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Ouch! What about the toes?


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22 replies to this topic

#16 BBNButterscotch

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 07:35 PM

Here's my take on the issue. Ballet is an ART form, correct? Dance is an art... an the arts are all about expression. I think that pointe work is overused nowadays, as someone said. You don't need a pair of pointe shoes to express what your trying to convey. Sometimes, you can convey that same pointe much more beautiful on demi-toe. Pointe work is beautiful when trying to convey flying, or fluttering, or a step that must be done on pointe. But a lot of things can be done flat... in my opinion, that is still ballet, it is still an art, and it is still as useful or meaningful as a female dancing the same thing on pointe.

#17 felursus

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Posted 05 July 2002 - 03:05 PM

I think the original poster was interested in how dancers can tolerate pointe work. Pointe work depends on the principle of the arch - as in architecture. A well-developed arch in the foot (as well as a flexible foot/ankle complex and strong ankle and foot muscles) goes a long way to prevent pain and injury by absorbing the forces involved. This, together with proper consideration given to ossification of children's bones, is why children (and adult beginners) should be carefully and properly trained before attempting pointe work. And lastly, of course, the shoe should fit properly. As the shoes are handmade, no two pairs of shoes even by the same maker are exactly identical, and different types of shoes may be required for different choreography. I know that sometimes a dancer may have to choose between the shoe that feels good and the shoe that LOOKS good. This is a problem facing every woman who has ever worn high heels! It behooves dancers to treat their feet well - keep the "gorgeous" ones for photo sessions - and preserve your feet!

#18 Buddy

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 10:27 AM

As someone who is relatively new to ballet (about three years) I would like to resurrect this topic.

Getting past the somewhat formidable title of this topic and perhaps scrolling down a little to Katharine Kanter's very interesting comments about 'Not Needing So Much Pointe Work' are there any new thoughts about this.

I am very glad to read that there are those who are comfortable doing pointe work.

What about new shoe technology in our High Tech Space Age. Can alot more be done here?

#19 richard53dog

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 11:00 AM

What about new shoe technology in our High Tech Space Age. Can alot more be done here?



Maybe coupled with Buddy's question could be "how have pointe shoes evolved over the last 30-40-50 years?"

Richard

#20 bart

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 11:18 AM

One of the issues raised by BBNButterscotch is whether or not pointe work is being over-used in ballet today.

I think that pointe work is overused nowadays, as someone said. You don't need a pair of pointe shoes to express what your trying to convey. Sometimes, you can convey that same pointe much more beautiful on demi-toe. Pointe work is beautiful when trying to convey flying, or fluttering, or a step that must be done on pointe. But a lot of things can be done flat... in my opinion, that is still ballet, it is still an art, and it is still as useful or meaningful as a female dancing the same thing on pointe

Earlier in the thread, Katherine Kanter raised her own point about what she sees as the possible over-use of pointe work:

Pointe work, in female dancers, has developed over the last half-century to the detriment of jumps and beats. Go to a shop, and ask the shop lady to shew you what the shoes look and feel like. You will note how terribly stiff, not just the pointe, or box, is, but how stiff the shank, or sole is.

From my perspective, pointe work seems actually to be in decline in the ballet world today. Most of the US regional ballet companies I've seen in recent years alternate pointe and non-pointe ballets. Europe too. Sometimes the women have to work the entire performance in pointe (Nutcrackers or other full-evening classic must be the most common in the US). In other programs, however, usually mixed bills, either everything is off pointe, or perhaps 2/3 of the program.

This made me wonder: now that women dancers must train, rehearse, and perform so frequently in both types of shoes (and possibly barefoot), area dancers more or less prone to foot injuries? And, is it opssible for pointe work come as easily to these dancers -- and with an equally high level of proficiency -- when it is something they do only (let's say) half the time?

#21 Buddy

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:42 PM

bart, I have not had a chance to really look at your post carefully. I will do so as soon as possible.

As I read and reread the postings at this topic, I think that there is a 'Wealth Of Interesting Ideas' that has been expressed so far.

For the moment I would like to call attention to felursus' comments . These comments discuss proper training, proper use of the pointed foot, taking as good care of the feet as possible. etc. Any comments here especially from dancers and instructors?

#22 winky

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 12:03 PM

Proper overall training in ballet and overall body strength helps pointe work a great deal. Dancers don't just dance "in" their feet. Pointe dancing involves the entire body, not just the feet. To be specific, dancers pull up at the top of the leg away from the foot and at the same time stretch their legs down through the floor. This counter stretching builds great strength and takes the stress away from the foot.

In my day I really enjoyed pointe work. I found that it was less fatiguing to dance than on demi-pointe. (Less friction, the tip of the pointe shoe is a smaller spot to turn on than the pad of the foot.)

#23 Buddy

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 04:31 PM

winky, it adds immeasurably to the enjoyment of watching a performance to know that the artists are as healthy and comfortable as possible in what they are doing. Thank you.


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