Our job in Bestpointe.com has really taught us that "The best things in life are unexpected"! Behind a seemingly simple discussion for a provided service or an order of a product, there is of course something more significant, the human interaction and the personal story of each person. Some stories, though unique, look a bit like others, while others seem to be very special and distinct. We decided to share these stories with you in the form of the original interview, as they seem to include information we'll maybe never find again...
Today's interview is about the only woman - whom at least we know - that is a collector of famous dancers' pointe shoes (and not only!...)
Sara Coleman was born in London. She works part time as a career for elderly people. She has been married since 1991 and with her husband they have two daughters, aged 22 and 18 years old. She has many interests including ballet, opera, reading, watercolour painting, needlework, travelling and visiting historical places and museums.
1. What does ballet mean for you? Which is your relationship (professional, amateur) with dance?
Ballet is a lifelong passion from being a little girl. I had friends who danced, unfortunately I didn’t then, as my Mum couldn’t afford the lessons. I’m a balletomane!! I absolutely love-love-love ballet, it is my favourite thing. It is fascinating, beautiful, emotional, full of colourful costumes and scenery and the music is beautiful too.
2. What is your personal story inside dance and especially ballet?
I watched friends dance when I was young and my Mum took us to see several ballets as a treat.
My youngest daughter started dancing aged 6 and loved it. She studied ballet, tap and modern. She progressed and became, through her hard work and dedication, a very good dancer. She went to a vocational school in the United Kingdom aged 13. There she decided that she wanted to become a scientist and not a dancer. She will be going to University next year to start a 4 year masters course in Dietetics.
I have a very good friend who owned a dancewear shop and I helped her from time to time. Also I’m a qualified Grishko pointe shoe fitter.
I have made friends in the dance world and frequently go to the Royal Opera House in London to watch performances and have met several dancers.
3. Which was your favourite moment with your pointe shoes?
Visiting the Royal Opera House in London and going back stage on a tour. Then getting a pair of pointe shoes signed by everyone in the Royal ballet. Amazing. Especially meeting Gary Avis and Dame Darcey Bussell. They were so lovely and I felt like we had known each other for ages.
4. Which was your most difficult moment with your pointe shoes?
The only difficult time was deshanking a pair of my daughter’s old pointe shoes for her to wear as soft blocks. That was hard work.
5. What do pointe shoes mean for you?
They are a scource of fascination. A person dancing on the tips of their toes, wow!! Also they are pretty and elegant looking. Even though I know they are often uncomfortable to wear. I had a pair when I was younger and I used to put them on and dance around. Also when I was very young I used to stand on my tip toes in my ordinary shoes pretending I was Antoinette Sibley or Margot Fonteyn.
6. Which is the problem you face with your pointe shoes in ballet?
I have wide feet so have tried several different makes.
7. You are, probably, the only collector of pointe shoes that we know of... So we are thrilled to learn everything about it!! (By the way, do you know others? Do you have a society or a club or something?)
I don’t know anyone else who collects them. I’ve only been collecting signed shoes for a few years. When you research a ballet company and they sell signed shoes. Or you see someone who you admire and ask for a pair. Which I’ve done a lot and dancers are incredibly kind and generally oblige.
8. How did it all started? Which was your first item?
My first pair of signed shoes belonged to Miko Fogerty. I saw her on Youtube, a documentary called “First Position” and Instagram and thought she had that special something. Another company called Cloud and Victory had an auction for her shoes, so the rest is history.
9. Where do you usually find items and which is the average price? Are they as expensive as other collectibles use to be (coins, books, war items etc etc) ?
I find shoes from the dancers themselves. Or I contact the Company they’re in. Or E bay.
Sometimes they are free. Sometimes they are anything up to £100 a pair. The money always is for charity.
They are in comparison with other collectibles, the more famous the name the more expensive or difficult to get.
10. Are these mostly pointe shoes or other things too?
I collect, autographs,photos,books,posters, shoes, auction catalogues, programs etc.
11. Which are the most famous names in your collection?
I have Margot Fonteyn, Robert Helpmann, Sir Frederick Ashton, Rudolph Nureyev, Darcey Bussell, Marienela Nunez, Lauren Cuthbetson, Xander Parish, David Hallberg, Gary Avis, Gene Kelly and a lot more.
12. Which one is your favorite and why?
Gary Avis’s shoes, my first gentleman’s pair. Because he is a gentleman in every sense of the word.
13. Could you tell us your favorite stories behind these items and names?
I have many stories. I’ve waited at a few stage doors with a pair of shoes and got people to sign them. I went to a gala in honour of Maya Pliesetskya at the Colloseum theatre in London and spoke to Xander Parish and Sarah Lamb.
14. What is the purpose of your collection? For example, my husband who is into old coins and antique books, is going to give them to a National museum some time. Do you know if there are lots of ballet museums in the world?
I would love to give the collection to a museum. The V&A in London has an Arts collection and shoes belonging to Marie Taglioni.
15. What's your dream object that you are "hunting for"?
Oh I’d love a pair of Margot Fonteyn’s shoes!!