The Catatac-Finch No Pain Pointe Shoe Concept

Controlling the ouch factor of dancing on your toes is right up there with finding shoes that fit and look aesthetically beautiful.  Dancers are always padding and wooling, taping and gel-tubing their hurting toes from the friction and impact of pointe work. At the end of the day, a dance student never knows what she will find when she peels off her shoes; a blister, a bunion, a bruise, or all three.

Pain Relief , Modern Materials And Technology

What if someone could invent a pointe shoe that is 100% pain-free? It’s a challenging task when you consider it.  In one of my earlier posts, I was stunned and intrigued by the concept design of the Nike Arc Angel.  Because my heart belongs to the traditional in ballet, these futuristic designs are head-shakers. Enter another shocker; the Finch No-Pain prototype.

Designed On A Computer, Not By A Cobbler’s Hands

Catatac-Finch Prototype By Dennis Finch

Catatac-Finch Pointe Shoes

Dear Pavlova, Perhaps it’s best you aren’t around to see this.

So, how do we make dancing on our toes completely painless? We create a pointe shoe that doesn’t allow any of our weight to go to the toe box. Eureka!

However, as you can see by this photo, it  takes major mechanical engineering to create moving parts from rigid material.  The general premise here is a pointe shoe that has a stiff structure like a ski boot and has a “ledge” under the heel bone to hold you up.

What the computer forgot:

  1. Few of us have feet shaped like an upside-down L that can rest on a ledge.  Movement causes slippage downward, hence weight to the toes.
  2. The brain of a dancer will have to be rewired to use her heels as a reference during turns on stage.
  3.  Feet with low arches will have to lean back for support. The swans in Swan Lake will fall backwards.
  4. Flexibility is a must. Bolts and hinges inside of a pointe shoe is a scary idea. Will they need oiling?
  5. Gravity is gravity.

It appears that this pointe shoe idea was made public in 2011. The shoes were called Cat A Tac and featured as a computerized design on Catatac.net. From the home page, it links to Finch-no-pain-pointe-shoes.com.

It is now approximately 5 years later. The idea was thoughtful in purpose; let’s invent a shoe to give those poor ballet tootsies a break.

 

Part Of The Beauty Of A Ballerina Is Encapsulated In Her Gnarled Toes

Should ballet be painless? Isn’t part of the sacrifice and discipline of dance training to earn a few blisters or bruises? As much as it can be painful, professionals do everything they can to put as little between their toes and the floor as possible.

For many, gnarled toes are a right of passage, a sign of a long and beautiful career as a dancer.  I am not sure if we should be trying to tame pointe shoes into behaving like comfy bedroom slippers. What do you think?

Capezio’s New Pointe Shoe Model-The Cambré

As a person who has followed Capezio products for a long time, there was always a long waiting game before Capezio would add a new pointe shoe model to their collection.  However, they seem to be picking up steam at the factory these days. As you recall, the Tiffany, Bella and Airess made their debuts in rapid succession. Now,  another one has  popped off the cobblers bench this month: the Cambré.

Here a few of the specifications of the Cambré:
  • Dancer’s can choose from two toe box shapes; tapered or broad.
  • The 3/4 standard shank comes in medium or hard.
  • Capezio emphasizes the sole design of this model as being thinner,  shorter and scored for traction.
  • Cambré  is a low profile shoe with a long vamp.
Capezio Cambré Pointe Shoe

The Cambré tapered toe box version

What is interesting about the Cambré is the lack of pleating that is typical on most toe boxes. It is made smooth not unlike the Gaynor Minden toe style. It also has a diagonal or bias side seam in the same fashion as the Mikhail Baryshnikov pointe shoe collection of the 1990’s.

This model reminds me of the Bloch Axiom in concept. It’s all about toe box and platform, less about heel support and shanks to lean on. This is a specialty pointe shoe that is not going to be for the masses.  Perhaps this is a purposeful move away from the idea that Capezio pointe shoes are popular with beginners, not professionals.

Of course, when a new pointe model comes out, I must do my name and image critique ( so much fun!) . Did Capezio give this shoe a good name? In fairness, Capezio always takes professional photographs.

Cambré definition : to arch or bend

Yes indeed, the marketing photo shows a dancer with a high arch trying to bend its way out of those shoes but for the pink satin restraints. The name Cambré works perfectly for a pointe shoe with thin outsoles and 3/4 shanks.

So, what do you think about Capezio’s latest model? Fantastic? So so? Do you think Capezio is making  too many new models too quickly?

 

D’Mauro Pointe Shoes From Cali, Columbia

D'mauro Ballet pointe shoes

D’mauro pointe shoes with interesting curly-cue drawstrings

Are you ready for another pointe shoe brand from South America? In one of my earlier posts, I featured a model from Colombia made by Calidance. It looks like I discovered a possible competitor in the same beautiful city of Cali, Colombia.

D’mauro Ballet  Is All About Dance Shoes

D’mauro Ballet manufactures professional dance shoes for companies in and around the Cali area. They offer both ready-to-wear and custom-made ballet slippers and pointe shoes.  They also make jazz and salsa shoes.

The D’mauro Pointe Model

D'mauro Ballet pointe shoesThere are two things that caught my eye about the D’mauro model:

  1. The drawstrings appear thicker than many I’ve seen on other brands.
  2. The beautiful workmanship of the D’mauro logo imprint on the sole. It has an elegant look because the lettering is applied so precisely.

D'mauro Ballet pointe shoes

Sadly, thanks to my trusted translator friend ( Mr. Google) , there is 100% certainty that the official D’mauro website offers zero specifications about their pointe model. There is no name or number to the shoes. As a matter of fact, the page where they are featured pictures them in a very unusual way.

They are dyed in red-pink with blue bindings and yellow ribbons. At first, my eyes were in shock. What are they thinking? Oh dear, oh my…

Then I thought perhaps this is a representation of the colors of the Colombian flag. Yes, of course. It makes sense.

If you want to see some Colombian- flag-colored pointe shoes, visit Dmauroballet, chose Zapatillas, then click on De Punta to see what I mean. The D’mauro pointe model is photographed in its plainly pretty state on their Facebook page.

A Little Intriguing Note For You:

In Spanish and Italian, a name like D’mauro means of or by Mauro. Could it be that this brand was created by the seasoned dance choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti?  I sent an inquiry to D’mauro and will update this post if they choose to bless me with an answer.

Is it me or do those drawstrings look like little lamb tails?

Ditas Pointe Shoes From The Czech Republic

Being an American that has never traveled overseas to Europe makes researching tDitas Pointe Shoeshe production of pointe shoe brands in that region quite an exotic and brain-stimulating experience. I feel a bit like Christopher Columbus sailing around making discoveries once hidden from the rest of us, but now no longer a secret.

So far on the sidebar links we have brands from Italy, Germany, France, England, Spain, Holland and Austria. Now, we have another country to add; The Czech Republic and the Ditas brand name. I am thrilled to find a Czechoslovakian pointe shoe brand.

Some Information About Ditas

This dancewear company is located in the heart of Prague.  They began production of their garments and shoes in 1991. According to their About Page, they supply many theatrical venues in and around the country; including The National Theatre of Prague.

It appears that Ditas has one advertised model in pink satin, although the catalog mentions that they take custom orders for shoes in beige, black or white. Although I am slightly disappointed about the lack of specifications on their pointe model, it hasn’t burst my discovery bubble.

I searched high and low for any social media accounts for Ditas, but couldn’t find any. You can find their interesting product catalog on their official website, Ditas.cz.

 

 

The Grishko 1737 Collection

Have you ever wondered why the same pointe shoe manufacturer creates subdivisions or separate collections within their main product group? You can really see this concept with Russian Pointe and Sansha. Now, Grishko has added another side brand to their company.

Grishko Creates The 1737 Dancewear Line

I hadn’t checked on the Grishko line since the Miracle model debuted some time ago. It appears that Grishko has created a special collection of garments and  dance shoes based on collaboration with dancers at The Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres. If you want to know what dancers crave, you can’t get any smarter  than asking them directly.

What Do Bolshoi And Mariinsky Dancers Suggest For Pointe Shoes?

The 1737 collection has three pointe shoe models; Katya, Dream and The Legend. First of all, naming a pointe model with “The” in the title is very rare. It isn’t Grishko Legend, but Grishko The Legend.

According to online descriptions, The Legend is classified as a classic Russian pointe shoe. It has a u-shaped medium vamp and a low profile.

The Katya has a V-shaped medium vamp and platform and is a very flexible and lightweight shoe. I love the name Katya. It’s so Russian, so exotic and so ballerina-like.

The Dream is the professional-level model.  It encompasses all of the positive aspects of the 2007 model, but incorporates high-tech thermoplastic materials. Grishko, a world leader known for only  producing the finest traditional Russian hand-pasted shoes has made a plastic model!

In this 2011 article, Grishko And The Threat Of Plastic,  Grishko staunchly defends the tradition of paste and has a few choice words to say about Gaynor Minden-like pointe shoes.

So What Happened? Why This Change?

In defense of Grishko, the Dream is branded under the 1737 division. They have  separated these three models from the home collection because of the collaboration with Bolshoi and Mariinsky dancers.

That leads me to the second point. If you are Grishko and you ask professional Russian dancers what their “dream” shoe is all about, you are planning to give them what they want, no? From these three models you can see that they wanted a pointe shoe with these features :

  • Light and flexible, medium U or V-shaped vamps, low profile.
  • High impact protection and longer lasting; hence the replacement of paste to orthopedic thermoplastic.

The Dancers Themselves Asked For A High Tech Option

What really gets me curious is why this collection is called 1737. It has a specific meaning for Nicolai Grishko, but what?

 

I left an inquiry on Grishko”s Facebook page to learn more about the 1737 name.