Nothing compares to that magical moment when your teacher says you're ready for your first pair of pointe shoes. We asked four A-list pros to recall the moment they learned they could start pointe.
Angelica Generosa, Pacific Northwest Ballet
"I was 9 years old when I got my first pair of pointe shoes and I couldn't stop smiling. My teacher told me I was the exception to the rule—strong enough to start at that age. It definitely hurt at first, and dancing felt strange. But after a few private sessions with my teacher I got the hang of it and wanted to learn more."
Megan Fairchild, New York City Ballet
Jeraldine Mendoza, Joffrey Ballet
"I was 11 when my teacher told me to buy my first pair of pointe shoes. I'm an overachiever, so when I was allowed to take pointe class, I was excited to be at the level of the older dancers whom I admired."
Heather Ogden, The National Ballet of Canada
"Pointe shoes are such a beautiful part of the ballet aesthetic, and when I got my first pair, it felt like a true breakthrough on my path to becoming a ballerina. I remember it wasn't the most comfortable feeling, but I think I was on such a high that I was willing to withstand the pain. It didn't take long to realize that there was a whole new vocabulary of dance that became available once I had my pointe shoes on. I think my first pair lasted me a year. Now I wear through a pair per day!"
A version of this post appeared in the March 2013 issue of Dance Spirit.