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Showcase 2022 Student Spotlight: Felicity Van Der Straaten

Student Spotlight featuring BA (Hons) Product Design student, Felicity Van Der Straaten and her project, To The Pointe.

BA (Hons) Product Design

In ballet most professionals train in “Pointe Ballet”, even young girls who do not take up ballet professionally, still take up pointe as a hobby growing up. However, the results of pointe ballet dancing can be carried forward with the dancer their whole life. Most dancers, experience extreme foot pain, cuts and foot abnormalities from these shoes.

My aim is to find a way to prevent this happening, helping many dancers in the long run to not have ruined and injured feet. As the professional shoe used in performances cannot be changed, for styling reasons and the harsh dance culture, I explored a way to fix this through training. The shoe is made to protect the toes via more cushioning, as well as not being so restricted in width for dancing. Although they are not completely painless, this is so dancers can still dance in normal pointe shoes on stage, but the training shoes still offer the benefits of not harming or injuring the feet. As well as pointe shoes being expensive to purchase and needing many a year, the materials I have designed allow the training pointe shoe to last much longer than the average typical shoe.

Felicity Van Der Straaten, creator, said: “Growing up since the age of 3, I have danced and enjoyed ballet the most. I began doing pointe in my teen years and really enjoyed this. However, even for myself, I found this quite painful and ruining to my feet. I also knew from my friends at dance how they felt about it, and their opinions.

Because of this knowledge and feedback, I already knew, I decided to go forward with making something that could benefit many people and I would be able to obtain feedback and trial my designs with links. It is also an area I extremely enjoy, so this made the process very enjoyable.”

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