How do ballerinas dance on their toes

Do ballerinas really dance on their toes?

23 Mar Do ballerinas really dance on their toes?

Posted at 16:46h in Adult Ballet, Ballet Lessons by vivaballet

The world of ballet is one that often takes our breath away with Ballerinas gracefully executing mid-air jumps and gliding effortlessly from one point to another on their toes. Ballerinas are often depicted sustaining a pose while balancing on their toes. This particular technique is called the pointe technique, which is when a ballerina utilizes a pair of pointe shoes to dance en pointe.

The pointe technique is employed to make ballerinas appear light and dainty in their movement. Women are usually the ones who do most of the pointe work although men can also employ this technique when necessary.

What is pointe?

When a ballerina dances en pointe, she is using the tip of her toes to fully support her whole body. When executing pointe work, a dancer has to continuously lift herself up and down on her toes. This not only requires very good balance but also expert execution of other ballet techniques such as the releve (rising on the tip of the toes) and pique (stepping with a straight leg).

The history of pointe

Marie Taglioni became an icon of the pointe technique when she performed the first ever en pointe in ‘La Sylphide’ in 1832. ‘La Sylphide’ was choreographed by Marie’s father to showcase her skills in pointe work. Back then, pointe technique did not yet exist, Marie’s performance thus became a revolutionary turning point for the world of ballet.

People started to take notice and audiences were left in awe with the effect of Marie’s en pointe that was performed with such grace and weightlessness that it seemed as if she was floating.

Ballerinas started to adopt dancing on pointe around the 19th century to depict weightlessness in their dancing. In the early days, dancers used to rely on the sheer strength of their toes and feet while using shoes with extra padding.

As the pointe technique gained popularity, dancers and ballet schools started experimenting with dancing shoes that could protect and also enhance the feet’s ability to dance en pointe.

Modern day pointe shoes came about when Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova designed a pair of shoes with hard leather soles while also integrating a flat and hard box at the tip of the shoes for her toes.

With the advent of pointe shoes, the pointe technique took flight and has now become an iconic technique associated with ballet.

Pointe shoes

Modern day pointe shoes have a box at the front of the shoes which protects and gives support to the dancers’ toes. The sole of the shoe is called a shank which is a tough material that makes for a stiff sole to support a dancer’s arch when going en pointe.

To ensure that pointe shoes are fitted properly on a dancer’s feet, ribbons or elastic bands are sewed onto the sides of the shoes. For pointe shoes with ribbons, dancers must know the proper way to tie the ribbons all the way around their ankles.

You may be surprised to know that pointe shoes have a lifespan of a few months. Depending on how often and rigorously a pair of pointe shoes is used, it will last longer for a dancer just beginning with pointe work and for a much shorter time for a ballerina who performs and practices on a regular basis.

When to start pointe?

It is every ballerinas’ dream to be able to perform en pointe. However, ballet schools and instructors will first evaluate and observe how ready a student is to advance into pointe work.

Although dancing en pointe might look easy in the eyes of the audience, pointe technique can be very rigorous and demanding on a dancer’s body, especially on the feet and ankles.

Pointe work is usually introduced to intermediate ballerinas around the age of nine and above. Nonetheless, ballet academy teachers will usually evaluate their students individually first before permitting them to start pointe work.

Some factors that ballet teachers look into are:

  • The student’s skills

A student who wants to advance into pointe work must demonstrate that he or she has mastered all the basic and intermediate ballet techniques that has been taught to them since they first began ballet lessons.

  • The student’s physical development

Teachers will also consider a student’s physical development. A student must be physically ready to start pointe work, this means that they must have good body posture, strength and balance.

  • The student’s dedication and commitment

Students must first understand the demands of pointe work. Students have to be prepared to meet those demands of at times sustaining blisters on their feet and the rigorous ballet lessons to master pointe work. Additionally, students need to be responsible enough to know how to use and store their pointe shoes properly.

Once students are deemed ready to start pointe work, with patience and dedication, they will be ready to fulfil their dreams of being an ethereal vision of weightlessness on stage.

Pointe work in popular culture

Pointe work is often extensively depicted in movies and also ballet performances across the world. One famous ballet performance that showcases the pointe technique is ‘Swan Lake’.

Those that have had the chance of witnessing a ‘Swan Lake’ performance will be awed by the many dance scenes that feature ballerinas performing amazing feats of ballet, all mostly on pointe.

Some other ballet performances that you may be interested in are ‘The Nutcracker’ ,’Cinderella’, ‘Coppelia’, ‘Don Quixote’,  and not forgetting the one that started it all ‘La Sylphide’.

Traditionally performed in classical ballet, the pointe technique has also transitioned into the modern dance scene. This proves that the pointe technique is a timeless move that should be taught to the next generation of dancers. This is to ensure the preservation and continuous development of pointe work in the future of dance.

Learn to dance on your toes with Viva Ballet

Viva Ballet school offers ballet classes for children, teenagers and adults. Our teachers are professionals who are dedicated and committed in helping our students in becoming confident ballerinas who will have no problem executing the pointe technique and performing it on stage.

Why do Ballerinas Cut Their Feet with Razors?

Ballerinas look graceful and elegant as they pirouette across the stage. They seem to dance effortlessly, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Ballet dancing is exceptionally athletic and involves intense effort using every muscle in the dancer’s body. Above all, a ballerina’s feet take the brunt of the strenuous exertion involved in ballet dancing. All the leaping, running, turning, and balancing takes a heavy toll on their feet, especially when you factor in the hours of practice to get the perfect form and fix incorrect pointe posture. After all, the performance you see is the result of months of grueling rehearsals.

Why Do Ballerinas Cut Their Feet With Razors?

Image via Flickr by Balletstar011

Ballerinas wear ballet slippers called pointe shoes. During certain ballet moves, they balance on the tips of the toe of the shoe. Unfortunately, this puts all the ballerina’s body weight on their toes, causing a host of foot problems including bunions, calluses, corns, and blisters. These conditions may become so bothersome that ballerinas will attempt to cut off the affected areas of their feet with razors to get some relief. However, things like bunions affect the bones of the feet and can’t be removed by a razor.

Considering that ballerinas spend four to six hours a day in pointe shoes, it’s no wonder that their feet take quite a beating. In addition, classical ballet dancers need to feel the floor as they dance, so their leather or canvas slippers must be snug and somewhat on the thin side. Pointe shoes are often soft and don’t have much cushioning. Ballerinas usually try to harden their ballet slippers with furniture polish and stuff the toes with cotton wool to protect their feet.

Common Injuries to Ballerina Feet

Ballerina’s feet are subject to a plethora of injuries, including:

  • Blisters and calluses. When dancing in pointe shoes that haven’t been properly broken in or are ill-fitting, blisters and calluses are common. Both conditions are caused by friction between the toes and movement. Even in broken-in, properly fitted pointe shoes, calluses, and blisters may still occur.
  • Ingrown toenails. Pressure on the toes can cause the corner or edge of a toenail to grow into the skin.
  • Broken or black nails. Repeated impact, overuse, and blisters can all lead to toenails breaking or turning black.
  • Sprained ankles. Overuse of the ankle, often for many hours per day, can lead to sprains. 
  • Bunions. This condition creates a bony bump on the joint where the dancer’s big toe meets her foot. This is a result of the tension on the joint of her big toe and the crowding of her toes inside the ballet slipper.
  • Stress fractures. Overuse can create tiny cracks in the bones of the feet. Jumping or turning can cause pain and worsen the fractures.
  • Dancer’s heel. Also known as dancer’s ankle, as it affects the rear area of the ankle, its official name is posterior impingement syndrome.
  • Morton’s neuroma. This condition is due to a pinched nerve that creates pain between the ballerina’s toes and the ball of her foot.
  • Plantar fasciitis. This is a painful inflammation of tissue in the foot that extends from heel to toe.
  • Metatarsalgia. Overuse is to blame for this painful inflammation in the ball of the dancer’s foot.
  • Hallux rigidus. This injury can progress to the point that it becomes difficult to move the toe by affecting the joint at the base of the big toe.
  • Achilles tendonitis. Dancing can stress the Achilles tendon through overuse. While the milder form of this condition may be treatable at home, surgery will be necessary if the Achilles tendon tears.

Treating Ballerina Feet

In all cases, cutting your feet with a razor is a poor substitute for proper foot care by a podiatrist or an orthopedic doctor who’s an expert in sports and dance medicine. Located in Northern Illinois, with convenient offices in Chicago and Park City, Dr. Lisa Schoene is well-versed in dance medicine, having extensive knowledge, experience, and techniques to treat dancers suffering from issues with their feet. If you’re a ballet dancer, resist the urge to take matters into your own hands, as you can cause more damage to your feet.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Schoene at Gurnee Podiatry & Sports Medicine for a thorough evaluation of your foot conditions. She’ll examine your feet and then develop a treatment plan to alleviate your pain and treat your symptoms so that you can get back to dancing ballet. Remember that cutting your feet with razors can do more harm than good. Leave the treatment of your feet to a seasoned professional. When you’re under the care of Dr. Schoene, your feet will be in good hands.

© 2022 Gurnee Podiatry & Sports Medicine Assoc.

Why do ballerinas always stand on their toes? — Discuss


Why do ballerinas always stand on their toes? time ballerina sock




Andrey Ryshkov

This technique is called pointe dance.
It is believed that for the first time pointe shoes - shoes with a hard cork lining - were put on by the great Frenchwoman Maria Taglioni in 1830, when she danced the ballet Zephyr and Flora.
Pointe shoes - satin shoes with a hard toe, without a heel, on ribbons. Previously, neither shoes nor the word "pointe" existed, but there was only a French term - to dance sur les pointes, which means - to dance on your fingertips.
When a ballerina gets on pointe shoes, the leg seems longer, more graceful, the movements are airy, as if flying.

Studying the surviving lithographs, ballet experts dispute the exact date of the ballerina's raising to pointe shoes, but one thing is clear: the history of the use of such shoes dates back to the era of romantic ballet, that is, from the first third of the 19th century. At that moment, Napoleon's wife Josephine introduced the fashion for ballet flats - silk slippers with ribbons. According to legend, the legendary ballerina Maria Taglioni put hard pads for her fingers in these same ballet flats and stood on her toes without the help of a partner.

In order to “dance on pointe shoes” in ordinary shoes, ballerinas and dancers learned aplomb, that is, the ability to maintain balance in different poses, standing on the tip of the finger for two or three beats. Of course, this art was mastered for many years, and the muscles of the fingers of the ballerinas became like steel. A case is known when a robber who attacked Maria Taglioni received such a blow with the tip of her finger that he died on the spot. There are other stories in balletomaniac circles about the power of a ballet foot.


Vladimir Bo...

The shorter the legs - the more they try to increase their apparent length. The same applies to heels. And those who are completely disabled prefer louboutins...



Olga Petrova

Probably, they are trying to see something distant and beautiful))) Or maybe they are just looking out for a pie, or a crust of bread?))


76Am Ab2

Simferopol Ukraine???And they stand on their toes because this is only the beginning, namely, all other body positions of ballerinas in the future . ..


Gulchira Andreeva

Why do ballerinas always stand on their toes? Answer: To make the legs seem longer and thinner, and if you take the ballerina higher ...


Khabib Aliyev

Perhaps ballerinas stand on their toes all the time in order to look taller, genuinely legged and slimmer. ...



Vladimir Redozubov

possible for body lengthening in dance. turning the shape of the body. well, since she is in pointe shoes, then rotational movements



Vyacheslav Savinykh

are then lowered. The main thing at home is that they would walk as they should, on stage even on their heads.



Svetlana Efimik (Zatsepilina)

In order not to lose the dexterity to stand in pointe shoes. And then it becomes a habit.


Leonid Ushakov

Pointe shoes allow you to mobilize the muscles of the legs, which is necessary for the drawing of the dance.


Light Temnova

want to see those in the back rows..who have the cheapest tickets..


Olga Toporkova

Pointe shoes, that's what they're called. Otherwise, it's not interesting to look at them.


Tatiana C

They show their ease in dancing in their shoes. (points)


Svetlana Sokolova

to see all viewers and even those who are on the last row


Roman Polibin

to better appreciate their figure, beauty and grace =)


Alexander Chlek

The elegance of the dance, and the ability to scroll in motion.



Anastasia Bali

Pointe shoes are designed in such a way that they cannot dance otherwise



probably to appear lighter and more airy



Humpty Dumpty




what do you think?



Humpty Dumpty

I didn't know, but I agreed with you)



well, well then))



Humpty Dumpty


Eleonora Mkrtchian



Sagynbek Mametov

Art, the ability to do what others can't. ..


Why do ballerinas always stand on their toes? Wouldn't it be easier to invite a taller dancer? Question

Why do ballerinas always stand on their toes? Wouldn't it be easier to invite a taller dancer? — Questioner

=Vlad= ...

Why do ballerinas always stand on their toes? Wouldn't it be easier to invite a taller dancer? time growth ballerina sock dancer





Anatoly Shutov

With a trailer - invite dancers taller and wider in shoulders ... And so on in a circle until the ballet turns into a weightlifting championship . .. (Ballerinas on pointe shoes, not to appear taller, you tell this to Georgian dancers dancing You won't live long, since they have daggers at hand).


Tatyana Shapovalova

To create a feeling of lightness, weightlessness.
There are practically no tall ballerinas. Normal height is 160-165. A tall girl, for objective reasons, weighs more than a short one, even if she is slim. Therefore, in ballet preference is given to miniature dancers.


Dmitry Kostikov

The choreographers decided to try to give the viewer the illusion that the ballerinas were "floating above the ground" - and for this they forced the dancers to stand on their fingertips. Since then, dance "on pointe" has become an integral element of classical ballet.




Husband comes home from work. His wife kisses him and lights 18 candles on a cake on a set table.
- Does one of us have a birthday? the husband asks.
- Yes, dear, - the wife answers, - by my fur coat. Today she became an adult…



This is an obligatory element for ballerinas how to dance en pointe (on the tips of the toes). Everything estal is also provided for: height, physique, etc. But even in whose “monastery they don’t go with their charter”, you yourself understand ...


shopping mall

Tatyana Kopanova

get up so that they don’t wipe their heels on pointe shoes. But seriously, the choreographers decided to try to create the illusion in the viewer that the ballerinas are “hovering above the ground”, and for this they forced the dancers to stand on their fingertips.


Elena Truschenko

Ballerinas do not stand on toes, but on special pointe shoes, so the leg seems longer and thinner, and if you take a ballerina taller, accordingly, she will weigh more, then her partner simply will not lift her.



Zinaida Goffurova

If you don't stand "on your toes" - there will be no trepidation - remember "Carmen Suite" or "Chopiniana" and indeed the whole classical ballet. Although now in modern ballet dance without pointe shoes is allowed.


The Doctor's Apprentice

You don't quite understand. It is culture and art. On socks elongated strictly at a certain angle, it looks more elegant with almost no weight. And then in each lesson there are rules1




It was invented by Taglioni for the ballet "La Sylphide". He even sewed such shoes - pointe shoes so that the sylph would look airy, fluttering. He also came up with the mechanics for flying over the stage.


Sergey Vdovin

because the ballerinas are constantly used to stealing things from the administrator, and so that no one would hear them, they moved on tiptoes, and then dancing went on tiptoes so it became more familiar


Larisa. S

M. Taglioni was the first to stand on her fingers in "La Sylphide" - thus the unearthly origin of the heroine was emphasized, she is light and transparent and flies through the air without touching the ground.)))




In order for the show-off that they can stand on their toes, although with wooden inserts, as I saw on TV that are inserted into Czechs or whatever they are, anyone could resist.


Taurwen Dae

Pointe shoes, they're made to stand on. Only one thing but - for most, the rise is not stretched .. (for example - if you can stretch your legs forward on the floor and touch the floor with your toes - then you can stand like that, yes . .xD)



Tatyana I am silent

music girls... don't argue. it's really hard. don't discuss what you haven't tried.



Alla Gudieva

Wouldn't it be easier to invite a taller dancer??? … Why, after drinking, after some time, do you want to drink more? Even if you didn’t count on “continuation of the banquet?”0481 9 years old



Elena Grigorieva

Ask again. Why do all ballet dancers dance in such tight-fitting leggings?


Fedor Lysenko

This is a way of showing elevated feelings. After all, there is only music and dance. And how to show your feelings in dance? This is the way to show feelings.



Dmitry Zakharov

My mother-in-law is a retired ballerina and my father-in-law spent his whole life in a pit and she danced to his tune and why on her toes)))))) Who knows



Oksana Kuzmina

So ballerinas are always taller! Plisetskaya had problems with the selection of a partner - she is too tall for a ballerina, + pointe shoes!


Gagik Hambardzumyan



Vladislav Vankov

Want to achieve the effect of thin legs. This can also be done artificially: chop off the feet and trim the stumps with an axe. )))



black humor)


Dmitry Grekh

Maybe a piece of cake is hung from the ceiling and the ballerinas are just trying to reach out? They are basically skinny)))





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