No one’s happier than me when mass culture pays fleeting attention to dance. Dance in ads, movies, TV, and fashion means jobs for dancers. Right?
Not always. Why hire an actual dancer when a model or celebrity can pretend to be a dancer, only hotter? Same difference, right?
You know what I’m talking about. Athleisure models, Kendall Jenner, and Instagram “ballerinas” teetering awkwardly in pointe shoes, promoting themselves or $90 yoga pants. Ouch. They can barely stay vertical, let alone get over the box or straighten their knees. It’s enough to make you give off screaming emojis. They don’t look graceful; they’re going to break an ankle.
Strangely, non-dancers don’t even seem to notice.
I don’t mind when mass culture picks up on tutus or the leotard look. But pointe shoes?
Pointe shoes aren’t just knockoff footwear to be ordered on eBay. These weird, hard, uncomfortable shoes are earned. Through years of work. That is what makes them special. Pointe shoes require feet and ankles like steel springs. They are most certainly not for amateurs, and don’t look cute strapped onto pop stars or 6-year-olds. Don’t try this at home, kids. No, really—don’t.
And need I point out that it’s all those boring years of work that turn pointe shoes into ethereal fairy-princess slippers? On untrained feet, pointe shoes look more like hockey pucks. Or hooves.
Major corporations who put non-dancers in pointe shoes to push their product deserve any internet flaming they receive from vigilant dance folks. These big players can’t claim ignorance of dance, either. They can afford consultants. How hard can it be? At the very least, just hire a dance teacher for the day. She’ll be more than glad to explain that ribbons need to be tied and tucked, and show you how it’s done.
So here’s my appeal to Madison Avenue and “artistic” photographers everywhere. For the love of Margot, call an expert. And back away from the pointe shoes. —Tamsin Nutter
DSL associate editor Tamsin Nutter lives in Berkeley, California. Formerly a marketing writer at MoMA in NYC, she trained at Vassar College and The Ailey School and danced with Regina Nejman & Company and others.