A Subject very close to my heart! The excitement of getting your first pair of Pointe Shoes. When I was young I remember heading to Dancewell, Bristol with my Mother super excited that this was the day I could try on all the Pointe Shoes in the Shop!
As a student I was desperate to go up, talking to older students and asking them to see thier shoes but I knew I had to wait to get the seal of approval from my Ballet Teacher. It felt like years I had to wait and indicated to my Ballet Teacher that I was desperate! Now as a Ballet Teacher, I can see the importance of making sure your student is physically ready. No matter how many pleads I get from students and hints from parents I belive in strength and 'when your'e ready, your'e ready' no matter how old you are.
The anatomy of the foot is complicated and everyone’s feet are different. So finding the perfect shoes just for you may take some time. The ammount of stress you put on your feet it is essential that you are physically and mental ready.
The shoe must fit snug but not too tight to avoid calluses, bruises and bunions yet give maximum support to prevent permanent bone damage. One important point to remember is that the shoe should not allow 'growing room'. Shoes that are too large or too wide make it impossible to achieve proper support and balance and will result in considerable pain. Having your shoes fitted by an experienced fitter is very important and I highlighly recomend the shop that I still go to for all my shoes - Dancewell, Bristol.
The main question I get from students is 'what is it like?... Is it painful'
Pointe shoes will feel very different. They are snug and the feet will feel very constricted at first and this will lessen as you break in your shoes. The uncomfortable sensation of feeling the end of the shank and the off balance is also somewhat difficult at first but will lessen as you feet get stronger.
Strong ankles are needed to keep the feet from rolling side to side and I do recomend to practise safely at home with exersies given to you and making sure you practise your feet and ankle strengthening exercise NEVER wear Pointe shoes at home and attempt movents such as releves or turns without your teacher’s permission.
The truth is, not every budding ballerina should go on Pointe. Yes you heard me. The poential for injury or permanent damage to the bone or muscle structure of the foot, outweighs the disapointment of your child. No matter what age you are, trust your teacher!