When I was twelve years old, the touring company of Disney on Parade performed for a few nights in our city. Naturally, we were all thrilled especially my younger brother and I, as well as our cousins, as it would be our first opportunity to see the Disney characters up close.
I fell in love with the show right away. We had rather good seats and I remember attending one of the performances still wearing my school uniform so it must have been a school night. It was a colourful and delightful feast for the eyes and ears. And I especially loved the segment which featured the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. And I fell in love with Snow White's slippers.
To my untrained eye, they looked like black slip-ons but were really pointe shoes as the performer who portrayed Snow White had to dance on her toes especially when she was partnered by her Prince Charming. I realised she was a dancer as well but it never really occurred to me that she was wearing ballet shoes. The shoes were black with either white or flesh-coloured ribbons which matched her tights. At that age, ballet was still another world to me and even though it looked graceful and beautiful, it was still something foreign to me, not a form of dance that I would be interested in. And besides, didn't one have to be younger to take up ballet, anyway? I certainly had very different ideas at twelve.
During the Snow White segment, she would rush off the circular stage (to escape from the menacing trees in the forest) and change her shoes offstage near one of the empty seats. I remember two or three schoolgirls immediately crowded round her, asking for her autograph, but she didn't say very much, and I think shook her head, as she was busy changing shoes and getting ready for her next entrance. I think the girls were asked to move by a security guard or someone else connected with the show. I just thought that they were very bold to have done such a thing. I, too, would have loved Snow White's autograph. Yes, we all knew she wasn't real, that she was just a performing a role. But even so, I loved the magic of it all. And wasn't it wonderful that Snow White came offstage and was amongst us for a while?
And since I couldn't find black ballet flats, I would look for slip-on shoes or even make-believe that my school shoes (white canvas slip-ons) were my version of her beloved slippers. It wasn't the dancing, I think, that I was interested in. It was Snow White herself and her sensible-looking, yet very appealing, slippers. They still appeal to me and I still look for them, not to dance in, but more for streetwear. And maybe even pretend that I am a ballet dancer eversince I fell in love with the art of classical ballet a few years later. Or is it Snow White that I have in mind even after all these years?