles and preferably soft blocks.

 

Fascinating to see all the differing opinions about shoes. :-)

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When DD first started ballet, children had to work in bare feet for quite some time (I've forgotten how long) before eventually graduating to full-sole flats. I always assumed this was so the teacher could see that they were using their feet properly, but I've since read that working in bare feet helps children learn to feel the floor and articulate their feet. Does anyone know what the real reason is?

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I would not advocate doing ballet class in bare feet. In a modern/contemporary class where this might happen the floor is usually pretty special - carefully cleaned and maintained. And, the movement is designed for bare feet. Whereas in ballet class there is a chance for "burning" the bottom of the feet. I think a good teacher can see how the foot is being used while wearing ballet slippers.

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