Photo Courtesy Lee

The Pointe Shop Goes on the Road: Josephine Lee Explores 4 California Studios

A few weeks ago, we shared the first five vlogs from master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee's West Coast tour. Now, Lee is back with videos from four California cities—Morgan Hill, San Francisco, Roseville and Oakhurst—to wrap up her 20-day tour. Lee shares a bit about the training at each studio, as well as advice on what dancers should look for in their first pair of pointe shoes and what to do if your feet are very different from each other. Lee also touches base with a physical therapist for advice on the most common pointe shoe injuries. Later this summer, Lee will take her wares to summer intensives around the country—stay tuned!

South Valley Dance Arts in Morgan Hill, CA

Lee reports from the suburbs of San Jose on the diverse training methods at South Valley Dance Arts, which range from Balanchine to Cecchetti to Ukrainian folk dance.



San Francisco Performing Arts Physical Therapy in San Francisco, CA

Taking a break from a long string of studio visits, Lee chats with physical therapist Kendall Alway on the injuries that she sees from poorly fitting pointe shoes. She also gives advice to a student with two very different feet. Also... did you know that bendy straws were invented in SF?


Northern California Dance Conservatory in Roseville, CA

Before heading to Roseville, Lee takes us around Sacramento, California's state capital. At the Northern California Dance Conservatory, ballet director and former Joffrey Ballet principal Michael Levine discusses the studio's training methods.


Yosemite Dance Company in Oakhurst, CA

Oakhurst marks the final day of Lee's tour. Lee gives tips to students going up on pointe for the first time, and reflects on her 20 days on the road.

Latest Posts


Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet

When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.

After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
DTH's Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington work out with trainer Lily Overmyer at Studio IX. Photo by Joel Prouty, Courtesy Hutchinson.

Working Out With DTH’s Alexandra Hutchinson

Despite major pandemic shutdowns in New York City, Alexandra Hutchinson has been HIIT-ing her stride. Between company class with Dance Theater of Harlem and projects like the viral video "Dancing Through Harlem"—which she co-directed with roommate and fellow DTH dancer Derek Brockington—Hutchinson has still found time to cross-train. She shares her motivation behind her killer high-intensity interval training at Studio IX on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

As Ballet Looks Toward Its Future, Let's Talk About Its Troubling Emotional Demands

As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.

It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.

Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks