Inside the Royal Ballet's Shoe Room

November 28, 2001

Why are peeks at ballet companies’ shoe rooms always so intriguing? We all wear pointe shoes; we know what they look like. But a dancer’s shoes—especially when, as at the Royal, they’re customized to her specifications—are incredibly personal. In a way, visiting a shoe room is like peering into so many artists’ souls.

city.ballet. bonus episode recently took us inside New York City Ballet’s Freed-stocked closet. Now the Royal Ballet has opened its shoe department to British paper The Guardian. Apparently the room is nicknamed “Shoe Narnia,” which is just so perfectly British. And Shoe Narnia keeps the Royal Ballet dancers on their toes with more than 6,000 new pairs of pointe shoes a year.

The feature includes charming interviews with several dancers and an interesting, albeit brief, lesson in pointe shoe history. Take a look.