Category Archives: Discontinued Pointe Shoes

Is The Need For Pointe Shoe Sales Killing Off Brands?

One of the things that makes this site such a pleasure is knowing that I can access all of the different brands of pointe shoes in the world in a few easy clicks. As I go to look for any new models by these companies, the last thing I want to see is their shoe pages putting their own brand last and giving prominence to models from Bloch, Capezio, Grishko, and Freed.

Dancers Seem To Crave Popular Name Brands

The same old brands again?

The romance is gone at the thought that every single dance supply company in the world is going to reduce their own lovely models to promote only these brands. Yes, they are excellent brands, but outfitting the entire world of ballet on just Freed, Grishko, Russian Pointe, Suffolk, Bloch, and Capezio is a tad boring, no?

Watching A Pointe Shoe Manufacturer Downsize Is Heartbreaking

Of course my opinion stems from the vantage point of writing and researching about brands. If there were only 6 brands to write about, this blog would have shriveled up years ago. Because of the Internet, dance supplies are always in flux. The next generation of ballet dancers expect to see innovative changes with every new catalog.

Pointe Shoe Brands That Are Now In Danger

I think I mentioned that from time to time I do a thorough “link visit” on the sidebar. I look for new shoe models and for broken links. It was during my latest visit that I noticed the following changes:

The Reart TRS Model Is Hanging On By A Ribbon

The Reart TRS model is the last surviving one of the Reart brand collection. In this post from 2010, you can see that there were six models to choose from at the time. Now there is one lonely only.

What happened? Did more and more customers come in asking for the mainstream brands? Perhaps the company lost their precious cobbler. Did they want to have the ability to supply theaters and schools? We may never know.

What we do know is that one Reart model has survived; the TRS. Why? I decided to re-check the specs on this model for clues. It was created for dancers that have strong feet. It comes with hard shanks and long vamps.

The Etirel Cygne Has Flown Away

Etirel Cygne

On a recent visit to the Etirel-Intersport website, I found that the Cygne model has vanished like a Swan in flight. Truthfully, I am not surprised. I haven’t checked the website for a very log time.

However, it is disappointing to have to remove the brand from the side bar and add it to the discontinued models link. You can read the original post about Intersport of France here.

Freddy Of Italy Has Gone Soft

Freddy pointe shoes 908

I was absolutely captivated by this brand when I found them way back in 2o10. I thought they were beautifully shaped and had the earmark of Italian quality.

It was a shocker to see that all 9 models are gone from the collection. Although Freddy stills offers a few soft slipper models, they seem to be more focused on athletic clothing and shoes. You can revisit the old Freddy Pointe Shoes post from 2010 to see the 9 models they used to have.

The Stanlowa Etude Is In Danger

Stanlowa Etude

I can still remember the thrill of finding this beautiful brand of pointe shoes. In my original post, there were two models; the Etude and the Soliste.

Now down to just the Etude, the Stanlowa website is featuring, yes, you guessed it, Bloch, Freed, Grishko, and Russian Pointe. However, on a positive note, I give credit to Stanlowa for featuring their Etude model upfront and first in the lineup. Ttrès bon. The Stanlowa pointes page.

The Bloch-Leo Disappeared From The Bloch Website

Leo's Split Sole Pointe Shoes

Back in the days, Leo was its own brand and company. Then, Leo merged with Bloch. This merger created an interesting confusion in my mind about what to call the merged brand.

The Leo was featured on Bloch’s website for some time. Now, it appears to have done a flying Jeté to places unknown. Simply put, Bloch has so many of its own models, the poor Leo couldn’t compete. Read about the Bloch-Leo-Mirella merger.

The Curtain Went Down On The Theatre Ballet Brand

Theatre Ballet

I was absolutely fascinated when I discovered this brand back in 2012. It was thrilling to see beautiful Russian-inspired construction from a dancer-owned company based in New Jersey.

It was highly disappointing to check the link and learn that the domain was up for sale. How fickle and challenging the world of pointe shoe brands is. Even though I had gripes about my previous attempts at contacting the company, it didn’t make the brand any less fascinating. See the post about Theatre Ballet Pointe Shoes from 2012.

So, Who Or What Is To Blame?

Unfortunately, the disappearing brands are something I will always have to deal with. Even though ballet itself is a longstanding tradition, changing needs call for changing products. It is expensive to run a factory and hire workers, so profits are a must.

Profits come from stocking and selling the type of brands and models that are in demand and popular. However, nobody said we can’t complain about it. Pointe work has been around for hundreds of years now and it survived without all of this inventory.

Easy online access and international trade brings mainstream brands to the furthest corners of the world.For some, change is inevitable. For others, change is a bit of a mini-trauma. It is a stark reminder that even good things come to an end. And in my heart of hearts, I always want to see these brands succeed. It is a sad thing when they don’t.

The Pauls Pawlowa- Auf Wiedersehen & Goodbye

I started this blog almost ten years ago. One of my first “exciting finds” in pointe shoe world was a brand called Pauls from Germany. The Pauls Pawlowa model had a fascinating story behind it.

Fast forward to this week. I decided to visit Pauls website on the sidebar here. Lo and behold, no Pawlowa. What happened? When you click on the spitzenschuhe category, the only choices are Bloch, Freed, Merlet, Grishko, Sansha, and Gaynor Minden.

Pauls pointe shoes

IT HAS HAPPENED AGAIN. Another lovely pointe model trampled into the rosin box and replaced by the popular, mainstream brands. Sadly, the loving work of a cobblers hands perfecting his one precious model cannot compete with  the passage of time if the younger generation in the family doesn’t learn the trade. Even that is no guarantee of success.

The company began in 1919, so it is almost certain that the founder who molded those lovely shoes is no longer with us. Perhaps the family members who took over had no choice.  However, The Pauls Company still lives on today and you can check their Facebook page to see how their range has grown.

They were gracious enough to answer my inquiry about the Pawlowa. It’s true. They don’t make their own pointe brand anymore. It is with heavy heart that I have to remove Pauls from the sidebar. The good news is that they have some leftover stock of the Pawlowa models in their shop. Collectors, how do you say run, don’t walk in German?

Iovine Ignazio Pointe Shoes From Naples-Hand-Crafted Vintage Collectibles

There are so many beautiful brands of pointe shoes that come from Italy!  I cant think of a time when I saw an Italian model that wasn’t lovely in construction and quality.  Finding these Iovine Ignazio lovelies was such a joy. They have entered into the realm of the highly collectible as it appears their manufacturing days are long over.

 

The IOVINE IGNAZIO brand is one of those super-fascinating treasured mysteries that can make a pointe shoe lover spend hours and hours searching for any tidbit of information they can find. However, thanks to a responsive family member, I was able to wrap up my search in good time.

Iovine Ignazio Pointe ShoesWhat I Was Able To Discover:

They were hand-crafted in Naples, Italy.  Napoli is what the Italians  call Naples. The old company url,  http://www.iovineignazio.com/index1.htm,  was last crawled by Google in 2007.

On the bottom of the bag you can see di Iovine Espedito. That led me to their current company, GlovesIovine. I am very fortunate that the nephew of Iovine Ignazio, Marco, responded to me on Facebook. Yes, it’s true. His uncle’s factory closed down.

What we have now are vintage, discontinued hand-crafted Italian pointe shoes that are a collectors dream.

Gloves Iovine on Facebook

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 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

 

Salvio’s Pointe Shoes-A Fond Farewell

For anyone interested in pointe shoe brands, watching new models appear and discontinued ones disappear is somewhat like riding  a wave. It can be disheartening to learn that a certain model will never be made again.

It is even more sad when a pointe shoe manufacturer is literally forced to close its doors after more than 130 years in business.  Salvio Dance Shoes of Australia will be no more.

So Much History, So Much Legacy

I see the founder of this company, Enrico Salvio, coming to Australia from Italy in 1881 and setting up his cobbler shop with dreams of supplying the dance world with his hand-crafted shoes. A labor of love and hard work; a new life in a new country.

Since 1881, Salvio’s had remained a family business. It was passed down from one generation to the next with his Grandson, Ted Salvio, passing it to his daughter.  Now, in 2016, this precious tradition has been laid to rest.

A Poignant And Touching Goodbye From Salvio’s Shop

Is The Handmade Pointe Shoe Business In Peril?

What happened to the Salvio company? Why did they choose to forever go out of business? According to this article, Australia’s last handmade dance shoe shop Salvios Shoes closes its doors, competition from cheap imports did them in.

Instead of outsourcing their work to exploit cheap labor and materials for a larger profit, they refused to compromise their craftsmanship, values and hands-on approach to dance shoe construction.

This says so much about the Salvio brand name and family. Enrico Salvio would be proud of his descendants for their unwavering dedication to the art of handmade ballet shoes.

Although Salvio has stopped production and closed up shop, any dancer who still has a precious pair of Salvio pointe shoes should hold on tightly as she not only has a collectible item, but a lasting legacy of one of the oldest manufacturers of handmade ballet shoes.

Salvio’s Pointe Shoes-1881 to 2016

Tripudio Pointe Shoes- The Maltese Brand That Came And Went

tripudio-of-malta (216x145)By now, many of my regular readers know that I get excited when I find new pointe shoe brands from any country outside the U.S. A. Today, I am thrilled to share an intriguing model  that originated on an island country very close to the shores of Italy; the island of Malta. There was a time in the recent past when we would have been able to say that we have Maltese pointe shoes in this world. Sadly, I now have to say we had Maltese pointe shoes as I will explain later.

The Company Behind The Tripudio Brand Name-Montecatania Enterprises

The Tripudio brand name was the creation of Montecatania Enterprises, the business collaboration of two talented partners; Ramon Montebello and Marvic Cantania. As you can see, the company title is a combination of the two names. There is no online information about their factory location and whether the company produced other types of dancewear products for customers in Malta and other countries.

Geographical Location Of  The Island Of Malta

Malta

The country of Malta is one of two Mediterranean islands off the southern tip of Italy.

Contacting The Original Makers Of  The Tripudio Pointe Shoe

Sometimes, I have success contacting companies from other countries. Many times I do not. Often, I can make initial contact with a maker, only to be snubbed after asking a few questions about their products. In today’s competitive markets, that never makes good business sense.

I was able to find and contact Marvic Cantania through his Facebook page to inquire about the specifications of this shoe model. The only information I received about the shoe was its removal from the market due to business reasons. He was reluctant to tell me anything about the shoe construction itself even though I identified myself and this website  as the reason for my inquiries.

tripudio

Fuzzy closeup of Tripudio insole design

 Tripudio Pointe Shoe; A Consideration  For Collectors

When a pointe shoe model becomes obsolete and no longer offered on the market, it can become a very enticing buy for a collector. Because I was told through my inquiry with the partner mentioned above that he still had inventory on this model, I inquired about pricing and shipping outside of Malta. I never received an answer which was very disappointing.

On a personal note, could this blatant lack of courtesy and communication have anything to do with business ventures that don’t succeed? The very nature of pointe work can guarantee that dancers will have a lot of questions to ask about the shoes they intend to dance in. Discontinued or not, if you plan to manufacture and sell pointe shoes, prepare for questions from the public.

Sadly, the dance world may never know what would have been  the exciting possibilities of the Tripudio model. The photos show a lovely shape and symmetry made with high-quality satin, yet their specifications are locked away as top-secret. Maybe one day they will have a change of heart and give us more information.

Any pointe shoe created, past or present,  for sale or discontinued, is part of the rich tapestry of ballet history and deserves a few minutes in the spotlight.  It also allows us to give some honor to the cobbler who worked hard in the factory to make it.

Repetto Pointe Shoes

At this time last year, the Repetto website offered versions of their pointe shoe models as a series of  black and white sketches. Today, I found a new, updated Repetto website with color images instead.  What was incredibly surprising is the fact that I only saw one model for sale, the La Carlotta.

The Repetto La Carlotta is being sold with different design specifications to suit individual needs, but all of them are still the La Carlotta model. I did notice that other models like the Willis, Rushka and La Bayadere can still be found online through American dance supply distributors.

Discontinued Repetto Models

Right now, it’s impossible to tell if Repetto plans on discontinuing the Willis, Rushka and La Bayadere. Sadly, two of Repetto’s prettiest models, the Fiorentina and Carmen were long ago discontinued.

Repetto Fiorentina

Repetto Fiorentina

 

Repetto Carmen

Repetto Carmen

Pre-shaped Like Street Shoes

Both the Carmen and the Fiorentina were made pre-shaped to fit either the right or left foot, like a street shoe. That alone could be a very good reason for their demise. Dancers have been enjoying the freedom of  alternating their pointe shoes from right to left for over 150 years.

Looking at the photos above, it is difficult to see which one is the left shoe and which is the right. Most likely, it was the inner box that was shaped to a specific foot making them less versatile than traditionally made shoes.

It is surprising that such a world-famous shoe company like Repetto only offers one pointe shoe model on their official company website. For now, the La Carlotta is the only model that can be ordered directly from Repetto.

Baryshnikov Pointe Shoes

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Mikhail Baryshnikov

Baryshnikov The Legend

A Collector’s Dream

Mikhail Baryshnikov is considered one of the greatest male ballet dancers of all time. With his incredible ballet expertise it made perfect sense for Baryshnikov to create his own line of ballet footwear.

The Baryshnikov pointe shoe brand was on the market for only a few years and became a discontinued brand in the late 1990’s. Pointe shoes with such a legend behind them can only become one thing; prized collectibles.

I was pretty certain that whatever pairs of Baryshnikov pointe shoes that were left after being discontinued had been snatched up quickly or hoarded. As a pointe shoe collector, I had put a pair of Baryshnikov’s on the top of my wish list. I searched all over the internet for a pair for a few months last winter and had all but given up hope of ever finding some for sale.

In November, guess what? I found some Baryshnikov pointe shoes for sale, bought them, and will share my personal photos with you. It’s amazing to find these legendary shoes after being discontinued for more than 12 years!

Baryshnikov pointe shoesBaryshnikov Canvas pointe shoesBaryshnikov Canvas pointe shoeBaryshnikov Pointe shoes in canvasThe Baryshnikov Brand Is Unique

The Baryshnikov pointe shoe  was constructed with design features that are totally unique from any other pointe shoe on the market. My pair happens to be the canvas model LS with extra strong shanks for professionals. Here are the design specifications:

  • It was made for professional dancers only
  • The side seams were sewn at an angle. I’m not certain why this feature was added. My guess would be for better shaping and contour along the arch of the foot.
  • The shoe is lined with a very comfortable cushioned liner/padding from the platform tip to the heel
  • The soles are suede with the inscription: Baryshnikov…Dance Footwear…..Genuine Suede Soles
  • They are not pre-arched

The most interesting thing about the Baryshnikov pointe shoe to me is that they were produced in the United States.  The inside of the shoe is stamped Baryshnikov, LR SERIES STRONG, Made In USA.

I really treasure these beautiful shoes; they are a wonderful part of the Baryshnikov legacy.

Capezio’s Duro-Toe

Discontinued

Capezio’s Duro-Toe pointe shoe model has a very interesting history. Capezio made this particular model to solve an economic need during the depression years in the United States.

In 1929 the stock market crashed leaving American families in dire financial straits. Many depression era families struggled to stretch a dollar and find ways to survive by making products that had lasting qualities.

As a pointe shoe manufacturer, Capezio saw the need to design a strong, sturdy pointe shoe for dancers whose funds were limited because of the economy. Not only was Salvatore Capezio an ingenious business man, he showed his humanitarian nature by creating the Duro-Toe.

The Duro-Toe was quite popular back then. Little by little as the economy improved and the years went by, the Duro-Toe fell out of favor with dancers. The biggest complaint was how noisy they were on stage. Dancers were showing a marked preference for lighter, more flexible pointe shoes.

The Capezio Company stopped production of the Duro-Toe model in 1998. Within the last few years, the stock of available Duro-Toes on the market has dwindled down sharply. I consider myself very fortunate to own a pair.

This particular model is what is know as a “love it or hate it” type pointe shoe. Most dancers who have tried the Duro-Toe model feel strongly either way. I happen to find them beautiful! I was expecting a very clunky, unflattering pointe shoe and was pleasantly surprised.

The suede toe cover matches very well with the color of the satin. These are my personal photos of the pair I own.

Capezio Duro-Toe