Every year, the School of American Ballet gets hundreds of applications from hopefuls with good backgrounds in ballet. In fact, in the history of the school, only 700 ballet dancers out of the thousands have applied. The competition to get in is really tough as you will be given only one chance to audition. You should not ruin that single chance by appearing in your worst ballet dancing shoes. If you are buying your first pair of dancing shoes to begin your rehearsals prior to the audition, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
First of all, be aware that ballet shoes can be made of several materials. They can be made of satin, leather, canvas or both. Each of these materials has advantages and disadvantages so you need to spend time mulling over each one. Leather ballet shoes are the most durable and can withstand repetitive beatings from rehearsals and shows. In addition, leather shoes force the ballet dancer’s feet to work harder in order to stretch and thus, develop better feet and leg muscles. However, shoes made of leather can be more expensive than those made of satin or canvas. Canvass shoes for ballet, on the other hand, are better in terms of durability compared to those made of satin. Canvass shoes are more preferred by male ballet dancers because their weight sometimes makes their leather dancing shoes stick to the floor. Other than that, caring for these kinds of shoes is easy with the possibility of a machine wash. The problem is, canvass shoes used in ballet could snag and develop holes over time so you will have to spend on new ones soon. The last choice of material that you have in ballet dancing shoes is satin. Satin shoes for ballet have that extra aesthetic look but they should only be reserved for special occasions. Shoes made of this material also restrict the leg and shape muscles from stretching and they lack the mould that shape your feet.
Next, you have to check the fit. You do not want to ruin your audition with ballet shoes accidentally coming off or shoes that restrict your natural body movement because they’re too tight. Bear in mind that ballet dancing shoes are designed to protect your feet and ankles so they should serve no less than that. To know if they’re your perfect fit, check for space for the toes.
You should also check the soles of the ballet shoes you are considering to purchase. Generally, shoes for ballet can either be full soles or split soles. Full shoes are important for dancers who are technically ready to advance to a more difficult stage of performance. On the other hand, split-sole shoes allow the foot to take a better hold of the flooring and contribute a lot to the dancer’s dancing ability.
And don’t forget to look for elastics! Ballet shoes are sold with and without elastics. If you buy ballet dancing shoes without elastics, you will need to sew them at your preferred places later on to ensure that your feet are secured. So to avoid the hassles of sewing, just choose shoes that already come with elastics.