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The Teacher and the Shoe - a true story.


Anjuli_Bai
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THE TEACHER AND THE SHOE - a true story

 

 

One year my husband I took a two-week cruise of the Caribbean and its islands.  The ship proved to be the perfect place to practice.  Everyday I carried my dance bag and tape player up on deck, used the ship’s rail as my barre, while the wood deck made a perfect floor.  The lack of privacy never bothered me.  Some people ignored me, some stopped to watch and/or comment in a pleasant manner, but there always seemed to be one or two elderly silly men who felt a need to make fun of what I was doing.  I smiled at the first group and ignored the second.  One day the captain happened by and after watching a while he asked if I would perform for the passengers.  Against all my better judgment I agreed.  And, that’s how my problem began.

 

The activities director and I set a date for the performance -  I had  seven days to prepare.  I had music on tape  to which I had choreographed a solo and lots of  pointe shoes.  I also had a swirly black skirt and a very attractive black leotard with a red rose for my hair.  However, I soon discovered  the ballroom floor in the ship’s theater was exceptionally slippery and my regular pointe shoes - even with darned platforms - impossible to use.  Capezio does make a felt tipped shoe (Durotoe), which is not as slippery but I had never used them. 

 

My Capezio Niccolini shoe size was a 6 ½ E and always had to be specially ordered as the stores only carried up to D sizes.  So there was no hope of finding a 6-½ E Durotoe shoe in the small islands of the Caribbean.  But, I also had another problem.  Every dancer needs a teacher and especially for performance, a coach.  Someone to critique the rehearsals and class.  Good ballet teachers are rare gems, difficult to find even in a large city. 

 

The next day as I was again at the ship’s rail giving myself a class an elderly heavy set  blonde lady approached me and said she was a ballet teacher from Florida and she would like to work with me.  Though I talked and smiled at her, inwardly I was very skeptical.  What were the chances she was really knowledgeable at the level of a professional dancer?  However, having someone critique me would be better than having no one at all.

 

We met the next day for class and rehearsal.  She was marvelous.  I learned a great deal from her.  What a wonderful coincidence that she would be a passenger on this cruise and willing and able to help me!  However, the ultra slippery floor problem remained.  I decided that I would wait till the day before the performance and if no solution presented itself I would have to turn down the captain’s invitation to perform. 

 

The day before the performance the ship docked at the small Dutch Island of Curacao.   We walked around a bit and then bought some soft drinks and sought  shade in the doorway of a yardage store.  I took no notice of the yards of cloth in the window; I was not shopping for such goods.  But as I stood there and sipped my soda, I saw a gleam of pink tucked in the very back corner of the store’s display window.  A pair of pointe shoes!!  I looked more closely at them and almost gasped when I saw they were tipped with felt; they were Capezio Durotoes without doubt. 

 

I ran into the store and asked the clerk about the ballet shoes in the window.  She looked at me in disbelief.  “This is a yardage shop,” she carefully explained.  I could see she thought I was a crazy woman from that crazy place called America.  I literally dragged her over to the window.  She was amazed to see toe shoes in amongst the rolls of yardage. 

 

Finding these shoes was a miracle, but they would do me no good unless they were my size, the size I always had to special order.  With trembling hands I looked inside and there stamped on the inner lining was 6 ½ E.  No one in the store knew where the shoes came from.  No one knew the price.  There was no ballet schools nearby.  We arrived at a  mutually agreed price and she contributed some satin ribbon and elastics.  I carried my magic shoes back to the ship and the special lady who had volunteered to coach me.  When she saw the shoes she was as amazed as I. 

 

The next night I danced and people said it was wonderful.  But, I knew it wasn’t me at all, it was the teacher and the shoes.  The magic couldn’t miss.

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Oh that really is a magical story Anjuli. I tend not to believe in "fate" but someone or something was watching out for you that day. Hope you kept the special shoes. The teacher could tell the story in another way, where she found a beautiful professional ballerina to coach, and shoes to match!!

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The entire thing had a surreal aspect and the other people around me - my husband, the teacher, the clerk - all felt it.

 

Another strange aspect....since the shoes were found in a yardage shop - I was able to buy the correct color pink thread, a thimble, a needle to sew on the ribbons and elastics - which were also available in the shop.  Had I found the shoes in a dance shop - I would still needed to hunt up the other stuff.  And to have picked that particular doorway to get out of the sun......

 

It was like "someone else" was in charge of the entire episode - too many "coincidences."

 

I'm glad you all enjoyed the story.

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Have only just read this,Anjuli. How wonderful. Bizarre,but wonderful none the less. Capezio Duro Toes are becoming increasingly hard to come across nowadays. I bought a pair from on online dancewear shop in the States. The import costs were more than the shoes,but I had to have them.!

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thequays I imagine your house is just full of pointe shoes!! You seem to have such a collection that maybe you could have one room dedicated to their display and charge people....maybe a small amount...to come and look at them!!

Tours en L'Air could then incorporate you as an essential visit as part of one of her ballet packages when out your way!

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thequays I imagine your house is just full of pointe shoes!! You seem to have such a collection that maybe you could have one room dedicated to their display and charge people....maybe a small amount...to come and look at them!!

Tours en L'Air could then incorporate you as an essential visit as part of one of her ballet packages when out your way!

They are all confined to the dining room ,stacked high in plastic storage boxes. Someone did suggest I get specially-made display cases for them,but that would REALLY take up space.! One of these days i`ll put my vintage collection on You Tube to go with the other 2 videos. The trouble is my vintage/rare one are my most prized ones,and i`m reluctant to make a video until I acquire more pairs.!!

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What z Lovely story! I have to ad that I had Luck with my DD shoes couple of days ago. I helped her to pack everything she may need (shoes, socks, glue, hair pins etc). She had a very important private lesson booked a long drive away from home. After we left me and my DH realised we don't have any documents, money, credit cards etc. Very silly but we decided that there is no point going back for my purse, we didn't want to be late. Half way there my DX realised she left her ballet shoes etc at home!!! Too late to go back and no money to buy new ones! No idea what I was thinking but I called a dance shop in Bristol and ask for help. They said that I can come, pick up all what I need and take it without paying!!!! If I could only call them later that day with my card details..., and that's what we did and we were just 2 minutes late for the lesson. I'm so grateful to the shop staff/owners! And I hope my DD lernt a lesson. So my story it's not so magical as yours, but I felt like it was a miracle and I thank fate for all the lovely people I meet every day.

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