How should I give fittings?
Prepare the spaceCreate a fitting environment that is both professional and exciting. The pointe fitting area should be an attractive and inviting space, with comfortable seating and plenty of room for trying on pointe shoes. Ideally, the pointe fitting area should feature a ballet barre and a full-length mirror. It must include flooring appropriate for dancing, because pointe shoes fit and perform differently on different surfaces.
Pointe Fitting Appointments Consider offering fittings by appointment. Approintments make it easier for you to focus on the individual dancer, and ensure that you will have adequate time for a complete evaluation and fit. Making appointments also gives you a valuable opportunity to remind dancers of how to prepare and what to bring for the fitting.
Set the tone From the beginning of any fitting, it’s important to be warm and welcoming to dancers and their parents and teachers. Build relationships with your dancer clientele and show interest in dancers as individuals. While maintaining a focus on the fitting process, be open to easy, friendly conversation that allows the dancer and her parents to feel comfortable with you as an adviser and friend. Educate them through conversation and discussion, in a way that seems natural to you.
Throughout the fitting, be straightforward and clear. Explain the shoes and the fitting process. Keep an eye on the dancer to make sure that she understands. Give instructions that she can follow easily; remember that she may be nervous or excited.
Communicate Be considerate and aware of the dancer’s personality and help her feel safe and comfortable in your interaction. Some dancers may be uncomfortable answering a lot of questions. Try keeping your questions short, watching the dancer’s body language, and enlisting help from the parents when necessary. Other dancers may be hesitant to speak up about how they feel in a pair of shoes because they don’t want to “complain.” Make sure that all dancers understand how important it is for you to know about discomfort or incorrect or inadequate support during the fitting.
It’s essential to listen to the concerns of the dancer and her family. Make sure to address these concerns as specifically as possible during the fitting. If the dancer’s concern involves her training, be receptive but maintain neutrality, avoiding “taking sides” in any disagreement between teachers and dancers or parents. At the same time, don’t be afraid to share your expert opinion about dancers’ needs.
First fittings At the beginning of a first fitting, congratulate the dancer. Acknowledge her accomplishment and show that you understand what a major step going on pointe is to her dance training. Make the fitting a special occasion!
After the first fitting After the first fitting, ask dancers to bring their most recent pair of shoes to future fittings. You can learn quite a bit by looking at worn pointe shoes. If possible, they should bring their preferred tights and toe pads. Remind them to schedule fittings for a time when their feet aren’t swollen from recent exercise.