When you finally graduate from ballet flats to pointe shoes it is time to get serious about dance shoes and dancing in general. You'll want to get a great pair of Capezio dance shoes or bloch shoes. They will hold up very well after long use. It's suggested that you buy two pair and rotate them so each pair will last longer and wear out equally.
Something that not a lot of people know is that the elastic and the ribbons that you can see on many Capezio dance shoes do not come from the factory that way. They are sewn on by hand by the dancer or, if the dancer is too young to do it themselves, the dancer's parent. It's a very difficult process to explain and there are many different ways that have been developed by dancers themselves as they find what works best for them. As a standard tutorial however, here are some tips and tricks.
Elastic should be sewn on the outside of the shoe at the back of the satin. This is to keep your foot inside the shoe. Put the shoe on and see where the elastic needs to be on your foot. Mark this spot with a pencil on both sides. Use a very strong needle and thread to sew it in. Many dancers actually use dental floss. Be sure to keep all of your knots on the outside as well. This will keep your feet free from snags and irritating knots while you're dancing. The stitching doesn't have to be pretty but it does have to be strong. You can do this by using a sewing machine but it's not necessary. Hand stitching will work just fine.
When you buy ballet ribbon it will come in one long strand. Measure and cut this long strand into four equal pieces. To figure out where the ribbon should go, fold the satin back of the shoe into the toe. There will be small "angles" where the satin sticks out from the shoe. Mark both of these angles with a pencil. This is where you will sew the ribbon. Again, sew these on the outside of your Capezio or Bloch shoe and keep the knots on the outside as well. The ribbon should sit about three quarters of an inch down from the opening of the shoe.
These instructions are just to be used as a starting point. You will find your own method that works best for you over the course of your dancing career.
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