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Thoughts on Gaynor Minden pointe shoes?

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I was wondering everyone's opinions on Gaynor Minden pointe shoes on dancers?

I have seen numerous performances by a plethora of professional companies this summer, and there seems to be an abundance of dancers choosing to wear Gaynor Mindens, (especially at ABT, but perhaps this is a sponsorship thing?).... In any rate, it is rather doubtful that I will ever learn to like them on any dancer really, (although I really want to). I think I just find it scary when the satin wears off the box, and neon blue plastic is exposed, among other things. I wouldn't ever want to worry about something like that with my shoes! Then again, I suppose that in the end, it is the dancer's choice on what type of shoe to wear, and what they are comfortable in... but I definitely feel that there are some dancers that are wearing Gaynor Minden shoes, whose feet would look completely different (and much better) in a different brand of shoe. Ah well.

Any thoughts?

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There are ardent opinions on both sides of the debate, which we've had on Ballet Talk before comingled in threads on other topics.

Cojocaru has said that with her foot problems, she wouldn't be dancing without them. From the reviews I've read of her Aurora, I think that in itself would justify Gaynor Mindens.

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For Cojocaru, I'd be willing to make an exception, but for most dancers, the stiffer sole seems to flatten the arch and make it more difficult to roll smoothly through the foot. Dancers may say they balance and turn better in GMs, but I really value the aesthetics over the technical. Of course, if it were I who were choosing which shoe to work in, those values might reverse. Balancing and turning securely are gratifying achievements. Less tangible to the dancer is the look of a beautifully arched foot smoothly descending through deleve.

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I was wondering everyone's opinions on Gaynor Minden pointe shoes on dancers?

I think I just find it scary when the satin wears off the box, and neon blue plastic is exposed, among other things. I wouldn't ever want to worry about something like that with my shoes!

really? neon blue plastic?

I have gaynor mindens, they are very old, and a terrible floor gauged them where the box meets the shank on the bottom.

From what i've seen of the inner workings they are gray, very subtle, not blue.

Maybe as my pair is about 3 years old things have changed, but Im curious about this blue plastic...

As a (bad) dancer with bad feet, I like them. I feel totally over my foot in them, they are incredibly durable, and I enjoy the support combined with a flexible shank.

pre-gaynor mindens i did 3/4 shanks.

I don't mind the look of them at all. there are plenty of shoes that have been popular over the years that I find much uglier.

the variety of box shapes is also nice for different width feet, whereas a lot of older shoes tended to make those of us with wider feet look like we were sickling (sp?) when we weren't.

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the stiffer sole seems to flatten the arch and make it more difficult to roll smoothly through the foot.

I've noticed this with Veronika Part, whose beautiful arches seem less pronounced in GMs than in standard pointe shoes. But if GMs help strengthen her pointe work, well, all the more power to her!

Dancers go through one pair of shoes or more in a single performance. I'm interested in finding out how long it takes for a professional dancer to go through a pair of GMs. Does anyone know?

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Okay... first, if folks are really interested, there is a huge, long, thread on Gaynor Mindens on the BT4D board...

That said, I'm guessing that most professionals get special make-ups of the shoes.

At a master class at the ROH, I think perhaps last year, Alina says she uses both - Gaynors and her 'regular shoes', which I believe are Bloch. She says the Gaynors last her about a month - I do not know if that includes performances. For students, the Gaynors would last much longer.

The problem with rolling down isn't necessary because of a stiffer shank - in fact, some of the Gaynor shanks are very very flexible. But, the construction is that the shank is constructed so that it is attached to the platform. You can kind of see it here:


This means 'rolling through' bends the shoe in the opposite direction, if that makes sense?

Re: plastic - well, that's why you'll see so many dancers covering the platforms with moleskin or suede or so.

Yes, GMs do have different widths and different tapers, but all of the GMs have low profiles, which doesn't work for everyone. Also, due to the materials, the GMs don't shape to your foot in the same way that a traditional paste shoe would....anyways, I'm rambling. The big GM thread on BT4D is here:


And if you do a search, you'll find more!

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Many thanks for the link, ami1436!

I am so glad I'm audience when I read pointe shoe threads -- that the primary dependency for female ballet dancers is a shoe that is so difficult to get right and to learn to adapt or change, if needed, during different stages of development is mind-boggling.

(not to mention I'm a real wuss when my feet hurt...)

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The thing about Gaynor Mindens, though, is that they really require a dancer to use their legs properly. The shoe won't look right if a dancer is sitting back on her legs, or relying too much on the shoe to hold her up. A dancer needs to use THE WHOLE LEG in order to acheive the proper line, and while this is true for all shoes, the fact that Gaynor Minden's maintain their shape in the box makes it easier to consistently acheive the proper shape of the leg. Furthermore, I think that each of the five different shank strengths perhaps different plastic on the inside. I believe the shoes I know to be classified as "Hard" have the blue inside, while the "extra- flex" strength has a white plastic inside. The company also offers a suede tip, which may be a little slow to turn in at first, but as the tip wears out a little bit, this is not a problem, and the shoes last forever. The big difference for me (yes- I am a convert) was that I really actually like the way they look, forming to my feet better than anything else I have tried.

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My feeling is that a dancer has to do what she has to do. They roasted Anna Pavlova when she strengthened her pointe shoes by flattening the platform of her pointe shoes. They said she was cheating. I'd rather have Anna Pavlova and Alina Cojocaru dance, and if their pointe shoes don't look as beautiful, it doesn't really bother me.

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About the "look" of the foot in the shoe -- there have been a few global shifts in pointe shoe aesthetics in the field since I've been paying attention -- when I first got involved almost everyone was using a very tapered box with an almost circular point of contact (I have a pretty wide forefoot, and it was difficult to find a shoe that wouldn't make me layer my toes) I wound up seeking out Freeds pretty early -- the box was much more oval than anything I could find in the US at the time, and wider -- much less taper, especially looking at it from the top of the box. I got some funny looks for a while, but (long after I'd stopped working on pointe) that silhouette became a standard one, and now almost all shoes have that look, wherever they come from.

I love watching people work their feet, and am always excited by someone who truly rolls up and down (leftover from my early training, where that was a big emphasis), but I know how personal the relationship is between the dancer and her shoes -- I hesitate to call foul.

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I don't know if this relates to Gaynor Minden, but -- in case you missed it -- here's a Link posted by dirac. It concerns a prize-winning science project by a young Alabama dance student who developed pointe shoe shanks from carbon fiber (strong but light and flexible). She was motivated by the high cost of all those pointe shoes she was wearing out in class.


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