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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Stringing along


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Today I went shopping for new ballet shoes. I brought one along to show what I wanted - I knew that they were made by Bloch, but I'd forgotten exactly what kind.


Anyway, the saleslady noticed that one end of the drawstring had disappeared. She said that she could fix that, and, intrigued, I asked her how it was done. "Trade secret," she replied, and proceeded to disappear into the back room for a minute.


When she returned, so had both ends of the drawstring. I wished at that point that I had brought the other shoe, which has gotten really loose lately. It too has a drawstring that can no longer be drawn.


Without infringing on the patent or copywright, can anyone here reveal the secret to retrieving a ballet shoe drawstring?

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Take a VERY fine crochet hook, the type used for making doilies, antimacassars, and such, and run it into the drawstring channel. Fish about in there a bit until you've engaged the drawstring, then, holding onto the other end of the drawstring, pull it out. Voilà.:(

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Or pull the whole drawstring out, use a thick needle (the type of needle used to attach both ends of a knitting project ;) ) and pass the drawstring in the eye of the needle (only a few millimetres, otherwise, it will be too thick to pass in the tunnel again) then pass into the first end of the tunnel... and go slowly until you reach the other end (push the needle by creating a little frown of the fabric, then gently pull to tighten the drawstring tunnel again, then repeat, progressing very slowly along)


Works for me :(

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Works well for me, too!:( My great-aunt was a professional knitter and crochetiste, so I have spent my life surrounded with all sorts of arcane yarnwork tools that come in VERY handy sometimes! I used to carry them in my dance bag, to help fellow students with shoe problems. Wins friends and influences people!;)

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There is a sewing tool designed just for this purpose it is called a "bobkin". It looks like a very thick needle with a large hole for threading but instead of being pointed at the end it has a little ball to prevent it from damaging the item you are threading through. You can get them at any store that sells sewing notions.

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Guest Watermill

As someone who's been around alot of period costumes and not a few Shakesperean productions,

I was about to assert that a bodkin is both a small dagger and a kind of large hairpin commonly used in the 16th & 17th centuries. But before I opened my big mouth, I checked with Mssrs Merriam & Webster who inform me that it is also the name for "a large needle used to pull thread or ribbon through a hem"

Interestingly, there was no entry for "bobkin", but that doesn't mean anything. Common usage and all that...


And by all means remember what Hamlet said (from the famous "To be or not to be" sililoquy:)


When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin?




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"Who would these fardels bear?"


Actually, my Unabashed, Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary says the same thing. There is no entry for "bobkin".

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Guest Watermill

.."to grunt and sweat..."


Yup, sounds like first barre class after summer intensives...


Somebody hand me a bodkin that I may free myself of this fardel!


Arcanely yours,



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I am sorry for my typo. I hope the info will help regardless......

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Aw, it's OK - we're just kidding. Actually, I can find a spelling "bopkin" for the same thing in a text for the old comedy Ralph Roister Doister, in imitation of one character's "country" accent.

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