Friday, June 8, 2012

Modern focus

One of the other students brought a box to class last night. It contained a pair of Sansha pointe shoes -- the "Futura" model. I'd never seen pointe shoes that laced up like sneakers before! She said she bought them because she thought they would "give more support" during class. Oh, and they were "so cute", which is probably the primary reason she got them. She bought them on the Internet, and they didn't fit, so it'll be a few weeks before they reappear, if they do.

Note that this is NOT a pointe class. It's not even an advanced class. It's an open adult ballet class where people attend as time permits. I'm about the only one who shows up twice a week most of the time, and there are a handful of others who show up regularly once a week. Apparently this student had some pointe training years ago (like more than 30 years ago, if I remember her previous comments) but somehow I don't think that makes wearing pointe shoes in class a good idea.

But that's not really the pointe of this posting (pun intended).

I've done some reading on pointe work, and was surprised that our teacher didn't try to dissuade the student from trying to wear pointe shoes to class. Now, I knew her focus was on Modern and other styles of dance, but I'd assumed that a woman couldn't graduate from a university with a degree in dance without having at least some training in pointe work. Foolish me. Apparently this is a requirement for most university dance programs, and is often a prerequisite for admission, but not the one our teacher attended. So while she's had training in ballet, she's never been on pointe. Has no experience with pointe classes, or pointe shoe fitting, or practical knowledge of the physical requirements to be able to do pointe work safely.

Ok, I've never been on pointe either. I'm a guy, and for the most part pointe work is a girl thing. Even if I wanted to, I don't have the flexibility in my feet to be able to do it -- I'm just getting to where demi-pointe isn't a struggle (and damn proud of it). Also, I weigh almost twice what the average girl on pointe weighs. But I've read about it, and listened to people who know -- really know -- talk about it. And I'm worried that a student who has difficulty doing an elevé on one foot at the barre really doesn't have the strength to do much of anything safely in pointe shoes. And it concerns me that the teacher doesn't seem worried too.

Next week our regular teacher has the week off, and her friend I mentioned recently will be substituting. She's much more into ballet, and I have little doubt that she's done a good bit of pointe work. She'd probably have valuable input, but I doubt the subject will come up.

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