Helping dancers achieve a perfect fit keeps company shoe manager Kathleen Mitchell on her toes.
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
We have 37 women, and none of them wear the same pointe shoe. If you look at a person’s bare feet, they are all totally different — the length and shape of toes, height of arch, width of the heel. Everything is individual. The dancers sew on their own ribbons and elastic, step on them, bend them, glue them, all to mold perfectly to the foot. Moms of ballet students shouldn’t do this for them!
As a soloist at the San Francisco Ballet, I became intrigued with how important the pointe shoe was in making me the best dancer I could be. There came a time when I didn’t feel like I had a pointe shoe on at all, and that’s the goal for all dancers, for it to feel so natural you can really concentrate just on the dancing.
I’m ordering shoes for spring 2017 now. If you imagine all these different dancers, and they all wear different shoes made by a specific maker, such as an artisan at Freed shoes in London. That person can only make 45 shoes a day. And there are only 27 men that make all the pointe shoes in the world. Delivery can range from four months to 17. I have one dancer that uses the maker that takes 17 months, so I have to plan today or she wouldn’t have shoes to wear — a disaster! Ordering is quite a puzzle. That’s why I like it.
And I like meeting with the dancers and them showing me their shoes and what they’re not allowing them to do. I suggest tiny modifications, we make a trial shoe, and then I love it when they come back and say, “It’s perfect!” On stage, the one perfect shoe for that role on that day and that moment: That’s magic.
STEP LIVELY Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs from November 27 to December 31. For information on tickets and the rest of the company’s season, visit bostonballet.org.
Now at Harvard, the Obama administration alum admits it’s been hard to watch the Trump administration take aim at the work she’s proudest of. But she hasn’t lost hope.Continue reading »
He lied about other things, too. Do I trust my gut on this one?Continue reading »
15 of the neighborhood’s best restaurants, from elegant hideaways to buzzy trattorias to (lots of) incredible pizza.Continue reading »
We put miles on our odometers — and pounds on our waistlines — to bring you a baker’s dozen of indie operations.Continue reading »
Our sense of danger needs a reality check.Continue reading »
The other passengers have been Blockheads since they were tweens, and as a nonstop party cruise shows, the crush may last forever.Continue reading »
“Exiting the plane felt like a historic moment, like when the first man walked on the moon. I wondered if gravity felt different in America.”Continue reading »
Why doctors must stop disbelieving women’s symptoms and institutions must do more research on diseases that primarily affect women.Continue reading »
Whenever this author flies, he has to be the last one on the plane. No exceptions.Continue reading »