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The Breaking Pointe

Running is very hard in pointe shoes, yet they still expect us to look beautiful and graceful, I thought. We have to ballet-run across the stage in six-eight time in our final dance. But it has to be quiet. Over time, pointe shoes soften and you don’t sound like a galloping horse. Except right now, mine still have that new pinkish sheen on them. They’re new and still aren’t broken in, meaning they don’t hold to my foot. I’ve been practicing much harder than usual to break them in before the recital. All my leg muscles are strained, but the recital is a week away and I can’t stop now.

I’ve been practicing my arabesques in this humid studio for about half an hour. It’s…strange, I guess, to only practice one move for so long and my ballet instructor keeps on asking why I am even here. Then she says she is going home, and reminds me to turn off the lights and lock up. I hear the soft click of the door. Then I suddenly feel frightened of being alone in the studio. It’s damp and hot, and the fuzzy fluorescent lights make me feel like I’m in a prison.

I push the weird feeling away. I have to remember what I am here for. I fool myself by pretending that I have enough energy to keep dancing. Then I begin practicing the arabesque-soutenu combination that’s been giving me so much trouble. When I begin the turns, gaining speed, I glance at the window out of the corner of my eye. The sky is turning pink and the clouds are different shades purple, but I should’ve been concentrating on where I put my feet. I try to stop spinning, but then I fall forward and hit the ground. A sharp, hot pain fills up my left ankle. I gasp and curl into a ball on the floor, just waiting for the pain to go away…

When it’s subsided to a dull throb, I unlace my pointe shoes and examine them. There is a long black mark up the front of them. A tear rolls down my cheek. This has never happened to me before. I definitely wouldn’t be doing this again. Usually, when I got even slightly hurt in ballet class, someone would be there for me. I just hope I would still be able to dance next week.




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