Why do dancers wear pointe shoes?
Pointe shoes are designed to make the dancing look magical and give a sense that the ballerina is floating on air across the stage. The pointe shoe is a seamless extension of a ballerina’s body.
Can a dancer put on a brand new pair of pointe shoes and dance straight away?
No. A dancer goes through a process of “breaking the pointe shoe in” and each dancer has her own special approach to breaking in their pointes.
Some typical ways that dancers prepare their pointes to wear include:
- Darning the point of the shoe, known as the “platform of the box”, This is done to provide traction and prevent the satin from fraying.
- Pounding the box of the pointe shoe with a hammer to soften it.
- Roughing up of the sole with a file to increase grip.
- Lining the inside of the shoe with floor wax or shellac which helps to mould the shoe and last longer.
- Sewing on ribbons and elastics.
Why does a dancer need so many pointe shoes?
A pointe shoe does not last long- sometimes only for one major performance, depending on the ballet. A dancer may rotate up to 6 pointe shoes in a performance.
In 2019, Queensland Ballet dancers went through over 5000 pairs of pointe shoes. A pair of pointes can cost anywhere from $60 to over $120 each; last year we spent over $160 000 on pointes and custom shoes.
By supporting Queensland Ballet’s Pointe Shoe Appeal, you can ensure that dancers are receiving the best customised support for their feet, and that they can continue to reach dazzling heights on pointe in the Company’s productions.
Should you wish to know more about our Pointe Shoe Appeal or prefer to process your donation with a Foundation Team member, please contact us on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 7 3103 6666.
#Pointe Shoe Stories
Pointe shoe insights from Company Artist Laura Tosar
A dancer's relationship with pointes is a very personal one. We hope you enjoy these reflections and images from some of our dancers during isolation.