To the Pointe

Wendy Masterson
September 29, 2014

The Shoe

Historically dance began during the Italian Renaissance and rose to greater prominence in the royal courts in France with the patronage of the Sun King, Louis XIV (1600s). The rounded position of the arms and pointed extension of the toes emerged as characteristics of this classical dance form. In the early 1800s when choreographers wanted their sylphs, magical fairy creatures, to appear lighter than air, the pointe shoe was developed. As the name suggests, these shoes made of tissue-like fabric were pointed at the tips. Gradually as technique has evolved, the need for a more stable platform emerged and the flatter tip became the norm. Even so, today's shoes  are still made predominately of fabric and glue.