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Pointe-rs For Men

Toe shoes and classes more common for men at a young age

Even though Kerri Angeletti has worked at Dancer’s Pointe in the Strip District for 11 years, she sees most of the silk ballet shoes go out the door with women.

“Dancing on pointe really works different muscle groups than what male dancers typically work,” she says.

As manager, Angeletti has sold only three or four pairs to men, but those men may have been students at Point Park where dance professor Peter Merz says he encourages them to at least try pointe.

“I’ve suggested it to my male students who want to test their flexibility and strength in their feet and ankles,” he says.

Balancing on pointe shoes, like the members of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, takes more practice for the heavier body, slimmer pelvis and higher center of gravity in a man.

A dancer has to master the mind-body connection that comes with performing on their toes, as Merz did when he himself danced on pointe in the past.

Robert Carter, a dancer with the Trocks, started taking pointe at 11 years old, when young girls usually receive their first pair of toe shoes as a rite of passage.

It was the reason he stuck with dancing.

“Years ago it wasn’t so common,” Carter says. “Nowadays, not only is there encouragement to try it, there’s a lot of interest.”

Merz says the Penn Avenue store stocks up to a women’s size 12, equivalent to a men’s size 10. Shoes worn by the Trocks have been as big as a size 17.

Regardless of gender, fitting and sizing can last between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the foot of the dancer. “Everybody’s feet are different and it’s just finding the shoe the dancer’s feet are most comfortable in,” she says.

Dancer’s Pointe, 2821 Penn Ave., Strip District sells pointe shoes for between $55 to $96 and is open noon to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

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Stacey Federoff is a Sutersville, PA native, Penn State alumna, and reporter living in Park Place near Regent Square. She has written for The Daily Collegian, The Chautauquan Daily, Trib Total Media. She loves music, vinyl records, coffee, running, and volunteerism.