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THE COLLECTOR

Patricia Barker

Tutus and Shoe Tales

with Patricia from Seattle, WA

How long have you been collecting these items?
Mostly, since 1979, when I joined the Pacific Northwest Ballet as a student.
What are your favorite specialty items in your collection?
My scrap book… the photo album. At my retirement the audience was allowed to write down their good wishes. I realized that I knew so many people in the audience.
What was the first item of your collection?
My first pair of pointe shoes. It was magical to be on pointe for the first time. It’s what every little girl dreams of. I got to fulfill my dreams and the dreams of others, too.
 
Do any of the items have special meaning to you?
Yes. The shoes I wore performing Sleeping Beauty. It’s the most difficult role for a dancer. From Act I to Act II you are on stage the whole time…[all the way] to the dream scene. The hardest pas de deux is at the end. You need good shoes to last and survive. You can go through 200 pairs per season. By the end, you are spent.
Are any of the items signed by someone? Who?
One pair of shoes is signed by one of the most famous dancers, Alexandra Danilova. They’re from 1945.
Do you think you will ever sell or give away this collection?
I have been asked for my first and last pairs of pointe shoes…offered a lot of money. I think one day I will sell them at auction and put the money in the Patricia Barker Endowed Scholarship Fund at PNB to enable dancers, other than myself, to fulfill dreams.
 
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