I posted a picture of the Sansha "Futura" pointe shoes I mentioned in my last update to another forum. For reference, here's the photo:
I received the following response:
Well. Gee. Where do I start?
True toe shoes like they wear in ballet have a smaller toe area and they have no real support. Most pro ballet people have their toenails removed to decrease foot pain. Your ankles and tendons have to be very strong.
They are not designed for walking.
It's not like I have no previous exposure to ballet. I've never been en pointe myself, but one of my college girlfriends took classes with the Baltimore Ballet and I learned a lot from her. While I was taking ballet in the 1980s I was recruited by my teacher to help with the girls' pointe class that took place immediately before our adult class. This gave the girls a chance to do some basic partner moves, including turns, lifts and jumps. Some of the girls were a delight to dance with, while others... well... it was a lot like weight lifting at the gym, except you had to watch your feet (and other body parts) more carefully lest you get stepped on or kicked. Those pointe shoes are hard!
I'm friends with one or two professional ballet dancers. None of them ever mentioned having their toenails removed. None ever mentioned it as a common practice. In fact, none of them ever mentioned anything about it. The only mention of toenails has been when one got bruised, or maybe came off due to an injury. But maybe others know something I don't.
I do agree with the part about "your ankles and tendons have to be very strong", hence my concern for the other student. She says she can still get up on pointe wearing her old shoes, but somehow I suspect that means for a moment, while holding on to something for stability. Not taking a class.
Comments? I know you folk are reading; I look at the stats. You don't have to be an authority; you just have to have an opinion.