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Demi pointes, deshanks, pre-pointes, soft pointes, soft blocks, whatever

Posted Aug 25 2008 2:42pm

UPDATED ON 1/23/08 AND 2/15/08

Many ballet syllabus exams and training courses, such as RAD, require dancers to use demi pointe shoes, also known as soft pointes, pre-pointes, de-shanks, or soft blocks, for exams and classes. These can be obtained/made in 2 ways. One is for the dancer to remove the shank from an old pair of pointe shoes and soften the box with their hands/a hammer (de-shanks). Another is for the dancer to purchase demi pointes/soft pointes/soft blocks made for this purpose at a dance shop.

The demi pointe shoe teaches the dance student's feet what it feels like to do flat work in pointe shoes, and also helps prepare the student for pointe work by strengthening the ankles and feet. Many professional and pre-pro dancers also use demi pointe shoes (usually de-shanks) for class.

shoe does not have a shank, but does have an inner sole and a thick leather outer sole, and b.) in The main difference between a demi pointe shoe and a pointe shoe is that a.) the demi pointepre-made demi pointe shoes, the box of the shoe is generally lighter and thinner than that of a pointe shoe. Because a demi pointe shoe does not have a shank, it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND INADVISABLE to attempt full pointe work in de-shanks or demi pointe shoes.

Only few pointe shoe makers have demi pointes available for purchase; the only ones I know of are:





Gamba -



I've never worn any of these shoes, but have read in multiple places that the Bloch shoes are very heavy and clunky and require a great deal of breaking in, almost as much as a regular pointe shoe. I'm also pretty sure that Capezio will make you demi pointes if you special order them from their website, and that Grishko makes all of their models as demi pointes, but some are not on the website and may need to be special ordered, also.

How To De-shank Used Pointe Shoes:

1.) Take out the pair of shoes that you wish to de-shank (duh). It is not recommended that you de-shank Gaynor Mindens, as this will render the shoe unusable.

2.) Remove the leather or canvas inner sole. (If you do not know what parts of the pointe shoe the directions are referring to, see here .) Now you will see the shank made of cardboard/leatherboard/redboard/other material and nails. Do not throw the inner sole/liner away.

3.) At this point, there are a few different things you can do. It depends on whether nails are visible or not. If not, peel off the first layer of shank. If not, do the following.

4.) This is the tricky part. The nails in the shoe are sometimes really hard to take out. Pliers will be needed. Try to peel off as much of the shank as you can around the nails to make yanking them out easier.

5.) Grab your first nail with the pliers. Yank it out as best as you can. If it's particularly stubborn (as most Blochs and Grishkos generally are), look at the bottom of the shoe. Compare where you see the nail sticking out of the bottom of the shoe (look closely) and where the nail head is inside the shoe. You'll be able to tell which way the nail is bent by doing this. Try to pull the nail out at an angle, the likes of which depending on what direction the nail is bent in. Do the same for the next nail(s).

6.) After the nails are removed, you can basically just rip the shank out. If this is being particularly stubborn also, you can boil water, take it off the heat source, and let your pointe shoe soak for a couple minutes.

7.) The soaking of the shoe will also help soften the box. After the shoe dries, or if you didn't soak the shoe, replace the inner sole from before. The glue used to originally hold the shank in should hole the inner sole in, but if it isn't, you can use Tacky GLue, or another craft glue to hold it in.

8.) Repeat steps 2-7 on the other shoe.

Stay on your toes,


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