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.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

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.’’

Photo: KA­RINA ABA­DIA

Mas­ter fit­ter: Lucy Thomp­son says there are a mul­ti­tude of vari­ables in choos­ing the right pointe shoes.

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