Homemade Pointe Shoes and Instant Gratification

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Homemade pointe shoes".
Punch that phrase into the YouTube search bar and prepare for a night of jaw-dropping stupor!

Girls (who seem to only exist from the knees down) post videos of themselves stomping around in handmade pointes created from clay, cardboard, tacky gift wrap ribbon, and ballet slippers stuffed like Hermann Goring at a smorgasbord.

Nearly all of the videos are filled with comments telling these girls to stop, but it seems to be of little use. Some YouTubers even have multiple models of their "Freedensteins" to view on their channels. In leopard print too!

I think those are Starbucks cup cozies in there?

Nearly all dedicated ballet dancers can tell you about the importance of that magical build-up towards their first real pair of pointe shoes. The months (if not years!) of patient waiting, working hard in the studio hoping for that day when the instructor will finally say, "You're ready". Then comes the celebrated first fitting followed by the first class. It can be a magical time, whether you earn your first pair at 12 or 35.

While the potential for injury with these home-made shoes is obvious, the greater (and more likely) danger comes from training the muscles of the leg and foot incorrectly. By the time you do make it to pointe, you may have a very difficult time breaking the bad habits you taught yourself.

We live in a culture of instant gratification. We don't want to wait for things anymore. We have grown lazy and entitled, and now its even spilled over into ballet. Not ready for pointe yet? Spent all your parent's money on videogames and can't afford classes? Then make your own shoes! Why not?

Not only are these girls robbing themselves of an important life experience (self discipline, patience, etc) and a moment of true magic in their lives, but the readiness and confidence with which they proudly claim "This is completely safe!" and attempt to teach others how to makes these things is astounding. Where are the parents? They need to sit their daughters down and cut them down a notch: "Honey, you are not a foot doctor. You have not studied the anatomy of the human foot, nor do possess any knowledge of shoe design. You are in no position to tell others whether your shoes are "safe" or not. You do not have that knowledge yet." I'm getting a little tired of these self-professed teenage "experts" that seem to sprout everywhere.

Folks, don't rush to be en pointe. ;)

8 thoughts:

Amy Liebert said...

ugh, some people are stupid. Are any of these people who have made the transition the right way and are just trying to save some cash? Or just all idiots who think they know better?

Amy Liebert said...

OMG I went and watched one of these, where she keeps talking about 'watching the older girls'. Ugh. Teachers no longer put younger students- whatever their level of achievement- on point for a reason. Newer research showed how young girls physical development could be seriously hurt from it. Most 9-11 year old little ballerinas are not going to keep dancing for many more years- but they could spend the rest of their lives with a messed up spine. 

E. Etherington said...

I would vote for the latter. ;)

E. Etherington said...

The Russians are still putting very young girls en pointe.

What's even more astonishing is the ease and smugness in which they assert that this practice is completely safe. 

Dreamsofmynt said...

... Good lord. I'm appalled to discover that people can be stupid to this extent. D:
"We live in a culture of instant gratification. We don't want to wait for things anymore. We have grown lazy and entitled, and now its even spilled over into ballet." <-- Yes, yes, yes! The fact that people are too lazy to get up and change the channel while watching television is clear evidence of this, but I used to think that dancers would have at least the vestiges of patience and discipline required to wait for their pointe shoes.
Pointe is hard work, but it is immensely gratifying (that first pirouette in center?) and it's just sad that people are spoiling that for themselves. :c

Havanna_june said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
E. Etherington said...

Then you work, save, and cut out unnecessary expenses until you can. :)

Indiana.__. said...

That's a really good point ,even though some kids are even more developed than others , 12 is like the absolute minimum age to put someone on pointe because that is the age some kids are mostly developed. But that is only in special cases, most kids start dancing en pointe at about 15-correct me if i'm wrong.

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