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 Ballet keeps you on your toes

Kidsday reporter Francesca Papetti practicing ballet.

Kidsday reporter Francesca Papetti practicing ballet. Credit: Papetti family

Ballet is a classical form of dance believed to date back to around 1500 A.D. in Italy. It spread to France and Russia, where the form of dance began to grow and develop into the style that we know and love.

During the early 19th century, dancing en pointe -- “on toe” in French -- became popular. This style was reserved for females and was supposed to reflect a certain heroine -- a sylphlike fairy whose goodness would always prevail over evil (a sylph was a spirit of the air).

The modern pointe shoe is just like a ballet slipper but with extra support to help the dancer stay up on his or her toes. The part of the shoe which encloses the toes is called the box. It is rigid and usually made of plastic or layers upon layers of paper or fabric glued together. The tip of the shoe has a flat surface called a platform. To protect our precious feet, we use toe pads which add a layer of comfort between the dancer’s feet and the platform. Pointe is exciting but also challenging, so dancers should take a few years of basic ballet training before beginning. This past school year was when I started taking classes for pointe at Just For Kicks School of Dance in Island Park. 

We spent the first few classes getting used to being on pointe at the ballet barre. Soon, we came off the barre and started doing moves in the center of the room in preparation for the recital. I was lucky enough to be able to perform in this year’s show.

Learning pointe is an amazing experience and I am so lucky that I was able to this.

Clara Villani’s newspaper club, Brother Joseph C. Fox Latin School, Kellenberg, Uniondale

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