Forget Diamonds; Shoes are a Dancer's Best Friend

Capezio's 125th anniversary gala (held last night at NYC's City Center) was a star-studded event. Nigel Lythgoe accepted their 125th Anniversary Award on behalf of the Dizzy Feet Foundation and Tommy Tune received the 61st Capezio Dance Award, presented by Ann Reinking. Highlights of the gala included performances by The Rockettes, Mandy Moore (and Break the Floor/JUMP dancers), Twitch, Nick Lazzarini, tapper Cartier Wiliams, Mr. Wiggles, Rock Steady Crew, Dana Moore, Bad Boys of Dance, Momix, Desmond Richardson (who knew he could sing?), Martine Van Hamel, Daniel Ulbricht and ABT's Misty Copeland, Jared Mathews and Craig Salstein, and so, so, so many more. Basically, it was A LOT of awesome dance.

But one of my favorite moments of the night came at the very beginning, when we watched a behind-the-scene video of the Capezio factory, including workers hand-making pointe shoes. As you can probably relate, I've worn a lot of pointe shoes in my day, and it was neat to see the TLC that goes into each pair.

A few interesting tid bits from the evening:

--Anna Pavlova came to the Capezio factory when she toured the US and wanted new shoes.

--The Ziegfeld Follies wore Capezio shoes.

--Isadora Duncan wore Capezio-made customized sandals.

--ABT corps de ballet dancer Nicole Graniero goes through 230 pairs (roughly) of pointe shoes in one year.

After the show, a few of the Dance Media editors were discussing our old pointe shoes. Turns out, we all still have them. (Are we hoarders or just nostalgic??) My first pair is hanging on my door knob to my old bedroom, and others I decorated with pink glitter as centerpieces for my bat mitzvah party—they're still around. (Total disclaimer, I even have a pair of autographed danced-in pointe shoes from PA Ballet principal Amy Aldridge on my desk at work, and one of my best friends collects autographed shoes.) Another woman created a pointe-shoe waterfall over her bed frame in her childhood bedroom, and another editor used them as shelving decoration.  What have you done with your old shoes? Have you saved those (painful and blistered) memories, or thrown them out?




Photo of pointe shoes decorated by Alliza Charbonneau, called "Degas Emulation" for The National Museum of Dance's pointe shoe decorating contest. (Winners will be on display through November.) Also, Ballet West holds a "Shoe-In" each year and invites local artists to create work inspired by the pointe shoes. Pretty cool.  Have you held a pointe-shoe decorating contest at your studio? Tell us about it! It could be a great activity for birthday parties, or a way to keep kids occupied during open houses or registration sessions. 



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