Many historians list dance as the oldest of the human art forms. Since dance consists of structured movement, usually set to rhythmic music, it is a good representation of simple joy through physical movement among human creatures.
Aesthetic dance such as ballet is an interesting combination of form and physical attraction as the very movements themselves of the ballet art form require a long, tapered line of the leg, which is enhanced by the almost conical shape of the shoe.
Dancers wear blocked slippers called toe shoes or pointe shoes in order to dance on the tips of their toes. The ballerina, in particular creates an illusion of weightlessness by quickly skimming the floor, spinning and holding poses. While ballet shoes have been described as athletic shoes made from crude paper and glue, remarkably few serious injuries are now found in modern ballerinas.
The pointe shoe has come on the ballet scene in recent years and allows the dancer to poise indefinitely on tiptoe. Through extensive training and strength, the ballerina can maintain the “pointe” position by contracting the muscles of feet, ankles, leg and torso to pull her up put of the shoe. Children should not be encouraged to dance on pointe without adequate training and mastered strength techniques.
Before one can safely wear these pointe ballet shoes, it is recommended dancers wear soft slippers and gradually progress to wear pointes for long active periods. The pointe ballet shoe supports the foot underneath the arch with a stiff sole and the box of the shoe tightly encloses the toes to allow the dancer’s weight to rest on an oval shaped platform. With the addition of stretchable materials within the toe box, modern pointe shoes have become indispensable in modern ballet dance.
Traditional pointe ballet shoes offered no shock “absorption” and oftentimes the number of ballerina injuries were higher before the introduction of the newer pointe shoes. With no support of the toe box, the toes and ankles suffered causing ingrown toenails, bunions and arthritis. However, with modern ballet dance comes greater foot support through modern pointe ballet shoes and trained technique.