CriticalDance Forum

Flat-footed pointe-shoe troubles
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Author:  Airam [ Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Flat-footed pointe-shoe troubles

Hello everyone!
This is my first post here - I'm so glad I found this place :D

Well, here we go: I started dancing en pointe a few weeks ago - I've just reached grade 6 in the RAD-system, not that impressing, but I think it's allright for not having done classical ballet for ten years and only doing it as a hobby. The sad thing is that I'm having so much trouble with my shoes that it's spoiled much of my excitement. Firstly, I'm flat-footed, secondly I don't have the typically "build" of a classical ballet dancer, but am more curvy (think more of a salsa-type and you'll get the picture :wink: ). I am also a little older than the other students in my group (I'm 20).

I live in the Northern Norway, and we don't have any dance shop in my city. My school therefore organized it for a lady from a well-known dance shop to come up here in order for the students to get clothes and shoes in the right size etc. It all sounded really good, but... well. When I got there, SO excited to finally buy my very first pair of pointe shoes, I was rather disappointed. The saleswoman had only brought two different brands/shoes, and she didn't have all sizes and widths either. After having listened to her complaining over and over again that I "have very wide feet indeed", me getting more and more irritated, thinking "what do you want me to do, go chop some off?", I ended up with a pair of Sansha's √ątudes. They were so tight that I could not wear any pads, but she said I could put some tissuepaper in there if I felt I needed it, and that this was all she had. The other brand she had was simply horrible, so I bought the Sansha's, thinking it would be okay since the "fitter" said it would, knowing that if I had to wait till I got to a different dance shop myself, I would be really far behind.

Well, I got the shoes, sewed on the ribbons and the elastics, and spent countless hours being annoyed at the saleswoman. The shoes feel a little too small, since they hurt my big toes when I'm standing flat on the floor or trying to walk. They are okay once I'm en pointe, but when I go through demi-pointe to get over the box, the shoe often slips off the heel. I tried tightening the elastics, but it actually got worse. I asked my teacher about it, and she said the size looked okay, and that it probably is the model/brand that's wrong to my kind of foot. The satin that covers the heel doesn't quite reach high enough up towards the narrowest point at the heel, so it simply slips off.

The shoes are a little better now as I've broken them more in (simply flexing them, and doing rises over and over and over again) and the shank is a bit softer, but they still tend to slip off, no matter how much I tighten the drawstring. To get to the point: are there any other flatfooted dancers out there who've had this problem? Does anyone know a brand/model that might suit me better?

Fortunately, I am going to visit a friend in Oslo in a couple of weeks, and intend to get properly fitted pointe shoes then, but feel kind of lost. If the fitter there isn't much better that my first, I need to know more about what to look for so I don't end up ruining my feet. Any help at all would be mostly welcome!

Author:  Gina Ness [ Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:32 am ]
Post subject: 

Hello, Airam, and welcome to CriticalDance! By the way, my name is Norwegian. I have relatives, whom I've never met, just outside of Oslo. It's exciting that you are taking class on pointe. It sounds as though you have had a rough go of it initially. The fact that your big toes hurt when you are standing flat on the floor sounds like the shoes are too small. There should be no pressure against your toes when standing flat. This could be one of the reasons the heels are slipping off. It could also be that the heels are cut too low for your particular foot. For now, try wetting your heels (pointe shoes on) before you dance. I used to stick my heels under the faucet! Be careful to only dampen the heels of your shoes. If your studio uses rosin, you can also put a bit of rosin on your heels before you put your shoes on. Then, dampen them... This will really help them stay on. I would strongly recommend that you have someone else fit you when you go to Oslo. I don't know what type of shoes they sell there, but just be sure to try on quite a few. Even two pairs that are identical in make and size can really feel different. The length and configuration of your toes, the width of your foot including your heel, the profile of your foot...these are all things to consider when fitting pointe shoes. If you are a bit "flat-footed", don't choose an overly stiff shank. Good luck, happy dancing, and let us know how it goes!

Author:  Airam [ Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:27 am ]
Post subject:  Thanks!

Wow, I really didn't expect an answer this fast - but it came just in time, as I've got class today :D I'll definately try the water-trick, thanks a lot, Gina! (cool name, by the way :wink: )

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