Nina Pretty Ballerina



I wanted to do something I could finish quickly so, through the week, I pulled a small canvas out of the attic and sketched out the general shapes.


I thought this kind of footwear was called ballet shoes but someone told me they are called pointe shoes and intricate dancing on the toes is called “pointework”. I pretended the source of light was on the left then the shoes would cast shadows across the floor. I was going to put a rose or carnation at her feet but though it a bit unoriginal and put some wrapped presents there instead.


One of my friends is mad about ballet and said she cannot forget going to see a famous ballet dancer (a male, cannot remember his name) in London. Whenever he did a spin near the edge of the stage droplets of sweat splattered her face. Heady stuff.


Pointe shoes are nearly always worn by female dancers and are made from satin. There is a box in the front end of the shoe that supports the dancer when she is on her toes. Something called a shank stiffens the sole and provides support for the arch of the foot. I had to look on the internet to learn this. I thought you simply bought a pair of shoes and wore them but this is the easy bit. This ballet-mad friend told me new shoes have to be moulded to suit the feet. They are bashed with a hammer, the toe section is dipped in warm water and the satin blasted with a hair dryer to soften the glue. The ribbons are always overlapping one another to form a cross at the front and their location on the shoe is critical and helps or hinders movement. You learn something new every day don’t you? I did not know what the call the painting.