Every ballerina's pointe shoe process is intense, but some dancers take pointe prep to a completely different level. And New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck definitely falls in that second category.
The New York Times recently did a Facebook Live event with Peck, following her as she chose and prepped her shoes for the evening's performance. (She was about to dance in Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition.) Peck is a crazy perfectionist onstage—it's one of the qualities that makes her so compelling—and she's just as much of a crazy perfectionist about her shoes.
In case you don't have 40 minutes to spare, here are a few of the fun facts we learned during her broadcast:
-She has custom Freeds, and wears slightly different sizes on her right and left feet.
-She has favorite shoe "months"—i.e., every pair of shoes is marked by the Freed maker with the month it was made, and each month feels a little different.
-Sometimes she can tell if a shank is good by the way it sounds when she bends it.
-She'll wear nine pairs of shoes this week alone.
-She rosins the inside of her shoes as well as the outside.
-She'll spend up to 30 minutes picking out just the right pair of shoes for a role.
-She has a special "tapping spot" onstage where she tests her shoes to make sure they're quiet.
But if you do have 40 minutes to spare, it's worth watching the whole thing. Peck talks about all kinds of stuff as she sews her shoes—everything from her training history to her husband Robbie Fairchild's performances in the West End production of An American in Paris (d'awww). It's fascinating, and strangely soothing.