Ballet Shoes and Ballerinas as Technology: A History En Pointe – Suzanne Fischer – Technology – The Atlantic

Posted: November 9, 2011 in 2011

 

 

Laemmli argues that the new shoes forced dancers’ bodies to move in new ways. Dancers on this pointe regimen developed characteristically long, lean leg muscles. Balanchine also encouraged dancers to let the shoes remake their bodies, including developing bunions that gave the foot just the right line. And as their bodies were remade, dancers became “like IBM machines,” modern and indistinguishable. This had consequences for labor, too. For one, stars became a less central feature of dance companies as dancers became more interchangeable, and second, dancers came to spend hours working on their shoes — altering, gluing, and caring for them. In fact, in 1980 dancers threatened to strike — not over hours or pay, but for better pointe shoes, and better management of them.

via Ballet Shoes and Ballerinas as Technology: A History En Pointe – Suzanne Fischer – Technology – The Atlantic.

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