Valentine's Day and Pointe Shoes

IMG_0648-0You probably have heard of those special shoes that ballet dancers wear - most commonly known and recognized as pointe shoes. Girls start dreaming of dancing en pointe early in their ballet training - and most dancers studying in comprehensive training programs gain enough ankle and foot strength to safely begin training in pointe shoes between the ages of 10-13 years. Developing the strength and agility to properly control and articulate the feet while dancing in pointe shoes will be an ongoing process that takes the young dancer an average of five or more years of constant training - and even after having attained a sufficient level of proficiency, professional dancers still must take daily measures to maintain the strength and agility of their feet in pointe shoes. Because Ballet 5:8 is a largely ballet-based performance company, many of Ballet 5:8's works are performed by the Ballet 5:8 Company Artists en pointe. The pointe shoes lend the dancers an added ability to create beautiful shapes and lines with their dancing - and of course, many of us find watching dancers en pointe a to be a mesmerizing experience.

Now, if you don't know much about pointe shoes, you may want to stop reading long enough to watch a video like this one (a mini-documentary developed by New York City Ballet) and brush up. In summary, pointe shoes are made of specially constructed layers of satin, cardboard and glue. The shoes hold up dancers feet, for a time, but eventually, the sweat and movement of the foot breaks down the glue inside the shoe, and the formerly supportive shoe becomes soft and mushy. Once shoes get soft, ballet dancers begin referring to them as "dead" and are forced to move on to a new pair.

Now, if you just watched New York City Ballet's video, we'd like to add one small disclaimer - not all ballet dancers have the luxury of having custom-made pointe shoes, or of being able to go through a new pair of pointe shoes for every class, rehearsal and performance. Still, Ballet 5:8's Company Artists can go through a pair of shoes as often as every two weeks during peek performance times. And, if you can imagine, this in turn can get very expensive, very quickly.

This Valentine's Day, the Company Artists of Ballet 5:8 are inviting girls and boys ages three through twelve to our first annual Valentine's Day Ball.

This event, featuring a performance by the Ballet 5:8 professional company, is a rare opportunity: The Valentine's Ball attendees are slated to have a full, fun evening with dinner, crafts, the performance, and a mini Bible-study. Parents, meanwhile, can be free from the kids for a shopping day or Valentine's Day date. Last but not least, proceeds from the event are going straight to the Pointe Shoe Fund, which helps our missionary artists pay for the many pairs of pointe shoes that they will go through this performing season.

If you have a child or know a child who may enjoy the Valentine's Ball, please consider supporting the ministry of Ballet 5:8 in this very practical way - and moreover, enjoy yourself. Lend us your small prince or princess for a few hours. Support a 501-(c)-3 ministry. And, yes - go on a date!