Friday, 9 April 2010

Enchanted Barcelona

Although I'm pretty obsessed with new dancewear and dance shops, I wasn't on the look out for one when I stumbled across a tiny dance shop in a tiny backstreet of the Barri Gotic area of Barcelona. Like the Freed shop in London, or the shop where I buy my pointe shoes now, it was really old fashioned: a window display of a few leotards and a couple of pairs of shoes and that was about it. A world away from the amazingly high-tech and modern Bloch shop in London, but perfectly formed in its own way; oak panelled inside, with an unmistakeably musty smell, almost like stepping back in time. I recently read a comment that said the perfect pointe shoe is a little like the perfect wand in Harry Potter, and this shop certainly had the magic twinkle of Oleander's Wand Shop about it. I probably wouldn't have seen it had it not been for the large sign in the window saying "puntas Freed E6.50" - it took me a minute, with my [extremely] limited Spanish to work out that they were selling pointe shoes for 6.50 (that's about £6!) which is a crazy price in any country!

I wouldn't normally venture into such a tiny shop in a foreign country for fear of the obligation to buy (or the even greater obligation to converse - a problem since "hola, que tal?" is about the limit of my Spanish). But I couldn't resist. Sitting in a large plastic box were about 30 pairs of Freed pointe shoes looking very unloved and slightly dusty (yet still in their plastic bags). The assistant was, thankfully, serving another customer, so I was left alone to rummage through the box. There were many 7x pairs, a few 8s and some 2s and 3s. It's been a while since I wore freeds and I simply couldn't remember my size (I'm a 3 1/2 c in bloch serenades now but that didn't help...), the 2s and 3s were out of the question but the 7s looked about right (I think I was a 5 and a half or 6 in Freeds...) Sadly, I didn't have the guts to ask the shop assistant to help, and I'm not naive enough to think I can fit myself for pointe shoes without repercussions, so I left without them and continued with my discovery of Barcelona!

Like a window of opportunity only open for the tiniest amount of time, despite retracing my steps and looking for the shop on the second day, its presence and whereaouts eluded me. Why didn't I take a photo or mark it on the map? It now feels like a strange but poetic memory from which I could probably draw many conclusions about missed opportunities (in life as well as Barcelona), and morals about feeling the fear and doing it anyway...

Somewhere, deep in the pretty streets of the gothic quarter is the [enchanted] dance shop...

1 comment:

  1. This post makes me swoon! Ahhh, dance stores are the best. I've never tried Freeds but I love Grishkos!