The first pointe shoe was a “barely-there” slipper, a mere scrap of a thing with some extra stitching and a tapered toe. Romantic era ballerinas, like pointe shoe pioneer Marie Taglioni (1804–84), relied entirely on strength of leg and plenty of fortitude to stay en pointe while simultaneously appearing ethereal and sylph-like.

Dancers today, however, can balance longer en pointe and perform ever more remarkable feats without having to develop heavily-muscled legs to do so because nowadays pointe shoes have a supportive shank – a piece of rigid material – to stiffen the sole and a relatively solid box to encase the toes.

How soft or hard should your pointe shoe be?

How soft or how hard a dancer wears their pointe shoes is a matter of personal preference. Most like to feel the floor through the shoe and roll through the foot on to pointe with maximum articulation. Because feet are different, professional dancers tend to spend a great deal of time “breaking in” and customising their shoes by slicing and shaving the shanks and hammering the boxes.

 

 

“Dancers want shoes which feel like they have been worked in but are new,” says Sandie Windsor-Richards, Bloch’s National Manager of Dance Products and Services who has talked to dancers about their needs for over forty years .

“Shanks used to be exceptionally hard with very little give,” says Windsor-Richards. “Modern shanks have been developed using many different compressed materials with varying thicknesses and strengths to create shanks which have resilience with ‘give’ and ‘return’ features.”

Cosmetic changes in the shoe also contribute to its degree of flexibility and lightness such as its vamp length, box size, paste and puffing design (the layers of different fabrics which hold the paste and create the box). It’s a balancing act to get the design and strength of shoe just so.


 

 


Which pointe shoe is right for me?

A flexible, lighter and softer pointe shoe is often recommended for beginners because it increases the proprioceptive input and ultimately their muscle strength. “Harder shoes can result in the students not using their feet properly,” says the Australian Ballet School’s physiotherapist Sarah Way, “clawing their toes in an effort to get up en pointe and not attaining a full pointe position.” A more flexible shoe helps beginners rise onto pointe “fractionally” through the half pointe, three-quarters and even seven-eighths and so awaken and fine-tune the smaller intrinsic foot muscles. It teaches how to pull up out of the shoe engaging all the leg muscles as well as those of the core.

Way also suggests that a dancer with a stiffer foot may benefit from a more ‘giving’ shoe, “If the shank is (too) strong, the student may fall back off, or not be able to attain the correct en pointe position,” she says. “This can result in injury as the student’s line of gravity will fall behind them, throwing them off balance.”

 

Bundaberg Dance Shop Gift Cards

 

Another problem when a shoe is too hard is that a student is more likely to compensate in other areas to get en pointe, such as bending their knees and sickling their feet.

The demands of different choreography and different dance schools also determine how flexible a shoe a dancer will wear.

“I rely on my pointe shoes being soft most of the time but particularly with contemporary ballet. For contemporary works I love to feel the floor and so more grounded into the movements.” says West Australian Ballet demi-soloist and Bloch Artiste Melissa Boniface. “For me, it has to be that perfect balance of softness and support.”

A professional pointe shoe fitter can help

Because a dancer’s body and technique change throughout the course of their training and career, their choice of shoe may also change. That’s why dancers, and students may need to try out the various sizes, designs and strengths of shoe to find the one that best suits their foot, level of experience and repertoire and it is helpful if dance teachers are aware of the new styles available for students dancing at all levels as well.

Some dancers find their perfect shoe early in their dancing journey. Boniface has been wearing the same custom shoe based on the Bloch Sonata her entire career. She once tried a different shoe when she danced in Canada, “But that lasted not even a day! I went straight back to my custom Bloch.”

When it’s time for new pointe shoes, it’s important to make an appointment with a professional pointe shoe fitter in Bundaberg and be prepared for it to take some time to find the “right” shoe. Click here to make an appointment at Palace En Pointe

 

 


By Emma Sandall
Emma danced with Bejart Ballet, the Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet and West Australian Ballet. She writes a regular column for Dance Australia Magazine: ‘Ask Emma’.

Our feet and toes endure enormous amounts of stress and significant weight-bearing while dancing en pointe. As a result of this stress, there are certain foot conditions that may develop at any time. En Pointe Orthotics aim to prevent these foot problems rather than accepting them as part of a dancer’s life.

En pointe dancing is the culprit in many cases of bunions, hammertoes, sesamoiditis, bursitis, trigger toe, and stress fractures. (Reference :Dr. Kelsey Armstrong)

The rigors of pointe work are well known to contribute to a multitude of foot and toe problems — especially during a child’s growth phase and when dance shoes aren’t fitted correctly. Here a 8 common problems associated with dancing en pointe that can be avoided when using a professional dance shoe fitter.

1. BUNIONS OR HALLUX VALGUS

Bunions as a result of En Pointe dancing

Bunions (sometimes referred to as Hallux abducto valgus) are enlargements of the inner portion of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of your big toe.

The foot bunion is the result of changes that occur in the framework of the bones at the front of your foot. Instead of pointing straight ahead, your big toe begins to lean into your second toe, throwing the bones out of alignment.

En Pointe Orthotics support the toes improving the alignment as well as protecting the bunion area from added pressure.

A Partial En Pointe Orthotic can also be an alternative in this case and can be discussed with your En Pointe Orthotic Fitter.

2. BLISTERS

Moderate case of dancer’s blisters

Despite wearing shoes designed for this form of dance, dancing en pointe still may cause friction between the toes and the shoes themselves which can cause chaffing and blistering. With the perfect fit of the custom-made EPO, dancer’s claim that they no longer get blisters in their toes when wearing EPO’s.

3. STRESS FRACTURES

Example of stress fracture in a dancer’s foot

Clients that claim to have suffered from stress fractures due to pointe work have said that they no longer suffered these fractures since wearing EPO’s

4. TOE NAIL DAMAGE

Bruised toe nails from dancing

If you are a ballet dancer en pointe, issues involving the toes are probably nothing new. Considering that your entire body weight is balanced on your toes while dancing, it’s no wonder that your feet and toes look like they’ve taken a beating. Dancing on your toes day after day puts tremendous stress on them, and that stress is sometimes evident by the appearance of the toenails. Because of the pressure placed on the toenails while en pointe, some dancers develop bruising of the nails. Bruised toenails can cause intense pain (not to mention an unsightly appearance) for dancers. When the bruising is caused by dancing en pointe, it is usually the result of repeated pressure to your nail. Pressure strong enough to cause bleeding. Tiny blood clots form under the nail, causing pain to the dancer as the toenail is lifted away from the nail bed. In extreme cases, a portion or the whole nail can eventually be lost.

If your feet are weak, you may also be compensating by knuckling your toes which also causes too much pressure on your nails.

En Pointe Orthotics are made to fit like a glove to the exact contours of your toes, down to your toe prints, grooves and crevices.  This precision custom pointe pouch has been shown to eliminate any damage to toe nails in all reports from dancers in EPO’s when worn correctly and nails kept trimmed.

In all trials and client feedback, clients have reported that they have not sustained any occurrences of bruising, fungal infection, ingrown, or loss of toenails since wearing EPO’s

5. CALLUSES AND CORNS

Dance foot: Corns and Calluses

With the joy of pointework usually comes the not-so-pleasant experience of having unsightly calluses. Ongoing rubbing and pressure on the toes may cause these calluses to form.  This may seem a protective measure for the rigors of pointe work however this may also lead to painful corns, infection, fissures, irritation under and around the calluses, discomfort and sometimes pain.

It has been suggested to maintain the calluses before you get to the pain.  En Pointe Orthotics philosophy is in prevention, so no need to “Maintain before Pain”

6. HAMMERTOES

refers to a toe that bends in the middle and curls downward. It can make dancing en pointe painful.  EPO’s help aligns and support the toes, preventing or improving pre-existing hammertoes.

Hammertoes due to improper dance shoe fitting

7. TRIGGER TOE

Trigger toe is an injury that most commonly affects ballet dancers, due to the physical demands of dancing en pointe

Trigger toe symptoms are usually mild at first with only mild discomfort however progressively and eventually the dancer may find it difficult or impossible to dance en pointe, and will experience especially sharp pain when lowering the foot from the pointe position to a flat position.  If trigger toe is not diagnosed and treated properly (and in some cases even if it is), it can mean the end of a dancer’s career.

8. FUNGAL AND BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

Dance foot fungal infection

We have not had any reports of either fungal or bacterial infections of the toes in dancers wearing EPO’s despite it being a common occurrence among dancers.  The epo material does not harbor bacteria and can be easily washed.

As an experienced, long-term pointe shoe fitter I have seen many of the above afflictions in the feet and toes of the young through to the professional en pointe dancers.

Back 2 Dance can be a very busy time of the year and it’s easy to forget some things.  To make life easy for you and help you stay organised, we have put together a simple yet super helpful checklist that you can download, print and refer to whenever you need.

At Palace En Pointe we want to make sure that you not only have everything you need, but also the things that are right for you. Whether you need help with the fitting of your dance shoes, a new costume, accessories, or a pretty bag to keep it all together, we are here for you and strive to be your go-to place for everything dance in Bundaberg.  We can’t wait to see you at Palace En Pointe soon!

Download Your Ultimate Back 2 Dance Checklist!Ultimate Back 2 Dance Checklist

 

Dance is an art and finding a great dance school is a must when it comes to perfecting that art. However, there are many dance schools out there, but it is important for you as a parent or a dance student to find the dance school that’s right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of Bundaberg’s best dance schools to help you find your school of choice. These schools have excellent reviews, ratings, and a strong reputation here in Bundaberg. So, without further ado, here is a list of Bundy’s best dance schools in no particular order.

The Best Dance Schools in Bundaberg

Bundaberg Dance Academy Logo

Bundaberg Dance Academy

Bundaberg Dance Academy has been operating since 2006, this dance academy has gathered a reputation for offering some of the best dance programs in ballet, jazz, tap dance, contemporary dancing, hip hop, fairy runs, shakers, acrobatic dances and musical theatre. They are well equipped to cater for all levels and styles of dance. And if you have more than one child interested in dance classes, sibling discounts are also available!

Address: 8/29 Victoria St, Bundaberg QLD 4670
Phone: 0417 742 464

MAD Studios Bundaberg Logo

McLellan Academy of Dancing

McLellan Academy of Dancing was opened in 2015 as an excellent school to learn different styles of dancing including tap dancing, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, acrobatics, mini mads, classic ballet, modern contemporary dancing and musical theatre. There are different levels of study from ages 2 to adult. With their dedicated staff, the academy ensures that every student succeeds in their area of dance.

Address: 3 Princess St, East Bundaberg QLD 4670
Phone: 0488 332 206
Website: http://www.dancemad.com.au


TNT Dance Studio Bundaberg Logo

TNT Dance Studio

TNT Dance Studio started in 1967 and is one of the oldest dance schools in Bundfaberg. TNT Dance Studio has stood the test of time to become one of the best established dance studios in Bundaberg. There is a variety of dance classes including jazz dance classes, hip hop, ballet, tinies acro-dance, contemporary and lyrical dance, tap and acrobatics. Other classes include speech and drama classes, musical theatre and the Tiny Tot School of Arts (2.5 – 5 years). TNT Dance Studio has received positive reviews for its unlimited classes offered at a great price for anyone who loves dancing. Besides well-designed training, there is lots of fun and exciting in the dance programs.

Address: Cnr Water & Curtis St,, Bundaberg Central QLD 4670
Phone: (07) 4152 0177
Website: http://www.tntdancestudio.com.au


Aerial Arts Academy Logo

Aerial Arts Academy

Aerial Arts Academy is located on 87 Targo St Bundaberg QLD.  There is a variety of dances taught at the academy at whatever level. Whether for a child or adult, Aerial Arts Academy has great dance programs, as well as AntiGravity Yoga, Aerial Silk, & Fun Stream Dance. Aerial Arts Academy also offer parties for both Adults and Kids. Party excuses may include Kids Birthdays, Adult Birthdays, Hens night, Girls night out, Work party, Team bonding, Mother and daughter bonding, or any other excuse to have a party.

Address: 87 Targo St, Bundaberg South QLD 4670
Phone: 0488 481 787
Website: http://aerialartsacademy.com.au


Ignite Dance Studio Bundaberg Logo

Ignite Dance Studio

Located on 101B Bourbong St in Bundaberg’s CBD, Ignite Dance Studio is among the best places to learn dance. With positive reviews and an excellent reputation, this dance studio is a great establishment for anyone yearning to learn how to dance. Some dance classes offered include ballet, hip hop, tap, jazz, song & dance, tiny tots, contemporary dance and many more. All these classes are offered at competitive prices.

Address: 101B Bourbong St, Bundaberg Central QLD 4670
Phone: 0419 629 829
Website: http://www.ignitedance.com


Encore Dance Studio Bundaberg Logo

Encore Dance Studio

We cannot talk about the best places to learn dance without mentioning Encore Dance Studio. This dance school is located on Quay St Bundaberg QLD, right in the heart of Bundy and is one of Bundaberg’s largest dance schools. The studio has great, passionate dance trainers and offers Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Musical Theatre. Dancers also have the opportunity to prepare and sit for CSTD Examinations in Tap, Jazz or Ballet. Encore Dance Studio offers dance classes for both female and male dancers from a very young age right through to senior age groups.

Address: 34 Quay St, Bundaberg Central QLD 4670
Phone: 0414 636 104
Website: http://www.encoredancestudio.com.au


Dianne McLellan Dancers Bundaberg Logo

Dianne McLellan Dancers

With almost 50 years experience and founded by Dianne McLellan, DMD provides students of all ages and abilities with professional dance and performance training in a caring and family friendly environment. Students train in all facets of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, and Musical Theatre. Students can also sit for examinations for Royal Academy of Dancing and Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing to further their dance careers.

Address: 13 Jensen St, Avenell Heights, QLD 4670
Phone: 0409 052 957
Website: https://www.diannemclellandancers.com


Acrobatica Bundaberg Logo

Acrobatica

Acrobatica’s specialty is Acrobatics, but they also offer classes in Tap. Ballet & Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre & Drama from the age of 3 years. Their goal is to provide a safe and happy, family environment to encourage children to be the best that they can be. Acrobatics, Dance & Drama give children stronger core, flexibility and confidence. They have an annual concert to showcase the students and give them an opportunity to show off their skills.

Address: Studio – 51 Bingera Street Bundaberg West
Phone: 0400 166 032
Website: http://www.acrobatica.org/


Becoming Ballet Bundaberg Logo

Becoming Ballet

Becoming Ballet is a Christian dance school located in Bundaberg. They offer classes for all ages from 3 to adults. They are motivated by their faith in Jesus Christ and aim for excellence in everything they do. They care about teaching your child excellent dance technique, enjoy dancing, and develop into the confident, beautiful individuals they were created to be. Becoming Ballet uses the Living Dance International curriculum which is a blend of French & Russian ballet styles. It teaches students an excellent ballet technique whilst encouraging expression and modesty. Their students undertake Living Dance exams each year in classical ballet, as well as having opportunities in tap and jazz & contemporary dance.

Address: Becoming Ballet Cnr Alice & Water St Walkervale QLD 4670
Phone: 0417 220 576
Website: https://becomingballet.wixsite.com/dance


LA Dance Academy Bundaberg Logo

LA Dance Academy

LA Dance Academy is a Bundaberg dance studio offering a wide variety of classes and performance opportunities to students of all ages and abilities. They are passionate about providing a positive environment for students to learn and enhance their skills while also stimulating a lifelong love of dance. They offer classes in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Acrobatics, Lyrical and Contemporary along with an All Abilities.

Address: 2/6-8 Woondooma Street Bundaberg QLD 4670
Phone: 0432 909 251
Website: https://ladanceacademybundaberg.com/


What’s your favourite dance school in Bundaberg? Let us know in the comments below!

Is your studio missing on this page? Send us your details here and we’ll add your dance school, too!

Moving up to pointe shoes is a very exciting time in every ballerinas life. Once your instructor says that you have passed the test, it is straight to your local dance shop to pick out your first pair of pointe shoes.

But Before you do, there are a few things you should consider in order to make sure that you have picked out a pair that is suitable for your individual foot.

Wait till you are ready

Trying to dance in pointe shoes when your feet are not strong enough can result in serious injury to your feet. It is also important to go at the pace your instructor feels fit. You may be itching to try a pirouette out on the floor but once again, it is dangerous and should not be attempted until your instructor believes you are ready. Barre work may seem tedious but you will build the foundation that is necessary to be able to dance beautifully in your shoes.

Learn to properly prepare your first pair of dance shoes

Each ballerina is different and more advanced ballerinas may alter their shoes in a way they have learned works for their feet over time. However, in the beginning it is important to seek professional advice from someone who has experience in fitting dance shoes to ensure your foot is supported properly. Failing to do so can result in lasting injuries, especially in young dancers whose bodies are still developing. Ask your local Bundaberg dance store for dance shoe with Dance Base Support technology by MDM to ensure maximum support and avoid serious injury.

Necessary supplies

Make sure you gather all of the supplies you will need to prepare your dance shoes. At Palace En Pointe, we are here to assist you and make sure you have everything you need to start and maintain your dance career. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • Your pointe shoes
  • The ribbon that come with your shoes
  • The elastic that comes with your shoes
  • Pen or marker
  • Lighter
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread

Get help with all you dancing needs

At Palace En Pointe here in Bundaberg, we have a wide range of dance clothes, dance shoes, activewear, gymnastic wear and more! Come and see us in-store at:

Shop 10, Palace Arcade (upstairs)
133 Bourbong Street
Bundaberg, Queensland 4670

Looking for a classic updo that you can create in an instant? Try a sleek ballerina bun. A ‘ballerina bun‘ hairstyle might look complicated, but as long as your hair is long enough to pull into a ponytail, the style is actually quite simple to achieve. In this quick video tutorial, Bloch shows you how to make the perfect ballet bun. Comment your top tip for the perfect bun below!

How To Make The Perfect Ballet Bun

Start with a ponytail. You can add a part or go for the sophisticated slicked back look, depending on the occasion. Twist your ponytail around your fingers until it beings to coil. That’s when you know it’s time to start wrapping. As you continue to twist, wrap your ponytail around itself at the base. Before you tuck the tips, shape your bun by slightly adjusting the form. Use bobby pins to keep it secure. For a bigger ballerina bun, tease the ponytail before you pin it.

There you have it! A perfect ballerina bun.

 

Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise!

Here at Palace En Pointe in Bundaberg, we have a wide range of dance wear and accessories, including all your favourite brands, like Bloch, MDM Dance, En Pointe Orthotics, Danceree and more!

Come see our friendly team in store for all your dance needs! Don’t forget to claim this $10 voucher to use on your first purchase!

 

Being the parent of a young dancer, especially if you’ve never danced before, can be an intimidating and challenging experience.

One moment you’re dropping your child off at dance class to learn some steps and burn some energy. When they hop back in the car an hour later, they’re excitedly rattling off a million class notes a minute–filled with words you may or may not understand. Dance season can be a long, bewildering year. But if you’re prepared with a little knowledge of what your child will experience, you can engage in the conversation and even help resolve issues along the way.

 

1. Terminology

From plié and tendu to the top of the count and marked movement, dancers speak a different language in the studio. No matter the style, it boils down to technique first. When your child steps into his or her first class, the instructor will teach these common positions to help shape their dance technique.

Arabesque [a-ra-BESK]: A pose with one leg stretched straight out to the back.
• Assemble [a-sahm-BLAY]: A jump from one foot landing on two feet.
• Barre [bar]: The wooden railing fastened to the walls of the dance studio.
• Chasse [sha-SAY]: The working leg slides out from the supporting leg and pushes off the ground, the supporting leg comes to the working leg in the air and lands in its place.
• Count: Many styles will count the beat of the music by threes, fours or eights. This is how the dancer puts movement to the beat of the music and helps keep dancers uniform and on the same pace.
• Demi-plie [duh-MEE-plee-AY]: Half-bend of the knees without the heels leaving the floor.
• Jete [zhuh-TAY]: A jump from one foot to the other in which the working leg appears to have been thrown (think leap).
• Mark: A walk-through of choreography in which movement is not done to its fullest potential.
• Pirouette [peer-oh-WET]: A turn of the body, standing on the supporting leg while the working leg is usually in retire (leg is bent upwards, with toes typically connected to the other leg, turned out).
• Plie [plee-AY]: To bend the knee(s).
• Releve [ruhl-VAY]: A raising of the heels.
• Rond de jambe [rawn duh zhahmb]: A circular movement of the leg.
• Tendu [tahn-DEW]: The working foot slides from the supporting leg without lifting the toe from the ground until the toe has reached a full pointe.
• The Five Positions: First, second, third, fourth and fifth position are common barre exercises in ballet class.

 

2. Dance Bag Essentials

A dancer’s bag should contain shoes, a bottle of water, granola bars or other snacks, hair ties, bobby pins and post-class sweats or a sweater. Your child should wear regular shoes to the studio and change into his or her dance shoes once they get there. If your child has multiple classes in a day, make sure the bag is packed with the appropriate attire for each class and ask your studio director for requirements.

 

3. Invest in Hair Spray and Bobby Pins

During class or recital season, your young dancer will go through a lot of hair spray and bobby pins. Purchase a big box of pins and multiple bottles of hairspray so you’re never scrambling if you run out or if your little one loses anything. Plus, if another dance parent needs these items, you’ll be the class hero!

 

4. Practice and Stretch Anytime, Anywhere

Stretching is a major component of a dancer’s life. Without flexibility, their range of motion is limited, making jumps, turns and other movements look weak. At night while watching TV, don’t be surprised if you see your little one attempting to do the splits or other stretches. You may even find your ballerina practicing the five positions while brushing her teeth.

 

5. Turning and Spotting

Spotting is a common dance technique. While spinning, the eyes pick one spot and the body does the work. This helps the dancer avoid dizziness and maintain balance and posture. When children first learn this technique they are encouraged to practice at home. Don’t be alarmed if your child is in the corner of a room spinning; they’re merely practicing how to spot.

 

6. Bodyweight Issues

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 40 to 60 percent of girls ages 6 to 12 are concerned about becoming too fat or gaining weight. Issues can arise when costumes reveal too much. Be a role model and show your healthy habits. Let your child pack lunches and cook dinner so she learns how food helps fuel her activities. NEDA also suggests you talk about yourself with respect because others pay attention to you and will learn how to appreciate their body image.

 

This article was originally published by Fara Rosenzweig at https://www.activekids.com/dance/articles/a-dance-parent-s-survival-guide/

 

If you’re a professional dancer wearing pointe shoes all day long, you may experience some pain with pointe work. However, it is possible for pointe to be pain-free, especially for the beginner. If you have your shoes fitted correctly, and achieve the right level of strength and mobility, you shouldn’t be experiencing any real pain. Rain Francis teamed up with renowned dance physical therapist Lisa Howell of Perfect Form Physiotherapy to bring you this list of 8 ways to make pointe pain-free.

1. Get the right shoes

Correctly fitting pointe shoes are absolutely essential. Once your feet have stopped growing, and have found a shoe that works for you, it may be more convenient to purchase them online, but for anyone who is still growing and developing, and especially for your first few pairs, make sure you see an experienced pointe shoe fitter, who has access to a wide range of styles. If the shoe is fitted correctly, it will be firm around the front part of the foot but should not be squashing your toes in together too much, as this can lead to ingrown toenails. If the box of the shoe is too wide, the foot will slide down into the box while en pointe, putting pressure on the toes, which can lead to bruised toe nails. If the box is too short it can cut in under the joint of the big toe and may contribute to the formation of a bunion. Always ensure that the wings of the shoe come up to the level of your big toe joint. As everybody’s foot is different, there is no one perfect shoe that is right for all dancers, and it is essential that all students at a school have shoes that specifically fit their individual foot type, even if this means that they are in different brands.

2. Be prepared

Every student should undergo a pre-pointe assessment with a qualified practitioner, for example a physical therapist who specializes in dance, or a private lesson with a very experienced dance teacher. This is important to ensure that you have the required range and strength before you attempt pointe work. Otherwise, you risk injury and developing incorrect technique, which can take a long time to correct. Be patient – if you don’t pass your pointe assessment the first time around, listen to the advice from your assessor and work on all of the elements that are identified before your next assessment. It may only be another six weeks of sticking to your exercises before you are able to get your first pair of pointes! Refer to Lisa Howell’s The Perfect Pointe Book for some exercises that will really help with your preparation for pointe work.

3. Strengthen correctly

Ask your teacher for a structured program to improve your strength en pointe gradually. It is not just about being up on pointe or down on flat – it’s imperative to learn how to really articulate the foot in the shoe in every single rise and every tendu. Working through a graduated rise and being able to control your lowering is the most essential part of pointe work and will improve your strength and technique while helping to prevent injuries. For more information on this, check out the My Beginner Pointe program that Lisa developed with ex Australian Ballet Principal Artist Vicki Attard.

4. Use the right shoe for your level

The shoes you wear should be appropriate for your level of pointe work. As a beginner, while just working at the barre, a softer shoe will help you learn to articulate the foot correctly in the shoe. When you move into doing things like multiple turns in the center, a stronger, more rigid shoe may be more appropriate. As you progress further with your pointe work, you may find you need a few different pairs of shoes – a really supple one for barre work and softer, more Romantic solos; and a stronger, more stable one for center work, or stronger variations, which require multiple hops en pointe.

5. Look after your feet

Foot hygiene is extremely important, yet often neglected. If you don’t clean your feet and take care of your pointe shoes properly, you’re at risk of all sorts of nasties, such as blisters, ingrown toenails and fungal infections. Treat your toe pads or ouch pouches like socks: Remove them from your shoes and wash them frequently. You sweat a lot through your feet and wearing the same dirty pair of toe pads every day without letting them dry out can be a direct road to pain! If blisters do develop, make sure you deal with them hygienically and cover them up for class rather than letting the raw skin rub on the inside of your pointes.

6. Use appropriate padding

There are many different options on the market these days, but when choosing padding for your toes, look for something that has minimal fabric underneath the toes. Too much bulk here can interfere with the placment and working of the feet. Any padding you use should be minimal. The biggest issue with pain en pointe is usually due to the toes clawing in the shoe, and the knuckles rubbing on the underside of the box. Most dancers then feel they need to put something in place to stop the rubbing. However, it is much better to deal with the clawing in the first place, by developing the articulation of the foot and strength to the correct muscles to keep the toes long in the shoe. Clawing indicates the incorrect use of the long toe flexor muscles which can lead to problems in the back of the ankle, such as posterior impingement. If your toes are clawing, focus on learning how to articulate the foot better during all aspects of class.

7. Keep your shoes strong enough

If you leave any padding in your shoes after dancing, the sweat may soften the glue of the box. This can cause the shoe to weaken and will result in your foot sinking down too far in the shoe. Always make sure to dry out your shoes thoroughly between each use, especially if you live somewhere that gets very humid. Having a couple of pairs that you cycle through during the week will help extend the life of the shoe, especially if you are dancing on pointe every day. You can also use a glue, such as Hot Stuff or Jet Glue to help re-stiffen the middle of the shank to extend its life. Also, each pointe shoe may have a few reincarnations; it may start off as a performance shoe, then become a class shoe, then a rehab/pointe exercise shoe, before finally the shank is pulled out and it becomes a demi pointe shoe for class work. Make sure you have shoes that are each stage, so you’re not using your stronger class shoes to do the really deep articulated exercises, especially when you’re doing more than 4 or 5 hours of pointe a week.

8. Pre-weaken your pointe shoes

Pre-weakening (sometimes called ‘breaking in’) your new shoes in the areas you want it to weaken will help to stop it from breaking in the middle of the shank. It is important not to cut the shank, heat it or wet it; these things may have been done in the past but are simply not relevant any more. Pre-weaken the shank in the demi pointe area a little so that you can rise through it correctly, and also soften in underneath the heel so that the shank can sit in close to the arch when you are en pointe. You can check out a video on how to do this here. Just using your feet to weaken the shoes can cause them to break in the middle of the shank, which will make you start sinking down and back into the shoes, meaning you’ll need to replace them more often. The shape of everyone’s pointe is different, so measure where the breakpoint is in your foot (where the heel becomes the arch) then weaken the shank of the shoe at this point so that it sits flat against your arch. It will feel better, look better and can also help extend the life of your shoe.

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By Rain Francis. This article originally appeared on https://www.danceinforma.com/2015/08/01/8-ways-make-pointe-pain-free/

When it comes to dancing, one of the most important things is the warm up. A good warm up will not only help reduce the risk of injury but also ensure you get your body into a peak state, so you can perform at your absolute best.

In this short video, Juliet is giving you her top tips for a proper foot warm up.

 

Juliet’s Top Tips for a Foot Warm Up

 

Do your feet hurt when dancing?

If you are experiencing pain during your dance routine or workout, this might be caused by a lack of support in your dance shoes. MDM’s patented Dance Base Support technology is designed to provide your feet with the right support you need to perform at your very best, while minimising unnecessary pain and the risk of serious injury. When dance shoes are not fitted properly it can lead to long-term damage of the feet that can be avoided with the right advice.

Find our more about Dance Base Support technology here or visit us at our Bundaberg dance store for a free consultation for you or your child.