Marie was an influential 19th-century Italian dancer. She was the first woman ballet dancers to dance on pointe.

The history of ballet shoes traces back to the first western dance institution — The Royal Academy of Dance (established in France in 1661 to please the French king Louis XIV). At that time the baroque dancers used heeled ballet slippers, and thus the movements were very limited. They turned out only 45-degree turnout and there were not many jumps in the movements.  Soon dancers abandoned this cumbersome invention and turned to ballet flats (or slippers). Charles Digelot introduced the idea of dancing on the tip of the toes. He created the”flying machine” using wires to achieve the lightness in his choreographies.1

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Marie Taglioni’s pointe shoe came before the dance boxes were invented. Her shoes were soft and came with enhanced leather, unlike pointe shoes today with boxes on the tips made of layers of fabrics. Because Taglioni was known for lightness in her movement, she was able to dance on pointe with toe and ankle training. Thinking back from modern days, Taglioni must have a tremendous amount of toe strength to achieve that moment of her whole body supported by her toes.

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  1. “The Pointe Shoe, A History |.” History Cooperative Atom. History Coorperative, n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2016. <;.