Pointe shoe detectives, are you ready for another cold case mystery that needs to be solved?
Up for your examination is this gorgeous pair of Russian-made pointes with the beautiful aesthetics the country is known for.
As you will be able to see in the pictures below, they are made in Russia, but the product information tag uses English. The brand name is Master Klass, which can be translated as Master Class. The model name is Comfort.
The heel imprint says сделано в россии, made in Russia
I find this brand absolutely fascinating! Searching online and asking for information in social media dance communities baffled others as well.
It would be a shame if this mystery brand had to remain that way.
I am very, very curious to know more about the company who made or still makes this model.
What do you say detectives? Does anyone have any clues?
I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to learn about another brand of Russian-made pointe shoes, the Siberian Swan brand. I would like to thank one of my readers for sharing the information with me.
Siberian Swan. What an amazing name. I can almost imagine the dancer floating gracefully across the stage appearing to walk on air by the very tips of her toes.
There is a mystique and a certain expectation of quality when we hear that a ballet shoe is handmade in Russia. After all, Russian ballet training produces some of the finest dancers in the world. Grace and elegance epitomizes the flowing movements of both the Russian ballerina and the swan. The comparison is perfect.
The Siberian Swan Pipeline From Russia To The U.S.A.
The company debuted in the fall of 2016 as a collaboration between a former Bolshoi dancer and the Artistic Director of The Russian State Ballet Of Siberia. Because one of the founders lives in The United States, there is an immediate opportunity for American dancers to get their hands on ( and feet into) these shoes.
Pavlova, Karsavina And Spessivtseva
Siberian Swan has named their three models in tribute of some of the most unforgettable Russian ballerinas the world has ever known; Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and Olga Spessivtseva.
I was able to get an answer from Siberian Swan to my inquiry about the differences between the Pavlova and Karsavina. The Karsavina has a slightly wider platform than the Pavlova. They also mentioned that the Spessivtseva model is for future development, although no mention of how far in the future this will be.
Vintage Footage Of Spessivtseva
What Makes Them Unique And Innovative
These models have some unique qualities that make them different from other pointe shoes on the market:
Heel Construction-The inner heel portion has a little gripper flap to help hold the shoe in place. There is also an elasticized drawstring that centers at the side of the heel for extra tightening.
Matte Or Traditional Fabric-You can order your pointes traditionally shiny, or go for the matte pancake look.
Standard Or Plus Platforms-Models are constructed with either a regular platform, or a slightly larger one based on personal preference.
Toe Covers-You can choose to add handmade toe covers as part of your custom order.
It’s incredible how many choices they offer so you can get exactly what you need in a pointe shoe. Another fascinating quality about this brand is that they create a traditional handmade product with a lot of innovative tweaks.
They offer many more choices with custom colors, four widths and three shank strengths. Learn more about the custom model options on their official website, Siberian Swan.com.
Боже, благослови Россию
What’s also inspiring is that all these custom choices don’t cost extra. It’s obvious that a lot of thought went into creating these choices; most likely from gathering information from dancers and because the founders are/ were dancers themselves.
What I love about Siberian Swan is that it is all about the shoe. No hundreds of categories of fluffy dance stuff, just gorgeous Russian-made pointe shoes.
Siberian Swan continues to innovate the design and construction of their brand. As quoted below from co-founder Alex Kedrov when speaking about their vision, they intend to perfect their design for the benefit of every dancer who needs the ultimate pointe shoe.
“ Taking quite a lot of experiments, and engineering to ensure support, durability, and the elegance at the same time. Another important thing, as you know, is ability to roll through the demi-pointe, so the pointe shoes are flexible enough while rolling through the demi-pointe, and strong enough to provide sufficient support while on pointe. Our shank is made of special plastic, so the shoes don’t need to be broken in. Active arch support on top of the plastic shank is our technology patented in Russia to provide support for ballerina underneath the heel while on pointe, so the weight is not on the toes only. It is incredibly interesting process.”
You can visit Siberian Swan on Facebook where they have more photos and updates of their shoe debuts/ fittings across the country. What do you think? Should we get excited? I wish Siberian Swan much success with their company.
*2/25/18 Update: Comments are now closed due to excessive amounts of spam
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.
The best part about being a blogger is not only becoming well-versed about the topics you love, but also having the complete freedom to make a post just because. Sometimes this happens when I find two models of the same name, but made by different manufacturers.
I like to compare them visually and “pretend” that I get to choose only one as a favorite. Below, are two different Zeta pointe shoe models. One is or was made by Gamba and the other by Vozrozhedenie of St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Gamba Zeta or Zeta by Gamba
I was very intrigued when I found this shoe. This is the first time I became aware that Gamba made a model called Zeta. As you can see by the photo, Gamba placed the name Zeta in larger lettering on the liner.
The shoes appear to have long, tapered toe boxes, but the profile is hard to decipher. What I am hoping is that a reader may have more insight and information to share about these shoes.
The Vozrozhedenie Zeta
Gorgeous Russian-made pointe shoes are always a joy to find. The first thing I did was to visit the official Vozrozhedenie website located on the sidebar here. However, there is no Zeta model advertised. I have no clue as to whether this model is old stock or a special order. Mysteries! Double mysteries.
This Zeta model has the tell-tale Russian design that is so aesthetically pleasing. The gold-tone imprinted logo on the liner is quite elegant, in my opinion.
Given a choice between the two, the St. Petersburg version is much more exotic and unusual to my American mind. However, the Gamba model could be just as rare and collectible. Neither model has ever crossed my path before.
By now, every American ballet student and professional knows that Russian Pointe is a highly-respected and popular brand name of pointe shoes. Looking over their models, I can agree that the aesthetics of a Russian-made shoe are some of the loveliest in the world.
However, there is something very interesting going on at the Russian Pointe factory that needs sorting out in my head and on this blog. To sort this out so it makes sense, I will begin with the obvious; the factory in Russia.
Construction of the various models that Russian Pointe makes involves the basic materials and a standard last for that type of shoe. It isn’t until the cobbler is told which country the shoes will be shipped to that he can decide what kind of sole to attach to it. He chooses between three brand stamps for the sole; Russian Pointe, R-Class or Energetiks. For the sake of example, let’s take the model Brava.
Russian Pointe Brand Shoes That Stay In Russia Are R-Class
I stay in Russia, so I get the R-Class sole
Here you have a pair of R-Class Bravas.They are the established brand name that is synonymous with the high standards of construction that are required for the serious dancer seeking gorgeous aesthetics and variety of fit.
When I first learned that Russian Pointe was really an R-Class shoe, I did question the name difference, but didn’t think too much about it.
Russian Pointe Shoes That Come To America Are Russian Pointe
I go to America, so I need a Russian Pointe sole
Russian Pointe Brava: When Russian Pointe came to the United States many dancers immediately found the answer to their fitting, performance and aesthetics nightmares.
When I visited the website, I was highly impressed by their collections and their vast choices of vamps, boxes, shanks, widths and styles. They really try to have something that works for everyone which is highly commendable.
Russian Pointe Shoes That Go To Australia Are Energetiks
I go to Australia, so I need a sole stamped Energetiks
Energetiks Brava : Let me mourn the day when something as graceful and delicate-looking as a ballerina on stage would be wearing pointe shoes with the aerobic-shoe-esque name of Energetiks. Perhaps those mischievous energetic Australian kangaroos are behind all of this.
In my mind, this name is about as far from a graceful Russian ballerina image as one can get. Anyone who visits here regularly knows that I fret a bit about shoe names and how they make me feel. I tend to wax poetic and become highly disappointed when pretty pointe shoes don’t come with magical, soulful, imagination-stirring ballerina names.
Remember the regal days of French castles and aristocracy, Kings, Queens and names for precious ballet shoes fit for a princess. The dance imaginations of theatrical fans , like a dying rose, will wither away when romance is removed from the classical ballet story.
This triple-branding could now mean that:
A customer who lives in Russia, but wants a Russian Pointe sole has to order from Chicago, U.S.A.
An American that wants the Energetiks stamp on her Russian Pointes that are really R-Class needs to order from Australia
An Australian looking for R-Class stampage ( is that a word?) on her shoes has to order from Russia
You can find out more about this Australian distributor by visiting their website, Energetiks.com.au. You can also check them out on Facebook.
Why Do They Do This?
Why can’t an R-Class Pointe shoe be shipped as an R-Class Pointe shoe anywhere in the world like a Capezio or a Bloch ? I really don’t know. It could be a conspiracy against bloggers that like to categorize things like ballet shoes neatly and in logical order. Imagine how simple things would be if an R-Class shipped out as an R-Class anywhere in the world.
When this distribution confusion happens, my hands are tied when it comes to adding links on the sidebar for brands. If one company happens to slap different soles on the same shoe, but calls them by another name, you can understand why I can’t categorize them as different brands.
Of course, to be fair to R-Class/ Russian Pointe/ Energetiks as a manufacturer, this is most likely a business set up that lets them keep track of sales and distribution by separating their products into different names for different regions of the world. Many companies separate their products to sell under different brand names.
This modern way of doing business around the world sometimes includes pointe shoe brand names as well; a sure-fire way to keep us on our toes trying to make sense of it all.
In the world of quality pointe shoe manufacturing, the Russian traditions of design and construction techniques have always stood out among the competition. You can see this in the beautiful aesthetics of Russian Pointe, Grishko, R-Class, Kiev and Vozrozhdenie shoes. Now there is another Russian pointe shoe brand to add to this site. Theatre Ballet. I am saying this with trepidation as you will learn later.
A Little Interesting Company Information
According to the about us page found on the company website, Theatre Ballet was founded in 1998 by two acclaimed Russian dancers; Konstantin Dournev and Julia Vorobyeva. Both of them have outstanding credentials in the ballet world for both teaching, choreography and stage performances.
Mr. Dournev and Mrs. Vorobyeva are now teachers and principal dancers for The New Jersey Ballet. Both have deep roots with all things Bolshoi and Mariinsky. This means offering American dancers and ballet theaters access to the finest in Russian craftsmanship in costumes, props and pointe shoes.
The Theatre Ballet Pointe Shoe Models Are Made In Russia
Model B1-Square Platform
Model B2-Round/Medium Platform
Model B3-Narrow/Rounded Platform
Model B4-Round/Wide Platform
Model B5-Round Narrow/Medium Platform
Theatre Ballet currently has 5 models advertised on their website. All of them are shown with two shank variations; regular and soft. The design specifications focus around the box shape and platform style. The models can be customized to the individual dancer.
Contacting This Company For Pointe Shoe Info: Frustrating
Let’s face it, I want to learn as much as I can about a pointe shoe model before I write a post about it. The best source of this information comes right from the maker themselves. 75% of the companies that I send emails to are great about getting back to me. The others? They ignore my repeated requests for information, both as a writer and as a potential customer .
Sorry, Theatre Ballet. You are one of those companies. I understand that teaching and choreography for The New Jersey Ballet makes for a full schedule, but a potential customer should always be acknowledged. I have half a mind to create a page showcasing these “no answer” companies, so please excuse my frustrating rant, dear reader. Perhaps you will have better luck visiting their official website, Theatreballet.com.
I simply want to know one thing about these pointe shoes. Are they produced in Russia as the brand name Theatre Ballet, or is Theatre Ballet an American distributor of another brand made in Russia like Kiev or Vozrozhedenie? I will cautiously add this company link to the sidebar until I learn more.
The Dance Academy Founded By Dournev/Vorobyeva In New York
In one of my earlier posts, I speak about the amazing construction and style of the R-Class brand pointe shoe. I also mention that the American representative of the R-Class company is Russian Pointe, based in Chicago.
When you compare both websites to see what models they each have to offer, both R-Class and Russian Pointe basically offer the same gorgeous pointe shoes.
I found 2 models offered through the R-Class website that I couldn’t find on the Russian Pointe website based in the United States; the Bonbe and Anima.
First of all, the names are quite interesting. The Bonbe and Anima are part of the Classics Collection in the R-Class stock. The Bonbe is made for those with wider feet that prefer a high crown. The Anima is made for experienced dancers that have narrow feet and can balance on narrow platforms. Both are handcrafted and so pretty.
In my opinion, there is almost nothing to compare to the beauty of a Russian ballerina dancing on pointe. Russian ballerinas and pointe shoes made in Russia are the cream of the ballet crop. I don’t know what kind of pointe shoes Anastasia Volochkova wears in the photo above, but thought this photo was a lovely example of the beauty of ballet.
You can find out more about the R-Class Anima and Bonbe by visiting the official R-Class website, R-class.biz.
The Vozrozhdenie Theater Company is a world-famous supplier of theatrical supples, special effects equipment, and dance costumes for stage performances. The company is situated in St. Petersburg, Russia in the very heart of the theatrical district.
Looking through the official website of this famous company, one can really see the rich history and experience this company has with producing the finest displays of theatrical showmanship. My greatest interest was in the Vozrozhdenie pointe shoe model.
I was slightly disappointed that Vozrozhdenie only shows the tiniest photo of their pointe shoe model. There is no information given about the shoe at all. According to the website, their pointe shoes are custom-made as needed. I would love to find a large photo of the Vozrozhdenie pointe shoe.
The Vozrozhdenie website can be viewed in an English version which is nice. To find out more about this great company and to see the photo of the Vozrozhdenie pointe shoe visit their official website, Theater-decor.com.
R-Class is a shortened version of Russian Class. The Russian Class is a system of designing pointe shoes that meet strict criteria of design, functionality, and beauty.
Every R-Class pointe shoe is one that meets the highest level of quality and craftsmanship according to the academic theaters of Russia.
The company was created by the masters of The Bolshoi Theater workshop. Now most of the academic theaters in Russia use the shoes with the “R-class” brand.
The U.S. representative for the R-Class pointe shoe is none other than Russian Pointe, based in Chicago. I know Russian Pointe shoes are extremely well made, but I never realized their deep connection to the Bolshoi Theater and the R-Class standards of pointe shoe construction.