Performance and Aesthetics in the Professional Ballet: The Role of the Pointe Shoe

By Traci A. M. Lamar and Anne Porterfield.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Though recent research investigated the ballet dancer’s pointe shoe with a focus on comfort and injury prevention, what the professional dancer expects her pointe shoes to bring to her performance, and how she assures that her shoes will meet those expectations, remains to be established. The pointe shoe contributes to a performance aesthetic that is deeply rooted in tradition: visually elongating the leg of a dancer, as well as allowing her to balance, turn, and jump. This research takes a user centered case study approach to establish a qualitative understanding from the dancer’s perspective of what the shoe brings to the performance and its aesthetic. Specifically, the investigators explore expectations of professional ballet dancers regarding their pointe shoes, considerations, features and attributes related to their pointe shoe selections, and dancers’ preparation and use of pointe shoes. Results of this study will provide a context for understanding the role of the shoe in the ballet performance that will be useful to researchers and practitioners.

Keywords: Ballet Aesthetics, Line, Professional Dancer, Pointe Shoe, Case Study, Dance

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.17-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 975.333KB).

Dr. Traci A. M. Lamar

Associate Professor, Textile and Apparel Technology and Management, College of Textiles, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Traci A.M. Lamar, an Associate Professor in Textile and Apparel Technology and Management at NC State, joined the faculty in 2000 after 12 years at UNC-Greensboro and Southern Illinois University. Traci earned a Ph.D. in textile technology and management from NC State in 1999, a M.S. from Arizona State in 1988 and a B.S. in apparel design from Kansas State in 1981. From 1982-88 she worked in industry in apparel design and development positions. Her research interests include assessment of end user requirements in terms of product attributes, textile product design and development (especially impact of technology), and design and evaluation of functional apparel.

Anne Porterfield

Graduate Student, Textile and Apparel Technology and Management, College of Textiles, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Anne Porterfield holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Costume Design from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the George Washington University. She has extensive experience as a textile and costume designer working with a number of ballet and theatrical companies. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. Degree in Textile Technology Management. In that role, she has served as Project Manager for research projects and design exhibitions. Her research focus is on functional and performance textile products.