28 March 2013 at 5.00pm | 5 Comments
Caterpillar pointe shoes as worn in The Royal Ballet's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland © ROH/Chris Shipman, 2013
It’s one of the best-loved scenes in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: the meeting of Alice and the hookah smoking Caterpillar. After his solo, backed by Arabian princesses, the caterpillar departs the stage with parasol in hand, followed by a trail of legs in perfect unison. 16 legs with 16 feet, all wearing the most beautiful, royal blue, crystal-encrusted pointe shoes. It’s a moment audiences love but behind it lies a huge amount of effort.
Each blue shoe belongs to one of eight dancers: either members of The Royal Ballet Company or Royal Ballet School students. Each individual pair is prepared by one of the two members of staff working in the Ballet Shoe Room. Máire first has to fit the shoes, before dying them an exact shade of royal blue. Blue ribbons are then attached before each shoe is hand-encrusted with crystals. It takes about a day to prepare each pair of shoes, and these are just eight of the thousands (approximately 6,000) pairs of pointes Máire has to make sure are available to the Company throughout the Season
Every Season we spend over £250,000 on ballet footwear, so every donation made to our annual Pointe Shoes Appeal makes a real difference. A pair of pointe shoes costs £39.
Thank you to everyone who supports us. We are very grateful for the part you play in our success.