Project Summary

Each year, Smuin spends nearly $35,000 on shoes to keep our dancers healthy. Please help us fund our shoe budget for our 2016-2017 season by September 18th!

Project Description

Smuin’s 16 dancers go through over 350 pairs of shoes each year. Having the right shoes is essential to a dancer’s performance, health, and safety.

  • Some pointe shoes last just one performance.
  • Each pair of pointe shoes is hand crafted by an individual maker, and orders can take up to a year to fulfill!
  • Our pointe shoes come from Freed of London, and our dancers have custom fittings to get the perfect fit pointe shoe, which prevents injury.

The Dancers

Erica Chipp

Erica knows how important new shoes are for her performance capabilities, and for the quality of her health; she uses 30 to 40 pairs each season. Erica shares the bond between her and her shoes:

“I look at a new pair of shoes as endless possibilities. They inspire me by charging up my curiosity and wondering what kind of steps and how many I will do in them. How many shows will we do together? When you have a good pair of shoes, you don’t ever want them to die. You will keep gluing them and sewing them to try to make them last. Because they are handmade they are all different even if you have the same maker and same measurements every time.”

Dustin James

Even though Dustin doesn't wear pointe shoes, he still has a special relationship with each pair of flat shoes he performs in. He chooses to use leather flat shoes for their stability and longevity, as opposed to a majority of male dancers who wear canvas flat shoes. Dustin explains his unique process:

 "I wear leather shoes as opposed to canvas because they last longer and are less slick. They form to my feet better, and make you work a little harder to stretch your foot. Because I wear leather shoes, I have to paint them to match my skin tone."

Erin Yarbrough-Powell

Erin has been dancing with Smuin since 2003. As a seasoned dancer she values the relationship she has with her shoes:

“I have had a love affair with pointe shoes since my first pair at 9 years old. I’ve spent my whole life honing our relationship ﹘ what I can do for them, and what they can do for me. I’ve found the more energy you put into them, the more you get back in the most crucial moments. They are an extension of myself when I’m dancing.”

And her relationship with her shoe maker:

“I can’t believe I have such a close, intimate relationship with someone I’ve never seen. We intertwine our art to make magic, but we’ve never met!”

The Makers

Smuin primarily uses the internationally famed dance shoe maker Freed of London. Since 1929, Freed has handmade pointe shoes in the United Kingdom. They employ over 30 makers, apprentices, and numerous other helpers, to create each pair of shoes. Each maker has their own individual symbol to stamp the shoes, which helps dancers identify their favorite and ensure they receive their perfect pair of pointe shoes with every order. The relationship between dancer and maker is both special and important. If a dancer’s shoe is not to perfection, she runs the risk of sustaining an injury that can end her career.

The Company

Smuin is beginning its 23rd season of inspiring audiences throughout the Bay Area.  For over 20 years, Smuin has pushed the boundaries of contemporary ballet within a distinctly American style. Founded in 1994 by Tony and Emmy-award winning choreographer Michael Smuin, the Company is committed to creating work that merges the diverse vocabularies of classical ballet and contemporary dance. Since 2007, Artistic Director Celia Fushille has enriched the Company’s impressive repertoire with contemporary choreographic voices, commissioned world premieres, and collaborated with inventive choreographers from around the world.

The Breakdown

  • $25 pays for one pair of flat ballet shoes
  • $44 pays for one roll of elastic
  • $100 pays for one pair of custom pointe shoes
  • $250 covers one male dancer’s shoes for the year
  • $750 pays for all the tap shoes in The Christmas Ballet
  • $1,000 pays for one female dancer’s specialty shoes for The Christmas Ballet
  • $2,500 covers one female dancer’s shoes for The Christmas Ballet
  • $8,000 covers all the pointe shoes for The Christmas Ballet
  • $35,000 covers all our dancers’ shoes for the 2016-17 season!

Please join us today to keep our dancers healthy on their toes. Your contribution goes directly toward the fund for our dancers’ shoes, so they can continue to create beautiful performances for you.
See our shoes in action! Click here to buy tickets to our upcoming Dance Series One.

Smuin is a 501(c)(3) California nonprofit corporation.  Our tax ID # is 94-3197247.  Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by U.S. law.



Our Chance to Dance! Fund S...

Target Raise $10,000
Funded $11,305
Supporters 79
Launched 08/22/2016
Time Left Closed
Funding Type All-or-Nothing

Contribute $10 or more

Get a shout out on the Smuin Facebook page or Twitter!

Contribute $25 or more

Receive a personalized thank you letter from a dancer!

Contribute $100 or more

Receive recognition in an upcoming printed program!

Contribute $250 or more

Receive two tickets to a performance of your choice!

Contribute $500 or more

Attend a dress rehearsal!

Contribute $1,000 or more

Receive signed pointe shoes from a dancer!

Contribute $2,500 or more

Attend a studio rehearsal!

Contribute $5,000 or more

View a show from the wings and meet our Artistic Director!

Contribute $10,000 or more

Get a walk on role during The Christmas Ballet!

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