Smuin’s 2016 Shoe Campaign is Here!

       As a non-profit organization, Smuin relies on generous contributions from sponsors and donors to ensure that our dancers have the tools they need to produce stunning performances and safeguard against many injuries. With this season’s shoe campaign, we’re hoping to raise $35,000 to cover the full cost of our dancer’s shoes, and we need your help.

Dancers en pointe rely on their shoes to support the entirety of their body weight on a daily basis, sometimes for up to ten hours a day! If a shoe is not in perfect shape, a dancer runs the risk of sustaining an injury that can end her career. Knowing this, ballet dancers are incredibly resourceful in extending the life of the perfect pair of shoes. They will regularly sew, shellac, cut, tape, and even bake their shoes in an oven in an effort to both customize and maintain them. Dancers can spend up to 12 hours per season altering their shoes and can go through as many as 30 pairs of pointe shoes.

Like many ballet companies, Smuin primarily uses the internationally famed shoe maker Freed of London as a supplier. Since 1929, Freed has employed over 30 makers and apprentices to handcraft each pair of pointe shoes. Each maker has their own symbol to stamp the shoes, which helps dancers identify their favorites and ensures they receive their perfect pair every time. As dancers find a world of difference between the “A” maker and the “club” maker, the distinction can be crucial to those who have limited time to prepare their shoes. You can even meet all of Freed’s makers here

Despite all the effort that goes into crafting each pointe shoe, the average pair usually lasts for only 10 to 12 hours of consecutive dancing. The fleeting nature of our shoes makes up for a significant portion of Smuin’s production budget, as a single pair can cost upwards of $100.

In addition to pointe shoes, Smuin’s dancers also wear ballet slippers, boots, jazz shoes, character shoes, tap shoes, and saddle shoes. Depending on the choreography, they sometimes even go barefoot! In The Christmas Ballet alone, our dancers can wear up to five or six different kinds of shoes. This often means changing from tap shoes to pointe shoes in one minute or less!

While we have to acknowledge that much of the allure of ballet lies in a dancer’s perfect pink pointe shoes, the true magic happens in the theater. Come see our dancers’ hard work and your contributions onstage this season. Buy tickets to our upcoming performances here, donate here, or help us by simply spreading the word about our campaign on social media.

It’s your direct support that allows our dancers to share their art with us.

Smuin (and its dancers) thanks you!

** Written by Eva Faizi, Smuin’s Communications Manager


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