We love ballet shoes here at Twinklesteps. The possibilities feel endless and creativity flows freely once a child puts on a pair of ballet slippers. Even before children are old enough to learn ballet steps, just putting on ballet slippers can make them feel like a dancer and inspire them to do some creative movement. Ballet slippers are close fitting and comfortable and make the wearer feel elegant and light footed – they aren’t like other shoes in that they give the illusion and feel of being barefoot. They also enable the wearer to move from a flat footed position to an elevated position on the balls of their feet. Both ballet slippers and pointe shoes (see below) mean that when the dancer’s toes are pointed the ballet shoes extend the line of the leg to it’s longest possible appearance.
Twinklesteps dancing in her ballet shoes
Most ballet slippers are made of a thin leather sole stitched to soft leather uppers and held onto the dancer’s foot with a single piece of elastic over the instep. Although leather is the most common material, ballet slippers can be made of satin or canvas as well. The colour of ballet slippers varies and although you’ll generally see them in pink or white (or black, white or skin tone for men), slippers can be made in any number of colours.
As well as ballet slippers, female ballet dancers also wear pointe shoes once their feet are strong enough and their teacher feels they’re ready. They have a solid toe box, called the block, that enables the dancer to lift up on to the points of their toes. Intrigued about pointe shoes? Find out more in this video:
Pointe shoes are almost always made from satin stitched to a stiff leather sole. The sole is designed to support the dancer’s arch when she lifts herself up onto the point of the shoe. The point itself, also known as the box or the block, is usually made of layers of material and glue that have dried into a hard platform for the dancer’s toes to stand on. See how pointe shoes are made in this video:
We’ve had a lot of fun on Pinterest putting together various ballet shoe boards. Check out our ‘Ballet Shoes for Dance and Play’ board here.
Halloween is coming…and ballet knows how to do eery with elegance! Ballet offers plenty of scope for the imagination when thinking about Halloween. The Romantic period was a time when pointe work was introduced to give the appearance of the supernatural, with en pointe meaning dancers could glide over the floor in a ghostly, ethereal manner.
With fantastical plots, magical themes, dark characters and the other worldly feel of ballet there’s a wealth of ideas from the world of ballet to inspire you this Halloween. We’ve had a lot of fun picking out ballet inspired Halloween images to share with you over on our Pinterest page. Head on over there to see fantastical ballet costumes from The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, ghostly Giselle and the spellbinding Sleeping Beauty. With fairies, witches, ghosts, curses, spells, magical shoes, fantasy creatures and spellbinding costumes you’ll love these ideas. Nudge us if you see any beauties we need to add.
We absolutely love this YouTube demonstration of Halloween evil witch make-up from Scottish Ballet. See how you can go from being a beautiful witchy queen to an evil one in under one minute! Scottish Ballet are touring Hansel & Gretel with special versions for ‘wee’ people – see our what’s on page for tour dates and locations.
Finally, we just had to share this image of ballerina Marie Taglioni, who is credited with being the first dancer to dance on pointe (on the very tips of the toes):
Have a really fun Halloween and see if you can mix eery with elegant using inspiration from the world of ballet 🙂