Pointe Shoe Tales
A bit of history
Marie Taglioni is often credited as being the first dancer to have worn pointe shoes onstage during her performance in 'La Sylphide' at the Paris Opera in 1832. She had, however, already worn reinforced shoes two years earlier in a production of 'Zephyr and Flora' at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
The first Russian dancer to have danced en pointe was Avdotia Istomina, even the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin mentioned her in his famous verse novel, Eugene Onegin.The advent of the great Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova in the early 20th cemented the use of pointe shoes in classical ballet.
Since then pointe shoes have undergone many changes but their beauty and the fascination they exert remain just as strong as ever!
Russian pointe shoe manufacturers
Today's dancers are spoiled for choice when it comes to their pointe shoes. Pointe shoe manufacturers abound, and new technologies and materials are constantly being discovered. Pointe shoes from Russia are gaining in popularity worldwide due to Russia's important place in ballet history and because of their exquisite beauty.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union pointe shoe makers who had previously worked in state-run theaters banded together and set out on their own. This is how the now world-famous brand Grishko came to be. Grishko pointe shoes are durable and innovative with a multitude of models which makes it possible for every dancer to find a shoe to fit her foot.
Another popular choice for today's dancers are 'Russian Pointe' pointe shoes which are handcrafted in Russia according to traditional practices. Russian pointe shoes are elegant with most models featuring a pre-arched sole which allows them to hug the dancer's feet perfectly. Ulyana Lopatkina of the Mariinsky ballet wears 'Russians' as they are affectionately known.
Not all Russian ballerinas though choose Russian pointe shoes-some of them opt for hi-tech Gaynor Minden pointe shoes instead, just like Bolshoi ballerina Svetlana Zakharova.