There's something mystical about the relationship between a ballerina and her pointe shoes. Finding the right pair is like finding the right pas de deux partner: The chemistry has to be perfect. I remember thinking of my pointe shoe fitter as my guru—she got me (or my feet, anyway).
After the Capezio 125th Anniversary Gala on Monday night, which paid tribute to the dancer-shoe connection, I rediscovered this New York City Ballet video profiling principal Megan Fairchild through her shoes. It's fascinating. (And adorable: It turns out that senior principal Wendy Whelan is Fairchild's "shoe mentor." She helped Fairchild find the best way to sew her ribbons.)
My favorite part of the video is when the dancers visit the Freed of London factory to get to know their "makers," the craftsmen who create their precious shoes. That's a rare occurrence: Usually makers and dancers never meet. At the Capezio gala, American Ballet Theatre's Craig Salstein, playing fellow ABT dancer Nicole Graniero's "maker," did a sort of fantasy duet with Graniero that was surprisingly poignant. In the end, New York City Ballet's Daniel Ulbricht swept in as Graniero's "real" partner. And yet I found myself rooting for Salstein. A good partner is one thing. But a ballerina isn't a ballerina without the right pair of shoes.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:
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When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.