This is not a post about sloths

So we’re at the barre,
And Smirnoff stops the music and says,
“My Dears! In the Russian school there are three half-toes! Other schools, they have only flat and demi-pointe, but this will not do for us!”
(I love it when he rips on other schools of ballet. In your face, Other Schools!)
“We use three half-toes! The first is low, just the heel raised,”
(This is the one he likes menfolk to use. Smirnoff does not approve of these young men today with their high relevés.)
“The second is on the ball of the foot,”
(This is where he wants the ladies in relevé)
“The third is between the ball of the foot and the tip of the toe,”
(I have no idea when this one comes in to play, but I have seen people do this in class. It blows my mind. My toes don’t seem to work that way)
“Beyond that is pointe work.”

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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8 Responses to This is not a post about sloths

  1. This post should have a warning – it’s like when someone tells you the thing about not being able to lick your elbow and you just can’t help trying… I just tried to do the balancing-on-toes thing (and totally couldn’t even balance properly on the balls of my feet because I am out of shape etc.)

  2. Cool! I was actually JUST thinking about this today. Now it makes sense. I had a teacher years ago who was Russian trained– SHE was the one who would say “demi pointe” “3/4 pointe” (I don’t know if she ever said “low”).

    Since then, it’s been all American, Cecchetti and Balanchine teachers, and it’s just flat, demi, and pointe. Boo.

  3. Ah, my teacher LOVES that!
    She told us she could not live with her low demi-pointe (what a joke, it is higher than the highest demi-pointe I could get if I broke my feet right on the arch, just to increase that damn range), so she learned to go to that higher ground. And all jedis know that having the higher ground makes you win – and chop the enemy.
    I digress.
    I have never seen her feet (she won’t let us, no way!), but I think she has developed some pretty hard callosities to get to that almost full pointe. I can only do it during warm-up, in deep pliés. But it’s all gone when I go up and straight the legs, I can feel my tendons pulling me back to regular (low) demi-pointe. “No way, miss, you cannot go there! Come back to the place you belong.” Some day I’ll be able to go higher and get to say “In your face, tendons!”

  4. guyenne says:

    I recall using all those positions in pointe class, as part of learning to work though the shoe and really use your feet. Otherwise, it’s just regular old middle demi-pointe for me, low demi-pointe is too much like high heels and I can’t wear those due in part to shin splints.

  5. Libby says:

    This *is* a post about sloths: (wait for the music).

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