The pain of ballet
When a journalist addressed Karen Kain as "prima ballerina" in 1974 the dancer quickly corrected him: "I wouldn't go that far." Kain didn't know at the time that she would one day become Canada's most popular dancer. The ballerina from Hamilton went on to draw ovations from international audiences, with performances of "Swan Lake" to the more risqué "Carmen." By the time she retired in 1997 after 27 years as a dancer with the National Ballet, Kain had more than earned the title prima ballerina.
• Pointe shoes cause blisters and bleeding feet. Canadian ballerina Evelyn Hart has deformed feet from years of dancing pointe.
• European ballerinas are a more natural fit for pointe shoes because they typically have smaller feet than Canadian dancers.
• In 1998, dance shoemaker Freed of London debuted a shoe especially for North Americans called "The Maple Leaf." It was wider and had a more square platform.
• Pointe shoes often need replacing. They last no longer than about a month. During one performance a professional ballerina can go through three pairs.
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: April 29, 1976
Guest(s): Karen Kain
Interviewer: Mary Lou Finlay
Last updated: March 22, 2012
Page consulted on December 5, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
A 20-year-old Kain tells CBC why she started dancing.
Even royalty comes out for Kain and Rudolph Nureyev's performance in L...
Kain talks about how her ankles sometimes feel like "glass."
Ballet moms Winnifred Kain and Doris Tennant discuss bringing up their...
A media circus shows up for the ballerina's big day.
Kain becomes founding president of the Dancer Transition Resource Cent...
On Kain's 20th anniversary with the National Ballet, she talks about t...
Rex Harrington and Kain Kain demonstrate against Ontario's decision to...
Kain hangs up her pointe shoes.
Karen Kain is the National Ballet of Canada's new artistic director.
When a journalist addressed Karen Kain as "prima ballerina" in 1974 th...