Fall is nearly here, and with it a brand new crop of beginner pointe students. Are you ready for pointe classes? Perhaps you have scheduled a fitting or are just waiting for shoe-approval from your teacher. Maybe you already sat down with a parent or an older student to learn how to sew your shoes. Or maybe you are even entering your second or third year of pointe.
The CBT sees a lot of mistakes from pointe students in their first few years. Its to be expected, but if you want to jump the learning curve a bit, there are some pointers that can save you time, frustration and embarrassment. So with that in mind …
- DON’T rely on your parents. As you may have gathered from the above and prior posts, students should start taking care of their own gear and hair for class sooner rather than later. Having your parents take care of these things implies to your teacher that you are probably too immature to handle really advanced training.
- DON’T try to cheat in your sewing with Pointe Snaps or any other such horrid invention. Not only do they totally not work, they stomp all over the traditions of ballet.
- DON’T use Knot Keepers or tape to keep your knots in place. By all means, be concerned if your ribbons come out of hiding -Professional contracts used to include monetary fines for dancers that had this happen. But don’t ruin the look of your shoes by cheating with these things. Just learn to tie them properly.
- DON’T use rosin on your shoes if you have a marley floor. Here’s where innovation is a good thing. Rosin was used by dancers back when ballet floors were made of wood. It made the shoes slightly tacky to give greater connection and feel for the floor. Marley’s special makeup eliminates the need for rosin, and rosin can actually damage a marley floor.
- DON’T force yourself to deal with loose lambs wool or paper towels as your beginner toe padding. Those things are just far too much trouble for even the most advanced dancers these days. Again, the quality innovation and technology in this area is worth taking advantage of.
- DON’T overpad your toes. This is a super common beginner mistake. Overpadding prevents you from feeling the floor and pointing your foot properly, which makes the feet look like floppy fish and ruins your lines! Pad within reason, and as your feet become used to pointe shoes, periodically try to scale back your padding by going to a smaller pad or by removing them in favor of spot-padding.
- DON’T be afraid to try different shoes for a while. It can take quite some time to find the shoe that fits you best. You’ll probably get a perfectly decent pair the first few times, but its worth it to keep trying different things to find your most perfect match. You have to be prepared to learn the balance point in each new shoe you try, however.
- DON’T practice center exercises at home. At least, not unless you like taking off from dancing for six weeks because you sprained your ankle trying to do a piqué arabesque in your kitchen…
- DON’T expect too much too fast. Pointe training has to be done gently and carefully in order to reach the desired result. Every pointe student has had to go through the on-two-feet-facing-the-barre stage. You will be beyond that before you know it and glad you put in the time.
- DON’T forget to be proud of yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in and for everything you have achieved.