My Story

Photo of Seth Orza by Angela Sterling in "A million Kisses to My Skin", choreographed by David Dawson, Pacific Northwest Ballet

While I was a dancer with New York City Ballet, I sustained an injury that forced me to put padding inside my ballet shoes. The ballet shoes I was wearing at the time just weren’t supportive enough. The insert I fashioned provided some relief, and soon I couldn’t dance without it. 

I noticed many of my colleagues similarly struggling and watched as they created makeshift padding for their own dance shoes. Seeing firsthand that dancers seemed forced to alter their footwear, I began to wonder why there wasn’t a ballet shoe available to us that matched our elite level of athleticism. We were all wearing a shoe that had remained essentially unchanged for the past 100 years. It was time to innovate and build a product that would meet dancer’s needs. With the help of local shoe cobblers in Seattle, we built the first prototypes by layering shock-absorbing materials. That initial collaboration produced the very first version of what now has become our flagship shoe, the ORZA Pro One.

Eager to do more, I went into research mode. Enlisting the help of dance companies across the country, I received valuable feedback from dancers about what brands of ballet shoes they preferred and why. Their responses revealed a gap in the industry. Dancers expressed a universal desire for a more supportive option.

A key step in developing the ORZA Pro One was conducting a lab test to determine the medical and therapeutic advantages of our padding layering system. Conducting a full pedography analysis at the Protentrx Health & Performance Laboratory in Seattle, we tested our product against a standard dance shoe. The resulting data confirmed what we already believed. Additional support from a dance shoe was not only needed, but it was attainable.

I began with the goal of creating a ballet shoe that would support me as I spent my days moving from class to rehearsal and onto the stage for performances. What I built is a ballet shoe for every dancer everywhere. Designed to carry you comfortably through your day, supporting your every movement. Whether you are taking your first plie, perfecting your pirouettes, or performing Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Orza Pro One is for YOU. I can’t wait for you to dance in it!

Photo by Angela Sterling of "DSCH", choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, Pacific Northwest Ballet