The history of ballet dancing and the use of pointe shoes is a long and fascinating one. Pointe shoes were first used by the French court in the 1600s, and their use has evolved over the years to fit the changing styles of dance.
The earliest known reference to pointe shoes comes from 1681 when Louis XIV’s ballet master, Pierre Beauchamp, wrote in his book ‘L’Academie Royal de Danse’ that dancers should wear them for certain steps. Beauchamp’s description was quite vague, so it is unclear as to what type of shoe was used.
It was not until around 1720 that pointe shoes began to be more widely used. It is believed that these early pointe shoes were made out of cork or wood and had leather soles for extra grip on the stage floor.
The shape and design of pointe shoes evolved in order to provide more support for dancers as they performed more complex steps. In 1820, Marie Taglioni designed a new type of shoe that was made from canvas with a hard sole and ribbons sewn across it for extra support. This design became popular amongst dancers, as it provided better stability on pointe than earlier models did.
In the late 1800s, new techniques in shoe-making allowed for even lighter and stronger materials to be used for pointe shoes. This allowed dancers to perform more complex steps with greater ease as well as providing them with greater freedom of movement on stage. By the early 1900s, these new designs had become standard in ballet performance and remain largely unchanged today.
When Did Ballet Start Using Pointe Shoes? The use of pointe shoes began in the 1600s but it wasn’t until around 1720 that they became more widely used by dancers.
Over time, improvements in shoe-making technology allowed for lighter and stronger materials to be used which allowed dancers to perform more intricate steps with greater ease while still providing them with stability on stage. These modern designs remain largely unchanged today.