Alabama Ballet company member Nadine Barton on pointe shoes and foot care.
1. What brand and model of pointe shoe do you wear?
2. How long have you worn this model?
For about five years.
3. Why does this model work best for your feet?
I like the way the model shapes to my feet as well as provides support in the right ways. I never liked having space from the floor when I am up on pointe, and, with these, I can always feel the floor.
4. Does anything about the structure of your feet create challenges for pointe work?
I have flexible feet and ankles, so constantly building strength for pointe work is a must! I also have bunions, therefore I wear toe spacers, when I remember.
5. Do you have any past injuries that create discomfort or require special care during pointe?
I have sprained my ankle once. But I have been fortunate not to have gotten any major injuries in my feet. I always do TheraBand exercises to strengthen that area, to prevent those injuries from happening.
I’ll tape my toes if I have any blisters, cuts, or discomforts. But I always wear clear jelly toe pads.
7. Do you wear traditional ribbons, stretch ribbons, or ribbons with elastic sewn into them?
When I had tendonitis, I used the ribbons with elastics sewn into them. Those are miracle workers!! But now I just use traditional ribbons. And I always reuse them from past pointe shoes.
8. How do you break in your pointe shoes?
I don’t have any crazy breaking/cutting techniques. I break the box a bit, so that my feet lay flat, and my bunions don’t feel pressured. I slip them on, get a watered-down paper towel and wet the edge of my vamp close to the draw string, and the sides of my shoe. This helps soften the area of when I’m on demi pointe, and expands the silk of the shoe, because we all know new shoes can be pretty harsh on your feet. With that, I am good to go!
9. How long will a pair of your pointe shoes usually last?
It all depends on what I am rehearsing, but I always try to make them last to the fullest, using jet glue, and drying them when I am done with rehearsals. Usually a week and a half; if I am lucky, two weeks.
10. How do you care for your feet after rehearsals and performances?
Once I get home, I am barefoot. I massage them with a tennis ball, if they are cramping. I love taking hot baths with Epsom salt, and a few minutes of soaking in a bucket of ice is painfully awful, but always does justice.
See Alabama Ballet perform Cinderella February 20-22 at Samford University’s Wright Center. Tickets available here.
Nadine Barton, born in California, began to train classical ballet with Orlando Ballet. She then trained in Miami with Artistic Dance Center of Doral under Elizabeth Acuna Nuevo and Lissette Salgado Lucas. There she was introduced and later recognized in competitions such as the Youth American Grand Prix, where she earned Gold in 2011 semifinals and participated as a finalist in New York. At the American Dance Competition she won the Traditional Excellence Award for the pas de deux of Giselle Act ll, and the Honorary Fernando Bujones Excellence Award as well. Along with these schools she has studied under Miami City Ballet, a apprentice with the Oklahoma City Ballet, a trainee with Sarasota Ballet and performed with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. In 2012, Nadine became a finalist of the YoungArts organization, and since then has been invited to choreograph and dance as a recognized alumni. She has an orange tabby cat by the name of Kitty, who is on the heftier side, and often compared to the female version of Garfield. It is believed that Kitty was some sort of royalty in her past life. This is Nadine’s first season with Alabama Ballet.