He knows the size of the legs of the stars of the first echelon: how a Ukrainian in the USA makes shoes for world celebrities
For nearly a century, the New Year’s performance of the Rockettes Show has become synonymous with festive New York, and if we are talking about the show, the corps de ballet of synchronized racket, then it means the shoes. This is stated in the video "Voices of America".
And if it’s about shoes, then this is about Sam. In the heart of Manhattan's theater district stands Uncle Sam's inconspicuous tiny hut. But all theatrical roads lead precisely to her, this hut is a shoe workshop, and Sam is its 72-year-old owner.
At the age of 7, being a little boy living in Odessa, Sema Smolyar was looking for something that he liked - he danced and, like the cobbler's grandson, glued his first pair of shoes.
“I made them from paper and cardboard. Then they used flour glue. They looked so good. When I shod them, I took 5 steps, they scattered, ”Sam recalls.
At the shoe factory, Sam learned the craft, which in 1975 and takes with him to New York. There he joined his two passions and opened a workshop of special shoes. First, one theater handed over his shoes for repair, then another, and later everyone found out about the incredible craftsman. And now, when everywhere the shoe business is moving into the category of endangered, Sam has no end to customers. At the same time 16 Broadway theaters work with him.
“I feel what people need and I rarely make mistakes,” Sam says.
The Rockettes Show has remained unchanged and the main client for 30 years. From November to January, during the New Year's performances, Sam happily switches to an almost round-the-clock mode of operation.
“This is pride for me because it is the pride of New York and the pride of the United States. Today it’s almost impossible to find such a team, even Mulan Rouge isn’t quite that, ”says Sam.
On this show alone, the cycle of more than a thousand pairs of shoes, 40 dancers in two compositions and seven changes of pairs of shoes for the performance, which is also given 4 times a day. Replacing the sole so that it doesn’t slip, but also heels, straps, fasteners ... Nobody has ever seen Sam in his eyes, but everyone knows his name. Because Sam is an ambulance here.
“If we run out of the stage and something is wrong with our shoes, then we immediately inform the costume designer about it, he immediately sends our shoes to Sam, because it’s literally an hour before the next show so that we can go on stage again and dance for viewers from all over the world, ”says dancer Lauren Renk.
But Sam knows how not only to repair shoes at space speeds, few racquets know that thanks to him their tap sounds so loud. Sam attaches a transmitter to the sole of each shoe - a microphone that transmits sound and makes it louder.
But the director and chief choreographer of the Rockettes Show, Julie Brenon, who once started a racket herself, remembers everything. As they first suffered, trying to amplify the sound, and pulled the wires from the shoes along the leg and back, until Sam decided to hide a wireless microphone in his heel.
“We didn’t have live microphones, we just had step shoes and we stamped them loudly,” recalls Julie.
Sam stores information about all his clients, and this is not only rackets, he has wooden blocks created on the foot of Cher, Harrison Ford, Barbara Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Britney Spears, Madonna, Baryshnikov and many others.
“When Baryshnikov came to try on, he was not quite friendly, still a world star, he was afraid to speak Russian with me, but when I made him shoes and he tried on them, the attitude changed dramatically. I asked him for a photograph for my room, but they told me that he doesn’t give anyone an autograph, no photo, nothing. But when he tried on these shoes, everything changed, and in the end, he sent me a photograph, ”Sam recalls.
Sam and Sarah Jessica Parker sent her photograph with a warm autograph, because he also had his hand in ensuring that shoes after the famous series turned into a religion for many women.
“Everything was simple, their shoes in the series“ Sex and the City ”needed to be simply made so that they did not fall and did not stumble,” says Sam.
Usually one glance at the shoes is enough for him to determine where it’s too big and where he presses. But he looks at heaven no less than at shoes.
“I always look at the sky, as soon as I wake up, try to look. I don’t ask anything from God, I just thank him for everything that I have, ”says Sam.
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