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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Gaynors, cheater shoes, & what works

Sharon B

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I am intrigued by the comments/threads I've read where Gaynor Mindens are referred to as cheater shoes. I've never tried them, tend to prefer Bloch or Sanscha. What makes Gaynors so good for the older pointe person? I would also love suggestions on what works best ( shoe wise for the older person taking point). I realize this can and should be a personal choice, but am curious....Would you all recommend private pointe lessons if there isn't a studio that offers adult pointe classes? At my studio the only pointe class is for those in the children's program ( no chance of adults taking it I'm afraid) I hope this is the right place for this post if not - let me know.

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Sharon - thats too bad that you can't take pointe with the younger girls. Thats what I am doing now and I find they are really sweet and respect that we are all learning. I'm not too much older than they are, but at first they kind of look at you and think to themselves "wow, you look so old!" :innocent: But after they get over that, they treat you just like any other student.


My other thought would be, can you possibly take pointe in your regular class? Of course, speaking with your teacher and seeing if you are ready first, but maybe that is an option - half an hour of pointe and than switch to soft shoes after that?


Or also, see if private lessons are available as you mentioned. The only thing is depending on the size of your studio if there are any open slots between classes. I know that mine is packed all the time, so private lessons may be a bit tough.


Not sure about the Gayner part of your post - I think possibly Clara would be best suited to give you some info on that.

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I alternate between GMs and Blochs. I'm 38, and I've been doing pointe off and on for about six years. I restarted pointe about a year ago, going right back to basics.


There are several things that I dislike about GMs:

1. They are quite heavy.

2. They fit so closely to my feet that I can't get them on unless I'm wearing tights so my feet can slip into the shoes.

3. The fabric & lining are fused together, and are so tough that it is virtually impossible to handsew the ribbons & elastics on.

4. They are hard to get here in Australia.


BUT my previous teacher looked at me in Blochs and GMs, and she prefers me in the GMs, because:

I am a safer dancer in these shoes- I balance better, my weight placement is better, my ankles wobble less. These shoes make my arches work harder & get into the right shape.


On the other hand, my feet look much nicer in my Blochs! And they do feel quite different, hence the alternating between shoe types. Also, courous are much neater and easier in the Blochs for some reason.


The studio owner has commented that she's not very keen on GMs (and none of the girls wear them), but she sees that adults have quite different needs, so she is ok with me wearing them.


p.s. as recently experienced, GMs are also washable! My sick cat peed on my ballet bag, and I ended up putting the GMs through the wash. My Blochs would have been irretrievable after cat pee!

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Gaynor? Cheater shoes? Seriously???

Is it because Gaynor is already so comfortable since the very beginning and no breaking in needed? Or because the shank is originally bent?

I personally love Gaynor.

I have tried a large variety of pointe shoes, and since I found Gaynor, I feel like I've found my soulmate. Well, in this case, toemate... *lol*


I actually find Gaynors very light indeed compared to my Bloch Alpha and Capezio Glisse, which I wear alternately, depending on what the class is focusing. Polka steps and rond de jambe saute sur la pointe is no way to be done on Gaynor!!!

The shock absorbing ability of the supple polycarboxilate compound material making up the shank is great. Wearing Gaynor is like sleeping in a spring mattress for the first time after having used to sleep on the floor. *lol*


I agree that it's soooo hard to sew ribbons and elastic on Gaynor. The satin is very thick and tight. But I believe the extraordinary fabric quality is necessary because Gaynor lasts way longer than most of other brands. I only consume 2 pairs of Gaynor a year, alternated with the other two brands. When I wore Bloch Sonata, I had to buy a new pair every 3-4 weeks. But well, that depends on how many times a week we have pointe works in class. However, most of my old Blochs are still in a very good condition when I already broke the shanks.


And eversince I wear Gaynor, I have no blisters anymore.

So, even if it's indeed called the cheater shoes, I'd still love it.


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Only in ballet would a new innovation and high tech materials be called a cheater shoe. I am in health care and I insisted for my daughter to try them 3 years ago and she is still happy with them. Can you imagine them calling high tech sneakers for running, cheater shoes?

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I used to wear Gaynors, before I found my RP Saphirs. I alternated the Gaynors with Grishkos. I would wear the Gaynors more often, but they don't carry a shoe that is tapered enough for my foot, even with all the stuff they offer to fill up the space in the box! :unsure:


I liked the Gaynors because of the springiness of the shank. The shank is the reason they call it a "cheater" shoe. (imho) I always call if the lazyboys of pointe shoes because I felt my feet could be lazy in them compared to how my feet work in a traditional shoe.


Regardless of "cheater" or "lazyboy" aspects, I say; if the shoe fits - wear it! (if you like it).

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I have written extensively about GMs over in the Pointe Shoe Forum. My information should be on the GM thread.

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I get a little angry when people call these shoes "cheater shoes"... Looking at my pointe career, I only wore Grishko's for 2-3 months at the very beginning (during "two hands on the barre" era) and the rest of those years passed with Gaynor Mindens. If they were cheater shoes or something like that, then I wouldn't be able to dance on pointe at all now but I am; even if I try to dance in my friends' Grishko's or Bloch's they feel very easy to dance in compared to my GMs... Maybe my shanks are wrong, I don't know but my GMs make my feet work harder (and for me, they hurt more than other brands but I can take it).


If you choose the correct shank, there is no way to call them "cheater shoes" by the way, as it can't create the "springing effect". If it throws the dancer up on pointe from demi-pointe, then the shank is obviously too hard for that dancer. I wear supple shanks and as I get stronger on pointe (and considering the reason given in the first paragraph of my post) I'm thinking to switch to the feather shanks; but I'm a little afraid to do so because my Gaynors (after 3 years, including a machine wash) are still brand new so it feels useless to buy a new pair right now (minus the rehearsals as they are not fixed, I regularly spend a total of 3 hours on pointe a week). Plus I won't have the chance to return them if I don't like the new shank strenght because I live soooo far away from the USA and the shipping would cost more than buying a second new pair.

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I use both GMs and Grishko 2007s at the moment. I actually like the Grishkos more, I feel like they fit me more perfectly. I got GMs because my Grishkos initially were hard as steel, and I'd always wanted to try GMs anyway, so I got them with a nice soft shank. I like that I can balance on them much, much more easily. Despite not fitting as well (I don't like how they widen a bit when standing flat, due to the pre-arched shank), they are still nice and comfy, and beautiful, of course! And this stuff about cheater shoes is just nonsense. I can attest that my feet get just as hard a workout in either shoes. :)

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I second that (or whatever position I am in this line of posts). Gaynors are NOT cheater shoes any more than any other shoe is. You still have to be strong enough to work the foot. The harder the shank, actually, the harder I feel you have to work. I've moved back to ExtraFlex - I thought at first it was for more support because of my ankle issues but now I find my feet are a lot stronger because the EF makes me work harder to roll through.


I alternative between Bloch Heritage and Gaynors. I can easily wear Bloch, Principal Diamond or Gaynors. If Gaynors were cheater shoes, then I wouldn't be able to wear the other two with confidence.

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Guest Dexie's Mom

Hi All: I am blessed to have feet that can go to full pointe without benefit of any pointe shoes at all! :grinning: Yes, I do reserve this trick just for parties or when I want to impress someone (just kidding here) and I have a pair of Gaynors that work very well for me. I have been dancing a long time, and love pointe work, I do already have strong feet and quite a bit of pointe experience. I'm saying this because these two things are very important for the beginning pointe student to achieve if she wants to be able to dance on pointe correctly and safely. I don't ever encourage my students to get Gaynors even though they ARE very comfortable when fitted correctly. I have observed that students with Gaynors seem to have more ankle instability and have a harder time learning how to control rolling up to pointe and down again. I love them for me because when I am teaching pointe, I can just throw the shoes on if I must demonstrate something that cannot been seen except by me actually wearing my pointe shoes. I try to teach in regular teaching shoes as much as possible.


For me as a dancer, I do like many things about the Gaynor's. What I don't like is the inability to confidently do hops on pointe, pas de polka, etc. Perhaps this is just me - but in my other shoes (Russian Pointes and Grishko Ulanovas) I have no difficulty whatsoever. In the Gaynors, I feel my ankle could twist at any moment, while performing these kinds of steps. Not a big confidence builder!

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As a parent I find attitudes to Gaynors very confusing. DD is not allowed by the RBS to use them. She has difficulty finding well fitting pointe shoes (she is currently using Freeds), despite regular visits by the school's own fitter. I wonder whether it might be worth exploring all available options, including GMs, but the school definitively says no. Yet Alina Cojocaru and other dancers in the Royal Ballet dance in GMs and Alina is on record saying that they are a godsend for her, helping to alleviate symptoms of an old injury.


Is the school's attitude lagging behind the experience of professional dancers? Or is it that GMs are suitable for experienced professionals but not for students?

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I think you answered your own question in your very last sentence, britdance! There is a thread in Pointe Shoe Topics that explains further.

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