Keep your toes: the art of toe shoe fitting

2021-12-13 19:25:03 By : Ms. Sally Zhang

In the world of Harry Potter, the magic wand chose the wizard. Similarly, at Capezio's on West 50th Street in Manhattan, the toe cap chose the dancer—or more accurately—Tevin Johnson chose it. So, how can you become a professional ballet pointe shoe assembler? I asked Tevin about his unique and professional odd jobs.

How did you start your toe-trying career?

Well, first of all I am a dancer myself. I taught myself ballet when I was very young. As a young man, I decided to try pointe shoes, although they are usually for girls. I participated in pointe training when I was 16 years old, and I did a lot of toe training throughout the university. Then, I became more and more familiar with pointe shoes, not only Capezio, but also other general pointe shoes brands. After graduating from university, I started working in Capezio's shop, where I worked for three years and now try on young dancers and make sure their first pair of toe shoes fit perfectly. I also teach ballet, modern dance, and pointe dance in a studio in Plainfield, New Jersey. My youngest student ranges from 6-11 years old, while the older girls range from 11-14 to 14-17 years old.

What is a good pair of shoes?

Finding the right pointe shoes requires patience. Accessories usually require an appointment, which can take up to an hour, and I have seen them take up to one and a half hours. It usually takes longer for dance students to get the first pair of pointe shoes, because students don’t know how they should feel, so we have to try on four to five pairs, and then they will say, “This pair feels much better than before. Now." The last one. "

When we try on someone, we check to see if the toes are directly touching the box; if the toes enter the box; if the feet are wider than the box, or if the toes are curled up, etc. It's really about the box and finding flat, even toes when the feet are flat. When the dancer stands up on toes, we have to see if she is sinking or floating. We don't want her to slowly blend into the shoes, we want her to float.

What is the age of most dancers jumping toe?

Generally, the appropriate age for dancers to perform toe training is between 13 and 14, but this depends on their personal strength and ankle strength.

Have you pretended to be a celebrity?

I really shouldn't disclose. However, I can say that managers and agencies sometimes come in and show me a photo of the feet and toes of people with no pointe experience to understand what kind of shoes they should wear. Basically, I was asked to seek advice from my experts. I'm also suitable for models to take toe photos, because we don't want models to wear shoes that are not suitable for photography, because this can be dangerous. Even when the photo is taken, the model may break his ankle due to wearing inappropriate shoes. In addition, we want it to look correct and accurate, and unless the shoe fits correctly, it does not look correct.

What is the worst part of the job?

Probably, I have to say that when you are overbearing mothers, stage mothers, or dance teachers, try your best to control trying on. This is just frustrating, because I want children to describe their personal experience in their own words, because it is a very personal experience. I hope that children can adapt and describe their feelings and feelings, rather than their parents or teachers telling them how they should feel and asking if the feeling is too big or too small. This may cause young dancers, especially those who have never been toe-trained before, to think beyond the necessity of trying them on. In the end, it is best if my parents and teachers let me work with the dancers. Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

What is the best part of this job?

The best part for me is definitely giving the kids their first pair of pointe shoes, the excitement of seeing them, because I am there, I am them. I just like to see their reaction. When we first encountered ballet, what we saw was not dancers in flat ballet shoes, but dancers on toes. There is a kind of glory. In addition, turning to the toe is a milestone in someone's training. It shows that ballet is always developing and there is a new, higher place to go. In a baseball game, you try to hit a home run every time, but in ballet, you may do the same thing every day, but the result is different.

So when the Nutcracker season begins, you like to watch the dancers spinning on their toes, don't forget to thank the elf behind the scenes for their help to make it possible.

Lea Efran is a sophomore in New York City High School. She plays volleyball, practices Jiu-Jitsu, and is the winner of the "Ishitang" magazine. Her sister was recently fitted by Tevin Johnson.