Help keep us on our toes: First ever shoe campaign takes to stage with goal of $30,000

Along with an athlete’s daily training, the right equipment makes for the perfect performance. For a dancer, that’s the shoes. Did you know:

  • That most of our female dancers wear pointe shoes handmade in London to each dancer’s specifications? Everything from the size, to the box, to the amount of glue used. They run $100 a pair and can take up to eight months to receive.
  • Once a dancer becomes a professional, they usually already have a relationship with a shoe maker they like, and for the most part, stay with that maker for most of their career. 
  • Both men and women wear technique slippers, those are the flat shoes, made out of canvas or leather. They cost anywhere from $20 to $40, depending on the brand and style. And of course, each dancer prefers a certain brand and style that they think looks best on their feet. These shoe last anywhere from a week to a few weeks, depending on the what piece we are rehearsing.  
  • The longevity of pointe shoes is a little different. When a dancer gets a new pair she "breaks it in" to make it pliable, to be able to arch her feet. This involves anything from cutting down the arch support (shank) to flattening the box, to sewing the satin of the platform a certain way, each dancer does it different. The idea is that she wants to break the shoe just enough so it's not stiff, but not too much that it loses its shape and can't support her while she's on pointe. And there are some pieces that the dancers prefer wearing "dead" shoes, because they don't need the support. With that said, a pointe shoe can last anywhere from a week to a few weeks. 
  • Ballerinas usually prepare several pairs of pointe at a time, and rotate them so the pair that was used yesterday has time to dry out and regain its shape. That's why they always carry a bag full of pointe shoes. 
  • Sometimes, if they want to revive a shoe, they use jet glue on the inside of the box to firm it up again.    

What does all this mean? An annual shoe budget of more than $30,000 for our 23 dancers. But you can help make sure the dancers have what they need to exceed on stage—sponsor a pair for shoes for just $100! It’s a fun way to get involved and even own a piece of the production you will see on stage. Donate today and help us reach our goal of $30,000 in shoes this season. 

Posted by Ballet Memphis at 10:15 PM
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