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explaining the pointe shoe!


LAST: The last is the mold on which a pointe shoe is constructed. The shape of a last is designed to represent the dancer's foot. A different last is used for each size and width in every style.

BOX: The box covers the toes and provides the support a dancer needs to stand en pointe. It is lined with a combination of natural materials and Capezio's specially formulated glue. The side wings are an extension of the box and provide lateral support.

Wording came from

VAMP: The vamp refers to the length of the shoe upper measuring from the platform to and including the binding at the center front of the shoe. A longer vamp can help draw the foot closer to the shank when en pointe.

THROAT: It is the open area located from one side seam to the other through the center front of the shoe. The throat is the shape of the upper, which presents and flatters the arch.

DRAWSTRING/BINDING: The binding is the finished edge of the upper. The drawstring, which is encased in the binding, further secures the upper to the foot.

PLATFORM: The platform is the outer, flat tip of the box, which allows the dancer to stand en pointe.

CROWN: The crown is the vertical height between the vamp and the sole.

PLEATS: The pleats are located on the underside of the box where the fabric is folded into the sole.

STAY: The stay is the fabric that covers the seam in the back of the shoe at the dancer's heel.

SIDE QUARTERS: The side quarters are the sections of satin from the side seams to the back of the stay.

SOLE: The outer sole is made of either buffed or scored leather to provide traction. The sole is internally stitched into the upper.

SHANK: The shank is made of either leatherboard or redboard and is the backbone of the pointe shoe. It is located under the socklining and provides support to the arch. Capezio shanks range in strength to accommodate the strength and technical ability of each dancer.

It takes up to four years for a dancer to go on pointe depending on ankle strength, arch and technique.


Sewing on Ribbons and Elastic

Ribbons and elastic are very important, but just like shoe laces, a few people don't have them. I don't suggest leaving off ribbons, because they are what support your ankles when you go up on pointe. To find out where to sew them, fold the heel forward. Where the crease ends is about where they should go. I usually sew them without any angle, just straight up and down, but some people angel them towards their ankle slighlty. Pin the ribbons to your shoe first and tie them to see if it works. Elastic is usually sewn at the heel, making a loop at the ankle. I sew each side about an inch to either side of the back seam so the elastic doesn't irritate my achilles tendon. I angle it away from the heel. Make sure to pin it on and try it out before you start sewing! This helps keep the shoe on your heel, although some people don't need it.

Tying Your Pointe Shoes

Some people tie their pointe shoes while their foot is on pointe. I tie them with my foot flat, slightly flexed, so when I'm flat, they don't cut off my circulation. Never wrap your ribbons above your ankles. Keep them close together around your ankle for support. Try and get out the wrinkles and bumps as best you can. You don't want anything major. Always tie the knot on the inside of your ankle, not at the back. It won't be putting pressure on your tendon this way.



Preparing for Pointe

To be successful on pointe, it is important to have strong ankles. I suggest doing an exercise my ballet teacher has my class do everyday: Standing in first position, do 16 relevés (begin and end in plie) and then 16 elevés (begin and end with straight legs). Next, standing on your right foot, coupe you left foot in back. Keeping this position do 8 relevés and then 8 elevés. Repeat on the left foot. Try not to do them too fast, or else you will start to build endurance, not strength. It may be hard at first to get through, but after a while it gets easier and soon you will be able to do the whole thing twice through! This has really strengthened my feet and ankles this year, improving not only my pointe work, but also my arabesques and turns.

Being on Pointe

Always remember, that your toes are not made to support your weight in the pointe position. You need to support this weight by pulling up and out of your shoes with the rest of your body. Always keep your knees straight and pulled up. Keep your back straight and pulled up also. Your chest should be lifted and slighlty forward (remember...shoulders down) Your lower back does a lot of the supporting. By holding the muscles in your legs, butt, and back, you can make pointe a whole lot easier on yourself. Also, something my teacher says a lot, "When you are on going up onto pointe push at where the ribbons cross". This helps to keep your feet from rolling in or out on pointe, which is very dangerous! It also helps you achieve a better pointe.

My Dream pointe shoes are:
Gaynor Minden


Why choose this pointe shoe?

Comfort, Quiet and Durability.
Gaynor Minden pointe shoes combine thoughtful design, expert American hand craftsmanship, and innovative modern materials.

Buoyant Support. Consistent Support.
Gaynor Minden uses high quality elastomerics for its unbreakable shanks and boxes, not the antiquated paste and cardboard construction that makes other pointe shoes quickly deteriorate while tormenting the feet. The flexibility and support that you feel in the new shoe will remain the same throughout its long life. Gaynor Mindens have tremendous durability without being hard or clunky. The shoes last 3 to 6 times as long as most other brands.

The Look of Effortless Grace.
Gaynor Minden knows that dancers are athletes as well as artists. Your talented feet deserve a little cushioning, especially if you dance on a hard floor. And it's not just for comfort - many dance injuries are caused by trauma, so Gaynor Minden is attempting to lessen the impact of landing from jumps. This is the first pointe shoe with shock absorption. Its resilient, patented construction helps you to jump, then provides a soft, silent, easy landing.

Ready To Go.
Gaynor Minden shoes are ready to go. No tedious, painful breaking-in required. No more stomping or bashing your shoes. These are soft and flexible when new. You never cut or break Gaynor Minden shanks. They're arched, just like your feet. If needed, a simple adjustment with a blow drier will make them conform perfectly so you can count on great support and a beautiful line.

The wide selection of stiffnesses and styles accommodates both the professional and the beginner. Shanks and boxes range from feather-soft and pliable to firm and extra-supportive. Select the shoe that is right for you without having to wait months for special orders. If you still need a special order you'll get it fast; our factory is located right here in the United States. All can be heat-formed for optimum support, perfect placement and a truly flattering line. Your feet will look beautiful.


1. Superior anti-impact insoles cushion your hard-working feet. Gaynor Minden is the only pointe shoe with high-tech PORON® 4000.

2. Dry feet are happy feet. Our pretty peachy-pink satin has a soft lining that wicks perspiration away from your feet so it quickly evaporates.

3. Strong, light and flexible, Gaynor Minden's elastomeric shanks need no breaking in and they won't break down. Ever.

4. Our shanks can easily be adjusted to bend in just the right place so your feet will immediately look their best and your placement will be correct.

5. Ever get a sore spot on the top of your foot where the drawstring tucks in? Never again. Gaynor Minden's elastic drawstring opens on the side and disappears under your arch.

6. Grand Allegro is a whole new experience. Our patented noise-reducing, shock-absorbing panel replaces hard, lumpy pleats. It virtually eliminates noise, and it provides a smooth, flat surface to balance. No more loud, clomping landings. No more wobbly penchés because of lumpy pleats.

7. Adagio is great too. Balancing is easy on our secure, consistent platforms and our smooth, stable soles.

8. Custom-fit the box with our Fitting Kit. Made from state-of-the-art materials and specially shaped for dancers' needs, these cushions maximize comfort without taking up a lot of space.

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Site By Ashley made on December 9 2004