New $70 shoes for EVERY show – and every pair is custom-made: New York ballerina on her precious pointe footwear
23:13 GMT, 26 April 2012
Women are rarely entitled to demand a pair of shoes be bought for them by their employer, let alone a new pair every day.
But a new short film about specially-made ballet shoes has revealed how the New York City Ballet spends $67.50 per day on each of its ballerina's slippers.
Pointe Shoes: The Importance Of The Perfect Fit, which was created by New York-based filmmaker Galen Summer, has shown Megan
Fairchild, a principal dancer for the company, explain the extraordinarily close relationship a ballerina often builds with her footwear.
Woman's dream: A new short film about ballet shoes has revealed that the New York City Ballet spends $67.50 per day on each ballerina's pointes. Megan Fairchild, a Utah-born principal dancer, pictured, is its star
In costume: Mrs Fairchild, who trains for up to eight hours a day in her pointe shoes, wears a brand new pair for every performance. She wears different shoes for class and rehearsal as well
The 27-year-old Utah-born ballerina
tells the camera that she puts on 'a different pair of shoe for each
rehearsal [and] each class' as well as 'brand new ones for each show.'
adds: 'Going all day long like that on your toes puts a lot pressure on
all of those important bones and if you want a long career, you can't
be pounding on nothing.
'You need support, that's what a new shoe does.'
Ballerinas are forced to stay in
their pointe shoes for up to eight hours per day so they often become
quite attached to their make and even the shoe's maker.
Endless supply: The company uses an English manufacturer to hand-stitch each ballet slipper. Ballerinas are said to become 'attached' to their individual makers and their creations
Fairchild says: 'You don't know them but you know your shoe and you
know how it feels. If you need a stronger shank or more glue on the box
or you want an elastic drawstring instead of a canvas shoestring… they
Betancourt also tells the camera: 'Everybody here has specifications and
the shoes are made according to that. If they cut the shoes wrong, they
will know it, the ladies will know it.'
apprentice ballerinas tend to choose from a collection of
standard-sized pointe shoes but principals like Mrs Fairchild require
extreme support throughout the day.
says: 'I think every girl in the company would say that their shoes are
one of the most important things for each performance. You want to make
sure that you don't have to worry about any extra things besides your
Expensive: The company's shoe storeroom works out to cost the company $500,000 per year
Angel Betancourt, the company's shoe supervisor, which is evidently, an entire job of its own, is shown further stressing the importance of a rotating storeroom of satin shoes.
He adds that at least $500,000 is spent on the custom-designed slippers each year.
He says: 'When people put them on, they create miracles. The ladies use one shoe per day. At the end of the year, we have spent half a million dollars, easily. Sometimes more, but I try to be careful and not go over.'
Passion: Ballerinas believe their pointes are one of the most imporatant parts of their job, according to Mrs Fairchild, as they don't want to worry about anything besides dancing once they get up on stage to perform
The film also explores how the company
commissions all of its shoes with Freed Of London, a company that has
been hand-crafting ballet slippers since the Thirties.
Each slipper's sole is engraved by the
company with a symbol, such as a bow, a club or a crown, in order for
the nude-toned shoes to be distinguished from one another.