Category Archives: Demi-Pointe Shoes

Keeping Up With Sansha Is A Full Time Job

In between scouting the Internet for new brands, I try to make regular visits to the websites posted on the sidebar. Some manufacturers tend to have the same pointe shoe models year after year. Others, like Sansha, are growing their inventory so quickly, I can barely keep up.

I was stunned to see that Sansha has 8 divisions of pointe shoes each with their own collection of models: 600 Series, German, Essentials, Square Box, Stage Line, La Pointe Numero, F.R. Duvall and Academia Series. Wow!

Apparently, if you have feet that go on pointe, Sansha works hard to create a shoe for your foot type and expertise. Although some of my readers may have heard of the models I have listed below, they are new discoveries for me.

The 600 Series Celebrita Is Ready To Go

Sansha Celebrita


The Celebrita is advertised as a lightweight, ready-to-go model for professionals. From the picture, it looks like it has a low-profile toe box.  The shanks are light weight as well.

One thing I can say for Sansha is that they take lovely photographs of their shoes. The name Celebrita has a festive Spanish ring to it, don’t you think?

The Pointes Under The Essentials Category Make Me Feel Like I Am Touring Europe; No Passport Required

From left to right: Peterburg, Tchaika, Versailles, Prague. Can we say Euro-fever? I love the names of these shoes!

The Square Box Division Is An Interesting Concept

I had to think about this for a few minutes. Why would Sansha create a separate category for shoes that have square toe boxes? Most likely for the ease and convenience of the customer. With so many models, a customer doesn’t have to wade through dozens of tapered shoes to find square box alternatives.

Below: Square Box Allegro On The Left, Cadenza On The Right

The jaunty musical names of Allegro and Cadenza are so perfect for ballet. Although they both have square boxes, they have very different specifications. The Cadenza has a full-length medium shank and platform cover. The Allegro has a pre-arched 3/4 shank.



Sansha Pointes: Multiplying Faster Than Rabbits

Several pointe shoe manufacturers like Capezio, Bloch and Freed offer demi-pointe models for young students. I have yet to find one that offers more than  a few varieties.  The  demi-pointe models like the American & English Soft Toe and Selco are still available.

Acadamia Series: Eight Models With Three Advertised Demi-Pointes

Looking under this series on the Sansha website, you find the models Ondine, Katia, Raymonda and Myrtha  featured as having flexible memory shanks that are available in different strengths. Next is the Debutante which is recommended for first-time-on-pointe students.

When A Demi-Pointe Is Really A Pointe Or Vice Versa

Here is the interesting part: the Flor, Ghislane and Beatrix are labeled as dedicated demi pointes made for the first three years of pointe work. The models are on their toes. Has something changed in pointe shoe world that I need to know about?  Take a look for yourself @ Sansha Academia Series.

Selco Demi Pointe

The Shank-free Selco Demi Pointe

Demi-pointes have always been shank-less shoes with hard toe boxes that were not to be used for going on your toes. Sansha, please explain what a dedicated demi-pointe is. If they have shanks and you can go on pointe with them, aren’t they just regular pointe shoes?

Take the vote and tell me what you think:


2/28/18 Update: Comments are now closed on this post due to spam.

Sorting Through Grishko’s Beginner Series Pointe Shoe Models

Can I give away my age here? Way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, most of the pointe students that I knew ( myself included) followed a certain training path that led from wearing soft leather ballet slippers for at least 2 years before graduating directly into hard pointe shoes.

Our toes were not allowed the luxury of ” bridge” pointes; shoes that are made to ease a student into the world of full-fledged pointe shoes. When the teacher said you were ready, you changed out of your comfy-soft slippers into the hard ones and wore them a few minutes per class until you got used to them.

Demi-pointe models are an interesting concept that creates a division of opinion between those in the dance community.  You can imagine my curiosity when I found out that Grishko now has 3 different student models that are meant to be worn in succession as though climbing a ladder to reach a pointe shoe pinnacle.

You Begin  With The Grishko Exam; A Soft Version Based On The 2007, Vaganova, Fouette And Elite



According to Grishko and the many dance supply companies that offer this model, the design incorporates wide toe boxes and no shank to provide comfort for growing feet. The shoe is meant to be used for ballet exam preparation or pointe practice.

Exam Specs Include:

  •  Medium u-shaped vamp
  •  Medium platform
  • A soft half-box
  • Lower heels and non-slip sole

After Graduating From The Exam, You Move On To The Alice



After you spend enough time wearing the Exam and getting used to a harder toe box, the teacher ( or the Grishko sales department) may say you are ready to begin wearing the training shoe model, Alice.

Grishko recommends wearing  this shoe for 3-6 months before attempting real pointe work.

Alice Specs Include:

  • A flannel lining
  • Machine stitched sole
  • 1/2 box shank
  • Flexible sole
  • Based on the 2007 design

Once You Finish With Alice, You Jump Into The Novice



Finally! We can now get on with the real reason we signed up for ballet classes in the first place; dancing on our toes. The Novice is supposed to be a student’s very first real pointe shoe.

Novice Specs Include:

  • Low box design for less toe pressure
  • Softer insole for comfort

Do We Really Need All These Stepping Stone Pointes?

This could cause a huge riot in the dance supply world, but the reality is that for hundreds of years most of the world’s artistically perfect dancers never knew what one of these shoe designs were.  Dancers made their own demi-pointes by yanking out the shank if they needed to and smashing down the boxes to make them as soft as possible.

The premise of a demi-pointe shoe is to ease a student from a soft, pliable slipper into one that contains her toes within a hard structure. The demi-pointe is supposed to help train beginners to walk within the confines of a hard shoe and balance themselves gracefully on the stiffer soles and rigid boxes.

Some ballet instructors recommend demi-pointes, some do not. Some students and dance parents find them to be one more expense they would prefer to avoid. What about you? Do you think beginners are better off with a transition model, or do you think that this is more of a marketing ploy designed to get people to spend more money than they need to?

You can see all three models and read more about each one on the Grishko Canada website.

Sansha Soft Toe Pointe Shoes-American Or English Style

This is a quick post that I was inspired to make when I found a photo of Sansha’s American Soft Toe pointe shoes.  Following close behind was a photo of the Sansha English Soft Toe pointe shoe. What is the difference between the two models?

The Sansha American Soft Toe Versus The English Soft Toe

The American-style is on the left and the English-style on the right. Both of these pointe shoes are shankless demi-pointes for students that do have hard boxes, unlike the soft toe name suggests. What is not apparent is what makes one American-style and the other English-style.

From descriptions based on distributors across the web, the English versions simply have more tapered toes.  They do not mention whether the English-style models are made using English pasting methods which create a generally softer pointe shoe toe box.

Any English pointe student that can clarify this for Americans is more than welcome to leave a comment.