Poll: Ballet / Guys in Ballet

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re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Gaudium
On Thu Feb 14, 2008 03:58 PM
Edited by Gaudium (90489) on 2008-02-14 16:02:11
Edited by Gaudium (90489) on 2008-02-14 16:04:25
Ballet Choreography involving males doing pointe lacks a demand so pointe is not included, I would not hold my breath for a change very soon!
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By danceboy69
On Fri Feb 15, 2008 02:15 AM
Gaudium wrote:

Ballet Choreography involving males doing pointe lacks a demand so pointe is not included, I would not hold my breath for a change very soon!

Well if more men did pointe maybe it would get more recognised and so a demand may slowly appear, you never know.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By PerfectFeet
On Sat Feb 23, 2008 10:15 AM
Who the heck cares where ballet came from or where its going? None of that really applies to WHY or HOW I (for one) am dancing.

If you think you'd enjoy pointe, go for it! Understand that its pretty uncommon, put on your confidence, and do whatever you enjoy!

I think I'd like to try, but it seems like it would be quite a challenge to fit me. I'm 11.5 US and my second toe is a bit longer than my big toe. It seems that there would be no way to avoid hammertoe-ing those second and third toes. And since I'm about 170 pounds, I can't see how that isn't a bad idea. Find me some black pointes that will accommodate my feet, along with an open-minded teacher, and I'm all for it!
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Kiwi_Ballet
On Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:27 PM
TRY NEW YORK Dance store. I bought pointe shoes from there and they go up to size 16. Since I am 10.5 W mens I took size 14 X and dryed them black.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By crazytap
On Sun Feb 24, 2008 02:02 PM
I would love to do pointe if I could. I give kudo's to anyone male or female who does pointe. Especially males just because of the fact that they are doing something they love and/or want to do despite what society haves to say about it.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By dancingdream36
On Wed Feb 27, 2008 08:35 PM
I think that men should learn point it is a good way to continue building strength in your legs and ankles. It also does not hurt to learn what the girls go thru in their training.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By pointeballerinomember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Feb 29, 2008 03:08 AM
i definitely think that guys should learn pointe. it's more beautiful i think.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Gaudium
On Fri Feb 29, 2008 09:44 AM
life without ballet is pointeless
trust me on this!
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Tomballetmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Mar 01, 2008 08:10 PM
I think its realy hard for a male, our weight etc...
But it should be wonderfull when I can do pointes, it's so beautifull.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Dougi
On Fri May 02, 2008 07:15 AM
If you want to become a teacher then yes because then you have the more range for girls choreogrophy. you may also want to just do pointe to see what all the girls moan about! lol :P
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By InternetGuy
On Wed May 28, 2008 07:43 PM
Yes, because we arent different to girls are we?!?

anyone who says no why not?
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By luv2plie
On Thu May 29, 2008 10:42 PM
I think guys can take pointe class as long as they dress like a guy. NO pink tights...etc.

I take pointe class in demi pointe ( wearing regular ballet flats).

Ballet rocks!

re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Dancer_Male
On Sun Jun 08, 2008 06:07 PM
I think all guys should be encouraged to take pointe classes, because it is great for flexibility/strength and understanding of what your partner needs to do, and were she is going to struggle and maybe need a little help.

Just my two cents,
Take Pointe, its fun!
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Gaudium
On Sun Jun 08, 2008 06:36 PM
I took Pointe it was not fun, but did help me find my center!
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not? (karma: 1)
By MysteryBallet
On Thu Jul 03, 2008 07:08 AM
NO! Guys SHOULD NOT learn pointe.Most of you out there think that i say this probably because i am prejudiced against women but THATS NOT the REASON. Most male ballet dancers weigh more than women dancers because they have more muscle tissue in their bodies,heavier bones etc. Pointe can hurt our toes much more than women's.However nothing is forbidden so if you do like pointe go and dance the world under your toes!!! Personally,though, i am far more interested in dance power than pointe (for example holding with your hands your ballerina mate and jumping in the air forming simultaneously a split in the air...nice move eh?but tough....!)
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Gaudium
On Thu Jul 03, 2008 07:14 PM
I agree when I was younger pointe was not a problem but as I developed physically and found my adult weight, pointe was out, for the very reasons you listed.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By XxjajaxX
On Tue Jul 15, 2008 09:23 AM
i think that guys should be able to if they want to. I personally want to talk pointe, buy the studio im in won't let me.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Balletthamstermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Jul 19, 2008 02:48 PM
Only try out a pair of pointe shoes and you see whether it could interesting for you taking pointe classes with your fellow dancers or not. In my case I usually take classes with one pair of Grishkos in my dance bag. Flo, 33
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By PointeDanseur
On Sat Jul 19, 2008 07:35 PM
Yeah, men weigh more, thats why we have STRONGER ankles than woman. Dancing on pointe is a matter of personal strength. Both woman and men would face the same challenges. So for anyone who things pointe work for men is not possible due to physiological differences is unfortunately making an erroneous statement. Neither a man nor a woman should consider taking pointe until they have had a tremendous amount of prior ballet technique underneath their belts and sufficient strength and flexibility in their feet and ankles. But beyond that, both men and woman face the same challenges once they begin. It's like learning to dance all over again. It's not a matter of "I'm a good dancer, and, now I'm a good dancer en pointe" or "I'm a good dancer, and I choose not to do pointe because I could probably do it if I wanted to anyway but I think it's dumb". Pointe work is a process just like soft shoe technique is. I ALMOST consider it to be a second form of dance instead of an extension of soft shoe ballet because the majority of pointe work requires any dancer to do things that they have never needed to do in soft shoes. And I've seen men perform on pointe as male roles and look phenominal.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Gaudium
On Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:18 AM
The male and female are mentally and physically different anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot. Both have the ability to do point but the differences listed do make a difference, by age, weight and personal development.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By PointeDanseur
On Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:36 AM
It's great that we can all acknowledge that boys and girls were born with different parts. I'm not an idiot. I am saying that physiological differences that are sexually derived play no part in one's ability to do pointe work. You'll notice that while you listed age, weight, and personal development, you clearly didn't mention sex.
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By dancerboy13
On Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:18 PM
yes because for 3 years i have been doing pointe, it has helped my ankles
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By NickfromDvaldamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Nov 22, 2008 06:46 PM
It's not like I'm dying to take pointe, but I have thought about it from time to time. It would be an interesting experience, and I think it would make partnering a girl en pointe a lot easier if you know what it's like to be up there. I also think that it could really help me develop my feet; they're good but pointe can make them great. However, I could never see myself dancing en pointe in a performance. I think it shouldn't be required, but encouraged that all guys do at least some pointe work to understand the basic feel of it and to help them find their center.
Block of text much?
re: Do you think guys should learn pointe? Why/why not?
By Gaudium
On Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:57 PM
Article Written By: Danielle DeVor

There is a wide disagreement wether pointe work for men is useful. Some men are interested in experimenting with pointe to strengthen their feet, while others want to learn because they plan on teaching pointe or choreographing and they want to have first-hand experience to fully understand the process.

Richard Sais, Associate Professor at Florida State University at Tallahassee, believes that pointe training offers male students a whole new level of stretch which is not possible on demi-pointe or in ballet shoes. Rodney Irving, who teaches pas de deux at the Ruth Page School in Chicago, thinks that a male that has experienced pointe finds it easier to understand the difficulties of his female partner. He also feels that the experience helps a male choreographer understand the limits of pointe work.

Mikhail Messerer, a ballet master for both the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Munich Opera Ballet, thinks pointe training for men is sensible if they can find pointe shoes that will not damage their feet. Messerer studied at the Bolshoi School, where men took pointe classes for strength and better balance. However, Joanna Kneeland doubts that pointe shoes build strength in men that they cannot gain through other exercises. Another concern of those opposed to men's pointe training is that men may be heavier on their ankles and feet, which could result in injury.

With the choreographers of today wanting to break ground and create something other than the classics, we will undoubtedly see more of men en pointe. And with the advent of companies like Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, it looks like pointe technique for men is here to stay.

In fact, many female dancers would prefer that their partners had pointe experience. Merrill Ashley has said,

"Mr. Balancine is one of the few men who is experienced with pointe work, he really understands it."

Karen Kain shows a similar view:

"Men would understand more about ballerinas, especially in partnering if they tried doing a little pointe work themselves."

And Elisabetra Terabust said,

"I think it would be beneficial for men to do exercises on pointe to strengthen their feet. When I was studying ballet in Rome, I remember that twice a week the men did exercises on pointe. But I have to admit, I thought it was pretty funny."

There is a common thread of inequality in the general idea of men wearing pointe shoes. Mostly it is seen as an element for a comic role, though in the more recent past, choreographers are using pointe for men as a true choreographic element.

It is surprising to some that many famous male dancers have pointe experience. Daniel Duell states:

"I don't think men should perform in toe shoes, but to practice on pointe can be very useful. In fact, a couple months ago I started doing the barre in company class in toe shoes. Initially I felt very weak and shaky, but it wasn't as painful as I had imagined it would be. Unlike the ballerinas, who dance for hours and hours every day on their toes, I'm only spending half and hour at a time in toe shoes, and I'm not always on pointe during that time.

Already there is quite an improvement in how my feet feel and look, and working in toe shoes stretches my feet as nothing else can; and my feet are becoming increasingly flexible.

Dancing on my toes has made me realize just how difficult it is to do certain steps on pointe- for instance, to do a pique' back and to position the ankle in a supportive way. Now I have an extra awareness and comprehension as a partner."

Mikhail Baryshnikov has also commented on the subject of male pointe work.

"I've seen men dance on pointe: In Russia the Georgian folk dancers, and here in New York, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. (I think it is hysterically funny, but it's really a question of taste.)

If dancing on pointe works for the choreography, why shouldn't men do it? I saw a ballet in Russia called "Faun and Nymph". The male dancer who represented the faun was on pointe, and he truly looked like a faun with hoofs. It was positively spectacular!"

Other dancers have commented:

Bart Cook

"To strengthen my feet, I tried doing some pointe work, but I found it excruciating because I have an enormous big toe. Merrill Ashley has toes shaped like mine, and I don't know how she can dance. When I tried standing on pointe, I couldn't bear the pain, in fact, if I had to dance on pointe, I wouldn't be a dancer."

Patrick Bissel

"I've often wondered why boys don't begin working on pointe from a young age to develop strength in their feet and to gain an additional skill. Because of the speed that can be attained on pointe, a whole new technique for male dancing could be developed. Imagine a powerful turner like Peter Schaufuss in pointe shoes! He could come onstage, prepare for a turn, and continue the turn for the entire variation, possibly he could keep turning in place for ninety-six counts!"

Jean-Pierre Bonnefous

"I'm the only male dancer I know of who has had the experience, but in Paris I wore pointe shoes for my beginning ballet classes. I was the only boy in the class, and the teacher didn't know how to instruct boys. She had the crazy idea to put me on pointe with the rest of the class. For six months- I studied with her, and in a way the pointe work has been beneficial - it strengthened my ankles and improved my high arches. Ironically, I was the best in the class! I still do some pointe work to build up strength in my ankles."

Peter Martins

"I was fascinated when I saw the male folk dancers who dance on pointe in Russia. Having tried to stand on pointe myself, I fully appreciate how difficult and painfil it is. As a choreographer, I am finding that the creative possibilities for dancers on pointe are far greater than on half-pointe. Although there are fantastic things that one can choreograph for men, I find it more of a challenge to choreograph for women, because pointe work adds an entirely different dimension to explore."

Gary Chryst

"When Ashton's ballet "The Dream" was being set on The Joffrey Ballet, I was rehersing the role of Bottom, which is a very complex acting and dancing role and one of the few male roles that call for pointe work. Unfortunately, my feet are not felxible, and it was an incredible strain on my body simply to push my toes forward in the pointe shoes in order to stand directly on the tips of my toes. I did look very funny, though, pounding my toes into the floor like a donkey. At the first run-through I did my variation very well- I even held a long balance- but the strain on my body was great. My back dislocated, and I was out for a week. Since then, I am sympathetic to girls who dance on pointe- It's torture."

Mel Johnson

"OK, the year was 1968, and the ballet we were setting was a version of the Mussorgsky score for "The Fair at Sorochinsk". There was a lot of character work in it, and particularly my part, which was heavily based on Georgian/Circassian vocabulary. There was a lot of bouncing around, hopping on what I thought then was demi-pointe; as a matter of fact, my entrance was made from the #2 stage left wing, where I was tossed onto the stage by two of the other boys, to land in a sixth position (that's first with no turnout) en (demi-)pointe.

My boots were a custom make from Selva, and Joe Levinoff, their roving sales rep/good will ambassador spent a lot of time taking all sorts of measurements for these boots. When they arrived, the ballet master tossed them at me and said, "Here, try them on." I did, and when I stood up, I realized that I was feeling things in these boots that I didn't normally feel in ballet shoes or even other character boots. They had a block and a shank in them, and when I asked what about the pointe shoe in my boots, I was told, "Oh, didn't you know, dear boy? Your part is en pointe!" This was two weeks from the opening. The boots were actually Selva Italiens which had been encased in a good calves-leather, and the tops carried as high as the knee where they ended, and continued to thigh length in kidskin, making a sort of top-boot. They cost about $800 in 1968 dollars, so no small investment for my company.

I had to do a more or less crash course in pointe, so I'd be used to the sensation by the time I hit the stage, and it worked all right. We kept that ballet in rep for a year, and I went through several pairs of boots, so it was not just a casual relationship I developed with pointe work.

I later discovered that Georgian/Circassian male pointe work is done on the knuckles of the toes, and using the sole of the boot as a sort of shank. Thank God I didn't have to do that!"

Peter Thomas

"Having been a former male dancer during the Mikhail Baryshnikov years at ABT and being one of the few male dancers trained in pointe technique, my experience is very specialized and unique. I was an experiment in Mischa's eyes, he wanted to see first hand if someone as tall as I was could possibly dance en pointe like he'd seen Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and the Folk dancers of his native land do. I remember going to the cobbler at Capezio with him and having a pair of shoes made for me that would support my large feet and high arches. I had to have a cast of my foot made so they could create a special last becuase my feet are so unusually large. What I ended up with was a custom made pair of Capezio Duro Toes. This model was decided on because they were made with heavy boxing and a decently strong shank, the suede tip was also a plus in my eyes because I was a bit afraid of falling and for someone my height that is a big worry.

He taught me the same way you start a beginning pointe student, at the barre facing the mirror so that I could see myself. It was rather amusing to see me at 6'6" going on pointe for the very first time and quite wobbily, if it weren't for the barre I would have fallen on my ass. But I stuck it out. I continued with private classes 3 days a week to continue the experiment and so that Mischa could keep a close eye on me since he wasn't sure of what effect that pointe work would have on my feet.

After awhile, I got the hang of things and managed to become quite accompished. I went from the basics, to being able to do pirouettes and fouettes in multiples. Unfortunately, do to chronic health problems I had to cease my dancing career. However, I still keep up my barre work and still do my pointe work because I feel that since I put so much work into learning there is no sense in letting myself get out of shape. You never know what could happen in the future, and besides, it makes for a good stress release."

While many teachers may not want to teach men pointe technique, it seems that many dancers do benefit from its rewards. But just as much care should be taken for men to study pointe as women. It should be remembered that not everyone is cut out for pointe work, while you cannot be a ballerina without it, a man can still be premiere danseur without pointe.

www.the-perfect-pointe.com . . .

Comment #7784312 deleted
Edited by dancing_fitness (127020) on 2008-12-07 22:17:09
Removed by Theresa (28613) on 2009-04-27 10:22:25 That's great, but if that is somehow related to guys learning pointe...then we're all kind of missing it. :/

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