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Straight to the Pointe

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"So you think you're big, tough men? Then let's see you do this!"

Dancing en pointe, i.e. on the tips of the toes wearing the specific shoes, is one of the basics of ballet, so a lot of fictional depictions of ballet will include pointe work; thanks to the Coconut Effect, if someone's en pointe, tutus aren't necessary to get the pointe across. Bonus points if pirouettes and ballet jumps (e.g. jetes, sautes, sissones, brises, and sobresauts) are also included in the performance, and especially if the dancers perform in a consistent order as if they were dancing the Konami Code or some other video game single button combo.

Now, in Real Life, en pointe is a very taxing technique that is not taught to anyone who is not 1) physically matured enough (including muscle development and bone ossification) and 2) thoroughly competent in ballet technique on the flat. Pointework is veritable murder on the toes, as can be seen when the pointe shoes come off.note  While dancing en pointe can give a very floating impression, it cannot be used too much in choreography due to not only the strain and pain, but also the fact that such a small point of contact with the floor does not offer enough leverage for some moves. Also the fabric covering the shoe might shred up mid-act and look simply unbecoming.note 

Expect fictional ballerinas to dance en pointe how ever much they please, at any age and stage of training they please. They will transition to and from any and all movements gracefully on their tip-toes, and they will never have to tape and pad their black and blue toes for the shoes.

A Sub-Trope of Artistic License – Art.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Usually averted in Princess Tutu; the girls are really just in the phase where the best of them graduate the basics and are allowed to start their pointe, and many scenes point out how hard it actually is, even for the dance genius Rue. However, for Princess Tutu (the Magical Girl form for Ahiru, who in her civilian form is rather clumsy and very often under threat of being assessed additional exercise for being so incompetent in dance class) it's justified in that thanks to her magic she can dance however she wants.
  • Played straight, subverted, and justified all in the same episode of Sailor Moon SuperS; while both Usagi and Chibiusa are wearing pointe shoes for their dance lessons, they don't really go any higher than demipointe, but Fisheye, who's wearing pointe shoes, does go up to full pointe. (The other Sailor Soldiers are wearing regular ballet slippers.) Usagi and Chibiusa do manage to go en pointe in some Imagine Spots, though.
  • The Ballet Episode of Shugo Chara! has all the ballet-dancing characters (and one non-dancing character — Amu Hinamori) wearing pointe shoes. The recital in particular has a lot of pointe work going on.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ballerina: Ironically for a film otherwise faithful in its depiction of ballet (apart from Anachronism Stew in its depiction of the show being produced by the Paris Opera), Félicie is guilty of this, wearing pointe shoes on her first day and dancing en pointe in shoes not really suited for pointework.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Magical Movie Night: The "Dance Magic" Episode Title Card itself, focusing on the dancers' feet, features doing the pointe in the appropriate shoes. Both Fluttershy and Sugarcoat does a lot of pointes in their part of the choreography. And while Fluttershy at least is wearing ballet slippers, Sugarcoat's shoes look like ordinary sneakers.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Spider-Gwen's superhero costume includes ballerina slippers. Naturally, she's sometimes seen doing pointe, notably when landing on a tree branch in her first costumed appearance. And the closing credits feature a whole ballet of Spider-Gwens.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Averted in Black Swan, which shows the effects of dancing en pointe have on Nina's feet early in the film.
  • Justified in Center Stage as the dancers are considered to be high level and dancing for years; they're part of a workshop to get hired by professional ballet companies. There's a montage of them each breaking in their toe shoes, as well as a shot of how damaged Jody's feet are from years of dancing.
  • In James Cameron's Titanic, Jack takes Rose belowdecks to a dance being put on by the folks in steerage, and shows off his dancing skills. Rose responds by demonstrating her ability to go en pointe. She does this while only in her stocking feet. According to DVD Commentary by the film crew, there was some debate as to whether such a feat would actually be believable (for the scene, Kate Winslet was hoisted up with wires). Rose even lampshades how tough it is beforehand.
    Rose: So you think you're big, tough men? Then let's see you do this!

  • The Angelina Ballerina series always shows the mouse girls dancing on their toes in laced pointe shoes, even though the characters are in their first years of ballet lessons.
  • Averted in Bad News Ballet. The girls are not into toe shoes until the fifth book of the series, and they have to practice hard to be allowed in them at all. However, they do seem to get into them very quickly, having only taken ballet full time in formal classes since December and only taking one class a week (when working up to toe shoes require extensive training).
  • In Ballet Shoes, even before she starts her formal ballet training, Posy displays the uncanny ability to stand en pointe. This makes her rather unique amongst her siblings.
  • For a book series written by a former prima ballerinanote , Magic Ballerina is particularly bad about this; the very first illustration of the series to depict a typical class at Madame Zarakova's ballet school, for example, depicts all of the pictured students in pointe shoes, including a first-time student.
  • Alluded to in Reserved for the Cat — after ballet lessons for little girls becomes the latest fad in Blackpool, the local ballet master specifically does not teach the children pointe dancing, but demi-pointe.

  • In Anyone Can Whistle, "The Cookie Chase", a classical ballet pastiche, begins with Cora giving the order to her deputies: "From now, I expect every man among you to be—onyourtoes!" This, of course, is the cue for all of Cora's deputies and their first arrestee to stand on point.

    Video Games 
  • Eternal Champions has Jetta Maxx, a circus acrobat whose "moving corkscrew" attack has her spin on her toes, (in bare feet) to the left or right, while slicing at her opponent with her wrist blades.
  • Ballora in Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location is perpetually en pointe — as in, her feet are rigid and fixed that way — but she's animatronic, so it's justified.

    Western Animation 
  • Angelina Ballerina in the first series features a cast of ballerinas who are already dancing en pointe despite being in grade school. The 2009 3D animation series has them switch to age-appropriate demi-pointe.
  • The Arthur episode "Revenge of the Chip" concludes with Binky Barnes doing an interpretative dance about green potato chips. He does this dance on pointe, even though he's nine years old (his feet and leg muscles shouldn't be strong enough).
  • Deedee from Dexter's Laboratory is only in sixth grade, but her and her friends are usually shown dancing with their feet pointed straight down.
  • Carmilla Carmine from Hazbin Hotel walks perpetually en pointe, courtesy of her Armed Legs: a set of blessed steel ballet shoes, sharp enough to decapitate an Exorcist angel with a single kick.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Pearl frequently goes en pointe when she dances or fights, usually to do some kind of pivot or just pose dramatically. Pearl is definitely strong enough to do so, but the shoes she always wears have pointed ends instead of the flat ends of pointe shoes. Opal, her and Amethyst's fusion, stands this way almost all the time (though she doesn't get a lot of screen time).
    • White Pearl stands en pointe at all times. Even when she's moving, it's a Ghostly Glide that leaves her toe tips alone touching the ground. It's one of several things about her that's just plain creepy. She moved more naturally as Pink Pearl before White Diamond took control of her.
    • All of the above can potentially be excused by the fact that Gems as a whole are shapeshifting constructs of Hard Light, and as such not subject to the limitations of the human body.