Hello Everyone, Eliza Minden here. It’s been such a pleasure to follow this lively and informed discussion of the recent Kirov season. So many glorious dancers and performances to cherish!
I’d like to clarify a few issues that were raised concerning the pointe shoes my company makes.
To the first question: yes, quite a few Kirov dancers wear them. There are many more in St. Petersburg, but among the ones listed on the City Center Playbill these are the Gaynor Minden wearers:
Olesia Novikova (some roles)
Svetlana Ivanova (some roles)
Daria Grigorieva (some roles)
Ryu Ji Yoen
Most have been wearing them for a couple of years. And I didn’t even know it because initially they bought them not from us but in shops when touring outside Russia. They spent their own money— a not insignificant expense—because they wanted the quietness, the comfort, and the durability they could not get in the shoes the theater provided.
Like many dancers from countries where it’s hard to get Gaynor Mindens, the Kirov dancers have found ways to make theirs last even longer. This answers the question Mr. Macaulay asked in the Times, “Why are the soles of their shoes so dirty?” It’s because many of these thrifty dancers have been using the same shoes for weeks, in some cases even months. Our most recent delivery to them was back in January in D.C.
I was sorry to read that some here have found them difficult to work in. When we started we offered only two types of shank: hard and harder. We now make ones that are much more pliable. Interestingly the Russian dancers, including Ms. Somova, insist on the hard ones, but that’s another discussion. Please allow me to point out that many teachers do recommend them for students, including Yuri Fateev.
As for how we work with our GM Artists: if a dancer is a committed wearer of our shoes we may invite her to join our roster. We don’t just hire dancer/models. Obraztsova and Novikova are the only GM Artists who, to my knowledge, do not wear them for every role.
We rarely do photoshoots anymore because we prefer to use real performance shots. We do give compensation for the endorsements, but it’s very modest. And in Alina Cojocaru’s case, she asked that we donate shoes to the National Ballet Company of Romania rather than pay her anything.
I’d be happy to answer any questions, here if appropriate or privately. firstname.lastname@example.org
With all good wishes,