Pico says his chief concerns are the ballerinas who are totally dependent on a single maker. In some ways, they're easier. They're on automatic you just file the order and that's it. "But I like to have a backup at least another maker I can go to."
As he explains this most worrisome of shoemaster predicaments, Jennifer Kronenberg enters his office. One of the company's principal dancers, Kronenberg is a one-maker ballerina. "The Maltese Falcon," she says, "that's the only one. I've tried others. But they're never as good."
Moments later, while in the inventory room, Pico gestures at all the dancers' cubby holes. They must be stuffed with shoes before the season begins.
He glances at an inventory sheet: five new ballerinas. "Who knows?" he says in his thick accent. "I will call them before they arrive to find out what they like." He smiles and adds that he hopes they're not too dependent on a single maker.
Walking through the small room, he picks up a shoe that looks different, slipperlike but larger. "This is the boys'," he says. "Sansha is the maker." Unlike Freed pointe shoes, which cost $60 a pair and require an eleven-month wait, these shoes "can get here in one day. One day," Pico says. "Look at how simple they are," he continues, holding what looks like a karate shoe. "Boys are so easy. But, then again, they don't stand on pointe. They only do a demi-pointe."