For many young dancers, starting pointe work is a rite of passage and is an extremely exciting time. However, it can be daunting as the dancer would not have any personal experience in regards to pointe work and may not be entirely sure what to expect. In this post I will be shedding some light on what actually happens during a pointe shoe fitting as well as giving tips to help you get the most out of your fitter!
TIP #1: BOOK AN APPOINTMENT!The first thing that you should do is call the shop that you plan on visiting for your fitting and book an appointment. By doing this, you ensure that the shop will have enough staff present so that your fitter can devote their time to you and your fitting. From a fitter’s perspective, I always find it very useful when customers book an appointment as I know that I will be able to give them the attention that they deserve. Also, pointe shoe fittings can take up to an hour (especially during a first pair) so most shops will not take fittings within an hour of closing time.
If you live near Poole, you can always book an appointment with us in store! We would be more than happy to fit your shoes. Click here to give us a call.
TIP #2: WEAR BALLET TIGHTS!
I would always recommend that you wear your ballet tights to your pointe shoe fitting. Normal socks will be too thick and will prevent the fitter from achieving the fantastic fit that you deserve. I would also strongly recommend that you trim your toenails before your fitting as long toenails make pointe work alot more uncomfortable than it needs to be!
I’m at the shop. Now what?
When arriving at the shop for your appointment, you will be greeted by your fitter who will ask you to take a seat. They will most probably have a chat with you about pointe work and roughly what to expect. They may also ask you if you have been sent by your teacher to be fitted with pointe shoes to ensure that you are ready for pointe work. They will then show you various types of toe pads and select the ones that will be most appropriate to you. The fitter will look at the shape and size of your feet (everyone’s different!) and will start selecting shoes for you to try on. What type of feet do you have?
When trying on the pointe shoes, your fitter will ask you to stand in various positions in order to analyse the overall fit of the shoes. This may involve standing in parallel or in plié! You will go through this process many times with many different pairs of shoes until the fitter is happy for you to stand en pointe in a pair in order to fully decide on the correct fit.
When standing en pointe for the first time, it may feel uncomfortable to begin with and cramp is totally normal! Be sure to point your toes within your pointe shoes (the clue’s in the name!) and avoid looking down as this will shift your weight back. The fitter will be looking at your feet whilst you stand en pointe to make sure that you are in correct alignment. They are also looking for extreme “sickling” which is where the shoe twists way from the dancer’s foot which can indicate an incorrect fit. (Note: a small amount of sickling is normal and can be eliminated in training!) They will also pinch the heels in order to ensure that you have enough room to be able to achieve a demi-pointe.
Your fitter may then ask you if you feel supported by the sides of the box of the shoe. Believe or not, but when you stand en pointe – you are not actually standing on your toes! You should feel “held” by the sides of the shoe. If you feel like you are “slipping down” and “banging” your toes at the bottom of the shoe, tell your fitter immediately as this means that the shoe is either too wide or too long!
TIP#3: TALK TO YOUR FITTER!
I understand that it is very hard to tell your fitter how things feel during your first fitting as you have no idea what pointe work is MEANT to feel like! However, it is extremely useful to tell your fitter exactly how the shoes feel. Does anything hurt? Does anything feel TOO tight? Let them know so that they can change the fit to accommodate you! Also, feel free to ask them questions – they will be more than happy to answer them.
Once you and your fitter have decided upon a pair of shoes, your fitter will cut your ribbon and package your shoes ready to take home! I would always recommend that you show your dance teacher your new shoes before you attach your ribbons/elastic, this way you can confirm that she is as happy with the fit as you are!
Will you be getting your first pair of pointe shoes soon? Do you remember your first fitting?
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