For years my dancers have given me their last pair of pointe shoes to hang in the hallway in our Theatre. When I look at the shoes, all tattered and worn, I remember the dancers entering my studio as little girls.
I did not know our Ballet Mistress, Miss Vickie, when she was a little girl but her pointe shoes adorn our hallway. She has worked for our ballet company for 15 years. To see the girls progress from learning to stand in first position to becoming the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, is a transformation both Miss Vickie and I have witnessed and loved for many years. The clumsy little ducklings become graceful swans. Amazing.
I remember Erica being so very little and quiet as a child. Even then she had perfect posture. She blossomed in ballet class and in her final year with me, danced the part of the White Swan, Odette, in our presentation of Swan Lake. I will always remember how etheric she became as Odette and how much she loved the musical score.
Sarah has not graduated and left us yet. Being one of the youngest principal dancers in our Company has never deterred her from dancing each role with perfection. When she was 3 years old I dressed her in a fluffy, yellow tulle & chiffon costume for our annual dance recital. Now I dress her in handmade, beaded, gorgeous tutus. What a pleasure she has been to teach all these years.
Lisa came to us as a Freshman in high school after her parents relocated to Boulder City. Her technique was flawless and Miss Vickie and I were so happy to have a dancer come to us with her ability. During summer vacation she would take summer session with Ballet Magnificat in Jackson MS and after graduating from high school went on to dance with Ballet Magnificat in their apprentice company. We were very proud of her. Oddly, Lisa's last name is Thibodeau (no x on the end) even though she is no relation to Kathy & Keith (Little Ricky) Thibodeaux who direct Ballet Magnificat.
Marissa danced her final role as Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Very petite with perfect technique, I can still see her in my mind dancing Aurora's solo in an exquisite, hand-made tutu. She was lovely. Weighing practically nothing, her partner lifted her with ease during their pas de deux. Perfection.
But of all the ballerinas I have trained in my life, my favorite ballerina is Haley. Her pointe shoes are not in the Theatre hallway. Rather they are framed along with her first pair of baby ballet slippers and are displayed in our home. I could post many more photos of autographed pointe shoes and share my memories with you of each dancer, but for those of you who read my blog you already know how much I love my girls.
Please send me your last pair of shoes, worn out with dancing as you mentioned in your letter, so that I might have something to press against my heart.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I have used this quote before when writing about my dancers. But now, as I approach retirement, it has a deeper meaning. Hope you have something you love that you can press against your heart. xoxo Amy