Pointing out best no problem
DAILY GRIND Lucy Thompson went into dance retail after deciding that becoming a professional dancer wasn’t for her. She tells Karina Abadia why matching feet to ballet pointe shoes is so rewarding.
Do you know how ballet dancers manage to stand on the tips of their toes?
Part of it has to do with finding the right footwear, Lucy Thompson says.
Originally from Kent in the United Kingdom, Miss Thompson is the retail manager and pointe fitter at dance clothing and shoe store Pure Dance.
Pointe shoes are the ballet shoes which enable performers to dance en pointe (on the tips of their toes) for extended periods of time.
Miss Thompson, 27, has worked at Pure Dance for two years. Previously she was at the Queen St branch but when co-owner Miree Rudd opened a second store in Eden Tce in November, Miss Thompson moved with her.
The shop specialises in jazz, tap and ballet dancewear and stocks around 11 different styles of pointe shoes in a multitude of sizes and widths.
‘‘There are 1000s of pointe shoes to choose for any one foot,’’ she says.
Miss Thompson has learnt from experience the difference a professional fitting can make.
‘‘I was fitted terribly the first time. I was 12 when I went on pointes and no-one explained to me how I should feel or what I was meant to be achieving in the shoe.’’
She’d started dance classes when she was two. By the time she was in her late teens she decided she didn’t want to be a performer so instead she went into the dance retail sector.
After moving to Australia four years ago she got a job with the international dancewear company Bloch.
As part of her training she was fitted in pointe shoes and finally understood how the specialised shoes should feel.
‘‘Knowing my experience as a 12-year-old versus my experience 11 years later is why I don’t want any child to go through that experience.
‘‘I want to make sure customers understand what I’m looking for and why I’m not convinced perhaps by one that everyone else says looks good.
‘‘One of the hardest things with some of these young teenagers is that they are too shy to give feedback on how a shoe feels.
‘‘When I ask them ‘Does that feel okay?’ they just nod but actually they might be crying inside. It’s about building a very quick rapport with them to make them trust you enough to tell you.’’
When you get it spot on, it’s a very rewarding feeling, she says.
‘‘You can see the satisfaction on their faces.
‘‘When you’ve found the right shoe, their whole manner relaxes, a smile creeps up.’’
Master fitter: Lucy Thompson says there are a multitude of variables in choosing the right pointe shoes.