Pointe Shoes are a type of shoe worn by ballet dancers when performing pointe work. Pointe shoes were invented in response to the desire for dancers to appear weightless and have evolved to enable dancers to dance en pointe (on the tips of their toes) for extended periods of time.
Pointe shoes look soft, but they really aren’t. The tip of the shoe is a rigid box made of densely packed layers of fabric, cardboard and/or paper hardened by glue. The dancer depends on it to be extremely sturdy. The Entire weight of her body is balanced on a small platform in that box! The rest of the shoe is made of leather, cotton and satin. Each shoe is custom made, and handcrafted to fit each dancer’s unique specifications. They are designed to break down and mold to the foot of a dancer allowing for those breathtaking moments we see on stage during FGB performances. No two pairs of pointe shoes are identical!
Pointe shoes make ballet dancing look magical and even daring and are essential to creating a pleasing aesthetic line. They create an illusion of lightness and give a sense that the ballerina is floating on air. Dancers need their feet to be healthy and pain-free; therefore, the footwear they use is of great importance. Footwear has the potential to enhance or restrict movement and impact the dancer’s body in various ways. Dancing ‘en pointe’ significantly increases the risk of lower limb injuries by placing the foot and ankle joint in unfavorable positions. The pointe shoe, worn predominantly by female ballet dancers may aid movements and acts as a major stabilizer of the foot. The deterioration in pointe shoe structure with excessive wear may increase a dancer’s risk of ankle and foot related injuries by placing excessive load on the joints when the foot is poorly aligned.
Not long — and sometimes for just one performance (or part of a performance!), depending on the difficulty of the ballet. A professional ballerina can dance through 100-120 pairs of pointe shoes in one season. At a cost of about $150 each, Florida Gulfshore Ballet will spend close to $100,000 on pointe shoes in its inaugural year. That number will increase as the company grows.
Contribute to the Florida Gulfshore Ballet Pointe Shoe Fund.