One dance teachers’ view on Gaynor Mindens

One dance teachers’ view on Gaynor Mindens

We are delighted to have received this great review of Gaynor Minden pointe shoes from one of the dance teachers who attended the fitting sessions at the Dancemania shop in Poole run with Gaynor Minden International Sales Director Jeanne Share who has fitted pointe shoes to professional and amateur ballerinas around the world.

Gaynor Minden V’s Traditional

Well we are a few weeks into the new term now and have been trying out the new Gaynor Mindens.

When I initially spoke to you, I was very wary about Gaynor’s, as I had heard such mixed reviews and reports about them from teachers and students who had tried them. It seemed they were a bit like Marmite; you either loved them or hated them!

I decided to visit your shop and speak directly to the lovely woman from Gaynor Minden’s Headquarters in New York and hear from the horse’s mouth what all the fuss was about and get some answers to the many questions I had.

On inspection of the cross section of traditional shoes and Gaynors and an explanation of the materials used and how they react and change over a period of time, I was being swayed towards the Gaynors.

In the shop, they felt comfortable, steady, and sleek on the foot. I was impressed with the explanation of how the addition of Cosy Toes enables the fitter to customize the shoe further to help with odd length toes and pressure points, all sounds like an excellent idea. The flatter profile should help with stability when doing adage and allegro in pointe shoes, another good idea, anything that helps is a bonus!

Along with comments from students and what I have noticed as a teacher I have can now give you some feedback.

The shoes feel very stable when en pointe and when standing but the transition from one to the other needs care. The shoe is very stiff in the demi-pointe position so it is very easy to bypass this and not break up and down through the feet correctly. With careful training and perseverance this should eventually strengthen the dancers feet but the teacher needs to be very vigilant and the dancer very patient. A traditional shoe would obviously break down within the first lesson or two to accommodate this action but there is no going back if the shoe is bent too far or becomes too pliable. On the other hand, if you are wearing Gaynors and have an area that is a little tight or digs in a little on one foot you are stuck with it as you cannot alter the shape of Gaynors. You need to make sure that you are entirely happy with the fit of the shoe before you leave the shop as you cannot use your fingers to knead an area that feels a little tight because the material the shoes are made of will not change shape unlike traditional shoes. The benefit of this is that if you are entirely happy with the fit and comfort of your shoes this will last and last for the life of your shoes.

The suede tips, which are integrated into the shoe, are good as it saves darning or sticking on suede tips, which can be a safety issue. The shoes are also very quiet to dance in right from the beginning.

As with everything, there are pros and cons. I think GM’s are more suited to the advanced dancer who has some experience en pointe. I think a beginner needs to feel the complete cycle of a traditional shoe to find out where their best comfort/support level is. Before this, they have nothing to gauge what feels right or wrong. Once they have been through this process they can use the knowledge they have gained to try to achieve the correct fit in future.

Some students have two pairs of shoes whilst trying out GM’s so that they can compare the two more effectively. If the purse allows, I think this is a good idea.

All this said, one shoe will not suit everyone and change the world of pointe work overnight! It is important that people do not go for a shoe just because they like the sound of it or it is trendy. Advice from fitters and teachers is paramount. Trial and error is the only way we can truly move forward and all find our own glass slippers!! – Miss Nicola, Orchard Academy of Performing Arts

Response from Gaynor Minden

We appreciate the honesty and this review has given Gaynor Mindens a very fair and balanced assessment. More than anything, we are pleased that this review clearly shows where Gaynor Minden strengths shine. There are a lot of valid points, and we wouldn’t argue with such logic. However, there are certainly a lot of beginners out there who use Gaynor Mindens very happily. As with all pointe shoes, you have to gauge which is the best for the individual dancer.

There are several points in the feedback which are so very well worded :

– With careful training and perseverance this should eventually strengthen the dancers feet but the teacher needs to be very vigilant and the dancer very patient.

– I think a beginner needs to feel the complete cycle of a traditional shoe to find out where their best comfort/support level is. Before this, they have nothing to gauge what feels right or wrong. Once they have been through this process they can use the knowledge they have gained to try to achieve the correct fit in future.

Your Thoughts

At Dancemania we are always happy to hear your views and we positively encourage all feedback on any of our products or services. If you have anything to say please let us know!

Happy Dancing!

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