Watch: How pointe shoes are made
Tour the Freed shoe factory with Royal Ballet dancers Leanne Cope and Nathalie Harrison.
Royal Ballet dancers can get through up to six pairs of pointe shoes a week. That’s a lot of shoes, most of them made by Freed of London, a major supplier of custom-made pointe shoes to the world’s top ballet dancers.
We recently took Royal Ballet First Artists Leanne Cope and Nathalie Harrison to Freed’s factory in East London for a behind-the-scenes insight into how this most vital tool of a dancer’s profession are made. They also had a chance to meet those who hand-make up to 40 pairs of shoes a day to dancers’ individual specifications.
With shoes costing the company £250,000 each season – at £216 a week for a busy dancer – the Royal Opera House runs an annual Pointe Shoe Appeal to raise funds. The face of this year’s appeal is Principal Lauren Cuthbertson, who recently re-opened the Freed shop in St Martin’s Lane, London.