American Ballet Theatre principal Devon Teuscher (left) meeting with Bloch owner David Fox (right) in NYC. (Marius Bugge for Bloch)
For professional ballet dancers, the search for the perfect pointe shoe is a lifelong quest. Even the smallest adjustment in manufacturing can make the difference between a shoe that allows a ballerina to soar and a shoe that detracts from her dancing. So what goes into creating the perfect fit? A lot of hard work, patience, and masterful attention to detail. We got the inside scoop on how a Bloch pointe shoe is made from beginning to end, and went inside one of American Ballet Theatre principal Devon Teuscher's touch-up fittings with Bloch owner David Fox in NYC.
Teuscher meets with Fox at the Bloch store in NYC to discuss making some pointe shoe adjustments. (Marius Bugge for Bloch)
Once a dancer has ascended the ranks in the professional world, she can start to explore customizing her pointe shoes. "I started wearing the Bloch Alpha when I was 15 years old living in Vermont," says Teuscher. "But I didn't begin making adjustments to them until around the time I became a soloist with ABT."
According to Fox, the number of variable adjustments a dancer could make is infinite: "There isn't just one factor involved in solving issues," he says. "If a dancer is too far over on her box, it could be a combination of problems with the angle of the platform, the height of the support, the length of the vamp, and the strength of the shank." Most dancers who wear Bloch meet with shoemakers or fitters two to four times per year to discuss customization.
A version of this story appeared in the March 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Life of a Pointe Shoe."
(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.