When you think of pointe shoes, you may not think of puppies. But that's what's been going on behind the studio walls of the American Ballet Theatre since the 1980s, company spokesperson Kelly Ryan told BuzzFeed News.
Boylston said the company has always been dog-friendly. She said the dog-friendly culture is an outgrowth of the long performance tours dancers took in the 80s. The company invited dog owners to bring their dogs with them instead of paying for boarding.
Ryan estimates there are about 18 dogs that belong to dancers and at least two cats. Staff at the company have about seven to 10 dogs that they bring to work as well.
Dogs even play a part in the ballet, Giselle. The dogs accompany a noble hunting party who visit Giselle’s village which sparks a chain of tragic events.
Ryan said the dancers begin their days at 10:15 a.m. and often don't end their days until 7 p.m. She said having their dogs nearby gives the dancers one less thing to worry about.
"They work such a long days," said Ryan. "They can feel comfortable that [their dogs] are nearby and taken care of."
The dogs often come to class and hang out around the studio. Ryan said they are very well-behaved.
They even go to the gym.
Most of the dogs are on the smaller side, but a few of them are big.
Some dancers even bring in their cats to watch their person work.
Ryan said the dogs and cats add to the company's "family-like atmosphere."
"It really just adds to the warmth and humanity of this atmophsere, of being in the arts and working toward a goal," she said. "Everyone is together and supports one another, and the dogs support the dancers, their owners, just by being here."