Even though ballet season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center has ended, a sparkling trophy of the ballet’s history has made its home on the grounds of the venue.
The tiled red and gold ballet shoe designed by mosaic artist Linda Biggers went though a lot of changes in its planning stages. Originally, tiny ballerinas were going to dance across the 5-foot statue, but the detail work on dozens of figures proved to be too large of a feat for a mosaic sculpture.
Biggers took her daughter’s suggestion for her final idea: one large ballerina, jumping out from the dance shoe. Biggers’ daughter dances with the Susan Sanford School of Dance, which is where Biggers found her inspiration.
Her sponsors, Michael and Linda Toohey, were looking for a mosaic piece and gave Biggers the creative liberty she desired.
“It’s a kind of project that I love to do. [My sponsors] were pretty much like, ‘You do your thing,’ which was great. They were very happy when they saw it,” Biggers said.
Biggers worked on a Saratoga horse sculpture before, so she feels that this project is another way to get artists and local businesses and sponsors together.
Her shoe is one of two dozen 5-foot-tall ballet slippers on display around Saratoga Springs for the National Museum of Dance’s “Saratoga En Pointe!” project.
“Public art is a really exciting way to promote tourism, the dance museum and the ballet. I hope it brings a lot more interest to the museum and pulls people into Saratoga,” she said.
Her piece wasn’t quick to put together.
“It took a lot of time, and it was a large area to cover with glass, but it was a labor of love. I took a week-long glass marathon just to get the whole thing covered!” she said.
The piece spent three months in the Biggers’ living room, where tile was grouted, dancers were sculpted and glass was shined for premiere night.
“It took a lot more time than I thought it would, with a lot of thought and planning,” she said, “but that’s all par for the course.”