Category Archives: Concept Design Pointe Shoes

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 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?

Electronic Pointe Shoes? Shocking News For The Ballet Traditionalist

Pretty pink satin shoes with delicate ribbons, hand sewn with love and dedication.  Sugar plums and fairies, tutus and tiaras, electronic wires. Wait. What?

As a proud ballet traditionalist, I admire and adore the look, feel and performance of old-fashioned hand pasted pointe shoes. They don’t require silver toe taps, built-in padding, heat molding, anti-bacterial properties or any other bells and whistles as far as I am concerned.

Apparently, that makes me a ballet fuddy duddy when it comes to progress on pointe. Anything that veers too far away from classic pointe shoe design tends to disturb my traditional ballet heart.

Now that a Spanish dancer has invented electronic pointe shoes, the thought is both fascinating and off-putting at the same time. Why are they trying to kill the time-honored traditions of classical ballet? Can’t they fiddle with a space-age design concept for tap shoes instead?

Look Mommy, the ballerina has electric shoes!

E-TRACES, memories of dance from Lesia Trubat on Vimeo.

Clever or crazy? What are your thoughts about this new pointe shoe invention? Does this disturb your beliefs about traditional pointe shoe design or do you think they are a realistic product that could become a staple in dance theaters?

Büffel Pointe Shoes From Germany; Will This Design Create A Stampede?

buffeL-2Picture a delicate-looking ballerina on pointe. She is light. She is wispy. Her movements are one of gracefulness and all things airy and weightless. Her feminine pink satin shoes may be Pavlowas or Ballerinas or Princesses. Ah….the romance and magic of a pretty slipper name can be so inspiring for a little girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina one day.

American Bison

Would I look too fat in a tutu?

Move forward to 2014.  Pointe shoe names can sometimes land with a heavy thud on our romantic visions. Such is the case of Büffel; a German concept design shoe for professionals with ready-to-dance technology built-in. Before I mention this wonderful design, let me mention that Büffel translated into English means Bison or Buffalo. Buffalo. BUFFALO Pointe Shoes.

Will Dancers Stampede To Check Out The Design Concept Of  Büffel Pointe Shoes ?

buffeLOkay, so a few of us may find the name Buffalo abhorrent and unladylike. It’s just difficult to picture a buffalo and a ballerina together in one’s mind.  However, the shoe design does have interesting  features. It has patented construction that allows a dancer to be able to go into demi-pointe immediately; no tedious breaking in required.

According to the description, they are lightweight, soft and comfortable to wear. They are made with a slip resistant toe cap. The paste-less shoe has a skeleton framework made of plastic materials that encompasses not only the shank, but the toe box area as well. This expanse of plastic material along the sole portion has a section cut out near the ball of the foot so a brand-new  shoe bends into demi-pointe position quickly and easily. Could this be the new German Gaynor Minden?

buffel-3

For a pointe shoe with the heavy sounding name of Buffalo, they have a surprisingly pretty aesthetic. This is what makes pointe shoe brands such an interesting topic. You never know what you are going to discover out there!

In all fairness to the company, when I found them on Facebook , I learned that the brand name Braun Büffel  ( brown buffalo) was a well-established manufacturer of high-end leather goods in Hilden, Germany way before they created a dance division.

This means a cobbler did not create a pointe shoe model, then decide to name them buffaloes, thank goodness. The Braun Büffel Company has a long, winding history that dates back more than 120 years. They have a large number of store locations all over the world.

You can learn more about this German manufacturer by visiting their official website; Braunbuffel.com.

Ordering These Shoes Is An Unusual Proposition

Why are their pointe shoes not on their official website or Facebook page? I sent an email inquiry to the Australian sales division email listed on their contact page, but never received a response. They ignored me on Facebook as well. Tsk..tsk, shame, shame Büffel .

What I do know is that someone has set up a special eBay Germany page to take inquiries/ orders for the shoes with the following contact information:

Legal Information of the seller
Atelier Zhang, Ye Yun Zhang
Ye Yun Zhang
Lortzingstr. 16
40724 Hilden
Germany

E-mail: Zhang@gmx.de

When you think about it, pointe shoes being offered for sale next to leather  bags, men’s wallets and luggage might look very strange indeed. It is still a mystery why this company decided to put their name on a product so decidedly different from their normal product line.

What do you think? Should this company be required to offer brown satin versions in keeping with the brown buffalo theme? Would it be difficult for you to tell your ballet associates that you dance in buffalo pointes?


Nike Pointe Shoes? Be Still My Heart!

When I hear the word Nike, I picture bulked-up athletes and jocks running back and forth on some basketball court sweating and panting. Never would I imagine anything by Nike having to do with the delicate, graceful art of ballet dancing. You can only imagine my shock when I found the Nike name in reference to a possible “concept” design called the Nike Arc Angel; a rubbery-looking, banded shoe that appears quite scary in the advertisements.

The Modernization Of Pointe Shoe Construction May Be Too Much For Traditionalists 

Nike Arc Angel

Nike Arc Angel

What would Pavlova, Fonteyn, Vaganova and Ulanova think about pointe shoes made by a company like Nike? Although the concept may be appealing to younger dancers who are used to the rapid changes of the high-tech world, this is going a bit far.

The End Of Ballerina Magic-Is It Near?

arc-angelsThe Arc Angel is advertised as a footwear solution for easing impact during pointe training. It has installed bands that are supposed to train the foot into position. Ballerinas have been enjoying ( okay, not exactly enjoying) impact for hundreds of years. One of the aspects of professional ballet training is to pull up and out of your shoes to ease the impact. Should Gellows, Ouch Pouches and lambs wool retailers be concerned?

A Ballet Dancer Is An Athlete, But In A Magical Sort Of Way 

Anyone who follows the world of professional ballet understands how advanced the choreography is these days. A ballerina has to perform increasingly difficult physical moves. The magical part is the illusion she brings to the stage that is one of delicateness, lightness and grace when she is really a very strong and sturdy person.

Will  Professional Dance Companies Allow Training With The Arc Angel?

Even though these shoes may not grace the stage of The Bolshoi Theatre, one has to ask if a professional instructor from a traditional academy will allow something like this for serious students. Choosing black and blue as the shades of choice when we are speaking about impact may be something to rethink.

As a pink-satin-loving girly girl, the black rubber/blue band look is indeed heart-breaking. I might be a little less heart-broken if they  came in a pretty shade of ballerina pink. What about you? Any thoughts about this design?

Read about this new-age pointe shoe design here @ Nike Arc Angels

* * This post is not intended to disrespect The Nike Corporation, one of the most reputable manufacturers of athletic apparel in the world.*