The Fascinating World of Ballet Shoes

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Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you a little something about a topic very near and dear to my heart. That topic is ballet shoes. These are shoes that you wear when you dance ballet. They’re vital to the art of ballet dancing, because without shoes it would hardly be an art at all, just moving around on a floor and kicking your legs into the air. But thanks to the presence of ballet shoes, the form is elevated into the rarefied place it currently holds in the contemporary artistic and cultural world.

I once had to purchase a pair of ballet shoes for my niece, who was desperate to become a ballerina after watching a movie in which a ballerina (wearing ballet shoes, of course) danced in front of a king and queen and was selected to become a princess. Everyone in my family decided to purchase for the young girl a different piece of the ballet ensemble, and I was tasked with the purchase of the ballet shoes, so that she would be able to dance and pay proper respect to the medium as an art form.

It was during this process that I learned a great deal about the construction and traditions surrounding ballet shoes, and this information is so fascinating to me that I feel compelled now to convey it to you. Did you know that men wear white ballet shoes, and women wear pink ballet shoes? It’s true, and it is a custom that dates back to the earliest days of ballet, perhaps even to the time in which that young ballerina performed in front of the king and queen to become a princess, and so inspired my young niece to attempt to become a dancer herself. Yes, women wear pink ballet shoes and men wear white, except sometimes they both wear tan shoes, which makes it look like they’re wearing no ballet shoes at all. But they are, so it remains art.

This is not the only interesting fact about ballet shoes that I am excited to be sharing with you now. In addition to the color, the material with which the ballet shoes are constructed can vary, but not according to gender – rather, ballet shoes vary in material based on how expensive the shoes are. Some are made of leather and some are made of canvas, but the most important thing about a good pair of ballet shoes is that the sole remains thin and flexible, because people have to dance in them, and it’s really hard to dance properly in shoes that don’t have a thin and flexible sole. This is why the soles of ballet shoes are thin and flexible.

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about ballet shoes, I hope that you understand why this is a subject that is so important to me personally. In case you were wondering, my niece did not stick with ballet and is not a ballerina anymore, although it is not because the ballet shoes I bought for her weren’t good enough. She eventually outgrew them, however, and she was not all that graceful anyway.


write by Charity Hawk

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