Calidance; The Colombian Pointe Shoe Brand

colombian-flag

Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0, Colombia flag from San Felipe de Barajas’ fortress, Colombia

The Gems Of  Colombia;  Emeralds, Coffee And Zapatillas de ballet Calidance.

Those of us who love the taste of rich, delicious coffee and enjoy wearing beautiful gemstones can agree that Colombia, South America is world-famous for both top-quality emeralds and for amazing coffee beans. Both are highly coveted and are exported all over the world.

Now, there is another delicious gem from Colombia to discover, a pointe shoe brand called Calidance. I was thrilled to discover this brand! I can now add another link to the sidebar.

About Calidance And Their Products

According to the company Quiénes Somos or about page, Calidance prides themselves on supplying dancers with the highest quality footwear products while maintaining total comfort and providing it all at a reasonable cost to their customers.

calidance

Calidance Colombian Pointe Shoes

The ballet shoes are designed by a former dancer of The National Ballet of Cuba, Mr. Luis Rodriguez.  Mr. Rodriguez studied under the tutelage of Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso.

With 30-plus years of  ballet teaching experience, he understands exactly what dancers need.

Calidance also offers other accessories, practice garments and supplies for ballet and other genres of dance.  They sell tutu skirts, leotards, ballet dresses and more. The red pointe models above have that spicy Latin look that only crimson satin can provide. I find the splashy way they display  painted and non-painted pointe  models on their Nueva Colección ( website link below) page very artistically creative.

Where Is Cali, Colombia?

Foto tomada por Augusto Ilian del Rio Cali, la Av Colombia y el Hotel Inter, http://en.wikipedia.org,  (CC BY 2.0)

By Augusto Ilian del Rio Cali, la Av Colombia y el Hotel Inter, http://en.wikipedia.org, (CC BY 2.0)

Cali is a huge, modern metropolis located on the western coast of Colombia, South America. Next to Bogota, it is one of the biggest cities in Colombia.

The weather is hot and the Colombian people are equally so for they are known for their passionate embrace of life, love, laughter and dance.

The Calidance Pointe Shoe Models Are Uniquely Displayed

calidance-1One of the most striking aspects of this brand is how unique the construction of their shoes are. Not only is the pointe shoe design unique to Calidance, their images and advertising are incredibly interesting as well.

They offer their online customers great close-up images of their shoe models from various angles. Few companies do this. Not only are the pointe shoes pretty, they are a genuine Spanish brand. The only disappointment is that Calidance doesn’t imprint their pointe shoe liners or soles with a company logo as they do with some of their soft slippers. The models are blank inside and out.

The soft curvature of the toe box design has a nice line that looks like it would hug the arches well. I don’t know how many different models of pointe shoes are available from Calidance, but the company gives many ways to contact them with inquiries; including a Skype address which is another rarity, but an incredibly trendy idea for the convenience of the customer.

If you want to see more about this intriguing Colombian point shoe manufacturer, visit their official website @ Calidancezapatillasdeballet.com.

See more up-close shoe photos by visiting  Calidance on Facebook.

 

Distribution Confusion; Triple-Branding The R-Class Collection

Svetlana Lunkina, By Ирина Лепнёва (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Svetlana Lunkina

By now, every American ballet student and professional knows that Russian Pointe is a highly-respected and popular brand name  of pointe shoes. Looking over their models, I can agree that the aesthetics of a Russian-made shoe are some of the loveliest in the world.

However, there is something very interesting going on at the Russian Pointe   factory that needs sorting out in my head and on this blog. To sort this out so it makes sense, I will begin with the obvious; the factory in Russia.

Construction of the various models that Russian Pointe makes involves the basic materials and a standard last for that type of shoe. It isn’t until the cobbler is told  which country the shoes will be shipped to that he can decide what kind of sole to attach to it. He chooses between three brand stamps for the sole; Russian Pointe, R-Class or Energetiks. For the sake of example, let’s take the model Brava.

Russian Pointe Brand Shoes That Stay In Russia Are R-Class

I stay in Russia, so I get the R-Class sole

I stay in Russia, so I get the R-Class sole

Here you have a pair of R-Class Bravas. They are the established brand name that is synonymous with the high standards of construction that are required for the serious dancer seeking gorgeous aesthetics and variety of fit.

When I first learned that Russian Pointe was really an R-Class shoe, I did question the name difference, but didn’t think too much about it.

Russian Pointe Shoes That Come To America Are Russian Pointe

I go to America, so I need a Russian Pointe sole

I go to America, so I need a Russian Pointe sole

Russian Pointe Brava:  When Russian Pointe came to the United States many dancers immediately found the answer to their fitting, performance and  aesthetics nightmares.

When I visited the website, I was highly impressed by their collections and their vast choices of vamps, boxes, shanks, widths and styles. They really try to have something that works for everyone which is highly commendable.

Russian Pointe Shoes That Go To Australia Are Energetiks

I go to Australia, so I need a sole stamped Energetiks

I go to Australia, so I need a sole stamped Energetiks

Energetiks Brava : Let me mourn the day when something as graceful and delicate-looking as a ballerina on stage would be wearing pointe shoes with the aerobic-shoe-esque  name of  Energetiks.  Perhaps those mischievous  energetic Australian kangaroos are behind all of this.

In my mind, this name is about as far from a graceful Russian ballerina image as one can get.  Anyone who visits here regularly knows that I fret a bit about shoe names and how they make me feel. I tend to wax poetic and become highly disappointed when pretty pointe shoes don’t come with magical, soulful, imagination-stirring ballerina names.

flowerRemember the regal days of French castles and aristocracy,  Kings, Queens and names for precious ballet shoes fit for a princess. The dance imaginations of theatrical  fans ,  like a dying rose,  will wither away when romance is removed from the classical ballet story.

This triple-branding could now mean that:

  • A customer who lives in Russia, but wants a Russian Pointe sole has to order from Chicago, U.S.A.
  • An American that wants the Energetiks stamp on her Russian Pointes that are really R-Class needs to order from Australia
  • An Australian looking for R-Class stampage ( is that a word?) on her shoes has to order from Russia

 You can find out more about this Australian distributor by visiting their website, Energetiks.com.au.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

Why Do They Do This?

Why can’t an R-Class Pointe shoe be shipped as an R-Class Pointe shoe anywhere in the world like a Capezio or a Bloch ? I really don’t know. It could be a conspiracy against bloggers that like to categorize things like ballet shoes neatly and in logical order. Imagine how simple things would be if an R-Class shipped out as an R-Class anywhere in the world.

Energetiks Brava

Energetiks Brava

When this distribution confusion happens, my hands are tied when it comes to adding links on the sidebar for brands. If one company happens to slap different soles on the same shoe, but calls them by another name, you can understand why I can’t categorize them as different brands.

Of course, to be fair to R-Class/ Russian Pointe/ Energetiks as a manufacturer, this is most likely a business set up that lets them keep track of sales and distribution by separating their products into different names for different regions of the world. Many companies separate their products to sell under different brand names.

This modern way of doing business around the world sometimes includes pointe shoe brand names as well; a sure-fire way to keep us on our toes trying to make sense of it all.

 

Svetlana Lunkina, By Ирина Лепнёва (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Fiorina Pointe Shoes From Venezuela

Fiorina is the diminutive form of the word Fiore, a flower in Italian. It is also the  name of a pointe shoe brand manufactured in the beautiful country of Venezuela, South America.  They say that you attract what you think about the most, and on the days when I am relaxed and looking at pointe shoes online for no specific reason,  I stumble upon some of these lesser-known companies as though by magic. Such is the case with the Venezuelan Fiorina brand.

The Touching Story Behind The Fiorina Brand

fiorinaAt first, all I had to share with you about this interesting shoe was a few up close images. After a short amount of Internet searching, I actually found some shareable information about this company. Fiorina was founded by  Ermanno Fiorucci, an Italian who came to live in Venezuela in 1955.

He had three daughters who were devoted to ballet, but pointe shoes were incredibly expensive and hard to find in that time because the country’s currency had lost value.  To help his daughter with her shoe needs, Mr. Fiorucci carved out a wooden last and took it upon himself to make shoes for his daughters and for dancers in Venezuela.

To this day, Fiorina pointe shoes are made by hand with very little fanfare in the way of expensive advertising to keep costs low for their customers. I was moved by this amazing story; not only of the enterprising spirit of a businessman filling  a need in the dance market, but as a loving father trying to provide a solution for his ballet-loving daughters.

Fiorina doesn’t have an eCommerce website, per say, but you can see a wonderful photo of Mr. Fiorucci hard at work making his brand of hand-made pointe shoes by visiting this blog, Disenosfiorina.blogspot.com.

Intriguing Aspects About These Shoes; Two-Tone Materials

fiorina-2

Fiorina Laura

Like a few other models mentioned on this site, the Fiorina brand combines the design principles of a cobbler from one country that manufactures his products in another country, then gives his shoe models English-sounding names. * How’s that for an interesting mix ?

This is the kind of stuff that will keep me interested in pointe shoes for the rest of my life; maybe longer!   Another unique feature noted is the two-tones of pink material used to make this shoe; especially noticeable on the heel seam.

Fiorina Has Two Models; Laura And Margaret

fiorina-3

Laura

I wish I could tell you which one of the photos at the very top of this page is the Laura model and which one is the Margaret, but I can’t.

However, the Laura model shown here on the right can be seen for sale at Tintorettodance.com

I was lucky enough to find a Facebook conversation where someone asked  Tintorettodance the difference between the Laura and Margaret. They are basically the same shoe, only the Laura has extra cushioning inside the toe box for more support. You can see the hot pink cushion inside the box of the shoe above.

* Speaking of the names Laura and Margaret; Laura is derived from the Latin name Laurus, like the leaves of Roman Laurel trees. Margaret derives from the Latin Margarita, meaning pearl. They may sound English to my ears, but they are not. Now it makes perfect sense why Mr. Fiorucci named his shoes with these names.

Contact Information for Fiorino : disenosfiorina@hotmail.com

 

Sorting Through Grishko’s Beginner Series Pointe Shoe Models

Can I give away my age here? Way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, most of the pointe students that I knew ( myself included) followed a certain training path that led from wearing soft leather ballet slippers for at least 2 years before graduating directly into hard pointe shoes.

Our toes were not allowed the luxury of ” bridge” pointes; shoes that are made to ease a student into the world of full-fledged pointe shoes. When the teacher said you were ready, you changed out of your comfy-soft slippers into the hard ones and wore them a few minutes per class until you got used to them.

Demi-pointe models are an interesting concept that creates a division of opinion between those in the dance community.  You can imagine my curiosity when I found out that Grishko now has 3 different student models that are meant to be worn in succession as though climbing a ladder to reach a pointe shoe pinnacle.

You Begin  With The Grishko Exam; A Soft Version Based On The 2007, Vaganova, Fouette And Elite

exam

Exam

According to Grishko and the many dance supply companies that offer this model, the design incorporates wide toe boxes and no shank to provide comfort for growing feet. The shoe is meant to be used for ballet exam preparation or pointe practice.

Exam Specs Include:

  •  Medium u-shaped vamp
  •  Medium platform
  • A soft half-box
  • Lower heels and non-slip sole

After Graduating From The Exam, You Move On To The Alice

Alice

Alice

After you spend enough time wearing the Exam and getting used to a harder toe box, the teacher ( or the Grishko sales department) may say you are ready to begin wearing the training shoe model, Alice.

Grishko recommends wearing  this shoe for 3-6 months before attempting real pointe work.

Alice Specs Include:

  • A flannel lining
  • Machine stitched sole
  • 1/2 box shank
  • Flexible sole
  • Based on the 2007 design

Once You Finish With Alice, You Jump Into The Novice

Novice

Novice

Finally! We can now get on with the real reason we signed up for ballet classes in the first place; dancing on our toes. The Novice is supposed to be a student’s very first real pointe shoe.

Novice Specs Include:

  • Low box design for less toe pressure
  • Softer insole for comfort

Do We Really Need All These Stepping Stone Pointes?

This could cause a huge riot in the dance supply world, but the reality is that for hundreds of years most of the world’s artistically perfect dancers never knew what one of these shoe designs were.  Dancers made their own demi-pointes by yanking out the shank if they needed to and smashing down the boxes to make them as soft as possible.

The premise of a demi-pointe shoe is to ease a student from a soft, pliable slipper into one that contains her toes within a hard structure. The demi-pointe is supposed to help train beginners to walk within the confines of a hard shoe and balance themselves gracefully on the stiffer soles and rigid boxes.

Some ballet instructors recommend demi-pointes, some do not. Some students and dance parents find them to be one more expense they would prefer to avoid. What about you? Do you think beginners are better off with a transition model, or do you think that this is more of a marketing ploy designed to get people to spend more money than they need to?

You can see all three models and read more about each one on the Grishko Canada website.

5 Things Pointe Shoe Companies Need To Know

Do you own a dance supply company? Are you reading some of the posts on this blog because you have seen your company name and/or  pointe shoe model mentioned here and showing up on Google, Yahoo or Bing searches? If so, maybe you do everything right as a company and the following doesn’t pertain to your business model.

Note: Capezio, Aloart of Italy and Wilhelm Schachtner of Germany have shown remarkable business etiquette in their dealings with me and I give them top marks for customer service.

However, because I spend many hours a month dealing with the topic of pointe shoe brands and global manufacturers,  I see a huge need to address some of the following business practice faux pas and beliefs that could be affecting the way your company is viewed by your potential customer base.

1. You Need To Provide Detailed Information About Your Pointe Shoe Models To Your Potential Buyers

  • When it comes to pointe shoes, a photo and an “order now” button are not enough.
  • Spend the extra time/ money needed to add detailed specifications to each one of your shoe models on your website so that a potential customer can make an educated buy.
  • Even if your company highly favors personal fittings in person as is the best method for a proper fit, there are collectors out there that have money to spend on your shoes if you would only let them know what they are getting.

2. You Need To Get Serious About Customer Service-Answer Those Questions, Please

  • There are two types of dancewear companies online; those who answer each inquiry with enthusiasm, professionalism and all the details a customer could use to make a decision, or those who treat questions as  something it is okay to ignore.
  • Is your company too large to provide efficient email response? Take note that there are several well-established manufacturers that have created basic F.A.Q. pages that answer the most-asked questions by their customers.
  • If you receive an email inquiry asking for information about a certain pointe shoe model, please don’t reply, ” Yes, we have them in stock in pink and black”.

Students, dancers, collectors and even bloggers on the topic of your shoes want to know all the detailed specifications:  vamp length, shank construction/ variations, platform size and shape, toe box configuration, materials used for making the shoe, recommendations for beginner, advanced, e.t.c, special care tips and whether ribbons are included with purchase.

3. You Never Know Who You Are Corresponding With

One of the problems that shunning an inquiry causes is to leave a bad taste in the mouth of the person seeking information about your particular product or brand. People feel slighted and will look at your company as uncaring and unprofessional.

It’s never a good business practice to ignore anyone that has taken the time to contact your company. Answer questions about your products, your background and history. What is there to hide? You may be ignoring a magazine editor, news correspondent or someone who is looking to feature your company in a popular dance blog article or forum post.

4. Pointe Shoe Specifications Are Not Top-Secret Classified Military Information To Be Withheld From Civilians

With so much access to information about pointe shoes online, the probability that your materials and construction methods are top-secret is very slim. I say this because many manufacturers outside the U.S.A. have  become extremely distrustful of any questions asked about their products.

  • Transparency is highly respected- Companies like Freed of London, Suffolk, Grishko, Repetto, SoDanca and a few other highly successful manufacturers   offer videos or virtual tours of their pointe shoe factories  and /or their factory locations for anyone to learn more about their products.
  • Show Off Your Products Becoming successful in the global marketplace means being proud enough of your product to share the details with an inquirer; even one from “overseas”.
  • Expect Critique And Reviews- I understand that some fear might be based on public criticism of your product, but dancers have highly unique needs.  Every pointe model will not be able to get a big BRAVO from 100% of the people 100% of the time.

How Your Company Manufactures Pointe Shoes Should Never Be Hidden From The Dance World


5. There Is No Need To Fear A Writer-A Ballet Blogger Can Be A Great Business Asset

The biggest problem with pointe shoe manufacturers is fear. Yes, fear. Whenever I mention this website, I get two responses. One is interest and enthusiasm for connecting with dancers and offering them some value and options with their pointe shoe searches. The other 75% are scared witless to be contacted by a writer and immediately clam up tighter than, well, a clam.

What’s going on out there business owners? Are you afraid that a writer is really a secret I.R.S. agent gathering intelligence to audit your books? Perhaps you consider a writer a mad scientist who wants to get his hands on your shoes so he can go into his basement laboratory to copy your paste recipe and steal your shank and toe box design.

Writers are just regular people searching for information to share with others on a mutual topic of interest. Befriending a writer has a lot of benefits; one being free word-of-mouth advertising to a pool of people interested in your type of products.  With so much competition out there, it pays to stay connected to the dance community ( including teachers, writers and collectors) in a positive, professional way.