Many People ask whether demi pointe shoes are really necessary when preparing the feet for pointe work. There is no one straight answer for this question so i will go over both sides of the argument to help you decide what you think.
Arguments for demi pointe shoes
Demi Pointe shoes have much more resistance than a normal flat ballet shoe. This means your feet have to work harder, helping you gain the strength you need to do pointe work. They also help you understand how to fully stretch your feet when you eventually move onto full shank pointe shoe.
Arguments against demi pointe shoes One of the biggest reasons demi pointe shoes are not often used with younger students is the bad habits they can lead to, the biggest being clawing of the toes. You must be fully aware of what foot muscles you should be using to stretch your foot with the added resistance before using demi pointe shoes. If you don’t you may end up using the wrong muscles to stretch your feet which can lead to several issues which can damage your feet. However if you are aware of how to articulate your feet correctly demi point shoes can help you build the strength you need in your feet.
Personal Preference Personally, i do not use demi pointe shoes as i believe the same strength can be built up without them while also making students more aware of their feet. There are several different foot exercises. such as cherry picking, that can be done which will also allow you to look at how your feet are moving, ensuring positions are being held correctly, there is a video below showing you how to do this exercise. However, if your dance teacher wants you to use demi pointe shoes there is no reason why you shouldn’t. If you are unsure on how you should be using your foot in the shoes just ask your teacher and they will explain. But remember, there is no reason why you can’t do foot strengthening exercises as well.
Feet strengthening – Cherry Picking
- Lie on your back with on foot in the air
- Stretch your feet, pushing your feet forward with resistance, until it’s fully stretched and you have ‘picked the cherry off the tree’
- Then flex your foot back keeping your toes trying to point downwards, ‘holding onto the cherry’
- once your foot is fully flexed flex the toes back and ‘drop the cherry into your mouth
- repeat this several times on the same foot and then do the same number on the other foot