Siberian Swan Pointe Shoes-From Russia With Love

Ballerina wearing Siberian Swan pointe shoesI 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 Siberian Swan Pointe Shoesto 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.
  • Cedar Oil Protection-The models contain Siberian cedar oil extract which has healing properties to protect irritated skin.
Siberian Swan Pavlova Plus

Pavlova Plus by Siberian Swan

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.

Russian Flag

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.

Keeping Up With Sansha Is A Full Time Job

In between scouting the Internet for new brands, I try to make regular visits to the websites posted on the sidebar. Some manufacturers tend to have the same pointe shoe models year after year. Others, like Sansha, are growing their inventory so quickly, I can barely keep up.

I was stunned to see that Sansha has 8 divisions of pointe shoes each with their own collection of models: 600 Series, German, Essentials, Square Box, Stage Line, La Pointe Numero, F.R. Duvall and Academia Series. Wow!

Apparently, if you have feet that go on pointe, Sansha works hard to create a shoe for your foot type and expertise. Although some of my readers may have heard of the models I have listed below, they are new discoveries for me.

The 600 Series Celebrita Is Ready To Go

Sansha Celebrita

Celebrita

The Celebrita is advertised as a lightweight, ready-to-go model for professionals. From the picture, it looks like it has a low-profile toe box.  The shanks are light weight as well.

One thing I can say for Sansha is that they take lovely photographs of their shoes. The name Celebrita has a festive Spanish ring to it, don’t you think?

The Pointes Under The Essentials Category Make Me Feel Like I Am Touring Europe; No Passport Required

From left to right: Peterburg, Tchaika, Versailles, Prague. Can we say Euro-fever? I love the names of these shoes!

The Square Box Division Is An Interesting Concept

I had to think about this for a few minutes. Why would Sansha create a separate category for shoes that have square toe boxes? Most likely for the ease and convenience of the customer. With so many models, a customer doesn’t have to wade through dozens of tapered shoes to find square box alternatives.

Below: Square Box Allegro On The Left, Cadenza On The Right

The jaunty musical names of Allegro and Cadenza are so perfect for ballet. Although they both have square boxes, they have very different specifications. The Cadenza has a full-length medium shank and platform cover. The Allegro has a pre-arched 3/4 shank.

Bunny

Hello

Sansha Pointes: Multiplying Faster Than Rabbits

Several pointe shoe manufacturers like Capezio, Bloch and Freed offer demi-pointe models for young students. I have yet to find one that offers more than  a few varieties.  The  demi-pointe models like the American & English Soft Toe and Selco are still available.

Acadamia Series: Eight Models With Three Advertised Demi-Pointes

Looking under this series on the Sansha website, you find the models Ondine, Katia, Raymonda and Myrtha  featured as having flexible memory shanks that are available in different strengths. Next is the Debutante which is recommended for first-time-on-pointe students.

When A Demi-Pointe Is Really A Pointe Or Vice Versa

Here is the interesting part: the Flor, Ghislane and Beatrix are labeled as dedicated demi pointes made for the first three years of pointe work. The models are on their toes. Has something changed in pointe shoe world that I need to know about?  Take a look for yourself @ Sansha Academia Series.

Selco Demi Pointe

The Shank-free Selco Demi Pointe

Demi-pointes have always been shank-less shoes with hard toe boxes that were not to be used for going on your toes. Sansha, please explain what a dedicated demi-pointe is. If they have shanks and you can go on pointe with them, aren’t they just regular pointe shoes?

Take the vote and tell me what you think:

 

 

The Mayer BX1 By Studio Danza

Mayer BX1Recently, I made a single model discovery of an Italian pointe shoe with the interesting name Mayer BX1. To my old-fashioned ears, this sounds more like the name of a dirt bike or motorcycle, but that is just my ballet-shoes-should-have-girly-names preference.

The shoe is sold by a company named  Studio Danza in Casagiove, Italy. What’s interesting about their official website is that they not only sell their own model, but other pointe brands like Freed and Grishko.

The Mayer BX1  Is Supposed To Last 3-5 Times Longer Than A Traditional Paste  Pointe Shoe

Mayer BX1 SoleThis ultra-modern pointe shoe is constructed with a special type of flexible paste that has little to no break-in time and a sole design that immediately hugs the arch. According to the specifications, the BX1  paste material creates a moisture barrier that prevents it from breaking down as quickly as traditional pointe shoes. Like Gaynor Minden, the BX1 has shock absorbing thermoplastic toe boxes.

Studio Danza has a modern looking website.  They offer several categories of online PDF catalogs, but if you want to see the Mayer BX1, you can visit this link to the shoe PDF and scroll down to page 8.  You can also visit Studio Danza on their Facebook page.

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

Aux Fleurons De La Danse Of Paris

aux fleurons de la danse shop paris

Aux Fleurons De La Danse Paris shop front

In my world, few things ballet-related tug at my heartstrings more than the image of a solitary cobbler working quietly at his bench constructing a pointe shoe. Even though many reputable manufacturers employ large numbers of cobblers, there is something really beautiful about the lone pointe shoe maker who runs his own little shop servicing the individual needs of one dancer at a time.

Somewhere in the heart of downtown Paris, France is ( or was) such a shop. Here, a dancer could come in and have her pointe shoes made especially for her by Monsieur Dimitri Angelakov .

Who Is Dimitri Angelakov ?

From my hours researching the background of Monsieur Angelakov, I found only  bits and pieces of  his legacy online. There is a patent for the business name from the 1970’s. He is mentioned fondly on a French dance forum and on Facebook.

I don’t know his nationality or the journey he took to learn the craft of pointe shoe making. What I do know is that he was a very special man to the dancers who relied on him for their custom-made pointe shoes in that section of Paris.

Aux Fleurons De La Danse Translated Means:  The Jewels Of The Dance

There is something so beautifully personal about the relationship between a pointe shoe maker and his client. The care and love that goes into making each shoe is obvious in the video.

Each layer, each pleat, every brush of glue and turn of satin is gently and patiently tended with the delicate touch of an artist.

 These precious artisans are tucked away in obscure places, yet mean so much to the traditions of ballet.

As I write this, I am not 100% sure that Monsieur Angelakov is still here.  The last activity noted for Aux Fleurons De La Danse on Facebook was in 2011.  The web domain for his business, auxfleuronsdeladanse.com, expired last month.

Monsieur Angelakov in his shop

Although custom-made pointe shoes are available online, nothing can compare to knowing and talking to the person who makes your shoes. If Monsieur Angelakov has indeed gone to that big cobbler shop in the sky, somewhere on the streets of Paris walks many a broken-hearted dancer.