Posts Tagged ‘capezio


Shaping my Slippers

Psst. I have a shocking confession: in recent weeks I have been hanging out at the barre much more regularly. Normally, I am a more Modern kind of girl but dancing with David Parker and The Bang Group in Nut/cracked again drove me to it.

Most of the dancers with whom I work warm up on the floor a la Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins or Lester Horton, but the Bang Group prefers to undergo a battery of Ballet exercises to kick off rehearsals. Inspired by this gang’s rhythmic grace and envious of their leaner-than-a-greyhound’s thighs, I’ve decided to give Ballet another try.

At first, I was bumbling about the barre barefoot, but then, I stumbled across a pair of white Capezio slippers in a box in my basement. When I began searching for our Christmas stockings, I was startled to discover many bizarre treasures I had squirreled away there. I mean, I don’t even know when or why I bought these obviously unused shoes. Somewhere in the back of my muddled mind, I have an incomplete memory of the bargain bin at Capezio that might explain their presence. Why else would I have chosen white over the more prototypical pale pink shade?

Forcing my feet into this pair felt funny but oddly familiar. It’s been decades since I studied ballet seriously. Of course, my discomfort was also due to my aversion to dancing in footed tights. Lumpy socks don’t sit so well in calfskin slippers. Thinner hosiery, however, would have allowed the split sole in these shoes to accentuate my underachieving arches more.

If you have never worn them, you may not realize that ballet slippers are unlike almost every other type of athletic shoes. There is nothing in them to support or cushion you. In fact, they are designed to be stretched into the shape of the dancer’s sole.

When they are made, they don’t differentiate between the left foot and the right. Their supple leather is intended to mold to your metatarsals and conform to the unique contours of your foot. If you aren’t born with superhuman strength in a very specific set of foot muscles, then you must spend endless hours doing barre exercises before your slippers can set off your poetic point. I’m still searching for mine.


Audrey Hepburn Never Did This

Ballet Flats—yes, I know it’s a trend, but I mean the real thing… the ones ballerinas wear!

Like the Capezio Sculpture, a deal at $32 at

I have a long-standing love affair with ballet flats and all ballet flat-related shoes. That Audrey Hepburn look of black skinny capri pants and black flats is a classic for a reason.

It looks fabulous and wonderfully comfortable. For Halloween 2006 I was in New York for a party at a club thrown by my friend and her boy friend. I decided to go as a ballet flat-wearing corseted vampire in black pants, and my ballet flats were, indeed, actual pink ballet flats. My friend was dressed as a cloaked witch with black platform boots, a la Stevie Nicks, and informed me we would be taking the subway, or rather subways, to the party. But, my ballet flats! How could they survive concrete and subways?

Wouldn’t they be in shreds by the time I got to the party?

Because the party was taking place a few days after Halloween, people stared at my friend and me in our witch and vampire costumes as we ran from train to train.

I leaped over puddles, ran down subway stairs and somehow made it to the club, ballet flats intact. So, what is the lesson here?

What has this Shoe Experience taught me?

I can successfully wear ballet flats outdoors, but best do it occasionally.

And I should try to avoid wearing them when, say, rock climbing.

Or doing anything that involves water.

Or mud. Or extreme weather of any kind.

Best stick to wearing ballet flats when running for subways… breakfastingt at Tiffany’s… or attending after-Halloween parties!


Get Rhythm


Ok, so everyone else there is at least one third my age.

And, ok, there is that one pre-teen who towers over me, but she’s home sick today

Being 5’4” I know that this is a once in a lifetime event, so I am not ashamed to revel in it.

Shame? Who am I kidding?

I don’t even have the common sense to be embarrassed by the fact that I keep showing up to class in a pair of Capezio Tapsters with TeleTone Taps that I found hiding in the office. It doesn’t even phase me that I am the worst dancer in Tap II.

Nope. Not one itsy weenie bit.

One of the advantages to taking a class with these kids is they couldn’t care less what that weird old lady is doing behind them.

I thunder about, redefining arrhythmic, and it is thrilling. Please don’t get me wrong: I do try to toe, heel, shuffle, switch. It just rarely happens in that order.

Up til now, the crowning glory of my musical education was learning to spell ‘glockenspiel’ in a makeshift “mobile” classroom behind Eastside Elementary in the third grade.

For a gal who never advanced beyond wood blocks, learning to make music (loosely speaking) with my shoes (or whoever owns this undersized pair I keep “borrowing”) is empowering. 

I am addicted to the nerves; the ones that awaken when you need to find the shortest distance between your brain and some obscure muscle. I don’t cling to any delusion of ever being called a hoofer, but I do enjoy rediscovering my feet.

While I have only been to five classes, I notice progress each week. Impulses scurry through my legs quicker. Sometimes I can even hear the pattern of the steps in my head over the din of my footwork.

Forming the sounds holds the same power over me as learning a foreign language.

(Maybe it is… if I took my degree in linguistics further, maybe there’s a thesis there?)

There’s a divine moment when, if you get it just right, the cacophony suddenly becomes communication.

Tapping could be my newest and noisiest method of meditation.

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April 2020