If your pointe shoe buying routine involves going online and clicking "reorder" on the shoes you've worn for years, it might be time to get a fresh, in-person assessment. Even a slightly different shoe can solve a host of issues—and help you avoid problems in the future. Find the best fit for your feet by avoiding these mistakes.


Mistake: Pushing Through Pain

"The culture of ballet can teach you to push through being uncomfortable," says Josephine Lee, founder of The Pointe Shop in Santa Ana, California, "but a lot of times, shoe-related discomfort is easy to fix." If you're plagued by bruised toenails, blisters or corns, those may be signs you need to go in for a fitting. A professional shoe fitter would likely be able to pinpoint whether your problem lies with width, length or another aspect.

Mistake: Ignoring Injuries

A better shoe might also be the key to performing with less pain. Dr. Thomas M. Novella, a podiatrist who's worked with dancers from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and other companies, cites several injuries that can be caused or worsened by dancing in the wrong shoes. For instance, "a too-short vamp, where 'toe cleavage' is visible, will fail to support the top of the foot on pointe," he says. One possible end result: stress fractures at the base of the metatarsals. Meanwhile, a too-high vamp can lead to jamming injuries in the ankle, as you push to get over the platform.

Mistake: Buying The Wrong Size

Adults' feet can fluctuate in size—and not just from one year to the next. Novella notes that feet can change within a single season, expanding during warmer weather or periods of intense activity, and shrinking again when it's cold or the activity level decreases. He advises setting aside shoes for both scenarios.

Another common issue is feet that are two different sizes. "If you're getting toenail bruises, blood blisters or other signs of compression, but only on one foot, have someone check each foot's size," Novella says. The solution might be to buy two pairs at a time—one for the right foot and one for the left.

Mistake: Fearing What's New

Even if you trust your current style, it can be worthwhile to look into recent releases. Each year, the industry announces innovations in materials, construction and design. "There might be technology inserted into a shoe that could really help you," Lee says.

Mistake: Following A Trend

The hottest new shoe might look great on someone else but be entirely wrong for you. "We fit to technique as well as to foot shape," Lee says. A knowledgeable fitter will be able to guide you toward—or away from—the latest trends, keeping your specific needs in mind.

Mistake: Changing Everything

Remember, you don't have to swap out every shoe element at once.

"If you've learned that a certain platform width, vamp length or shank firmness works, but you discover that you need a half-length longer, only change the length," says Novella. That way, the new shoe will still feel somewhat familiar.

Mistake: Giving Up Immediately

Be prepared to take time to acclimate. "You might not enjoy the first month in the correct shoe," Lee warns. "When dancers are comfortable in the wrong shoes, changing can feel 'wrong' before it feels right." Some discomfort early on doesn't necessarily mean you've made a bad choice; your body simply has to adjust.

Show Comments ()
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Kyle Froman

The back is an essential focus of Cynthia Harvey's ballet classes, especially as a part of port de bras. Here, she offers "plain," en face port de bras, followed by the same position with épaulement, to show the difference the back (and head and neck) can add to any position. Aspirational imagery helps students find their best épaulement: "Feel as if you have a tiara on," says Harvey. "Don't look like a student—look like a ballerina."

Keep reading... Show less

So you've achieved your dream of owning a studio. Congratulations! Once that initial excitement wears off, we're betting that you'll discover just how overwhelming the day-to-day operation of such an endeavor really is. When you choose to run your own business, you're bound to encounter challenges, but with a unique business model at the center of it all, studio management certainly comes with its own hurdles, creating a perpetual learning curve that keeps both new studio owners and veterans on their toes.

Although a certain amount of this difficulty is to be expected for any studio, there's no longer any reason for you to suffer needlessly through each step of the way. All you have to do is reach out for a tool you can use to take your studio to the next level, namely studio management software.

Tools like our very own acclaimed Studio Director software can make a world of difference in virtually every aspect of your business. Let's run through some key ways in which this tool can revolutionize your studio.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun

The World Cup captivates soccer fans this time of year. But if football (as most outside of the U.S. refer to it) isn't your jam, this hybrid of disco dancing, ballet and soccer just might be more intriguing.

Keep reading... Show less

A popular and highly sought-after dancer and choreographer, Geo Hubela has worked with stars and productions all over the world from French pop star "Lorie" to the MTV show BeComing. Geo isn't just a choreography sensation. He has also danced on film, onstage, and on TV. He was worked with everyone from *NSYNC to JLo. On top of his incredible professional career, Geo owns a dance studio called Icon Dance Complex.

Owning and running a successful dance studio is not an easy task. Showstopper got together with Geo for his advice on going from a professional dancer to studio owner.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Students at Steps Consevatory in NYC.

Dancers who dare to sing increase their marketability, according to voice teacher Jan Horvath.

It's one thing to master a triple pirouette, she says. It's another to be a well-rounded performer who can tackle any challenge without being discouraged.

Horvath teaches voice at Steps Conservatory, a two-year professional dance program in New York City. Once a week, she leads two groups of 10 students in a 90-minute vocal course.

"It's like a ballet barre," she explains. "We focus on one little thing of the day and perfect it and move on."

Keep reading... Show less
Kerollis and students in his 8-week Absolute Beginner Workshop at Broadway Dance Center.

When most people think of dance students, they imagine lithe children and teenagers waltzing around classrooms with their legs lifted to their ears. It doesn't often cross our minds that dance training can involve an older woman trying to build strength in her body to ward off balance issues, or a middle-aged man who didn't have the confidence to take a dance class as a boy for fear of bullying.

Anybody can begin to learn dance at any age. But it takes a particular type of teacher to share our art form with dancers who have few prospects beyond fun and fitness a few nights a week.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Rachel Neville, courtesy of Irwin

Shanna Irwin vividly remembers her introduction to Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She was dancing Clara in the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble's production of The Nutcracker. Guest artists from Complexions performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, and from the moment Irwin saw them dance, she was hooked. Years later, as a senior at Marymount Manhattan College, Complexions co-artistic director Desmond Richardson invited Irwin to fill in for one of his injured dancers for the end of the spring 2014 season, and her long-held dream of performing with the company became a reality. She's been dazzling Complexions' audiences with her undeniable strength, full-bodied performances and eternally lengthened lines ever since.

See her perform June 17 with Complexions at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored