Inside the Pointe Shoes Room with the Bronze Idol from La Bayadère
We speak to one of the dancers performing the role this season about stepping into the Idol’s glittering shoes.
It’s one of ballet’s most famous solos: prior to the wedding scene in La Bayadère Act III, a gold statue in the temple comes vividly to life and takes the spotlight.
First Soloist Alexander Campbell is one of the dancers performing this role in the current run of Natalia Makarova’s production and he tells us a bit more about the preparation that goes in to becoming ‘bronzed’ from head to toe:
‘The ladies in the shoe department, Jane and Màire, paint my Repetto shoes bronze (more gold really) with a special fabric paint. After painting, the shoes tend to have shrunk a little bit and the canvas becomes very stiff so I usually wear new painted shoes once or twice in rehearsal, or class, to wear them in for a performance.’
Of course shoes aren’t the only element of getting Alexander stage ready: ‘It takes about ten or fifteen minutes to be painted for the Bronze Idol. I’ve had two people paint me up and we are getting the job done quickly! It’s nice to be able to get painted at the last minute as once you’re painted you can’t touch anything until you’re off stage.’
Finally, there’s the process of taking the paint off, which takes considerably longer than getting out of most costumes: ‘I usually leave the theatre about forty minutes after the curtain has gone down on the performance but I wouldn’t say I’m completely ‘de-bronzed’ by then, as I seem to glitter for a couple of days after!’
Are you inspired by the effort that goes into getting Alex ready? Perhaps you might consider helping all our dancers give their very best performances through a gift to the Pointe Shoes Appeal. Your donation will support the commitment made by every dancer in the Company, and those who work with us behind-the scenes to make each performance happen.
How could you help?
- £5 will pay for the elastic that supports a dancer’s ankle in a pair of pointes
- £18 will pay for a pair of men’s flats
- £36 will pay for a pair of pointe shoes
- £72 will pay for two pairs of pointes, a day’s supply for a Principal dancer
- £180 will pay for five pairs of pointes, a week’s supply for a corps de ballet dancer
- £320 will pay for a custom made pair of men’s ballet boots
- £1,000 will pay for a month’s supply of pointe shoes for a principal dancer of a year’s supply of ribbon for the whole Company
- £5,000 will pay for a year’s supply of elastic for the whole Company.