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Ballet: The Transformation of the Women in Pointe Shoes

Ballet: The Transformation of the Women in Pointe Shoes

The ladies in pointe shoes,
beautifully dressed in sparking tutus,
they spun and swirled across the stage,
calling upon unheard of muscles to maintain complete control,
each choreographed move appears delicate…
the epitome of elegance.

The ladies in pointe shoes,
training their bodies to conform day & night,
their muscular strength & power lifting them into flight,
as they continue to push beyond limits…
a test of endurance.


Tamara Rojo & The English National Ballet

The ENB is certainly ending the season on a high,
​following a radical change under Tamara Rojo,

an impressive female with such drive & determination to transform the ENB by pursuing new paths, some would consider her formidable. 

This transformation by expanding the ENB Repertoire, with Akram Khan’s Giselle and our triple bill She Said, has certainly been noted via the Olivier Award.

Programme Name: Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake Picture Shows: Artistic Director and Lead Principal dancer of English National Ballet, in character as the Black Swan, Odile, in Swan Lake Tamara Rojo – (C) BBC – Photographer: Arnaud Stephenson

Tamara Rojo has been ambitious as Director: to encourage new talent & commission new pieces to the ENB repertoire. Yet she is still to relinquish the stage, producing more powerful performances with age. As both Creative Director & Dancer she continues to break expectations in the ballet world.

It was with this in mind,  that made me want to explore the transformation of women in pointe shoes…

This article consists of multiple media sources, including audio files of Tamra Rojo speaking and a video.


A Loveletter for Shoes

There is no one better to start our love letter to shoes but Tamara Rojo herself, a lady who’s passion has seen her fill many pointe shoes & collect a considerable shoe selection beyond the stage…

Listen to Tamra Rojo describe the pointe shoe in her own words, or read the transcript below.

I adore how they (heels) instantly transform the outfit into a statement. How they make me feel confident, strong and like I can take over the world! I know I am not alone in this passion, many of us hide collections of shoes in our closet. But, is there anything better than opening a box with brand new shoes? There isn’t! “


Pleasure & Pain: the beginnings of the pointe shoe

Listen to Tamra Rojo describe the pointe shoe in her own words, or read the transcript below.

” As a dancer, I have the pleasure and the pain of working every day wearing a very special shoe …. the pointe shoe.

The pointe shoe is one of the most intricate shoes ever designed.
It is a tool that literally elevated the ballerina form the mere but beautiful mortal into the superhuman, into the spiritual, into the divine… Of course there is a price to pay for being a living divinity, and that price is blisters!

The shoe did a lot more than transform the feet of ballerinas into a callosus pulp, it revolutionised the dance world and it started a new era in all the arts: Romanticism

There were new music with composers like Chopin, Liszt, Schubert…
There were new literature with Walsworth,Byron, Keats…
There were new painters like Blake & Palmer…
There was new fashion.

Women look different. They were elevated, they were spiritual, they were fragile, they were beautiful.

Men transformed themselves into cavaliers ready to come to the rescue, or
poets dying for the longing of this perfect impossible love…

And all that started with a shoe…”

See Also


The Pointe Shoe has evolved

Listen to Tamra Rojo describe the pointe shoe in her own words, or read the transcript below.

” Through the centuries , this shoe has evolved according to fashion and new materials & technologies until it turned into a truly liberating extension of our own extremities.  

Today, dancing technique continues to evolve and to explore the possibilities of this extraordinary tool.”


Female dancers have become fast, furious, strong and very powerful.


The Modern Pointe Shoe

Worn by a female, danced to the choreography of a female

Tamara Rojo discusses She Said & creating a platform for female talent ENB commissioned this programme with 3 female choreographers, to add to their repertoire. This work has been acknowledged with their recent Olivier Award.


Because being Feminine can be powerful…


© La Bonne Vivante 2019
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