The Leos And Mirella Brand Owned By Bloch

Today when I visited the link for Leos pointe shoes, I was baffled  when I was redirected to the Bloch USA website. Was my computer hacked? What happened to Leo’s website? Why is Bloch also selling Mirella pointe shoes?

It wasn’t too long ago that Bloch sold strictly Bloch. After contacting them through their Facebook page, I was told that, indeed, Bloch now owns the Leo’s brand. For some reason, I didn’t want to believe it, so I decided to investigate further.

The Trademark And Trade-name Search Results:

By jovi, it’s true! Leo’s and Mirella are both registered brands under ownership of Bloch. Not only that, but the registration took place in the late 1990’s. I had no idea. After more searching I discovered that :

  • The Leosdancewear.com domain is registered to Bloch.
  • The Mirella-dance.com domain is registered to a Bloch representative.
  • The collaboration of these trade name sales all take place at the same address in Reno, Nevada. Interestingly enough, the street name is called Trademark Drive.

Shocking, Sad, A Sign Of The Times?

When you consider how long Leo’s was a stand-alone company, ( established in 1924) having to sell their brand name to a bigger company must have been a difficult decision. The same for Mirella. It doesn’t seem like this was just because of limited model choice; Mirella has several models.

What To Call These Blended Brands

Now that Bloch owns the brand name Leos and Mirella, do we call them Bloch-Mirella Whispers or Bloch-Leo Split-soles? Mirella-Bloch Elegance?

To add to the confusion, Mirella’s website is still online, but you can’t purchase anything directly from it. When you visit Bloch Australia you see Mirella models listed first and foremost. All three, Bloch, Leos and Mirella, maintain separate Facebook pages.

Bloch produces their models in Thailand. Leos had transferred production of their pointe shoes to Mexico. I don’t know where Mirella was making their shoes. Does anyone remember any announcement by Bloch, Mirella or Leos letting the public know about these changes? If so, please share.

I, who believe deeply in separation of pointes and state, will now go and bemoan these changes; however long ago they happened.

 

Have Gamba’s Former Cobblers Said Goodbye To Their Me.Me Dance Pointe Shoe Brand?

The U.K.-based company, Me.Me Dance, that was founded by several former Gamba pointe shoe makers,  appears to have disappeared.  Five years ago, It was an interesting discovery not only for a new concept pointe shoe, but that a few talented cobblers decided not to let Gamba’s closure stop them from working their craft. You can read the original post here :

The New Concept 9 Pointe Shoe By Me.Me Dance

The Official Me.Me Dance Website Link Doesn’t Work Anymore

swan diving

down we go……

I  typically try to test the links on the sidebar here as I often as I can. Sometimes, companies change domains.  Sometimes, it is an error on my part. Most of the time, however, it means the brand has been a dying swan and sank to the bottom of the lake feathers and all.

Me.Me Dance Has A  Blog; Albeit With A Few Cobwebs Hanging

I decided to do a little domain investigation about me.medance.co.uk. The domain is free and  is available for sale. That means the broken link isn’t a server problem. There is no longer an official website to place orders. Links are not working on their blog, neither has there been activity since 2015.  I decided to go ahead and send an inquiry in a comment area even though it looks abandoned. Wishful thinking on my part? Absolutely!

There Was Genuine Interest When They Debuted Their Shoes In 2012

I think one of the most informative articles about the specs of the pointe shoes  was published by Ballet News U.K. when they were first introduced to the dance community in the summer of 2012. You can get a great idea of the struggles and challenges of perfecting a pointe shoe design in this article.

I searched for Me.Me Dance on social media sites, but found nothing. I found one dancewear shop in the UK who lists them as available stock and have sent an email to the company. Unless I learn otherwise, it appears this pointe shoe brand is now  discontinued.

 

 

Image Credit: Flickr.com, Duck Diving Swan by Rigor Mortisque, No Modifications, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Repetto Alicia-Jolie Chaussure Pointe

What’s very expensive, but beautiful nonetheless? Shoes made by the classically French company Repetto. From their cute ballerina flats to their lovely satin pointe shoes, Repetto is a well-known brand for dancers and non-dancers alike.

Repetto Alicia

Repetto Alicia. A beautiful hug to the arch with 3/4 shank construction.

For many years, the only pointe shoe models that were advertised on their official website were the Juliet and the Carlotta. I almost gave up hope of finding anything new on their site.

Although Repetto came out with the Alicia in 2015, they are new to me, and possibly to you as well. According to Repetto, the Alicia model is for intermediate or advanced dancers with several years of training. It is a 3/4 shank shoe with long vamps and a medium profile.

As they say in French, these are jolie (pretty) pointe shoes.

The Circa 1980’s Soloist Pointe Shoe By Nadine Ravene

What happens when a great pointe shoe concept simply fails to succeed in the dance market? I think it’s fair to say that most new ventures feel that a shoe that solves a frustrating problem for dancers has a good chance of catching on in the dance world. Oh, how fickle the feet of the ballerina!

1980's Vintage Soloist pointe shoe by Nadine Ravene

1980’s Vintage Soloist pointe shoe by Nadine Ravene

 Marketing A Single New Pointe Shoe Is Incredibly Hard

Solving problems are wonderful. Sadly, sometimes this isn’t enough. There are many stories of former dancers who try mass-producing their idea of a great pointe shoe design based on the complaints of their students or associates. It’s a huge risk, but one that Nadine Ravene, now a faculty member of the Viktor Yeliohin International Ballet Academy, decided to take way back in the 1980’s.

( Scroll to the bottom of the page for her dance bio)

The Soloist Was A Nail And Staple-Free Shoe Held Together With Flex Materials To Prevent It From Falling Apart.

1980's Vintage Soloist pointe shoe by Nadine Ravene

If you read through all the article links posted here, you will discover that the Soloist was described as a thin leather pointe on one article, and a blush satin pointe on another. What do you think? It looks a little leathery around the heel area to me.

Madame Ravine Had Interesting Opinions About Pointe Shoe Construction Techniques

One of  the most fascinating reads based on the introduction of the Soloist model in March of 1988 was her opinion about traditional cobbling methods.  In this article by the Deseret News, Madame Ravene can be quoted as saying:

“Dancers are by nature a little masochistic; they are the last of the arts professionals to do what they love for nothing,” said Revene, whose dancer’s body and instinctive grace confirm a life spent on stage and in the studio. “That’s one reason why they have put up with the same type of antiquated toe shoe for centuries.

 “Does it make sense? We’ve changed all other types of athletic shoes – for running, hiking, all kinds of sports – using the most scientific principles of fine fit and support, and the newest fabrics. But ballet dancers still cling to the idea that slippers must be made by a little old man at a cobbler’s bench.”

Of course, as a traditionalist, my insides felt a bit of a pang for the precious old man at the cobblers bench. I  think the art of making pointe shoes by hand is a beautiful tribute to the history of ballet. It’s funny that one person’s antiquated process is someone else’s treasured way of doing things.

 Is It Bad Luck To Name A Pointe Shoe Soloist?

When Mikhail Baryshnikov introduced his Soloist pointe shoes in the 1990’s, you would have thought suppliers would have had to post armed guards to hold back the excited crowds from rushing the doors.  Instead, Baryshnikov pointe shoes fizzled out of the market.

Ravene Soloist Versus Baryshnikov Soloist

It’s kind of sad that these two Soloist’s didn’t make it. On a positive note, models like this from well-known dancers make fabulous additions to a rare or discontinued pointe shoe collection. I imagine that the Ravene Soloist would be incredibly hard to find, but maybe trying to contact her through the Yeliohin Academy website could snag you a pair.

Anything New Sends Them Running Backstage

crab

A new type of shoe, you say?

It’s funny that when you introduce a brand new concept in pointe shoe design, dancers tend to approach cautiously and suspiciously; a bit like a crab moving sideways.   It takes genius to breakthrough the hard shell of tradition.

For more, read about Nadine Ravene and what inspired her to make her own pointe model in this 1988 article: Former Ballerina Has Designed A Shoe To Help Dancers Get The Pointe

 

The Mysterious Mayol Of Argentina

It’s been a long, long time since a pointe shoe discovery has left me with barely enough information to make a post. This is one of those times. I have sleuthed and surfed and searched for information about the Mayol brand for months, but haven’t been successful.

The only clue obvious from these photos is the manufacturer’s mark on the sole that says Industria Argentina. This simply means it is a product of or produced in Argentina.

Mayol Pointe Shoes

The toe box pleating is quite wide and the shoe appears to be tapered with a wide metatarsal area. The logo looks to be ink-stamped and not imprinted into the sole material.

Perhaps, this brand is a “contract shoe” for a particular dance theater or school in Argentina, I don’t know. For now,  the Mayol brand remains a complete mystery.