I wore these shoes every single day from the time I was 12 until about, oh, 32.
Yesterday, my younger half sister posted a photo of her own pointe shoes on Instagram, and it made me stop and think - do I know where my last pair of pointe shoes is? Would I be able to find them? Would I be able to wear them?
I wore a pair of these shoes out in about 4 weeks in the high point of my dancing. The boxes (toe area) would wear out, the arches grow softer and boom! I'd need new ones. This was the last pair I bought, and they still have a lot of dance left in them. My feet are slightly bigger than they were when I stopped wearing them, but I was able to put them on and lace them up.
First position. Excuse the fact that I had on capri pants - it was 6:17 this morning and you are lucky I was wearing anything.
I never had that gorgeous overflowing the shoe high arch that is so desired, but my feet, like every other part of my body, are solid and strong.
Pointe shoes look beautiful from the stage, but they sure are ugly up close. I still remember how to tie them, and remember the tricks of the trade - sew the ribbons and elastic with dental floss, sew the elastic loop on the outisde so it doesn't rub, splice the ribbons with elastic to add stretch over the ankle and additional support, and I loved these shoes (Gaynor Mindens) for the elastic inner arch drawstring - most shoes use a fabric draw and it rubs at the top of the foot - by putting the pull area of the string on the inner arch, you have less irritation.)
I loved ballet. Didn't love the drama so much, but I loved to dance - and I really did enjoy teaching, until the last place I taught, where I encountered a group of stage moms unlike any I'd ever met - and because I don't play the "Special Snowflake" game so well, I decided to hang up my shoes and take a break.
I think I was a pretty good dancer. I'm sure I wasn't AMAZING - but I always had teachers tell me I did well in class, was detail oriented and a good student. I never had starring roles, but good, solid back up parts.
But I can still do it. And, yes, it hurt for a second or two - but my feet remembered the feeling. And I miss it.