January 13, 2011

Pointe: Tomorrow. Saturday: Pain, but No Sorrow.

Kirsty Martin. Photo Tim Richardson.
Just getting ready for tomorrow´s double bill of ballet and pointe. Found my yellow theraband behind the coach and my small rubber pilates ball between the pillows. Hmm.. I guess I have been a bit lazy with my dance homework lately. I can´t believe it´s been already four weeks since my last pointe class - which is the longest break since I started! So, I will have to keep this blog short, do some abs, eat some chocolate cookies, and dust off the trusted theraband.

I like to wrap the band around my toes, sit on the floor (back straight and tummy pulled in) and point and flex. Just something that was taught in my first ballet class ever. Heel - ball - toes. Toes - ball - heel. And repeat. It is totally simple and very effective! In addition I should probably do a set of relev├ęs, but I don´t want to have sore calf muscles tomorrow. Come Saturday there is going to be pain anyway. Hah! I really hope my feet have not forgotten everything, and that my toes will forgive me.. But: no pain, no gain. Right? 

☆ Click here for more toe-push-ups, courtesy of Nichelle from .

Finis Jhung teaching pointe class (level 2). I´m thinking of buying the DVD. Though it´s no substitute for  a real live ballet teacher! I would view this as theory only.. And save the putting into practice for class.


  1. Tee hee - I just had my first class Monday, so your heel-ball-toes, toes-ball-heel brought me all the way back to then! Now I want to go home and practice that technique, especially with tendus. Enjoy your pointe class - after four weeks, you might be a tad wobbly. Can't wait to read about it!

  2. I love that theraband exercise, I do it all the time. With my boyfriend being a physio I have an unlimited supply of theraband hehe!

  3. Kim and "Four-eyed Ballerina": You can´t go wrong with that exercise!
    And boy, am I envious of your access to theraband and physio :)

    Pointe class wasn´t as wobbly as I feared, but I sure felt the burn! And my left ankle started to feel kinda weird the class before.. Suddenly it doesn´t like the heel-ball-toe action! Hurts when I point, then does not. But in pointe class, no problem!

    But yeah, class was gooood! Did some new things, might have improved a little on old things. Will write a post about it :)

  4. Hey!
    I'm just wondering this horrible-pain-when-doing-pointe stuff.. I just don't get it! I've never felt any pain, not even at the very first time. :D What kinf of paddings do you use..? I have those weird silicon pads and I think they are great! :) Maybe you should try something else than what you are using now or some other pointes. :) I don't know, but it really should not be so painfully..
    But keep doing ballet and writing this blog, it's so nice to read about your ballet.

  5. Hey anonymous!

    Thank you for your concern, that is very thoughtful of you. I have to admit there is a bit of exaggeration going on here ;) But there has never been talk of "horrible pain"! Although my first time on pointe was anything but pleasurable, because my shoes were too hard and my toes not used to it! Bloody blister! As for padding, I do not like to use much, lambswool and some tape is enough. Might try some ouch-pouch type of padding, if thin enough. But toes have been fine now :)

    The burn I was referring to in the blog - normal after a long break. Our pointe class is 60 min long, and right before I have another 90 min class of ballet (in soft shoes). BUT: my ankle hurting, something else entirely. Luckily feels already better this morning :)

    Good for you, not feeling any pain! You must have the ideal combo of perfect feet for pointe + perfect shoes. I´m sure it´s something every dancer wants :) BTW, how long have you been dancing? When did you start pointe? I would love to know more about my readers! :)

  6. About padding:

    I have the most terrible feet for pointe (Egyptian, VERY tapered). The only toe touching the tip of the shoe is my big toe so I have to use silicon padding to make the stress even bearable, but then again, they are not the best ones for feeling the floor.

    Ouchpouches are too short for my toes, they don't even touch the ball of the foot (do not cover very well even all toes...). I've tried silicon tubes and all kinds of stuff and the only way my toes are not hurting (at least not too much) are Eurotard white silicon pads, but they are not the best solution for using the feet correctly. Or at least some teachers have the opinion that less padding is the best, but I can't do with just lambswool or similar.

    For the shoes I've gone for Grishko, Freed, Sansha and Gamba, and Gamba has felt the best but they are not manufactured anymore.

    So I truly envy all you with "easy" feet. :-)

  7. JV: Ouch! Have you ever tried Russian Pointes? I have heard some good things in various dance threads. This brand apparently has a lot of options for every foot and model.

    I never used to think that I have "nice feet", because they don´t look that pretty in strappy high-heeled sandals (which I would like to wear on occasion). But instead my peasant-shaped feet with short stubby toes of the same length (first 3) are actually a good thing for pointe! If I only had known this 20 years ago.. :)

  8. I haven't tried RP but I'd like to. Have been thinking about it for several years now, but the problem is, that if I'm correct, they don't sell the shoes online and they are only available in the US and maybe some cities in Canada.

    At least I haven't found any store that would sell them e.g. in Europe. So without trying them on it's quite hard to decide on the model and size, and as they don't sell the shoes online, I should fly to overseas...pretty expensive shoes. ;)

    But I'll definitely take a look if I happen to travel to NYC or elsewhere soon.

  9. JV: what about Bloch Suprima? Should be good for tapered feet and it's well available. Maybe not perfect for you but could be worth a try at least? Aren't the shoes you mentioned meant for square type of feet, at least Gamba? (Sorry I could be wrong, that's just my impression).

    I agree with the previous anonymous that pointe shouldn't hurt (unless you're doing it for hours or something more demanding, like a lot of one leg releves etc, not the beginner stuff). I've quite often done 90 minutes en pointe and it doesn't really hurt, my feet just get tired. I use ouch pouches or silicones, I guess it's a question of having the right pointe shoes for your feet.

  10. There is hurt, and then there is h u r t. Dancers have to learn to cope with sore muscles, achy bodies, bunions and blistered toes!

    Like I wrote before, the pain is what you feel when you´re up on pointe for 60 min straight, and are just not yet used to it! Or when your shoes are not broken in.. Not the "warning! danger! pain!" -kind of pain. :/

    Hmm.. I actually thought you could buy Russian Pointes in.. Russia! Silly me, heh :) Then again, I didn´t know that Bloch is an Australian brand (sounds German to me), or that Chacott shoes come from Japan!

    JV: ever tried Bloch´s Axis? They are tapered and come with TMT box and shank. You can mold them to your feet using a hairdryer and fridge!

  11. I have had one pair of Bloch's but I can't remember which model it was. I have to check, but I think it might have been Suprima.

    All the models I've had, have been for tapered/somewhat tapered feet, for instance Grishko97. The pair of Freed I bought at Freed shop (London) and it was the best in their opinion. The others I've tried on with professional SAs as well. Gambas had shorter box and the model I have is quite flexible, so it has felt ok. And even my bunions are fine in them although they don't look that pretty.:/ But as I can't get them anymore, I have to find something else.

    And also some days my feet feel more swollen than the other days, so that also affects.

  12. Well I learned a lot from reading these comments. Although it's highly improbably that I will ever dance en pointe (given that I am 25 starting ballet), I wondered if my feet would have been suitable, as they're fairly tapered. My big toe is about 1/2 longer than the next toe, but the second and third toes are the same length as each other. It's comforting to know that tapered feet don't automatically exclude a dancer from going en pointe.

  13. Kim B.: it´s not all that improbable! It´s why my blog is called ..ballet at thirtysomething!

    What you need before pointe class: about 2-3 years (min.) regular ballet classes,2-3 weekly.. Strength in your feet, ankles, legs, upper body and a solid basic technique. And a knowledgeable and conscientious teacher who takes adults seriously.

    Check out my link under MORE BALLET:
    Adult dancer alert: Is Pointe a silly dream?

    No. It´s not. :D


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...