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Ballet in the making - pointe shoes that is!

The fascinating process of making ballet pointe shoes - from the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet.

Royal Ballet dancers Nathalie Harrison and Leanne Cope visit the Freed pointe shoe factory where they meet the shoemakers who build their ballet shoes from scratch specifically made for each dancer to fit with their technique and foot shape.

Then, how Royal Ballet dancers prepare their pointe shoes:


Ballet shoe history:

During ballet's creation in the courts of Europe, dancers wore heeled shoes in line with the era's aesthetic. In the 1730s, Paris Opéra Ballet dancer Marie Camargo was the first to remove her shoes' heels, forging the way for the soft slipper we know today. "Camargo is the transitional point between a heeled shoe and pointe shoe. She is the ballet slipper," says Linda Murray, curator of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The slipper allowed Camargo to perform leaps and fast allégros that were not possible in heeled shoes, expanding movement vocabulary for ballerinas.

Marie Camargo Courtesy Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library


Ouch! Ballet is an art form steeped in tradition, but pointe shoes need not be out of step with the times.

Basic pointe shoe anatomy. Courtesy of Lower Extremity Review Magazine



While we all love a good high heel, it is safe to say that the ballet flat has become a wardrobe staple. This shoe is chic, comfy, and can be paired with just about anything. From a casual outfit consisting of a blouse and skinny jeans to a formal evening gown, the dependable ballet flat has got your feet covered. Packing a pair in one’s bag in the event that your heels get too uncomfortable has become a life-saving technique to survive a night out. How did we ever get along without them?


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