Tying Pointe Shoe Ribbons
- Position your foot. When tying pointe shoes, sit on the ground and have your foot flat on the floor. Your leg should be bent at the knee, creating a 90° angle between your ankle and your leg. This ensures that when you tie your pointe shoes, your ankle is flexed, giving the ribbons slack when you actually stand up on the pointes. That way, you don’t initially tie your pointe shoes too tight, hurt yourself with the taut ribbons, and cut off circulation when you come down from pointe with your feet flat on the floor.
- Wrap the inside ribbon. Bring the ribbon on the inside of the pointe shoe across the top of your foot. Wrap the ribbon across the top of your foot so the ribbon lies just on top of your protruding outer ankle bone. Bring the ribbon across the back of your ankle (over your Achilles tendon), and back to the side of your inner ankle. Make sure you pull tight enough on the ribbon so there aren’t any folds or gaps when the ribbon crosses your foot. The inside ribbon is going to be wrapped around your ankle more than the outside ribbon. This will give your ankles added stability.
- Wrap the outer ribbon. While holding the inside ribbon in place on the inside of your ankle, use your other hand to cross the outside ribbon over the top of your foot to the opposite inner side of your ankle. Bring the outside ribbon over the inside ribbon you are holding in place, and wrap it around the back of your ankle (across your Achilles tendon). Then bring it back to the front of your foot (staying above your outer ankle bone), and bring it straight across the front of your ankle. You should bring it all the way over the front of your ankle, to meet with the inner ribbon you have been holding in place on the inside of your ankle. Again, make sure that you are wrapping the ribbon tight enough that there are no gaps or folds in the ribbon, and then ribbon is taut against your skin.
- Make a knot. With both ribbons at your inner ankle, bring the outer ribbon under the inner ribbon that you had been holding in place, loop the outer ribbon over the inner ribbon, and feed the outer ribbon down through the hole between the crossed ribbons and your ankle. Pull both ribbons taut. Then repeat that same looping and pulling motion with the outer ribbon to make a tight knot. The knot should fall on the side of the ankle, in the divot between the inner ankle bone and the back of the ankle on top of the Achilles tendon. This is the perfect spot for the knot to be placed so the pointe shoe ribbons can still keep a relatively flat profile on the ankle.
- Tuck the ribbons. Once the knot is made, turn the remaining ribbon strands into the inside of the wrapped ribbons around your ankle. Use your fingers to push the remaining ribbons down into place. You can use hairspray for added security. If there is way too much extra ribbon after you have tied the knot, consider trimming the ends of the ribbon. However, leave enough ribbon that you can easily tie your pointe shoes in the future. This is especially important if you alternate which foot
you wear your pointe shoes on, because the ribbon lengths need to be longer depending on which foot the pointe shoe is worn. Trimming the ribbons on a slanted angle may help with reducing the fraying of the cut ribbons.
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Photo credit: 4dancers.org