Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ballet-boot maintenance and etiquette

A boot-girl adjusting her laces before an encounter

Ballet-boot maintenance and etiquette: I’ve not touched on this subject before but just as with pointe shoes ballet-boots take maintenance to keep them in good condition. And since the class of 15 and 16 y/o girls will be fitted for their first pairs of Gepetto’s custom made pointe boots this seemed like a good time to cover some of the basics. Since the boots are made of high quality leather they need an occasional rubbing down with a good saddle soap. Things to do and watch for with ballet-boots are:

You should take care to polish off the excess saddle soap with a brush and soft rag so putting your boots on the upholstery or bed linens, as you will when you become popular, won’t stain them.

Oil the heel-guard releases so that the guards come off easily. For women wearing Gepetto’s boots a drop of three-in-one oil on each of the Inman releases pads will last for months.

The weep or vent holes built into the inside arches and behind the platforms of Gepetto boots should be probed to make sure the boots can breathe and sweat can drain out while being worn. They can clog with lint from tights, tape adhesive and bits of padding and it is important for healthy feet when pointe-boots are worn as long each day as they can be for some classes at St Lucy’s.

Cleaning the laces on ballet-boots is especially important for beginners. That’s because while the teens are learning about their bodies they will be learning how to control their and their partner’s body fluids. Spills, drips and leaks are common and it’s surprising to the girls how often their laces get splattered with sweat, fertile cervical mucus, semen, menstrual blood and occasionally a partner’s blood if the girl is so tight he tears. Removing the laces and cleaning then with a rough plastic sponge to get the hardened residue off and then coating them with a good saddle soap is all they need. An old toothbrush is the perfect tool to get the flaks of dried semen or blood out of the crevices in the tongues accordion folds and then coating the tongue pocket with saddle soap before restringing the laces is all that’s required.

Patent leather boots used for dress just require wiping with a damp cloth. St Lucy’s girls are taught not to play in their dress boots as they aren’t designed for hard use and the laces have to be replaced rather than cleaned if they become stained.

Zippers, on advanced student’s boots after they have learned proper lacing technique, are cleaned with a silicone impregnated rag to lubricate the industrial micro zips. With good quality boots just wiping the zipper teeth should be all the care needed. In the event that blood or semen splatters the zipper it may require the use of a toothbrush to clean the zipper teeth.

The platforms of ballet-boots should be checked for wear and thin or holed platforms mended. Depending on the quality of the boots wearing through the platform material, usually sueded leather in better boots, can compromise the entire boot. Gepetto’s standard pointe-boots (not the armored pointe fighting boots) have a layer of polymer padding (to decrease the noise made walking in them) between the titanium toe box and the thick sueded leather outer platform and both the polymer padding and the leather outer platform can be replaced if worn through. A boot with a worn or holed platform can cause the wearer to trip or the inside of the boot to get wet if worn in wet weather or during a water fight.

When out wearing pointe-boots always carry a set of heel guards. Heel guards should be worn at all times when in friends homes or in commercial establishments with wood or carpeted floors so your spikes won’t ruin the floors.

In a man’s home, if he takes you to bed with your boots on he is granting permission for you to damage his bedding in what ever fashion your play takes, but you should always keep your heel guards on unless he gives you permission to remove them. Some men will have a thick Kevlar duvet on their beds so that you can play in unsheathed heels. Even so, a polite boot-girl will ask permission before she unsheathes her spikes.

Driving in pointe-boots takes some getting used to and stamina in the legs to quickly move a pointed and booted foot from the accelerator to the brake. St Lucy’s driver education includes an advanced course in pointe-boot driving for teens just getting their licenses.

Driving guards are heel guards that have an L-shaped piece on the bottom that fits snugly against the back of the platform when the guard is locked in place. Driving guards eliminate the most common reason for auto accidents involving women driving in pointe-boots, which is getting the heel caught in the carpet or under the accelerator or brake so the car is uncontrollable. Driving guards are in common use by experienced pointe-boot wearers who drive their own cars while booted. However, there is a tendency for inexperienced teens to think driving guards are not ‘cool’ because the spike of the heel isn’t emphasized, which boot wearing women in general have come to regard as twin female phallus symbols as empowering when unsheathed as they believe a male’s erection to be. We play to that psychology by teaching St Lucy’s girls that men and other women know perfectly well what is hidden beneath the drive guards and non-boot wearers of both sexes are actually waiting to see the students skill in being able to glide or run in their boots in unsheathed heels rather than the type guard being used when required.

Stretching Achilles tendons for pointe-boot wearers. A major physical problem associated with wearing pointe-boots for long periods of time is that the Achilles tendons tend to shorten after being contracted for long intervals just as will happen if a woman is always in heels. To prevent this happening Pilates Achilles stretching and strengthening techniques are included in every ballet students exercise regimen and we have boot-girls walk around in negative heel clogs in the dorms. Neg-heels have come to be something of a fad at school as non-boot wearers in the student body have taken to wearing them in imitation of the more advanced and adventuresome pointe-boot students.

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Powys , Wales, United Kingdom
I'm a classically trained dancer and SAB grad. A Dance Captain and go-to girl overseeing high-roller entertainment for a major casino/resort