The Pointe

Did you enjoy city.ballet., Sarah Jessica Parker’s docu-series about the New York City Ballet? I most certainly did.

It’s energetic and fresh, and you get to meet Dara Faust supervisor of shoe department.

cityballet

When I got my first pair of pointe shoes I realized in utter horror that there wasn’t any kind of cushioning between the toes and the floor. To that point I had been living the illusion that the so-called box was including some kind of protective layer. Well it wasn’t. The box provides support to the foot, so that you can stand en pointe, but that’s it. Of course there’s a variety of toe pads you can use (foam, gel, wool etc.), and you’re constantly focusing on core and elongation and being light, but let’s be honest, in the end it’s your entire body weight balanced on your toes, on a wooden floor.

So what’s the point of pointe? The totally exhausting work, the unachievable goals, the pain (you actually wake up at night, in your bed, because of constant, piercing pain). Isn’t it pointless? The vast majority of ballet students are not even going to make it to a proper academy.

Well the point is, that no matter how good you are (or are not), you are learning a language. You’re sharing a code with countless other students, present, past and future. And no one else will ever have your lines, because no one will ever have your same exact body and technique, so there will always be something unique to your dancing.

The day you quit is a total relief and it’s so hard at the same time. Once you stop, you won’t be able to rise en pointe again, unless at some point you are generally fit enough and prepared to endure months and months of painful classes again (adult classes redefine the concept of “driven”).

So it’s good to hear from the dancers, to see a gyrotonic machine, a shiatsu meridian chart, tape for toes, sewing kits, and the new shining Lincoln Center, that was a dusty construction site the last time I went there.

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