In the waters of Grenada my feet were happy, manicured and not totally and completely busted. Like a spunge in water they were floating fat and happy, ever saturated and free. After pointe class yesterday, my feet were crushed and practically desiccated, yet the sometimes seemingly impossible drug to get a hold of called accomplishment has masked the pain to give me the delusion of a new and different kind of freedom. I must be high, my feet can’t touch the ground; I’m flying.
One of these pictures was taken before I started pointe, the other was taken after. Can you tell which is which? No, this is not a trick question, it is a rather rhetorical one. But looking at the pictures, up until yesterday, my only question was, with results like this, What the hell is the lure of dancing on pointe?
In my new dance incarnation happening now in my mid 30’s, when first presented with the idea of dancing on pointe, I was not interested. In middle school I had friends that were on pointe and I saw what became of their feet that were still forming, practically mutations. The blisters and the bleeding, memories of this, I was quick to come to the conclusion, no way, not interested. The other thought of starting now, at my age, was just ludicrous, not only was I too old, too round, but too completely broken and injured.
It is so difficult to do this thing called dancing on pointe shoes but if you have ever worked hard and become good at something, then I believe accomplishment becomes a drug and it is easier to be drawn into the next challenge. About six months after the word, “pointe”, in my group of novices had been uttered, I’d been completely worn down. I had to eat crow and just admit that the challenge had just become too alluring. The superficial allure was always there. I mean come on, pink satin with ribbons, the added bonus of when standing on the tippy top your of your toes, you are the pinnacle of grace, beauty and (best and most important of all) strength.
Little by little, it caught my interest because it is the definition of not easy. I very much enjoy a challenge and the tasty tasty rewards that come of something accomplished, so when the idea also collided with my growing confidence in my abilities in ballet the challenge of pointe didn’t seem all of a sudden like an implausible and ridiculous attempt at a reach for the moon. It was more now like attempting to eat an elephant (metaphorically, I’d NEVER harm an elephant) and in my sweaty clenched fist, I had a plan to do so; bite by bite.
Yesterday I did Chassé and Bourrée for the first time ever and it was so painful and so magnificent both at the same time. I totally understood what was meant when it was said that,”It is the nature of dance to exist but in a moment.” because once I was up on my toes something made my feet move and I’m fairly sure that it was the amazement that the moment happened and because there was a desperation to keep that moment, however fleeting, a moment longer, I took more and more steps, then went into the circle and my arms decided the moment was just too delicious not to take a bite too and followed.
It all seems so ridiculous when you could describe dancing on pointe as somethings that resembles a bunch of toes crushed so bad they are numbed by the very hard wooden satin pink hove shoes, but that’s the hangover description that my toes are yelling at me as they slowly, even the next day, come back to life from being pushed so far into the foot itself, it seemed that my toes would be fused forever.
My toes have a forgiven me though, because they really can’t wait till my next pointe class. I’m so excited to jam my feet in those shoes and feast of the drug of the next accomplishment and now not dancing on pointe just seems ludicrous.