Pointe shoes are one of the most fascinating inventions to dancers and non-dancers alike. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how they should be properly worn or maintained. Whether you’re an actual student who is new to pointe, or you’re young at heart and like to play dress-up, here are 3 pointe no-no’s from an insider.
Pointe No-No #1: Tying the ribbons into giant bows
The giant bow your mother used to put in your hair may have been cute when you were six years old, but it doesn’t belong on your pointe shoes as an adult, or ever. In fact, ballet students are taught from a young age to properly tie the elastics on their ballet slippers, discreetly tucking them away. Yes, pointe shoe ribbons are shiny and beautiful, but they are tied in a very specific, calculated way. Pointe shoe ribbons that are properly tied prevent dancers from tripping, and create a very clean, dignified look. The big-bow-look may be trendy on the runway, but it’s inappropriate for class.
Pointe No-No #2: Wearing them with tights that aren’t pink
Punky Brewster called—she wants her tights back. Unless you’re auditioning for an Olivia Newton John video that glamorizes 80s fitness, avoid flashy tights. You may be able to rock neons and other striking hues with a pair of boots, but they don’t have any place in ballet class, let alone mixed with pointe shoes. Ballet tights come in various shades of pink, serving to complement and flatter the natural skin tone of a dancer. Some are soft and powdery, while others have a little more blush to them. Black footless tights are even a permissible option since they help create a natural aesthetic. On the other hand, the stark, choppy effect of black-footed tights paired with pink shoes is never good.
Pointe No-No #3: Playing in them outdoors
We’ve all done it (including yours truly), but it’s not the best idea to dance outdoors in your shoes. The floor of the dance studio is dirty enough, but hitting the pavement in your $80 pointe shoes is just not smart. Concrete tears the satin on the tips, and everything from grass to oil spots can severely discolor the wings. If you’re selected to be a model for your aspiring photographer friend and you want to blow their mind with your fancy pointe skills, consider using an older pair, or performing your photo shoot indoors. Pointe shoes don’t last very long; try to prevent their premature death by avoiding the urge to prance around the backyard in your factory-fresh shoes.
Pointe shoes have been the feature of many photo shoots, craft projects, and a coming-of-age highlight for aspiring young dancers. As long as they’re used properly in class, pointe shoes will remain one of the most highly regarded products of creativity and craftsmanship.