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Cannot Go Onto Full Pointe? Basic Pointe Shoe Anatomy Problems and Possible Solutions
" Why can't I go onto full pointe? ", is a very frequent question dance teachers and fitters used to hear. Dancers usually concentrate a lot in the "weak" parts of their body - and in most of the cases, this is the correct way of thinking. But sometimes it's also beneficial to check if it's the matter of their equipment - say, their pointe shoes.
So, partially, the answer to why someone cannot go onto full pointe lies in the everyday practise of the dancer.
It's commonly known that being a dancer demands many hours of hard practise everyday, for gaining both strength and also flexibility - these factors determine a lot their progress and success, as they can interfere and improve their "weak" parts - if someone can say that dancers' bodies are weak!
Do you may remember the last year's challenge we 've made in cooperation with fabulous dance teacher, Sarah Arnold? If not, here you can find out the video with all the basic exercises that will help you improve.
However, in this article we will concentrate on the pointe shoe anatomy problems which won't let us go onto full pointe, as well as to possible and simple solutions. Pointe shoes are the basic tool for a ballet dancer, so, how can't they sometimes help us to go onto full pointe?
We've thought of four basic issues and their Do It Yourself remedies:
1. A very obvious issue is that the sole - either made by natural materials or by plastic - of the pointe shoe is harder than needed. Fortunatelly, there are lots of techniques of breaking in the sole and making it less hard.
For pointe shoe soles made by natural materials, you may need to:
• soften the demi pointe area,
• or the center of the sole - by curving it more to bring it closer to your arch,
• or soften the heel or 3/4 the sole if you feel that your feet need more support from the heel.
If you cannot decide which part of the sole need a break in, send us a picture of you wearing the shoes, to firstname.lastname@example.org - Feel also free to fill out our questionnaire and have in mind to mention your problem to help you - let’s get fitted!.
Also, keep in mind that the next time you are about to buy pointe shoes, you may consider getting a softer shank or a pre-arched model.
For pointe shoes soles made by plastic, we've heard some success stories about softening the shank with a hair dryer, but we won't take an oath. This is not something that the manufacturers approve!
2. Another issue is the back part of the platform which connects it with the sole - its very edge. Some pointe shoes have pleats starting to form in this part, others don't. We actually don't know if there is a specific term/word for this area of the shoe in english - please let us know if you do! - In russian it's called "подскок" . Well, this part needs to be sheer and hard, so when you roll from demi to full pointe this sheer and hard angle would be able not only to help you go onto full pointe, but also to stay there! If this part is soft or rounded, it doesn't help you roll to full pointe. Sometimes the platforms soften in that part after several uses so you suddenly find yourself performing worse than two classes before. We've noticed that some platforms that have a built-in sound proof elements tend to be softer than the classic ones.
Sometimes darning the platform helps to improve the situation a little, but generally, there is pretty nothing you can do about it... The only tip we can consider here is to have in mind to check if the pointe shoe we are trying has these features.
3. Vamp higher or lower than needed is also a bad indicator for going onto full pointe. The height of the box (vamp) of the pointe shoe is significant, basically because it has to "hug" completely your toes and metatarsals, but at the same time not to prevent the metatarsalfs from bending - thus, rolling onto full pointe. So, it's not only finding the perfect pointe shoe size, but the perfect pointe shoe in each single part!
4. Many times the U-cut of the pointe shoe vamp prevents your arch to bend, too. But this problem has the easiest DIY solution: just cut a little the pointe shoe there and sew it back - you now have a V-cut shoe! Check if this helps!
How can we help less strong feet go en pointe correctly?
We 've gathered here the most suitable models of "easier" pointe shoes, by brand. The models you are searching for have to be pre-arched models (helps you curve your feet) or very flexible in the demi-pointe part, and some of them have plastic soles. Let's find them out:
1. Russian Pointe (all soles made by natural materials): All the models (Sapfir, Rubin, Muse, Lumina, Entrada, Encore, Brava) except for Almaz.
2. Grishko: natural sole: Grishko2007 Pro-Flex, Nova Flex, Triumph and Maya Pro Flex (these two are usually a custom order) , plastic sole: Dreampointe2007 & Super Triumph Pre-Arched.
3. Gaynor Minden: All of them!
4. Siberian Swan: All the models (Pavlova, Karsavina & Rudolf).