How to Tie Ballet Slippers

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Ballet slippers are tied by sewing elastic around the ankle and pulling the strings taut around the opening of the slipper, but a pointe shoe is tied using long satin ribbons that wrap around the ankle. Find out how to properly tie ballet shoes with help from a ballet artistic director in this free video on ballet dancing.

Part of the Video Series: Beginning Ballet
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Video Transcript

This is Lynda DeChane from the South Florida Ballet Theater, home of the Florida Princess Ballet School in Hollywood, Florida. In this clip we're going to show you how to tie a ballet slipper. A ballet slipper always comes with this elastic in here; but if does not, a dancer or her mother basically at this age would take the shoe and flatten out the back heel of the shoe. This marks the place to place the elastic. Then the shoe is sewn from the inside of the shoe so that the elastic isn't sticking out on the outside on each side for the student's foot. Then, there's a topple of drawstrings that are always in a ballet sleeper. Once the student has the slipper on her foot, they would pull the drawstring 'till it fits nice snuggly but not too tight. Too much pressure would actually hurt the Achilles tendon on the back of the child's foot. So now that they're using elastic instead of real, regular cotton string, be very careful not to pull this too tight. The other thing that we do is that we pull this; after we tie the knot, we go down to the end of the shoe and then we cut it down there. The dancers always professionally tuck their shoes; string is back inside their shoe. They don't like to have a big bow sticking out and bows come untied and then again, the dance could trip. So basically you cut it to that length; you put it back inside. If later she grows a little bit or shoe's too tight, you still have this much left so that you can loosen this shoe back up again. And that's how we tie a ballet slipper. Another shoe that we have to learn how to prepare is a pointe shoe. A pointe shoe is a harden shank shoe so the ballerina can actually go up and balance on her toes. When she's old enough and is trained enough to start doing her pre-point exercises, these exercises would strengthen her, strengthen her ankles and her feet and also would break in her shoe. The shoe has also an elastic that gets attach to the back of the foot and towards the Achilles tendon. The same rule applies to folding down the back of the shoe which is where you would then put your ribbon. To place the ribbon into the shoe, you need to fold the back then as you did with the ballet slipper and then insert a folded piece of stain ribbon in that corner. This is eventually wrapped up around the ankle of the dancer and secured. This has been Lynda DeChane; thank you for watching.

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