#Tonia Looker

From L to R

Image 1. Here they are in all their shiny, new glory! The fresh pointe shoe smell, like freshly cut grass or a brand new car interior. Untouched by a dancer's pointe shoe break in process, each completely unique to a dancer's individual needs. There’s something so special about a new pair of shoes. Ready and waiting to begin the journey through a hard working life, holding up an entire human body with ease and grace. These shoes have a particularly special journey ahead, for these shoes will carry me on my toes through sand and soil, on concrete, through water and through leaves as I dance through nature creating a special choreographed piece of my own for Queensland Ballet .

Image 2. Time for these pointes to get match-ready! Preparation begins with the sewing of ribbons and elastics…with dental floss of course. Dental floss used as thread chosen partly for good luck but mostly for its incredible strength and ease to sew with. Sewn, insole cut in half, sides hammered soft, toe satin cut off and the shoes bent in every direction. These pointes are ready for action!

Image 3. From daily ballet class in my makeshift garage studio, to countless outdoor locations, these shoes have navigated many forms of terrain with ease! They are so wonderfully worn in and weather beaten that they feel like comfy slippers. I hate to admit it, but despite their now rather rugged appearance, I think there’s still some life in them, albeit a short life.

Image 4. I have developed a love for these shoes. They have carried me through an incredibly fulfilling creative process. They are part of my performance and the story that is seen in their worn edges is art work in itself. Evidence of their part in my creation.

#Alyssa Kelty

My very first pointe shoe was the Bloch Suprima and I wore this shoe for a very long time before deciding to see if there was a better one out there for me and after trying various different pointe shoe brands and makers I came across the Bloch Aspiration which I have been wearing since I was 17 and have never looked back. I love this shoe because it is the hardest shoe that Bloch makes.

I have quite bendy ankles and feet so I need that extra strength and longevity out of them so they don’t break in a day! I am actually quite lucky because I don’t go through my pointe shoes as quickly as you would think I might. The skill of learning to dance on dead/very old pointe shoes comes from when I was not yet professional and still training to be one. When you’re still a student, you don’t get shoes so generously supplied so we had to buy all of our shoes ourselves. This ends up being ridiculously expensive when you go through a lot of them. 

I have only recently been slowly getting out of the habit of wearing my shoes until they are past wearable and I have been professional for 3 years now! (Also because it saves me from sewing every night or every couple of days hehe!) I do quite a lot to my shoes before wearing them including darning around the top of the shoe to give me more balance, as well as taking out one of the nails at the back of the shoe for a bit more comfort and to mould to my foot. I also put a thick crossed elastic across the top of my shoes to support my bendy ankles!

I am so fortunate and grateful that I get to wear these pretty additions to my feet everyday!

#Briana McAllen

Pointe shoes are so important for a female dancer, because essentially we end up wearing them more than our street shoes. I have quite mobile and flexible feet/ankles so I’ve always had trouble finding a shoe supportive enough, and that I can make last longer than a week when I am sweating through it every day. 

Before joining Queensland Ballet Company I was wearing an Energetiks pointe shoe as they tend to be very strong and supportive, they were great for training at school. However, since accepting a contract as a Jette Parker Young Artist with QB, I made a switch to a Bloch pointe shoe. 

I went to Bloch at the start of this year and trialled many shoes in the store, I think about 8 or 9 different styles, and I finally decided on the Grace as pictured. I am a size 5 and a half, double X. The Grace is a newer design in the Bloch range. The Grace is softly padded and very comfortable, I especially like it because it is a little softer than my old brand of shoes. The Grace shoe is great for company class, as I can jump well in them and I find it easier to articulate through my feet in them.

I darn my pointe shoes, also as pictured which requires threading darning wool around the tip of the shoe, this helps for balance and proprioception when dancing.

#Neneka Yoshida

Dancers are always conflicting with themselves to chase an ideal version of themselves.

When struggling with not being able to dance how we’d like, when spending endless time in practising in the studio or on stage, experiencing magical moments and special time which will remain in our hearts forever.....we go through all of those times together with our own pointe shoes.

The biggest decision we have to make before we go on stage is to pick our best pointe shoes to go on stage with. Depending on how my feet are, how I feel my balance on that day, what firmness I need to dance like I’m not wearing shoes and dance completely free. So it is very important to have many pairs of pointe shoes ready to go on stage on that day to have various choices.

They support us like a best friend, they open up possibilities to express our emotion and storytelling throughout our body like an instrument and they take both dancers and audience into a fascinating world. 

#Lucy Green

Pointe shoes feel like the most natural thing in the world to me now, but I still remember going to Bloch to be fitted for my very first pair when I was 13, and the fascination and excitement I felt. To me they were the most beautiful, elegant and otherworldly thing.

I now know that behind the appearance there’s a whole lot of sweaty feet, blisters, aches and pains, but the beauty of them has always stuck. I love how long and ethereal they make a ballerina look, as if she’s floating across the floor or hovering just slightly off the ground. 

The unique femininity of pointe work combined with the steely strength and resilience needed to hover on less than a square inch of platform makes me feel strong, empowered and connected to all the other beautiful ballerinas out there.

#Laura Hidalgo

I've been using Bloch Synergy pointe shoes for 15 years now and like any long relationship, we've grown together and learnt to adapt to each other over time. I started using these shoes without knowing it is an Australian brand and one day I was going to live here and become one of their ambassadors! Which I am super honoured to be and still pinching myself once in a while... 

On arriving in Brisbane and joining Queensland Ballet I was able to customise my pointes and finally find my perfect fit! Although, I still cut them and sew them and basically rip them apart before it all comes together - my feet and pointes become one! 

There's no other feeling in the world like being on pointe!

#Serena Green

This is what my little townhouse looks like right now. Today I... went for a run on my treadmill, had a Pilates class via zoom, followed by a ballet barre in my kitchen, a pointe work coaching session on my balcony, completed a HIIT workout, a Pilates workout on legs and a Pilates workout on upper body. 

I’m finished for the day. I still don’t know if this is enough, but these boots and I are working really hard.. on strength... on motivation.. for the love of this art form.

It has been hard, but for ballet it is worth it. 

#Paige Rochester

This pair of pointe shoes is a pair that I wore all the way back in July 2019, when I was performing the lead role as the Fairy in Paul Boyd’s ballet ‘The Little Green Road to Fairy Land’.

I consider this pair of shoes as a lucky pair to date. They allowed me to completely lose myself as the fairy when I was performing which made me feel invincible. It’s almost as if the pair was a complete part of me. They moulded perfectly to my feet with just the right contrast of softness/hardness that I needed, to perform with ease. 

I will always treasure this pair of pointe shoes and the incredible feeling they gave me on and off the stage.