Pointe shoes, or toe shoes, are worn by advanced dancers. In pointe shoes the dancers actually dance on the tips of their toes! This way they appear to be floating on air! This was required during the romantic era in ballet. The history of toe dancing is quite intriguing. Learning to dance on pointe however, takes a lot of hard work. A dancer must dance in soft ballet slippers for many years before they can dance on pointe. This way they will develop strength and avoid injury. Many of my preschool students like to pretend they are dancing on pointe in their little soft ballet slippers. They stand on the tips of their toes and say, “Look Miss Gina!” so excited. It is very cute but I just cringe inside and try to explain to them that they need special shoes to do that and many more years of practice.
Pointe shoes have a stiff shank in the sole to support a dancer. They also have a toe box where the foot rests. A dancer uses many different things inside the toe box to make the shoes more comfortable. Some of the things that a dancer can use to make pointe shoes more comfortable are toe tape, lambs wool, shoe cushions and pads. I have even heard of some dancers using paper towels. The outside of the shoe is made of pink satin and has a ribbon that the dancer ties around the ankle. We can all appreciate the beauty of the pointe shoe!
There are many different dance shoe brands that make pointe shoes. Some of them are: Capezio, Bloch, Grishko, Gamba and Freed.