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 Post subject: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2000 9:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
It would be interesting to hear how each of us prepares our pointe shoes. I think that each dancer does this in very individual ways. There are entire books with interviews of dancers talking about their individual methods - both male and female.<P>And what different methods of preparation and protection have you observed or read about?<P>Also what kind of protection do you use - if any? Lamb's wool? Toe pads? etc.......<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited November 24, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2000 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 35
Location: australia
I use the bunhead's ouch pouches as i find lambs wool VERY annoying and too fiddley. It also makes my toes really hot and too sweaty, but that's just me. <BR>I would like to know what those new gel pouches are like; does anyone have them?<BR>As for pointe prep, my friends bash them against concrete or in a door. I think my teacher may have suggested hammering the bottoms of them, which goes for demi pointes as well.<BR>I know that with Gaynor Minden's you have to apply heat with a hair dryer to decrease the arch, but does applying heat work on normal pointe shoes as well?<BR>I heard an interview with a dancer in the Royal Ballet, and they actually ripped out an inside layer of their shoe to make it softer.. though I don't know how long it lasted for..


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2000 7:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
One of the problems with doing things to pointe shoes as the dancers do in major companies is - their shoes are paid for by the company, most of ours are not!! So most of us like to get a bit more wear out of them.<P>I always just softened mine up in my hands. But I would always darn the platforms with three strands of embroidery thread. It is time consuming - but well worth the effort I felt. It is an old fashioned way of preparing the shoes. Gives traction and keeps the satin from fraying. <P>My ribbons were sewn on and they went from shoe to shoe - removed when the shoes were thrown out. So many of my ribbons were 20 yrs old and more. As for the ends of the ribbons I always cut them crosswise to prevent fraying. <P>I always used lambs wool inside the shoes because it shaped to my foot. In heavy rehearsal schedules I also used an ace bandage. I think that helped me avoid bunions.


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2000 7:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I am purposely making this a separate post:<P>How to buy pointe shoes? First of all I would NEVER, EVER - buy them from a catelogue or online unless I lived perhaps in the wilds of some forest tundra without a store within a 1000 miles. Would you buy any other kind of shoes without trying them on? I wouldn't........<P>I always made a habit of having the clerk bring out every single pair of shoes in my size and style. Every single shoe is different. I found I could eliminate 50% of them before even trying them on.<P>Line them up in front of you - are the vamps even? are the platforms bumpy? Are the shanks already broken (from other dancers trying them on)? Are the lasts straight? I could really eliminate many just by checking that - if the last is crooked the shoes will throw your feet crookedly.<P>How about the wings? are they at a flattering level? Is the thickness of the shank correct? or is there too much of a "step" down between the thickness of the shank and the satin of the heel? <P>Is the sock smooth? a rough or wrinkled sock will abrade your skin. <P>When selecting shoes I tried to remember to not only think in size of length but in size of width. Since every pair is constructed differently - sometimes changing one or the other would affect how the shoes fit. <P>How about deshanked shoes? <P>How about putting floor wax on shoes? <P>Stay tuned...........<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited November 26, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2000 2:41 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
What do you think about using deshanked pointe shoes for regular class work? <P>Did you used to do that?<P>Would you allow your students to do that?


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Canberra, Australia
Hi all - thought I'd revive this old topic instead of sarting a new one. <P>I was wondering about the use of rubbing alcohol for softening tough spots on your pointe shoes. My new shoes seem to be a lovely snug fit, but the vamp is a bit long for my foot as I'm having trouble getting right up on the platform. My teacher and I have agreed that it's proably the shoe rather than my foot - I'm fine in other shoes that otherwise don't fit as well.<P>I've heard people say that they use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, applied to the shoe (just the bits you think are too hard). Does this sound sensible? Will it DISCOLOUR my shoe? I'm thinking of using this technique on the vamp.<P>Other than that, I've just used my hands to soften and beat the pleats area on the ground as my teacher showed me. Given that they're my first pair and I'm a real novice I'm being very cautious. Any advice?<P>Thank you, Danni.


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 242
Location: Washington St.
I have a question related to this topic... <P>How should your pointe shoe wear out if you are using it properly? What are the signs that you need a new shoe? <P>For me, when I was younger, the shank would break. But now, I have tried mini pointe classes again, and with my old pair of shoes I notice that the platforms have worn unevenly, and are much less stable over the big toe area. Is this a correct way for them to wear out? I used to switch my shoes back and forth to even out this problem, but this pair is too shaped to do it comfortably. <P>Regarding the previous questions on how to buy pointe shoes... my feet were too big! Only once did a store ever have my size in stock, and then only in one style of shoe. Usually it would take 8-12 weeks to order shoes, and then I was pretty much stuck with what I had. At least I knew no one else had been trying them on. :-) One terrible time, the shoes I ordered never came (I never did get them, despite many calls), and the recital was coming... and in desperation I bought a pair of shoes from a girl who didn't need hers, cut out the back heel area, and sewed in a longer back of the shoe with satin I had cut out of an old pair of shoes. I'm sure this was totally barbaric, I suppose, but it worked well enough...<P>Katheryn


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 4:55 am 
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Joined: Mon May 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Canberra, Australia
Thanks for reviving it Danni!!<P>Buying the shoe - I used to feel guilty about making the sales person pull out dozens of pointe shoes. But one time I did and got such a lovely pair of shoes that I do it all the time. Because, Hey, they're My Feet.. I only get 2 so I want them to be comfy.<P>Sew on the ribbons - sew them all the way down to the shank because someone once told me that that would help keep them from slipping off my heel (well, now I think about it that sounds like a bit of an old wives tale). Melt the ends with a lighter. Sew elastic on the OUTSIDE at the back of the heel. I have an odd shaped heel (apparently) so no matter what shoes I try, they slip off my heel which makes the elastic necessary.<P>Breaking them in- I massage the pointe shoe a little with my hands, put it on (while still at home) and with my feet in second, I push my feet up into demi pointe and really push it over to get some flexibility so I can roll through my feet properly. It makes that lovely satisfying creaking sound. So I go from demi pointe to pointe a couple of times.<P>Other than that, I try to get as much wear out of them as possible as they seem to break in (and die) ultra quick anyway, no matter how much I pull up and out of them!<P>One year we experimented with floor wax to try and get a little bit more last out of the shank, applying it where my arch is. It really just made a bit of a lump and I only got an extra class worth out of them (better than nothing I suppose!)<P>Deshanked pointe shoes- Are a necessary evil if you do RAD. I actually do think they are of benefit, because working in flat shoes and working in pointe shoes are two very different games. Theres an extra restriction with pointe shoes and plus the little leather shank makes a bit more of a platform to balance on. i think its of some benefit for strengthening feet and learning to articulate the feet with a pointe shoe shaped shoe (what a terrible sentence! Image ) because of the extra resistance. But I dont think it should be a compulsory thing.<P>I've never used rubbing alcohol to soften shoes, I prefer to manipulate the shoe with my hands. it makes me feel more in control (and I have done that to an uneven vamp that used to cut into my foot on demi pointe I just squashed that little begger down until it was nice and soft). You'll be able to notice where the alcohol was applied if you put it on the outside of the shoe... but not the inside.<P>Any advice? The more you pull up the longer the shoes last Image <P>I to, would like to know how the shoe is supposed to wear out. My shanks used to die much more quickly than the box, but for a whle now, I've noticed the box gets kinda squishy and i can Really Feel The Floor before the shank gets too unsupportive. It used to wear out a lot more over my big toe and my teacher nagged me to correct my slightly incorrect ankle angle and they wear out a little bit more evenly, obviously the big toe wears out first though.<P>Katheryn (with the name so similar to mine Image ) I don't know how you managed that massacre of a pair of pointe shoes and then Wore them!!! The Things We Have To Do huh???


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 6:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Well - let's see - I have used the floor wax on my shoes - but only once, I didn't like it at all. I put them in an unlighted oven to dry, and my son (a child at the time) very quietly and hesitantly approached me and asked: "Mom - do you know there are a pair of shoes in the oven?"<P>As for alchohol, I have used that but only for really turning the upper parts of the shoe soft AFTER I was done with them as pointe shoes and was deshanking them for regular class. It did not discolor the shoes. I always use deshanked pointe shoes for regular class. It does make my foot work harder, and gives a bit more protection to the padding of the ball of the foot while on demi-pointe. I insert a foam rubber pad that you can buy in any drug or food store in the bandaids/bandages section.<P>I always make it a point to constantly shift my shoes back and forth betwixt lefts and rights. That keeps the wear and the last of the shoe, much more even. The weight is supposed to be borne mostly on the three largest toes, so it should not be surprising if that is where one sees the wear. <P>As for the vamp being too long - I have seen dancers cut a V shape into the vamp and then sew across the gap with many long stitches using embroidery thread. I have never had to do that personally, but I have seen it done. <P>To keep the heel in the shoe I have occassionally sewn in a loop of elastic at the heel and then threaded my ribbons through that loop.<P>The signs for me as to whether I am ready for a new pair of shoes is the breaking of the shank - but not always. I have worked successfully in very broken shanks. However, when the box separates from the shank - that's it - the end.<P>I don't melt the ends of the ribbons - I cut with a scissors slantwise across and that keeps them from fraying. I use the same ribbons (after washing them) for many, many years. <P>As for the elastics I have taken Calomine lotion and smeared it across so they will match my tights - I don't like to see white elastics on pink tights and the store doesn't always carry pink elastic in the width I like.<P>I NEVER mind asking - insisting - that the clerk bring out every pair of shoes in my size and style. I am paying for it - and it's my feet that will have to dance in those shoes. And, let's face it, dancers are repeat customers - we keep coming back to the same shop.


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 8:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 242
Location: Washington St.
Katharyn (with the name so similar to mine Image ), I think I actually have had the most fun with my pointe shoes when I get a nice new shiny pair, and then in front of my non-dancing friends proceed to cut them apart, stick them under chairs, etc. They give me looks that clearly say that I am insane for spending so much money on something just to turn around and mutilate them.<P>Did anyone else ever pull down the inside sole of the shoe down from the heel to the first nail, and then cut both it and the cardboard layer underneath off? It was the fad at my school for awhile, and I don't remember why we did it.


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 9:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Katheryn - are you speaking of 3/4 shanking the shoes? Yes, many did that in class - but I did not. <P>I am sure you are aware that shoes are being sold that way now. The problem is many beginning pointe dancers are buying those shoes and I don't think I agree with that for beginners. I think they need the support of a full shank.<P>I understand that Margot Fonteyn would actually removed most of the shank from her shoes. When she retired she could hardly walk.


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 10:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1689
Location: USA
I couldn't resist. Does anybody remember when pointe shoes were about $11.00?


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 10:37 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Maggie, Maggie - I remember pointe shoes at $6.50..............!!!


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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 68
Location: IL, USA
When I was performing, my custom order consisted of the heel and sides being cut down slightly, but those were the only modifications. I am still wearing the same shoe, Freeds, short vamp, but the stock version. I order through either Freeds in NYC or Empire Dance, both know me and will supply from my list of preferred 'makers'. I use my left foot to break in both shoes and then I do alternate my shoes, but my left foot can use a shoe longer. Ribbons are either 'flamed' or sealed with Fraycheck and washed and recyled endlessly (as are the elastics). I leave the satin on the tips, but will trim when frayed. The only padding is a half sheet of paper towel per foot (generic, better than the 'name' brands.<P>I have a very strong, wide, moderately well-arched foot with very short even toes. With the exception of ballets that had a lot of hops on pointe, I actually used deshanked shoes. I would remove the shank and sometimes replace it when the sole became too soft. I have a large garbage bag of extra shanks and would sometimes share them). Tips were often rehardend with Fabulon or Crazy Glue. Alcohol to spot soften the vamp (Freeds are known for 'sharp' spots), which doesn't stain and heels were dunked in water if a bit too big.<P>Even when performing, I felt rejecting shoes from an order was a 'hassle' and I would try group the shoes into catagories I felt they would best serve in the context of the season's repetiore.

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 Post subject: Re: How Do You Prepare Your Pointe Shoes? and How Do Your Pr
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 50
Location: Oregon USA
This is a very interesting topic. As far as padding in my point shoes I use loose lambs wool. But, for those day with extra long rehersals or when I have more blisters than usual I wear ouch pouches. As far as breaking in my shoes I break the shanks (yes I actually break them) where my arch is. I have VERY strong feet that aren't very flexible. Then I work the box a little with my hands and soften any spots I need to with a little bit of water. I don't switch feet because then my shoes don't mold to my feet well, but I do tend to wear out my left shoe first. I cut my ribbons diagonaly and use fray check to keep them from fraying. I also switch my ribbons to my new pair of shoes.


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