Day 8 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons : The Ribbons
Pointe shoes have two satin ribbons attached to near the ankle bones, one on each side of the shoe. Dancers add their own ribbons. The colors chosen match the color of the pointe shoes. The shoes can be dyed any color needed to match the costume. If a dancer in 2014 were to save her ribbons, she’d have a wide variety of colors in her ribbon box. In Marta’s era those two ribbons were principally pink to match the shoes as they arrived from the manufacturer.
Dancers must be careful to not stitch into the drawstring around the top edge of the shoe. Sewing into the string prevents snugging the shoe tight (a loose shoe can be dangerous and lack support when a dancers wants to releve to pointe). Ribbons are smoothly wrapped several times low and snug around the ankle area of the foot. The ends are knotted and tucked in against the inside of the ankle so the audience doesn’t see them. We called out ‘your bunny ears are showing’ when they became visible during class or as we approached stages for performances.
In the 1950’s the two ribbons were all we had for support; that was all we sewed onto our pointe shoes. Since then dancers have gotten smarter. Now they add an elastic band around the ankle for added support. It’s one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moments when I saw the added elastic. So simple and yet adding so much support!
If you have questions about pointe shoes, send it in the comments section. I’ll write a post to address your question about those beautiful, yet treacherous shoes!