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Noisy point shoes


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#1 paul

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 11:58 AM

During the last visit of the Mariinsky to London their noisy point shoes were noticed a lot and metioned by critics. The dancers seemed undisturbed by the noise they were making for example in Balanchines Serenade.
I spoke to a dancer who said that the Royal ballet got aware of the problem of more and more noise and dealed with it. He could not tell me anything more. (how they dealed with it)
Has anyone heared anything about the russians and their noisy point shoes?
:thanks:

#2 BalletNut

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 03:30 PM

I've noticed it too, when I saw the Bolshoi in Swan Lake. Either it's the shoes themselves or the way the women dance in them.

#3 Helene

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 03:51 PM

I didn't notice it so much from the corps and among the soloists, but the Bolshoi's Antonicheva's toe shoes in Raymonda sounded like castinets, they were so loud. They barely softened as the ballet went on; perhaps she changed her shoes between acts.

#4 Marga

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 04:56 PM

My daughter has one of Anna Antonicheva's shoes which she danced in when she performed Giselle with us a few years ago. The shank and tip are as hard as cement! I don't know how she was able to get it to bend with her foot at all. But, then, that's the reason for her hard shoes. She has two of the most flexible, arched feet in ballet! She needs the hardness for support.

#5 koshka

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 08:22 PM

Russian shoes are notoriously hard and noisy, so it is likely just the shoes.

Now hearing talking from backstage--that's the kind of noise that makes me crazy!

#6 paul

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 11:33 AM

Thank you for your replys.
Yes I am sure it has to do in parts with the point shoes. But I noticed over the last 20 years or so technical things (mistakes) creep in. For example jetes en avant: the front leg is raised so much that when landing one can not possible keep control in the body to go through the foot. They all seem to go up without a thought in their minds about whats going to happen when they come down.
Ballefans seem to accept this sort of noise. But I have been with "normal" people at the Ballet and they were bewildered: that someone so gracefull can make so much noise and asked me why that is.

#7 Drew

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 12:31 PM

Paul -- I've noticed, too, that the noise made by dancers in pointe shoes is one of the things that non-ballet going friends comment on the most when they they go with me to the ballet. They register it as something that can't be right, and, in a way, their seemingly naive surprise is not off the mark. I've learned to write off noisy pointe shoes, especially in dancers or performances I otherwise admire, but in most ballets it's an interuption of the aimed for effect, and the non-ballet-goer's bemusement is understandable.

#8 Marga

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 12:51 PM

No doubt that is why many newbie and infrequent balletgoers think that the boxes are made of wooden blocks! I remember only a few years ago hearing a father watching a National Ballet of Canada rehearsal on their annual Open House Day telling his young daughter that the reason the ballerinas can stand on their toes is because the ends of their toe shoes have wooden blocks in them. It's not the first time, by any means, that I have heard someone offer up this explanation.

#9 carbro

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 01:10 PM

I'm sure that the dancers/teachers/coaches, having grown up with the clunky sound of pointe shoes, are as oblivious to it as we are.

I remember a Time magazine feature on Gelsey Kirkland shortly after her move to ABT, and it described her pointe shoe preparation routine. One of the steps was hammering the boxes to silence them. She wore Freeds, which are much softer than Russian shoes to start out with. I don't know how much noise could be hammered out of the Russian ones.

#10 pleiades

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 02:39 PM

A teacher of mine, formerly of the Royal Ballet, once chastised someone in class for noisy pointe shoes, saying that noisy shoes detracted and distracted and that it was the dancer's responsibility to ensure that didn't happen.

#11 Old Fashioned

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 03:10 PM

And then there's the story of how Balanchine hated it when his dancers used rosin because it creates that squeaking sound and put dancers in soft shoes for a section of Midsummer Night's Dream because they made too much noise in pointes.

Antonicheva's shoes must be unusually hard. In every picture I've seen of her she has lovely insteps, but the shank looks barely bent and makes it appear as though she has low arches.

#12 paul

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 03:10 PM

I do remember as well hearing these horror stories about Dame Marie Rambert reahersing Les Sylphides. The girls when walsing and "junping" forwards had to to it over and over again until there was no noise heared.

#13 Farrell Fan

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 07:20 PM

in most ballets it's an interuption of the aimed for effect


Nearly ten years later, I still remember the unholy racket made by Susan Jaffe's pointe shoes in the Preghiera section of "Mozartiana" at "Suzanne Farrell Stages Balanchine." It was an otherwise lovely performance.

#14 dirac

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:00 AM

Most of the time I can tune the sound out, but there are occasions when it is very noticeable. The last time I saw the Stuttgart in Berkeley, the corps sounded like a cattle stampede, sans mooing, of course. It was very hard to understand how Juliet could stay asleep, even with chemical assistance, with these girls pounding all over the bedroom.

#15 Helene

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Posted 26 March 2005 - 10:15 PM

In the latest print version of Dance View -- :blink: Alexandra!!!! -- in Tom Phillips' interview with Susan Pilarre, the former NYCB soloist and current teacher and stager of Balanchine's work noted that the women of The Warsaw Ballet, where she was staging Serenade, "wear those hard Russian shoes, and the coming through the foot on the way down from pointe is not as prevalent as it is here."


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