Tag Archives: discontinued pointe shoe brands

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/

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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.

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.