A ballerina shows “the chaos” of prepping her pointe shoes in an unintentional ASMR video.
On Aug. 23, Mikayla Geier (@mikaylageier), a Vancouver- and Los Angeles-based artist and ballerina, recently took to TikTok to show her step-by-step process of preparing her pointe shoes at 2 in the morning.
“It’s 2 a.m. I’m gonna show you how I prepare my pointe shoes,” Geier says. “Sorry I have to whisper. Everyone’s asleep right now.”
The earliest record of “the first modern pointe shoes,” according to Dance Facts, is the early 20th century when Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova “inserted toughened leather soles into her shoes” and “flattened and hardened the toe area to form a box” as a means of creating additional support for her feet while dancing.
For dancers that utilize pointe shoes, their entire body weight is, essentially, being balanced on a small platform, which is a rigid box comprised of fabric and hardened cardboard or paper, located at the tip of the shoe.
Geier begins by ripping off the inner sole. Afterward, she breaks the shank, a hard material that stiffens the sole, and removes the nail that holds the shank to the heel. Ballerinas tend to remove a portion of the shank to increase flexibility in the shoe.
She then “squishes” the box of the shoe — “because your shoes are shaped like a bubble and your feet are not” — before performing “surgery.”
During the “surgical” process, Geier takes a pair of scissors and snips the fabric off the shoe’s platform. After snipping her ribbons and elastics, Geier then uses dental floss to sew them to the shoe. According to the School of Ballet 5:8, “ribbons and elastics should be sewn in such a way that they help the shoe to hug the dancers arch.”
“Don’t know if I have the energy to do the other s*** right now,” she says, before declaring that it’s now 2:50 a.m. “They’re done. Now, I’m deciding which foot is gonna be the right foot and which foot is gonna be the left foot.”
As for how she decides which shoe is for which foot, Geier says it’s based exclusively on vibes.
In the last 30 years, more “scientific approaches” have been taken when constructing pointe shoes in order to help dancers better meet “contemporary choreographic demands.” After Gaynor Minden introduced a shoe that featured “shock-absorption” in 1993, for instance, more designers felt inclined to modify the material makeup of their own shoes in hopes of increasing their durability and overall safety for wearers, according to Pointe magazine.
Following this first installment, which, as of this reporting, has more than 7.2 million views and 658,600 likes, Geier posted a second part on Aug. 25, in which she finishes off the process.
‘Now, we introduce fire and glue to the process’
“Let’s finish these bad boys off. Now, we introduce fire and glue to the process,” she says. “This is special dancer glue. I’ve literally glued my fingers together before, so this stuff is pretty dangerous. Always be careful.”
The first step, Geier says, is to glue the tips of both shoes. Then, she glues around the outer sole.
“You know the glue is working when it feels a bit warm,” she adds. “It’s 1:09 a.m. The reason why I’m doing this so late at night, [is] because I’ve been working, like, all day, every day on this short film.”
After gluing, Geier pulls out her lighter in order to get a “nice sear” on the ribbons.
“Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘What does fire have to do with pointe shoes? Well, it has a lot to do with pointe shoes. Because if you don’t fire these babies up, they’re gonna fray all over the place and it’s gonna be a mess,” she says of the ribbons’ raw edges.
Pointe shoes, according to Dance Magazine, should be replaced “after every 10 to 20 hours of use depending on your level of training.”
‘Why don’t they just sell pointe shoes that already come distressed??????’
Both of Geier’s videos have attracted a large audience of nondancers who are merely invested in the unique process of destroying and preparing pointe shoes for use.
“I will always stop to watch a video about a ballet dancer doing their point shoes. I’m always so fascinated by everyone’s methods,” @cringey.giraffe wrote.
“For such an elegant sport the shoe process seems unhinged,” @dahlinluv commented.
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