The Point of Pointe Shoes

Atlanta Ballet

7% of $5,000
$4,650 of $5,000 to go
Terms and Conditions

About This Project

Did you know that Atlanta Ballet dancers go through more than 35 pairs of pointe shoes each season? Each pair costs an average of $75, and a dancer can pirouette through one pair of shoes in a single performance.

Atlanta Ballet uses over 1,250 pairs of pointe shoes each year. With more than 30 professional dancers, this is a significant expense. By donating now, your gift will allow Atlanta Ballet to continue providing all of its scholarship dancers with the numerous pointe shoes needed throughout the year.

As an inherent part of our mission, we must continue to focus on access to dance education for those with the drive and discipline to pursue it. One primary, irreplaceable vehicle is the scholarship program, which supports students based on merit or financial need.  Scholarship recipients are limited in number, but reflect unique individuals from a broad spectrum of ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and ages.

The impact of scholarship demonstrates how Atlanta Ballet connects to and supports the community. When we are aware of a student's potential, we are willing to invest in it, helping families provide their promising young dancers with the best possible opportunity to excel.

Pointe Shoe Q & A

What are pointe shoes made of?

Pointe shoes look dainty, but they really aren’t. The tip of the shoe is a rigid box made of densely packed layers of fabric, cardboard and/or paper hardened by glue. The dancer depends on it to be extremely sturdy: the entire weight of her body is balanced on a small platform in that box! The rest of the shoe is made of leather, cotton and satin. Each shoe is custom hand-made to fit each dancer's specifications. No two pairs of pointe shoes are identical!

Why do ballet dancers wear pointe shoes?

Pointe shoes make ballet dancing look magical and even daring. They create an illusion of lightness and give a sense that the ballerina is floating on air.

Can a dancer just put on a pair of pointe shoes and start dancing?

No! Each time a dancer gets a new pair of pointe shoes, she has to break them in.  Some methods include:

Darning the platform of the box to provide traction and to prevent the satin from fraying

Pounding the box of the shoe with a hammer to soften it Opening and closing a door on the box

Cutting the satin off the box and using a carpenter's file to rough up the sole

Lining the inside of the box with floor wax or shellac to mold the shoes and prolong wear

Sewing on their own ribbons and elastic to hold their shoes in place.

How long do pointe shoes last?

Not long—sometimes for just one performance (or even part of a performance!), depending on the difficulty of the ballet.  A professional ballerina can go through 100-120 pairs of pointe shoes in one season. At a cost of about $75 each, Atlanta Ballet spends close to $100,000 on pointe shoes per year.

When did ballerinas begin dancing with pointe shoes?

Italian ballerina Maria Taglioni was the first ballerina that we know of to dance on pointe in the early 1830s, but the method probably began earlier. Taglioni and her contemporaries stuffed the toes of their soft shoes with starch and other materials, but soon Italian cobblers made harder shoes for them using paper, burlap and satin. This prototype evolved into the modern pointe shoe.

Donating today will ensure that Atlanta Ballet’s dancers have the resources they need to perform their best. By contributing, you are supporting Atlanta Ballet and literally placing the foundation of quality professional dance on Atlanta’s stages.

Donor Benefits

Please show your support by making a gift today towards these beautiful and essential tools that distinguish classical ballet from all other forms of dance. 

All gifts will receive a personal thank you note.

With a gift of $75 or more, equal to one pair of point shoes, we will be delighted to give you a pair of your very own signed pointe shoes from a performance with our heartfelt thanks!

$150 will provide two pairs of pointe shoes for the dancers, and for your gift you will also receive a beautiful signed photograph of a company dancer.

$225 or more will provide three pairs of pointe shoes for the scholarship dancers
, and for that we will also send you an invitation to the next Pointe of View lecture series event. 

Thank you for your generous support, and we hope to see you at the theatre!