Monday, August 31, 2009

Moving Out of the Nineteenth Century

SwingDaddy was reading an article about d3o, a shock-absorbing compound that’s being used in all sorts of athletic equipment, and it listed motorcycle racing suits, shin guards, knee pads, biking gloves, . . . and ballet slippers.

Ballet pointe shoes have been constructed the same, old-fashioned way for decades, even centuries, with layers of paper and paste, covered by pink satin. It was about time that a cool new material came into play!

Apparently, the benefit of the d3o material is that it’s flexible, yet protective when it takes an impact, making it ideal to slip inside a pointe shoe. This video of the Capulet ballet shoe shows a dancer in action, and this video shows the making of the shoe, starting at 4:02.

The Royal Ballet dancer who is interviewed says that she usually makes all sorts of alterations to her new shoes to make them more wearable- cutting the leather, removing bits, even closing a door repeatedly on the hard toe box to soften it. She says that she will have to try the new shoes more, but so far they seem to be more comfortable, less noisy, last longer, and cushion the landing on jumps better.

I don’t dance en pointe, so I won’t be able to judge for myself, but I look forward to seeing more of these new materials in other sports and safety gear.


mayberry said...

It does seem like pointe shoes are due for an overhaul. They should hire Melissa (the naughty ballerina) as a spokesperson!

Bob said...

This is too good to ignore.

I am looking forward to Dr Schroll's like insole for shoes.

Wow they were still using the door to break in the ballet shoes.

Anonymous said...

My sister had pointe shoes, and danced en pointe, as did my friend. They did not look comfortable, not even a little. And the feet of serious ballerinas, ye gods! Sounds like some good (and long overdue) news for dancers everywhere.

Anonymous said...

My alma mater had a Mech engineering senior project recently that redesigned the ballet point shoe!

Fourth Breakfast

Kimberly said...

I will never forget my HS friend's feet when she was dancing en pointe. SCARY. I'm glad they've finally found something to make the shoes more comfortable.