Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yucky Old Dance Shoes

Yucky old dance shoes

Today I am giving a quick lesson on dance wear. Why? My cover for Circles Interlocked was up on Cover Art review on Monday (http://coverartreview.blogspot.com/2012/01/circles-interlocked-by-victoria-adams.html#comment-form) and a point of irritation was pointed toward the old, yucky pair of dance shoes.

To start, they are pointe shoes or if you will ballet shoes. They are pointe shoes as they are the ones ballerinas wear to stand on their pointes. In case you're wondering, no, I haven't misspelled pointe – terms in ballet are in French, even in China. Pierre Beauchamp (mid to late 1600s) was the dance teacher to Louis 14th and he codified ballet – gave the dance terms their names and since he only spoke French the terms are in that language.

So back to the yucky pair of pointe shoes. I studied ballet. I am not a professional dancer but I was able to achieve the level of dancing in pointe shoes. I know how much sweat it takes to make a beautiful shiny pink pair of pointes look like the ones on my cover. Because I understand the amount of discipline and work that goes into ballet, to me and anyone who has studied it, those shoes are beautiful. They look the way they do because of a dancer's passion and commitment to her art.

What does a dancer do with a brand new pair of pointes? Beats the crap out of them. Each dancer has her pattern of what she does to the shoes to make them fit and feel better. The "horror" photos of dancers' feet – torn flesh, raw blisters, bruised toe nails, bloodied toes – is not "Hollywood" it's the truth.

When I was in university I had that exact poster on my wall. People would look at it and grimace – why did I want a poster with ratty old clothes and shoes? Harvey Edwards – the photographer – captured the essence of dance in the picture. Look at it. Notice the holes in the leg warmers – note the leg warmers are not a fashion statement – they are an integral part of a dancer's wardrobe. Check out the holes into the ballet slippers, covered in tape. Consider the dedication and effort needed by that dancer to wear out those shoes and leg warmers. That dancer wore them with pride.

New isn't automatically a good thing. Sometimes an old worn out yucky item has more intrinsic value.

So – that's why the yucky old pair of dance shoes is on the cover of Circles Interlocked and it is going to proudly remain there.


  1. Going through some of your older posts, sorry for the spam. But I wanted to say that I LOVED this article. Thanks you for sharing this! It is good to know.



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