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graemew

Who Pays for Pointe Shoes?

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I received in the post today a request to contribute to the Royal Ballet Pointe Shoe Appeal. It was written in such a way as to suggest one was making specific contributions to one or more individuals which got me thinking about who pays for shoes and where this fund is directed. I would love to know whether shoes are provided at no cost by the ballet company, partially funded or down to individuals. Does it depend on individual contracts perhaps? In which case are the Appeal funds dished out in cases of  hardship or absorbed in some central pot?

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The company pays for the shoes, that are made specifically for each dancer. They hope fans will contribute to this general fund and are always asking for contributions, large or small

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I suggested to the person listed as being responsible for the shoe appeal that they sell a selection of the used shoes to raise funds, I got no reply....and then at the end of the season nearly all the dancers I follow on Instagram posted photos of bins full of used shoes ( I presume they just go to landfill). Now they sent out letters requesting donations

Edited by Rob S
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I have suggested to the (so-called) Development Team that they sell signed pointe shoes. However, I got the impression that they want to raise money without having to  make much effort. At least they are now offering a signed photograph of Nunez (or another dancer of your choice) if you give more than £500.

 

The pity is that the money raised just goes into the general pot and could well be spent on the over-expensive sets which seem obligatory for some modern creations.

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I've just had a look at the Pointe Shoe Appeal page and I couldn't see that it says the money goes into the general fund.

 

As I understand the situation (but please correct me if I a wrong) if a charity raises money for a specific cause then that is what it has to be used for and the charity's accounts should reflect how that specific money has been spent.

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1 minute ago, Jan McNulty said:

I've just had a look at the Pointe Shoe Appeal page and I couldn't see that it says the money goes into the general fund.

 

As I understand the situation (but please correct me if I a wrong) if a charity raises money for a specific cause then that is what it has to be used for and the charity's accounts should reflect how that specific money has been spent.

 

But if the Company would normally spend a certain sum on shoes, then the donations reduce the contribution from the company and that reduction could be diverted to other areas like staging (picking up capybara's point).  It's just focusing a general request into a specific area to make it more appealing to recipients. However, I think taking it to the next stage and linking it to one dancer seems one step too far. 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, graemew said:

 

But if the Company would normally spend a certain sum on shoes, then the donations reduce the contribution from the company and that reduction could be diverted to other areas like staging (picking up capybara's point).  It's just focusing a general request into a specific area to make it more appealing to recipients. However, I think taking it to the next stage and linking it to one dancer seems one step too far. 

 

 

 

 

All arts organisations are becoming more dependent on donations to keep alive.  I know this is different but a charity I am involved in (not as a trustee or in any official capacity) received a small award from Tescos for a specific purpose and has to be able to prove that is what the money was spent on.  Yes, it released other funds to be used for other purposes.  Capybara's post says that the money goes into the general pot and, whether ring fenced thereby releasing other funds or just put directly into the pot.  If people don't like that or the way they perceive the money is used they can always vote by locking their wallets or even voting with their feet and going elsewhere...

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I know Australian Ballet sells used pointe shoes in their online shop: you used to be able to choose your dancer from a drop-down list and the prices were flexible depending on your choice. It's now $99/pair and no choice is available. Given their heavily-promoted  partnership with Bloch, it's funny how many use Freed, and half a dozen are now using Gaynor Minden.

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6 minutes ago, Sophoife said:

I know Australian Ballet sells used pointe shoes in their online shop: you used to be able to choose your dancer from a drop-down list and the prices were flexible depending on your choice. It's now $99/pair and no choice is available. Given their heavily-promoted  partnership with Bloch, it's funny how many use Freed, and half a dozen are now using Gaynor Minden.

 

I would imagine that the ROH shop would double that price. It is currently selling small packs of ex-costume department fabrics at 20 pounds/pack.  However, worn pointe shoes are not the prettiest of goods to display and so would have to be kept under the counter!   I'm sure it would be a good revenue earner though although another imposition on overworked dancers.

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27 minutes ago, graemew said:

 

I would imagine that the ROH shop would double that price. It is currently selling small packs of ex-costume department fabrics at 20 pounds/pack.  However, worn pointe shoes are not the prettiest of goods to display and so would have to be kept under the counter!   I'm sure it would be a good revenue earner though although another imposition on overworked dancers.

 

A shelf of small white  ‘tissue boxes’ against one of the walls with the name of the dancer on the front of each box. Simples 🙂

 

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Here is a copy of the latest report with a financial summary: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/static.roh.org.uk/about/annual-review/pdfs/ROH-Annual-Report-16-17.pdf

 

Understandably, this does not include specific results of fundraising appeals or details of expenditure  but donations to this appeal go to The Royal Opera House Foundation, which is the general fund I referred to. Moreover, it was recently confirmed to me that the Pointe Shoe Appeal was one of the most successful ways of getting in the money.

 

I suppose that my antennae are out on this because I will never forget the time when a friend of mine supported a role with a not insignificant sum. Yes, there were associated 'perks' but, having been persuaded to donate on the basis that a particular dancer (new to a major role) needed to have new costumes made for him, it was obvious to all that he was, in fact. using old and tired costumes re-made to fit him. 

 

 

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People seem to be rolling up a  number of issues into  one  tangle in this thread 

who funds the  pointe shoes of Professional  Dancers in a Company ?  - it is  my understanding  based on  publicly available  materials from  various of the 'big five' and other larger companies and   in -person conversations with  a number of  current and  ex pro dancers  that a  reasonable  amount of shoe expenditure is  covered by the company ( amounting to several  pairs/ week during performance periods ) and that many professional  have 3 or 4 pairs in a rotation 

Pointe shoe appeals  are a focused way to target  fundraising  and provide  a  nice tangible  focus for the fundraising and some easily  digestible  soundbites  to help promote the  appeal 

for a professional   it could /can be argued  that  Pointe shoes   constitute  'work equipment'  therefore the  employer / contracting  organisation has a duty of care with regard to their fitness for purpose  under PUWER - hence the reason many companies have a  commercial arrangement with a manufacturer, given the  variations available and the  timeframe for supply  of custom made  Classic shoes it's perhaps unsuprising that many UK companies  have  that commercial  relationship with Freed.

designated funds and  charities -   if  a donation is made for  stipulated purpose  it has to be spent on that  stipulated purpose  or an agreement sought wit hthe donor to   re-direct funds ( I've seen such a re-direction  of funds  take place with regard to a  sum of money  given to a specific local unit  of a charity to purchase  a specific vehicle , however the charity  had a national policy  change which placed  these  vehicles under regional control  -  the options presented to the donor  were  1. use the money to fund something the local unit is allowed to control 2. fund  the vehicle  and  it be allocated to the locality  (roughly contiguous with the ceremonial county ) rather than the  specific unit 3. it goes to court and  is  argued out with the end result being 1/ 2 / donation is returned ). 

sales of used pointe shoes -  while they  may well be a lovely souvenir  , uncontrolled sales of them - which is what  on the shelf sales  of them is )  could be problematic...  
1. Some people will try and dance in them  (so short of  selling them in banksy  style frames   that self destruct if opened ) 
2. There is a problem with  peopel attempting to purchase access  to dancers or their  property   for nefarious purposes (  we've had one or two of them on the  forum over the years ) 
3. potential biohazard risk  

you can understand  why  companies might just kick it into the long  grass  vs dancers  gifting  shoes  / occasional auctions of significant shoes 
 

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I'm guessing if you are selling the used point shoes for a good cause then there is no harm.  I know Olivia Grace Cowley did this last year with a certain amount of point shoes to raise money for Alzheimer Support, a cause close to her. I donated an amount and got a pair signed by her, my sister got Yuhi Choe and mum got Fumi Kaneko.  It was all random in that you didn't know which dancers point shoe you would get.  It was all done openly on Twitter and Instagram so the RB must have no problem with it.  

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4 hours ago, Nicola H said:

People seem to be rolling up a  number of issues into  one  tangle in this thread 

 

I apologise if I have been a cause of any tangle but, compared with many BCF threads, this one does have a consistent focus - i.e. of being about pointe shoes and their funding.

 

I think that it is quite well known that professional dancers get an allocation from their companies which they may, or may not, augment themselves from time to time. They are also able to choose from which supplier, or indeed, in some cases, from which particular maker, their shoes are purchased. Male dancers are also supplied with their everyday shoes. In addition, there is 'production specific'  footwear of all kinds, including pointe shoes.

 

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8 hours ago, Bravissima35 said:

I'm guessing if you are selling the used point shoes for a good cause then there is no harm.  I know Olivia Grace Cowley did this last year with a certain amount of point shoes to raise money for Alzheimer Support, a cause close to her. I donated an amount and got a pair signed by her, my sister got Yuhi Choe and mum got Fumi Kaneko.  It was all random in that you didn't know which dancers point shoe you would get.  It was all done openly on Twitter and Instagram so the RB must have no problem with it.  

 the fact they are 'random'  is  a protection against  the obsessives  

when people talk  aobut  'plain sales' and  wider availability  it all  ends  up sounding a little unsavoury  rather than  a gift from the the  dancer 

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Surely if the shoes are sold simply as souvenirs, there can't be any comeback if used for any purpose? They're not being sold to be worn for dancing so there is no liability if used as such.  And I know dancers lead busy lives but how long does it take to sign a name on them?  It could be a useful source of income for a cash-strapped art.

 

I'm surprised that, with so much emphasis on recycling these days, female dancers' shoes are made for one-time use only and then discarded.  Mens' shoes, in contrast, are continually re-painted and reused in many productions.  Can't pointe shoes be recycled at all or made from recycled fabrics?

 

I've heard that Gaynor Minden shoes are state of the art - do they use materials that can be recycled?

 

Linda

 

 

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I have to say that worn pointe shoes ae not the most wholesome of products and I can see that commercial resale could be a real Health and Safety nightmare. As has been pointed out, a pair gifted by a dancer have a special value. Where do you draw the line? Signed photographs or posters would have a cmommercial value but it's not the same as the dancer doing the signing for YOU! 

I have the answer to my original question - thank you for that. I am glad to feel that irrespective of the outcome the lovely Marianela won't be dancing bare-foot and we won't be hearing "Cast change! Marianela Nunez has been replaced by XYZ  in this evening's performance due to a shortage of point shoes"

 

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5 hours ago, graemew said:

I have to say that worn pointe shoes ae not the most wholesome of products and I can see that commercial resale could be a real Health and Safety nightmare.

 

 

In that case get the dancers to sign those miniature pointe shoes you can buy in the shop 😂

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Dis this article about pointe schoes escape the links team earlier ? 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/26/brown-ballet-shoes-made-first-time-uk-move-hailed-historic-diversity/

 

"Dancers from minority ethnic backgrounds can now get pointe shoes in both bronze and brown instead of traditional pink to match their skin tone.

The footwear is made by Freed of London - Britain's oldest manufacturer of ballet kit.

Cassa Pancho, founder and artistic director of Ballet Black, a professional company of black and minority ethnic dancers, hailed the news as marking an "historic moment" in British ballet. "

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No - it didn't escape me, and I toyed with the idea of running it under Saturday's Misty Copeland feature.  However, it was by then some days old and had been extensively covered on Twitter etc that it was scarcely news by the time the Telegraph took it up.  

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4 hours ago, Lynette H said:

Dis this article about pointe schoes escape the links team earlier ? 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/26/brown-ballet-shoes-made-first-time-uk-move-hailed-historic-diversity/

 

"Dancers from minority ethnic backgrounds can now get pointe shoes in both bronze and brown instead of traditional pink to match their skin tone.

 

 

We've also had a related thread going on in Doing Dance for a few days now :)  

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On 28/10/2018 at 15:07, Bravissima35 said:

I'm guessing if you are selling the used point shoes for a good cause then there is no harm.  I know Olivia Grace Cowley did this last year with a certain amount of point shoes to raise money for Alzheimer Support, a cause close to her. I donated an amount and got a pair signed by her, my sister got Yuhi Choe and mum got Fumi Kaneko.  It was all random in that you didn't know which dancers point shoe you would get.  It was all done openly on Twitter and Instagram so the RB must have no problem with it.  

I bought one of Olivia Cowley's pairs for Alzheimer's last year- Mayara Magri's. I was so thrilled to get them! A month later my fiance and I returned home to find a mush on the floor. I couldn't tell what it was at first. Then I saw a pointe shoe ribbon amongst the wet mush- my dog had completely chewed up one of the shoes! I cried!!!!!! Luckily I still have one.

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17 hours ago, aliceinwoolfland said:

Oh no, that's awful! I totally sympathise as a fellow dog owner...

Awww thanks! Needless to say, the other shoe stays well out of the dog's way. I never thought in a million years that she'd go for it!

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On 29/10/2018 at 00:37, loveclassics said:

 

I've heard that Gaynor Minden shoes are state of the art - do they use materials that can be recycled?

 

 

My dance teacher was actually recommending them to the girls taking their exams tonight. Apparently they are made of plastic! 

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On 29/10/2018 at 00:37, loveclassics said:

<snip>

I've heard that Gaynor Minden shoes are state of the art - do they use materials that can be recycled?

 

Linda

 

 

GM pointes   use  a lot of plastics in their construction   hence their   apparently ' pre -broken in '  state and  reported longer  dancing  life than the  paste / hessian / cardboard/ hardboard  of a traditionally  constructed pointe shoe   (  and having  de shanked   my first  (badly fitted)  pair  i've  had a good nosy at  that   kind of construction 

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This is a fascinating and informative thread! I have another, (very loosely, apologies) related, question, regarding dancers' costumes: are they made afresh for each dancer in each role - I would think so, as they need to fit so perfectly - or are they recycled/retailored? When dancers perform in galas elsewhere, ie, not in ther home compnies, where do the costumes come from in that case? The costume always fits each dancer perfectly, so I thought that each time a dancer takes on a role, he/she gets a new costume made specifically for her/his body. But now reading this thread I wonder.

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11 minutes ago, SMballet said:

 I have another, (very loosely, apologies) related, question, regarding dancers' costumes: are they made afresh for each dancer in each role - I would think so, as they need to fit so perfectly - or are they recycled/retailored? 

 

recycled - if you ever go on one of the tours and pass through the costume dept, and they are doing something that's on regularly (Nutcracker or Fille or Sleeping Beauty or whatever), you might catch a glimpse of the name tags on the costumes -sometimes they go back ages! They also have rows of hooks/eyes so that more than one dancer in the corps, could wear a particular costume (e.g. a ghost in Bayadere). Of course, when they come out of storage they get repaired/replaced if too far gone, and assessed for the dancers cast in the roles, and replaced if someone cast can't find a fit. A new ballet though, or a restaged one (such as the recent Swan Lake) then they make new costumes for every dancer cast. Hundreds of them! After the run, they then go into storage, ready for a revival.

 

At least, that's what I've gleaned over time...

 

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