HE SENSATION OF PUTTING on those pink satin forms of torture inspires the soul. The dream of almost any ballerina is to advance to the point(e) of no return, so to speak. I held this dream for most of my life, thirteen years at the time this story begins. But, there was one problem, I only received a couple of ballet classes at age three.
Since then, I had no real knowledge of the precise dance form. In order to start Pointe work (to dance on the toes with toe shoes) a dancer must have at least two years training, strength, be of a certain age, and start several classes each week. Most girls in ballet move ahead by age twelve. My disappointment about not being in dance mounted once I found out all the requirements. When I went into my mind, I saw a strong figured silhouette behind fog and lights holding her posture and balancing her body over one arched foot on the very tips of her toes, wishing that one day I could do this.
After the two hours of mind boggling combinations and complicated techniques, tears rolled down my checks.
The time came when I couldn’t take the wondering and waiting anymore. At last, my mother and the teacher talked until I finally walked into the door of her petite, yet amazing studio to begin my intermediate class, wearing my slick black leotard and skirt detailed with teal rose embroidery on top.
After the two hours of mind boggling combinations and complicated techniques, tears rolled down my checks. But, thankfully, the failure didn’t overpower my desire to one day feel the technique under my skin and the stiff toe shoes around my feet. Those days of private and standard classes seemed impossible at first, but class began to feel like a place I could start to be more comfortable at, as time passed. During performance time there was another larger building our studio would practice in, where we each saw the others' dances and practiced our own. During these moments, I would watch the worn Pointe shoes of the other girls’ pound down on that wooden floor, creating a flurry of gray dust that moved up slightly. Then they would lift off the ground as the girl jumped, while a male partner swung her up and around, to then set her gently on the Pointe. This made me dream about greatness, and feel so unworthy and untalented at the same instant.
After about two years of pushing myself and trying to excel faster, my teacher said those words I only before dreamed. She mentioned my name with that of the Pointe shoe. She proceeded to choose a date with my mom and myself to get fitted for my first pair of rigid satin shoes. I couldn’t begin to explain the delight I felt walking into the store and watching those old white cabinet doors of bliss open. I must have looked so out of place with my Goth chain pants hovering over those slick instruments of dance. The employee slipped on that first shoe; amazing, yet, I realized how naïve I was once again, in this area of dance. To compare shoes I had to rise on my toes, and I always questioned if I was doing it right. How was I supposed to choose a shoe when I couldn’t balance on it, let alone know how it should feel? I held them day after day, putting them on. I didn’t want to take a chance on hurting myself, so I waited to lift myself on them until my first Pointe class.
The feeling of the techniques gained and the shoe gliding on the floor was wonderful. However, a voice in my head kept telling me I needed to do better. I started to advance from basic things, to complex combinations, to being off of the bar, to once again doing anything I could in ballet slippers, and more.
As time has passed, admittedly, the pain from the shoes has increased and the hard work has wore on my body. I have worn down several shoes of two different styles, but no matter what, I love ballet and Pointe. Over the course of four years, until today, I’ve been told my hard work has really paid off, and I hope this is true.