The first pair of pointe shoes is a huge milestone for any ballet dancer. There is so much care, preparation, training and time that goes into the process of learning pointe work, so to ensure the longevity of a dancer’s time en pointe it is important they work hard and not cut corners.
Before any dancer picks up a pair of pointe shoes, they should have an intermediate level of strength, mobility and body awareness. Early ballet training helps build the proper strength and technique to help dancers on their pointe shoe journey. Discuss the training with your ballet students and give some advice as to the best approach for them. Only you can decide when they are ready to start training in this way.
That being said, it may take some time to find the right shoe for them, and it is not always the pair that you have bought as their teacher, or the pair their friend buys. The strength and shape of feet can vary hugely and will change over time, so the pointe shoe style and brand can change over time too as dancers find what works best for them and their requirements. Pointe shoes should fit comfortably, with their toes flat and lightly touching the edge of the shoe. When standing in second position in demi plié, the big toe should lightly touch the tip of the shoe.
Some pointe shoes take longer to break in than others, to ensure that they are perfectly moulded to the foot. Like the whole pointe shoe experience, find what works for your students, be it walking around the house in their shoes or bending and stretching them in demi pointe. Encourage them to take good care of pointe shoes and they will take care of the dancer for as long as possible.