Kate Vanderliet grew up in Orinda, California, attending summer sessions at the San Francisco Ballet School. She was a principal dancer in Hello Hollywood, Hello! starring Carol Channing, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada. She also played Val in A Chorus Line after the hotel had been bought by Bally's. She became a star at The Lido in Paris, and was known for her dazzling charisma on stage. Chic, petite, and sophisticated, she commanded attention and respect.


Her death was a severe shock to many; she was only 58. She passed away from ovarian cancer. Those who worked with her described her as having boundless energy and enthusiasm. She was down to earth, friendly and open. Realistic about her career, she did not pursue ballet. She was 6 feet tall, and extremely lean and toned. Her legs and hips were beautifully sculpted; she almost looked like a mannequin. She knew her future was in the Vegas style spectaculars, and and she pursued it.

A lover of the outdoors, she spent many happy days in Lake Tahoe, skiing with her close friend, John Paul Reaves. She was always so excited about going. Although many of the other dancers spent their time training and rehearsing in the ballet studio, Kate loved to ride her bike, hike and ski. She had wonderful times at the lake with her close friends. She was sporty and athletic, and a passionate fan of Barbra Streisand. She used to blast Barbra's albums at home, and sing along with them at the top of her lungs. She later became a singer at The Lido, and effortlessly belted out "Tits And Ass" with ease in A Chorus Line. She had many talents.

Lido de Paris : Dernière de C'est Magique ! www.youtube.com


Self directed and a leader, she described herself as a one on one person, especially in love. She had many close, intimate friends. Her bright aura attracted people to her like a magnet. She made you feel very special, loved and understood. She was highly intelligent and sensitive, and a graduate of the University of Irvine.

Arriving very early in the dressing room at MGM, she was usually the first one there. She had her dramatic stage make-up fully completed hours before the show. It was her nightly ritual, as she sat tall and erect in the Bluebell dressing room. She possessed impeccable skill with her hands, especially when it came to calligraphy or applying stage make-up. Being very exact and precise, she gave extremely thoughtful, personal gifts. Her hand written cards showcased her distinctive, artistic handwriting. She always signed them, "All my love, Kate xxx" She was very expressive, on many levels.

She had a warrior side, as well, and did not tolerate poor treatment. She maintained high standards in love, and insisted on respect and loyalty. She was in Paris when the terrorists attacked. She described them furiously as "barbarians."

When she was first performing in Hello Hollywood, she would to run to her cues backstage. In spite of being told not to, she continued to fly around the backstage area, from the dressing room to the wings. Eventually she was called into the office and given a pink slip. She ran into the office.

Those who knew her will miss her kindness, generosity and open heart.

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Rachel Papo

Our 8 Best Pointe Shoe Hacks

It turns out that TikTok is good for more than just viral dance challenges. Case in point: We recently stumbled across this genius pointe shoe hack for dancers with narrow heels.

Dancers are full of all kinds of crafty tricks to make their pointe shoes work for them. But don't fear: You don't need to spend hours scrolling TikTok to find the best pro tips. We rounded up a few of our favorites published in Dance Magazine over the years.

If your vamp isn't long enough, sew an elastic on top of your metatarsals.

Last year, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Elizabeth Murphy admitted to us that her toes used to flop all the way out of her shoes when she rose up onto pointe(!). "I have really long toes and stock shoes never had a vamp long enough," she says.

Her fix? Sewing a piece of elastic (close to the drawstring but without going through it) at the top of the vamp for more support...and also special-ordering higher vamps.

Solve corns with toe socks

Nashville Ballet's Sarah Cordia told us in 2017 that toe socks are her secret weapon: "I get soft corns in between my toes because I have sweaty feet. Wearing toe socks helps keep that area dry. I found a half-toe sock called 'five-toe heelless half-boat socks' that I now wear in my pointe shoes."

(For other padding game-changers, check out these six ideas.)

Save time by recycling ribbons and elastics.

Don't waste time measuring new ribbons and elastics for every pair. Washington Ballet dancer Ashley Murphy-Wilson told us that she keeps and cycles through about 10 sets of ribbons and crisscross elastics. "It makes sewing new pairs easier because the ribbons and elastic are already at the correct length," she says. Bonus: This also makes your pointe shoe habit more environmentally friendly.

Close-up of hands sewing a pointe shoe.

Murphy-Wilson sewing her shoes

xmbphotography, by Mena Brunette, courtesy The Washington Ballet

Tie your drawstring on demi-pointe.

In 2007, New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild gave us this tip for making sure her drawstring stays tight: "I always tie it in demi-pointe because that is when there's the biggest gap and where there's the most bagginess on the side."

Find a stronger thread.

When it comes to keeping your ribbons on, function trumps form—audiences won't be able to see your stitches from the stage. Many dancers use floss as a stronger, more secure alternative to thread. Fairchild told us she uses thick crochet thread. "Before I go onstage I sew a couple of stitches in the knot of the ribbon to tack the ends," she says. "I do a big 'X.' I have to make sure it's perfect because I'm in it for the show. It's always the very last thing I do."

Don't simply reorder your shoes on autopilot.

Even as adults, our feet keep growing and spreading as we age. Atlanta podiatrist Frank Sinkoe suggests going to a professional pointe shoe fitter at least once a year to make sure you're in the right shoe.

You might even need different sizes at different times of the year, says New York City Ballet podiatric consultant Thomas Novella. During busy periods and in warm weather, your feet might be bigger than during slow periods in the winter. Have different pairs ready for what your feet need now.

Fit *both* feet.

Don't forget that your feet might even be two different sizes. "If you're getting toenail bruises, blood blisters or other signs of compression, but only on one foot, have someone check each foot's size," Novella says. The solution? Buy two pairs at a time—one for the right foot and one for the left.

Wash off the sweat.

Blisters thrive in a sweaty pointe shoe. Whenever you can, take your feet out of your shoes between rehearsals and give them a quick rinse off in the sink. "If feet sweat, they should be washed periodically during the day with soap and water and dried well, especially between the toes," says Sinkoe.