[From the Mood Fabrics Sewciety Blog]
I’m in love with this puppy and his pink tutu. I have to get over to Mood Fabrics on 37th Street where they go on Project Runway to get started on a sewing project as I vowed to do this month. Doing some research on a famous photographer today I found out that he had been married to a celebrated ballerina of the New York City Ballet.
[from Wikimedia Commons]
It’s been so many years since I stepped onto a stage, but I’ve been thinking about trying a class again. When learning ballet you start with soft, flat slippers and eventually build up your strength for the holy grail of girly, pink, wonderment: your first pair of pointe shoes. The creation and preparation of these harder shoes is a highly skilled, handmade craft. There is much that a pointe shoe must go through before it’s ever put on: the hard sole and toe box must be cut, sewn, shaped, pleated, baked, cured and bound in a very individualized process so it’s no wonder that professional dancers become very attached to their specific shoe artisan’s work.
You would think that such a perfect, smooth satin shoe would then be cherished and protected carefully, but once shoes are in hand, the dancer sews on her own elastic and ribbons, positioning them at exactly the right place for her foot, breaks them in by pounding them on the floor, bending them in half, ripping off the satin from the toe to make a more stable platform, then binds her toes with foam, bandaids, paper towel, tape or lambswool and is finally ready to create the floating illusion of weightless, effortless grace. A pointe shoe may only last a few hours, a few days, maybe, and then the breaking-in process has to be started again with a new pair, so many dancers keep several handy.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be up on my toes in pointe shoes again, but I’m going to check out a class at Peridance Capezio Center near Union Square, so I was thrillled today to buy a pair of the soft pink slippers from On Stage Dancewear at Madison and 34th Street. These are just made from canvas, no hardware inside, so now I just have to sew on the straps and definitely do a little more stretching first. It’s been a while…