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Red Shoes

My Consultation Practice


film still from  "The Red Shoes"
RED SHOES came to birth one January night. I was dreaming before the fire. In the midst of the flame, an old scene arose. A small girl with a terrible sore throat lying in bed, unable to sleep. A beloved older sister sitting beside her. In her hand, a book. The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. The sister asked if the sick girl wanted to hear a story. She shook her weary head. The older sister read some titles. At The Red Shoes, the little girl clapped since she couldn’t speak. She had no idea what the story was about, but she was captivated by the image of the red shoes, the crimson shoes, the vermilion shoes, the scarlet shoes. Her sister sat on the edge of the little girl’s bed, a small overhead lamp beaming onto the smooth white pages.

“Close your eyes,” she said. “And if you want anything, just knock gently on the wall with this hand mirror,” and she handed her a beautiful silver embossed hand mirror with a long curved handle. You can do it any time in the night as well, and I will come.” The little girl smiled as best she could. “Now, go ahead. Close your eyes.”

The little girl leaned back and her sister, in the sweetest, kindest voice began.

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl who longed for the most beautiful pair of bright red shoes…”


photo of Ruby Slippers
The Red Shoes is the story of a little girl who wants a pair of beautiful red shoes. To her, they are magical, and give flight to all her desires. She buys them and attends a dance wearing them. Deliriously happy, she dances in them throughout the evening. At last, she becomes tired and wants to go home and take them off. The shoes, however, do not become tired. They want to keep dancing and they do, dancing the girl into the forest, across mountains, along rivers, through towns, near and far. Nothing stops the shoes. The girl becomes exhausted. She falls down and begs her friends to remove the shoes in whatever way they can. In some versions, they cut them off, and cut off her feet as well; in others, they cut off her hands too, for having desired them; in yet others, she simply dies and the shoes fall off. Each version offers the moral that the shoes, while beautiful, cannot be acquired without cost, and that even a preference for art and a taste for beauty cannot eliminate that.

photo of "The Red Shoes" poster
Some Notable Versions of the Tale:

Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales (1854)
THE RED SHOES (1948) - Film (Archer Productions)
and, of course, in THE WIZARD OF OZ, Dorothy goes back home by clicking her ruby slippers




Clearly, the image of the little girl being read the story, and the bright, magical image of
the shoes themselves, in the firelight, appeared healing to me, and not tragic. I saw in them all the beauty of art and the imagination. I wanted to hang that image in my studio. I wanted to offer that image to others who wanted to develop their own imaginations, particularly through writing, theater, dance, paint. I thought of offering classes and workshops in creativity exploration. I thought up ways to invite people into their own colorful inner landscapes in groups and one-to-one. I also decided to publish a book under the aegis of the image: Red Shoes Press.


The perils of the image, of course, haunted me. How could I take away the negativity surrounding their fate on the feet of the little girl? How could I reduce the demonic quality in them and in the creative process itself? It was replete with challenges I recognized – constant effort and tireless trials, the acts of creation demanding so much. Still, it was essential to find ways to balance life and art, if life was going to be lived.


logo for Red Shoes Press
My Mission then became:

Strengthening balance between imagination and worldly concerns;
Choosing growth and self-expression over punishment for wanting art; Developing art and spirit through the creative process.

In other words, to put on and take off the red shoes at the appropriate time. While, the Red Shoes might embody a quest for oneness, the course does not lack obstacles. Each of us has our dream and we must find ways to make it real.


Red Shoes Press. My First Venture. Publishing books of personal Transformation.
Red Shoes Theaterworks.Writing, Performing and Producing

Red Shoes Center for Creativity. Writing and Creativity Development Work



Contact Lois Silverstein (510) 464-3051

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