I wonder why they make pointe shoes so satiny and shiny and pretty? You know you can't properly dance in them until they have been broken in, banged up and lost most of their virginal sheen. The same applies for ribbons. Shiny satin looks spiffy, but it's also slippery. And it doesn't really blend in with your tights. With my first pointe shoes, I tried the opposite and used pink cotton ribbon. But cotton tends to wrinkle up, and the color didn't match my shoes/tights. I also looked at regular satin gift ribbon, but it's far too flimsy. Even though I like the idea of gift-wrapping my feet. Goes together with the idea of presenting yourself!
When I finally had to get new ribbons, I trusted my teacher to pick the best kind. It was not shiny pink, but matte satin ribbon in a peachy off-white. Not the perfect color match, but close enough. The ribbon feels soft to the touch and is sturdy enough to wrap around your ankle. I don't know the brand, as the shops here sell it pre-measured and cut. Sadly, it doesn't come cheap. One local shop in Helsinki would have you pay six euros for 2,5 meters of the stuff! That's just enough for one pair of shoes. Another reason why I always recycle my ribbons. Really don't care if they get a bit tatty. My last ones even had a bit of blood-stain on them! Rest assured, though. That blood had nothing to do with pointe class. I had just absent-mindedly scratched an un-related scab open when I tucked my ribbon ends under. Didn't even notice the blood trickling down my foot until my teacher yelled out! Sorry, I'm going off on too many tangents here. Back to ribbons it is.
|From left to right: old ribbon, new from Tendu, and too-shiny from Dance Direct.|
I haven't yet tried any of the satin ribbons with elastic inserts (Bunhead, Bloch..) They kind of make sense, as they are supposed to protect your achilles tendon from possible irritation. However, since I haven't felt any discomfort from my regular ribbons, I'm not yet inclined to spend the extra euro. But I did make a nice discovery in a Finnish ballet shop (Ballerina ja Liikunta) last week. I found the same quality ribbon that I've been using, but in a matching pale ballet pink! This time I can even give you the brand: an English company called appropriately "Tendu".
|Lovely ballet pink, matte satin ribbon from Tendu. Width: 2.5 cm.|
I wouldn't mind trying out other ribbons as well. I did buy pre-cut ribbon from Dance Direct, but decided against using it. Too shiny and slippery. Don't know the brand, but looks similar to the big honking ribbon roll I saw in our National Ballet's shoe room. They didn't like it either. I have read some good reviews for Freed's own ribbon, maybe some of you use it? Would love to get your input on this. Oh, and if anyone at Bloch, Capezio, Gaynor Minden, Sansha, Freed et al. would like me to review their ribbons, please send 2.5 meters over! ;)
Next on my to-do-list: Sewing those ribbons. My least favorite ballet-related chore, but still more fun than most chores!