The Performance Club

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This article was written on 18 Jul 2012, and is filed under Claudia's Blog.

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A Better Option?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted two of Troy Schumacher’s photographs of fellow ballet dancers’ feet, accompanied by some of his thoughts. Since then, there has been a lot of discussion in the comments section about the wear and tear on women’s feet as a result of pointe shoes, with some bemoaning what they see as unnecessary damage and others saying this this is simply how it is.

I don’t have sufficient expertise in this area to weigh in one way or the other, but I’ve followed people’s thoughts with interest. One of the frequent commenters, Esther Juon, has now sent me this PDF, outlining the work she is doing:

(Having trouble viewing the embedded pdf file below? Click here to view it in your browser window.)

One Comment

  1. Troy Schumacher
    July 24, 2012

    Thanks for your pdf.  As a male dancer, I don’t have personal experience with wearing pointe shoes in general.  By seeking some more information about this from my colleagues I was able to get a better grip on this idea.  The one thing that I’ve realized more and more as I’ve been a dancer is that ballet is foremost an aesthetic art form.  It’s not about comfort or the easiest way around something.  We push our bodies in particularly unnatural ways to achieve something abnormal.  The pointe shoe is one of the best examples of this push.  In order to further the art form, appearance cannot be sacrificed.  

    Looking at Esther’s techniques for this and then comparing them, I found some more information.  By pointing one’s foot the way that is suggested, the observer is left with a less appealing view of the foot though it may be a healthier solution.  The female dancers I spoke with do not curl their toes underneath while on pointe but always pointe their toes when the foot is not on the ground.  This is purely for aesthetic effect.  

    One thing I’d like to assert here it is possible that professional dancing and recreational dancing should be separated by approach.  If there’s a way for people to dance less seriously and with less pain then that would be wonderful.  Because ballet is, well, beautiful but painful in general!

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