Gaynor Minden's Online Magazine
December 2006
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Stocking Stuffer Sale!

Stocking Stuffer Sale!

Save 25% on these favorite Gaynor Minden accessories:
The Dancer’s Dozen—resistance bands and exercises for dancers
Master Class with David Howard on DVD
The Dancer’s Backpack in black or raspberry
Leopard Paws—a stocking in itself!

Remember to order before December 19th if you want them before Christmas, otherwise orders will ship on January 2.  


Long-haired poets celebrating beauty, nature, passion, and the redeeming power of love. Artists and writers rejoicing in the liberation of the true self from repressive codes, rules, and social hierarchies. Ballet was well suited to the issues and ideals of the Romantic era (early to mid-1800s). What better symbol of loveliness and freedom than the ethereal ballerina?

Her characters are free from gravity, free from society, free from reality. Her unattainability makes her all the more desirable. The Romantic ballerina is seldom of this world: the sylph in La Sylphide, the wilis in Giselle, the water nymph Ondine, the fairy in La Peri. The appeal of ballerina-as-supernatural carried over into the late nineteenth century: swan maidens in Swan Lake, more fairies in The Sleeping Beauty, shades in La Bayadère.    Read more

     Being a star of ballet is just one of her accomplishments. Luisa Maria Diaz Gonzalez, a dazzling renaissance woman now at the Béjart Ballet of Lausanne, Switzerland, is not only a dancer but also an opera singer, a television personality, a published author, and a cosmopolite who has earned some impressive firsts.

     Born in Mexico, Luisa moved to New York at the age of 8 and continued her dance training--which had begun when she was 3--at the School of American Ballet. That same year she began singing lessons under Emilia del Terzo at Carnegie Hall. At the age of 10 she moved to Paris, where she continued on her dual track: dance at the Paris Opera Ballet School and the Compagnie Ballet Stanlowa, and music at the Salle Pleyel.

     Back in Mexico City at age 12, Luisa won the Gold Medal in the National Ballet Contest for three years in a row (1995-1997). Many people might have been content to rest on laurels like those. But Luisa also sang as a soloist with the Young Symphony Orchestra, produced a CD on which she sang some of her favorite opera arias, worked on a television program promoting arts for children, spent summers in Cannes under the tutelage of Rosella Hightower, and wrote a book, La Danse au Méxique. In 1998, at the invitation of the legendary ballet teacher Claude Bessy, she moved back to Paris to attend the Paris Opera Ballet School. Two years later she became the only Mexican graduate in the school's history. She also won a prize from Danza and Danza in Palermo, Italy, for Emerging Ballerina.   Read more.

     Sometimes Gaynor Minden’s legendary service even includes hand delivery to your theater. On November 9th, International Sales Manager Jeanne Share took a day trip to the Wang Theater in Boston to bring shoes—fresh from our nearby factory—to the dancers of the Kirov Ballet of the Maryinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg, Russia. The company was in the final week of their recent tour of North America, which included stops in Chicago, Ottawa, and Orange County, California. Dancers wearing Gaynor Mindens include most of the first and second soloists, as well as several coryphées and corps de ballet dancers. Tatiana Tkachenko, second soloist, and Yana Serebriakova, coryphée, endorse Gaynor Minden pointe shoes in our catalog in stunning photographs by Costas, the well-known dance photographer. Says Tatiana, “Gaynor Minden pointe shoes help me dance my best—I love them!”

     The company will be returning to the Kennedy Center in January for a brief engagement of Romeo and Juliet; Irina Golub, second soloist and proud Gaynor Minden wearer will be performing the lead role of Juliet for two performances.

     Suitcases, airports, and international competitions; honors, medals, scholarships, and prestigious invitations; tights, tutus, and Gaynor Minden pointe shoes—that’s Mara Thompson De la Rosa’s past five years in a nutshell. The globe-trotting part, however, may be put on hold for a while now that the native of Mexico has been accepted at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theatre in New York City.

     Mara excelled at international ballet competitions, winning the Gold Medal, La Coupe de la Ville, and the Grand Prix at the International Classical Dance Competition in Biarritz, France (2002), first place at the 12th Annual International Classical Dance Competition in Italy (2002), a Gold Medal in the junior category and the overall Grand Prix at the International Classical Dance Competition in Mexico (2003). She was named one of the Top 12 Finalists at the Youth American Grand Prix (2003), which earned her a scholarship at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C.

Read more.

Do you know a remarkable dancer? Please tell us. “In The Wings” is a regular feature of Gaynor Minden’s dancer.COMMENT in which we profile an extraordinary dancer, nominated by our readers, who wears Gaynor Minden pointe shoes and who is not (yet!) a star. Perhaps it’s a student who has been recognized with an award, a scholarship, an acceptance to a terrific school or program. Or maybe it’s someone whose passion for dance is so strong that she has had to overcome an obstacle in order to pursue it. Or possibly it’s a gifted teacher whose talent and generosity have enabled the next generation to soar.

Please send a brief description of your remarkable dancer (100 words or fewer), and a photo of her in her Gaynor Minden pointe shoes (along with permission to use it), to editor@dancer.com. Be sure to include a way for us to contact you, and your dancer.

     A confession: after fourteen years in the pointe shoe business I was tired of The Nutcracker. There, I’ve said it. Heresy. Unthinkable, like growing tired of fifth position. But our sales team was worn out from talking down so many desperate parents who placed their orders late but insisted we get them their shoes pronto because, “My daughter is CLARA!” I think our record was nineteen Clara’s Moms in one afternoon. Our shipping department was doing a frantic allegro of its own to get all the boxes out. That music, lovely as it is, had become stuck in our heads and we had tummy aches from the chocolate Nutcrackers that turned up in the office.

     So, in an Ebeneezer Scrooge-like frame of mind, I went to see it again last weekend. And like Scrooge, I ended up beaming, and full of Christmas joy. The Nutcracker had worked its magic once again—but it wasn’t just the dancing.

     The production, in a real theater complete with growing Christmas tree, adorable angels, hilarious mice, sparkling snowflakes, and all the trimmings was by the Connecticut Dance School. Thirty-five years ago that school was a handful of girls in my mother’s basement. Last weekend it engaged an entire community.

     Parents had made costumes and some were in the party scene; they had supervised backstage and managed their children's demanding rehearsal schedule, and now they were cheering in the audience. The dancers were radiant. Their solid training made nerves fade away, and their joy and pride in their dancing was apparent to all.

I surrendered.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Contact Us: editor@dancer.com
212 929 0087 ext 24

Visit www.dancer.com for more information about Gaynor Minden products and history.

Photographs: Alina Cojocaru by Johan Persson; Mara Thompson De La Rosa by Marcelo Cervantes Mejia; Luisa Diaz Gonzalez by William Dupont; Tatiana Tkachenko by Costas; Eliza Minden by Sardi Klein.

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