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Ballet - General
Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By Spiorad Comments: 2050, member since Sat Jul 22, 2006
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 08:00 AM

I was just wondering because a few days ago I heard that men were the first to go en pointe since women were not allowed in theater for a while. I know that there was a time when women were not allowed to participate in theater but I wasn't sure what time period it was.

So can someone point (I totally wrote pointe...) me in the right direction?

15 Replies to Who went on pointe first? Men or women?

re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By ex_gang_girl Comments: 394, member since Sun Jan 17, 2010
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 08:04 AM
I've read that Italian Ballerina Maria Taglioni (?) was the fist to perform in Pointe shoes sometime in the 1830s.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member Comments: 7297, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 08:09 AM
^ Marie Taglioni is one of the dancers that could have been the first to be en pointe: some dance historians think that there were a handful of girls who started trying dancing on the very tips of their toes at the same time, so it's not 100% known, but I think Marie Taglioni is the most well-known dancer of the bunch.

The whole "no women" thing sounds more Shakesperian. Because Ballet evolved from the dances of the court (royalty and aristocracy) I think it was always open in some form to women.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By gioland Comments: 248, member since Tue Sep 08, 2009
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 09:15 AM
Documents say that Amalia Brugnoli danced in pointe in 1823, about 10 years before Taglioni danced la Sylphide; however, nothing springs out of the void, so it is quite possible that many people (including men) had tried the feat before Brugnoli. Lacking detailed evidence, it is also hard to say how high on their toes they were. Homans says that even Taglioni was not in full pointe, as we mean it today.
Dancing on pointe was introduced to give an ethereal feeling to the dance, and I doubt men participated in this on full steam (a male sylph?). By the 1800's, women had been dancing in public for a long time, so I am sure that men dancing female roles had stopped by then, making it unlikely they had any huge influence in the development of the technique.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2103, member since Thu Dec 20, 2007
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:02 PM
In the very beginnings of ballet --- the time of Louis XIV --- women were not allowed to participate. Fast forward a 100+ years, and the situation was rather different. In the 19th Century, men were pretty much eliminated from the ballet stage in Paris (only to be put back on in Russia).

So.. at the time that pointe work was first developed --- the 1830's --- men were pretty much non-existent in ballet in France.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6143, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 04:18 PM
www.the-perfect-pointe.com . . .

This is a rather "conversational" account of the history of ballet as well as point shoes, taken from Eliza Gaynor Minden's book. It matches up with everything in my History of Dance text book, but the tone is more casual.

In a single word, the answer to your question is, "Women".

Keep On Dancing*
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 14987, member since Thu Feb 14, 2002
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 04:47 PM
Women, of whom the most well-documented and oft-credited is Marie Taglioni.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By Arakmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 18113, member since Sun Aug 13, 2000
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 08:26 PM
Never heard anything about men using pointe shoes until the 20th century. Why would they?
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By ex_gang_girl Comments: 394, member since Sun Jan 17, 2010
On Tue Sep 20, 2011 06:19 AM
I guess other could tried different types of Pointe before Taglioni, but she was clearly the first to perform in a major ballet and most histories credit that event as the start of Pointe.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2103, member since Thu Dec 20, 2007
On Tue Sep 20, 2011 06:37 AM
I believe that Georgian Folk Dancing involves men dancing in shoes that are technically rather similar to ballet pointe shoes. I don't know when that practice started. Nor do I have any idea whether there was any effective contact between Georgian Folk Dancing and Ballet, with respect to pointe technique.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By hummingbird Comments: 8397, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Tue Sep 20, 2011 08:34 AM
circassianworld.blogspot.com . . .

Here's a link to a picture of Georgian folk dancers, yes the man dance on pointe, in soft shoes and it's more on the knuckle of the foot.

www.google.ca . . .

Taglioni was the first dancer to 'dance' on pointe, as opposed to posing on pointe, some dancers had even been put in stage hoists to go on pointe before her time. Her father Philippe of Fillipo Taglioni is the person who created the technique and taught her.

The first woman professional ballerina was Mademoiselle De Lafontaine who had her début in 1681, her costume would have been just fashionable clothes of the day, nothing you could dance pointe in and no men danced on pointe at that time either. Just as a side note her portrait is still on the ceiling of the foyer at Paris Opera.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By mliaabmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 234, member since Mon May 16, 2011
On Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:23 AM
Women definitely. Also, @Hummingbird, the picture above is not Georgian folk dancing, but Circasian folk dancing, in which the men do not perform entirely on their toes, but portions of a dance. They are not really on pointe as they do not use pointe shoes or dance on the tips of their toes, but their foot is in a sort of knuckling position where most of their weight is on their metatarsal area.
Happy Dancing :D
Samira
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By PowerPointe Comments: 537, member since Fri Nov 21, 2008
On Mon Oct 17, 2011 07:35 PM
I'm going to give another vote for women. According to my second-edition copy of the Pointe Book by Janice Barringer and Sarah Schlesinger, Marie Taglioni introduced pointe dancing as a major choreography component in a performance of La Sylphide in 1832. Before her, other ballerinas including Genevieve Gosselin, Fanny Bias, and Avdotia Istomina are believed to have performed en pointe, but the book says these performances appear to have been mere "stunts" performed by particularly talented or strong dancers--pointe wasn't yet part of the standard technique. I suppose men could have also been trying pointe at the time, but I've never heard of any recorded instances of it.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2103, member since Thu Dec 20, 2007
On Wed Oct 19, 2011 03:31 PM
Men were kind of eliminated from the ballet stage around 1832, at least in France.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By RosePremium member Comments: 9084, member since Sat Dec 30, 2006
On Wed Oct 19, 2011 05:13 PM
Edited by lidwina (172256) on 2011-10-19 17:15:32
I would call this Georgian too. The term Circassian is totally new to me.
www.youtube.com . . .
Well, it's great dancing on toes, not on pointes, by men.

This video shows pointes and Georgian toe dancing. I'm sorry I don't understand the language, but the images are clearifying.
www.youtube.com . . .

I was taught Maria Taglioni to be (about) the first woman to dance on pointes. That was a long time after dancing (on stage) was considered as inappropriate for women.
But I can image the Georgian men have been dancing on toes a long time before Maria Taglioni.
re: Who went on pointe first? Men or women? en>fr fr>en
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2103, member since Thu Dec 20, 2007
On Mon Nov 21, 2011 09:54 PM
Thanks for the videos. Ouch, I did not know that jumping onto your toes, without blocked shoes, was possible. And I hope they have kneepads too. That is some incredible dancing --- not just to watch, but also because I did not know the human body was physically capable of withstanding what I saw.

The Barnard Senior Thesis here gives probably the best description of the history and pre-history of pointe work I've ever seen. It also touches on the ways in which Balanchine revolutionized pointe technique at a time that dancing en pointe was slowly dying out.

dance.barnard.edu . . .

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