What’s the pointe?


In one hour I will be shellacking a little girl’s wispy hair into a tight bun and bringing her all leotarded and tighted and ballet shoed to the first dress rehearsal for the Cinderella ballet. On Saturday, rinse (all the hairspray out of the hair) and repeat.

The show is Sunday.

It’s her second performance with the “big girls,” so she knows the drill. Will she look adorable as she and her fellow horses pull Cinderella’s carriage across the stage? Heck yes. Will she remember not to blow kisses to the audience until AFTER the performance? Probably not. Hey, at least she’s easy to pick out from the crowd.

I’m just hoping she doesn’t take it in her head to perform her part en pointe.

For those without dance-type kids, pointe work is dancing that is done on the tips of the toes. Not tippy-toes like a 3-year-old who’s decided she’s a princess fairy ballerina or whatever. Like, actual tips of the toes. Which would hurt, so dancers wear specially reinforced shoes called pointe shoes. These are the kind that you wrap around the ankle and that you’ve seen in pretty much every ballerina picture out there.

They are apparently rough on the feet, so most dance school directors delay pointe work until the girls are older (at the Maiden’s school it’s age 10 or 11) and have stronger feet.

The Maiden is not interested in foot strength. She is interested in Being Big. Therefore, she has decided that regardless of the recommendation of anyone, she is more than ready to go en pointe.

Anytime.

Anywhere.

Like at the supermarket, holding on to the edge of the kid-sized shopping cart. Where she discovered that sometimes ballerinas fall face-first during their first attempts at pointe, particularly if their barres are moving vehicles.

Or at church. Have you ever noticed that the pews are at the perfect height for a 5-year-old-sized barre? Or that church shoes and open-toed sandals are not very supportive for pointe work and that odds are you will stub your toe on the kneeler and loudly and furiously blame your mom for your mishaps? And that you will be threatened and and ordered to hush and you will not and you will lose privileges and you will fuss so much that you will end up in the back of the church with the babies and your parents will consider not coming back until you’re 12?

No? Well, I guess you’re just not adventurous like the Maiden.

“Look, Mommy!” she screams as she shoves away from the kitchen counter, her body dangerously tilting floorward. “I’m doing pointe like the big girls!” You quickly look and applaud her efforts because you are an awesome mother. Also, because it is the only way to get her to go down on her heels and stop gravity from sending her crashing onto the boxes that she forgot to put away earlier.

The Maiden finds pointe work so enthralling that she wants to share the joy. With me. “You can do it, I know you can!” she coaches and coaxes.

When you are in your 30s, your feet are set in their ways. They have no interest in going anywhere other than the salon for a pedicure. Yet when she begs you to do it, you really can’t say no, because of the whole stupid try-it-you-can-do-anything thing you thought was a good idea to tell her. Also, because otherwise she’ll throw a fit.

So you gamely try. At first you fake it and go up on demi-pointe, but she’s watching you like a hawk. She would make a great dance examiner. So you thrown on a pair of shoes and, clutching the kitchen counter for dear life, precariously perch yourself on the point of your pedicure, struggling your limbs into some sort of position that doesn’t shift your weight in the direction of the floor.

Then you realize you’re about to fall over anyways, and you just might have broken your big toe. It’s a great time for a distraction, so you offer her ice cream right before dinner, and she accepts, and class is dismissed.

And while she’s busy dripping ice cream all over the dance floor, you break out the Epsom salts and start filling the bath . . . because you’re really, really going to need it.

Photo courtesy of Wish Upon a Ballet.

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4 responses to “What’s the pointe?

  1. Loved this part! “They have no interest in going anywhere other than the salon for a pedicure. ” I really would love to get my girls in dance and I would be that mom living vicariously through them! I’ve always adored ballet dancers… especially those en pointe! But alas, I was not meant to be a dancer….

    • thetwistingkaleidoscope

      You should do a little ballet just for fun! I started taking an adult class almost two years ago and I love it. I’d never danced before in my life and I’m not particularly talented (and will never be en pointe), but it’s so much fun and I feel so graceful (even if I don’t look it! LOL!).

  2. Once a dancer gets an idea in her pretty little head, it’s hard to stop her. Good luck to The Maiden!

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