The Ballet Shoes That Will Never be Forgotten

FSSA senior dance major, Olivia Kenny, cherishes her ballet slippers.

The mildew of them being stuffed in her dance draw still reeks as she reaches for her new ones that are of course several sizes bigger.

“My first pair of ballet shoes will always be special to me, It shows me where I started, and everyone has to start somewhere,” Olivia Kenny, a senior dance major at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), said. She never thought that she would keep something so unnecessary to her now because she will never wear them again.

“It shows me that no matter how old I’ll get or how big my feet grow, I will always have these slippers to remind myself of why I dance,” Olivia said.

It’s a special connection: A girl and her ballet slippers. She cherishes her slippers with her life because she does what she loves in them. Dancers know that their ballet slippers are like the custodian’s key to the break room or better yet, a smartphone to a millennial.

FSSA dance majors go through many pairs of ballet slippers as they grow older, no one can keep the same pair forever. No one can fit in the same shoes they had their first dance class in.

Olivia still has her ballet shoes from when she was three years old when she first started dance classes. Olivia doesn’t wear these shoes, but she often brings them out of the house for a breath of fresh air.

She owns six pairs of slippers, all have been worn out, stretched out and danced in.

Olivia says her first and last pair mean the most to her, remembering being a little child who was unable to understand the fundamentals of movement in ballet class and she didn’t look at her shoes as possessions to worship. Her last pair of slippers, have been with her from freshman year, where she’s been moving, turning, and leaping in them from the beginning. This pair signifies her growth as an artist and mover from when she took one dance class a week at a local studio, to dancing every day at a performing arts high school.

Not a lot of people will have something saved from when they were a toddler, unless their mom is the one that saves it. Otherwise, what is the point of keeping something for such a long time if it is not useful anymore?

“Maybe one day I could give them to my daughter to create this sort of inheritance, lending her my passion in a form of shoes,” she said. Olivia keeps her dance slippers as a reminder of her beginning, to bring herself back to happy memories that she created.

“I’m sentimental and anyone who keeps items of their past would understand that it creates meaning to you. It would take away from the purpose for me if I had to throw them out,” Olivia said.

– by Francesca Griffin ’19