Tag Archives: Alison Stine


by Alison Stine

Pointe shoes, the wood-enforced slippers that allow ballet dancers to stand up on their toes, are dirty, hard, painful and ridiculous—and for several years, they were all I wanted for Christmas.  The bright pink satin of the shoe is a shell.  It conceals a hard wooden end called the box, squared off into a platform and molded with cardboard.  New, the soles of pointe shoes are unyielding; we had to break their backs by bending them again and again with our hands like cracking open glow sticks or shaping the bill of a hat or the palm of a baseball glove.  Some dancers held their shoes over boiling water, to steam them into shape.  The long pink laces, called bindings, were tied so tight they cut into our flesh. Continue reading

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Filed under Nonfiction