Not currently on display at the V&A

Ballet Shoe

1949 (Worn)
Artist/Maker

Pink satin point shoe worn on left foot, undarned, with ribbons attached. Size 10, with scored sole, made by Repetto. Inscribed on inner sole: "Nina / Vyroubova / 1949"


Object details

Object type
Materials and techniques
Satin, leather, satin ribbon, cotton, glue
Brief description
Point shoe worn by Nina Vyroubova. Signed, inscribed and dated 1949
Physical description
Pink satin point shoe worn on left foot, undarned, with ribbons attached. Size 10, with scored sole, made by Repetto. Inscribed on inner sole: "Nina / Vyroubova / 1949"
Marks and inscriptions
"Nina / Vyroubova / 1949" (Signature; date; On inner sole; Handwriting; Ink; 1949)
Credit line
Cyril W. Beaumont Bequest
Object history
One of a collection of signed ballet shoes given by various dancers to the dance critic and historian Cyril Beaumont.
The shoe was worn by the ballerina Nina Vyroubova, who danced with various companies, including the Ballets des Champs-Elysées, the Paris Opéra Ballet and the de Cuevas company. In 1949, she appeared in London with the Ballets des Champs-Elysées and was acclaimed for her interpretation of the title role in the ballet "La Sylphide".
The soles of ballet shoes were often scored, either by the manufacturer or the dancers, to give improved grip on stage.
The shoe came to the Museum as part of the Cyril Beaumont Bequest.

Historical significance: An example of a French ballet shoe of the mid 20th century. Ballet shoes made in different countries are indicative of the different needs of the dancers and the choreography of the time.
The ballet shoe is the most personal of dance aretfacts, as each dancer is responsible for darning and stitching on the ribbons to suit her own personal preferences and each dancer 'wears' out the shoe in a different way, according to her physique and the role. The dancer darning shoes is a potent image in 20th century dance iconography, a symbol of at once her drugery and humility.
A shoe worn by a great dancer in a particular role on a certain night (such as a premiere) and signed, dated, and dedicated to the recepient, implying that the recepient was with the dancer at the time, attains almost iconic significance for balletomanes.
Collection
Accession number
S.803A-1981

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Record createdJuly 20, 2001
Record URL
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