I would say on average, I go through two pairs of pointe shoes a week. Some weeks my schedule isn’t very heavy, so I might only use one pair. Other weeks are extremely busy and then I may even need three or four pairs of shoes! I will round up and say that for one season with the Royal Danish Ballet, I go through 100 pairs of pointe shoes!
I prefer to dance in softer shoes. New shoes are a bit of a nightmare for me. I like the toe to be hard but everything else worn in. Which is why I try to make my shoes last as long as possible.
Sometimes, you just get a bad pair of shoes. So sad. I can’t tell if something is wrong with the shoes until after, I have spent 2 hours sewing and prepping the shoes. I need to try them in class, in turns to know. The center point needs to be good. There is no time for a weird shoe that takes you out of your turns! If the shoe isn’t good… it doesn’t get worn and another pair of shoes needs to be sewn.
Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too often. I have customized my shoes more and more over the years which has definitely helped. Little shout out to all the wonderful people working at Freed making all the pointe shoes! We literally couldn’t dance without you!
When the weather is HOT, for example like last week, I can kill a pair of shoes in a day. Heat definitely creates a quick death to pointe shoes. They become too mushy to dance in.
Sometimes, you get a miracle pair of shoes! That is the best! I’ve never been able to quite figure out what makes a miracle pair so good, but every once in a while, there will be a pair of shoes that doesn’t die with a perfect balance point. When I danced as Henriette in Raymonda in 2017, I used the same pair of shoes for all of my 12 performances. I love when that happens!
Alice In Wonderland last year, was the opposite to Raymonda. I went through a pair of shoes for every performance. Alice dances on stage for nearly three hours in the warm stage lights, so the shoes simply, had no chance for a long life.
Even after I consider a pair of shoes dead, I will keep them in my dressing room for several months. The shoes become hard again which is great because then I can get a second life out of them! I can use them for rehearsals during the day or if they are really good, even a show!
So many pointe shoes! I love them though. Speaking of which, I need to go and sew.