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Behind the Curtain: Pointe Shoes and the Stories Behind Them

Hello MID Family,

Our students are beginning to prepare their pointe shoes in hopes that we will be presenting the Movements in Dance Nutcracker this holiday season.

It is always such a special day when a student receives their first pair of pointe shoes. I’ll never forget on my 9th birthday, opening up a box to a brand new pair of pointe shoes and being completely overjoyed. Throughout my dancing career, I have saved certain pairs of pointe shoes from performances onstage and moments that I hold very special. I thought I would share with you the story behind some of them.

These two pairs of pointe shoes, I have hanging on my wall. They are from each season when I performed the role of Clara in the touring production of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes when I was 11 and 12 years old. In the show, I started in the audience sitting next to my mom. Santa would ask for a volunteer and have all the boys and girls raise their hands. He would choose me every time and I would be led backstage only having 90 seconds to change into my tutu, hair in a bun, and pointe shoes, transforming into Clara.

This next pair is from when I was 13 and attending American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive in NYC. If you look closely at the picture, you can see that the pointe shoes are no longer shiny and have a matte finish. At ABT, they prefer the dancers’ shoes to match the color of their tights. For the final showcase I covered my shoes in calamine lotion.

These shoes I wore in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre production of the Nutcracker at the Benedum Center. One of my roles was the green butterfly, so my pointe shoes were painted green to match my costume.

This next pair of pointe shoes are from my time rehearsing for the development lab of the musical Little Dancer in NYC starring Tiler Peck and directed by Susan Stroman. I played the role of a ballerina at the Paris Opera Ballet.

Finally, this last pair is from when I performed onstage with San Francisco Ballet in the production of Swan Lake at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. It was an experience that I will never forget. I was thrown into the role only hours before the show with no rehearsal, when a dancer in the company broke her ankle the night before.

I love that when I see these pointe shoes, I am reminded of all the special memories that go along with them. I hope that our MID students will begin to make their own special moments that they will cherish forever.

xo Miss Sophie

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1 Comment

Jackie Hammond
Jackie Hammond
Oct 12, 2020

❤️ thank you for sharing these memories.

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