In Her Shoes

It was a night at the ballet, my favorite kind of night. The Met is so beautiful with it's magnificent Chagalls adorning the New York summer twilight sky. Inside, chandeliers, champagne, Nina Ananiashvili...

My friend Therese and I were milling about during intermission when she spotted toe shoes. American Ballet Theatre sells used toe shoes signed by the dancers. So she bought me a pair. They belonged to corps member Elizabeth Ferrell.

I have always heard the adage, well, what would it feel like to be in her shoes? I am in them now, feeling the history of her life through the shape of her feet. Strength in pink satin. They look so delicate, but I know the sweat that it took to make them look that way. The arches made after years of work. The shape of the toe. The heel depressed where her's must have fallen.

What a triumph it must have been when she danced the audition at American Ballet Theature and made it. She got a job. She could be an artist now. She could express her life dancing across a stage.

I put my toe on the floor to do an arabesque. My feet molded to her arch. I had to lean on the desk because it has been years since I have been on toe, but I saw my foot look like a ballet dancer's again.

My subconscious imagination tried to find her memories, but couldn't. The shoes will forever keep the secrets of her life from the world.

But they make me smile and remember my own life, my own worship of beauty and of graceful women, the artists I want to be, dancing with their souls attached to God, in their pink satin shoes.

© copyright, 1997, Barbara Steinberg
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