Esmellia Japanese Pointe Shoes-Mail Order Mystery Company

Esmellia full soleWhile writing my previous post about a Tokyo-based custom pointe shoe maker, I was keeping another Japanese brand under wraps until I had as much information to share with you as I possibly could. It is both exciting and frustrating to find a new brand out there, yet one that has so little to offer in the way of specifics.

Esmellia Is An Japanese Mail Order Company Of Dance Supplies

I can honestly say that Google Translate received quite a workout as I went through the Esmellia website looking for their company history and an address. What they do advertise is the fact that they are a mail order business. They offer a simple contact email, nothing else.

There Are Two Esmellia  Pointe Shoe Variations

Esmellia features two models on their website; a **full shank and a 3/4 shank model. The full sole pictured here comes with a medium shank strength. You can see the company logo which resembles some type of  Tulip flower.

**According to the product page, the full sole model will be for sale until inventory runs out. That could mean that this shoe will end up in the discontinued grave yard.

Esmellia Is Not Active On Social Media

Unfortunately, this company doesn’t do any marketing on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. They are somewhat of a mystery. No street address, no founder name, no clue as to what part of Japan Esmellia operates from. You can visit their official website @ To see the shoes, click on the last button under PRODUCTS on the left side.

If there are any Japanese language experts out there, I would love to know if you can find an address or company history I may have missed.


Tokyo-Based Custom Pointe Shoes By Avignon

Avignon Pointe Shoes Japan

Avignon Pointe Shoes Japan

One of the most beautiful things about the ballet world is how connected it is globally.  A dancer in New York and one at the barre in Japan maybe practicing the very same exercise using exactly the same terminology. Most pointe shoes are named not by country, but by variation, character, ballet story, or individual steps.

Thinking about this connection and different countries, my latest pointe shoe brand discovery confirmed this interesting intertwining of cultures and names.  It is the Japanese dance shop with a very French name; Avignon.

Avignon Has A Shop In The Tokyo District Of Setagaya

Avignon Shop Tokyo

Avignon Storefront

Nestled among the crowded streets of Tokyo, in the Setagaya district, is a dance shop where they make custom pointe shoes by hand to your specification.

If you are a follower of my posts, you already know how much I respect the craftsmanship of custom-made pointe shoes.

It’s nice to know there is one more manufacturer that does pointe shoes in this personalized way. These smaller shops can not only give you personalized attention, but a real working relationship with the maker of your shoes.

Although the post is very old, I enjoyed reading about one dancer’s experience with her custom Avignon shoes; Fumie’s New Pointe Shoes. The pictures are lovely.

To visit their  official website go to  Under the Home category links on the left side, choose the first one to see the shoes. Sadly, I couldn’t find any social media presence for Avignon at this time.

Katz Introduces Their New Pointe Shoe Collection

Ever since I first saw the Katz brand of soft ballet slippers, I have admired their beauty and elegance. To this day, I still find the Katz satin slipper one of the prettiest shoes on the market.  The pink ones are pure dreaminess and the white satin version reminds me of  Cinderella, sleeping beauties, fairy tales, and weddings.

Katz Has Mastered The Art Of Toe Pleating, There Is No Doubt

Katz Slipper Pink SatinAs you can notice here, the slippers have painstakingly- perfect pleating under the toes.

Whenever I would see a pair of Katz ballet slippers online, I would always wonder if or when they would ever come out with a pointe shoe. Now, they have! Their lovely shoes are produced in Thrapston, Northamptonshire England.

You Can See Them Hard At Work Making Ballet Slippers

The Katz  Pointe Shoe Collection Begins With Four Models:

  1. Katz Pointe ShoesThe Professional series with hard shank and satin platform.
  2. The Professional series with hard shank and suede platform.
  3. The Beginner series with soft shank and satin platform.
  4. The Beginner series with soft shank and suede platform.


Just like the soft slippers, I see the precision of symmetry that gives Katz ballet shoes such wonderful aesthetics. The most admirable quality about them is that they are still made entirely by hand. Across the pond. In England, precious England. Home of Covent Garden, The Royal Ballet, and other fascinating venues of dance history.

I wish the new collection much success. You can learn more about the Katz pointe shoe collection by visiting their official website,



What’s New In Pointe Shoe World ?

In between searching for new brands and making regular product checks on the sites listed in the sidebar, things can get quite backed up in the posting department. However, thanks to the manufacturers that have an active social media presence,  receiving a new pointe model alert without having to visit  multiple sites makes things easier.

Below are a few new models introduced this summer :

Evidence Pirouette

Evidence Pirouette

Evidence of Brazil has added a lovely new model to their collection with the pretty name of Pirouette. The major selling point ( no pun intended) of this model is the 90-degree angle of the toe box. Similar in concept to Freed’s Classic Professional, it coaxes the foot into a central position on pointe.

Combined with a strong flexible shank for easy transitions, it could very well be a great shoe for doing pirouettes. It comes with a 3/4 outer sole and is described as a canoe-shaped model that makes your legs and feet look beautiful.

Canoe? Perhaps in Brazil that describes a particular shape and not the shallow boat with paddles and two pointed ends that I picture. If you scroll about halfway down on their company homepage,  you will see a dancer with etched butterfly wings wearing the Pirouette model.

Above the dancer we read : New Pointe Shoe, Design by Fernando Fermino.  Do they mean the pretty butterfly design, or the pointe shoes? If you know who Fernando Fermino is, please feel free to comment.

Fuzi Lisse

Fuzi Lisse

Fuzi  introduced a new model in their collection this summer; the Lisse. According to the product page description, Lisse is a model that can work for all levels of pointe experience.

The major selling feature of this model is sleekness of shape and construction. It looks like quite the low-profile shoe, doesn’t it?

The wings are blocked all the way up the box for dancers that like extra support along the sides of the shoe. You can see the shop display of the Fuzi Lisse in this Facebook photo.



Fascinating Vintage-The Hoffert Dancing Slipper

1952 ad Hoffert dancing slipperDo you know what I really love? That ballet can be just as fascinating when you go back in time as it is going forward; especially the shoes.

As a matter of fact, many vintage ballet shoe collectors probably wish they had unlimited funds to scoop up all the rare historical treasures they could get their hands on.

The most fascinating pointe shoe brands are the ones that were alive and well back in the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

I am enthralled with vintage dance shoe ads. These precious ads take us back to a time when pointe  shoes were called toe shoes or dancing slippers. As seen above in this 1952 ad from the Chicago Theatrical Shoe Company, an interesting selling feature was something they called the Italian toe.

No matter what type of toe they had, they are a lovely piece of memorabilia from the now long-gone Chicago Theatrical Shoe Company. Isn’t it amazing that some still survive? This is a great incentive to hang on to your old pointe shoes, or dancing slippers.


Vintage BalletDancing slipper…… sounds so light and airy, graceful and romantic.




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 domain is registered to Bloch.
  • The 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 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:, Duck Diving Swan by Rigor Mortisque, No Modifications,


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


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.