Pointe Dancing

Written by Jill Morrison
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Pointe dancing is an important development in the history of ballet dancing. Pointe shoes give a ballerina the ability to rise to her toes in ballet. This ability has helped female dancers to expand their technique and create the appearance of lightness and long, beautiful lines. Pointe shoes are only worn by women in ballet, even when partnering with men is taking place.

The Development of Pointe Dancing

The first performances of pointe dancing were documented in 1815 in England and France. Ballet had existed without pointe shoes for 240 years prior to these performances. Using pointe shoes in ballet was exciting and brought ballet dance to a new level. With the growing use of pointe shoes, the appearance of feet became a focus in ballet.

The design of the pointe shoe has developed dramatically over the years. The first pointe shoes were simply ballet slippers with a solid tip at the toe. They did not have a box to protect the toe and the sole of the shoe was flexible. Today, point shoes are very stiff to protect the toe and foot from injury. They have a box at the toe and the sole is not as flexible as standard ballet slippers.

Different countries embraced pointe dancing as an important element for ballet choreography. In Italy, pointe dancers would spring to their feet, while in Russia, pointe dancers would roll smoothly through ballet choreography. The technique of ballet dancing evolved from this point and so did the design of point shoes. With the current design of pointe shoes, ballerinas can move more quickly, leap higher, and can demonstrate better technique than ever before.


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