Gaynor Minden's Online Magazine
September 2006
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Message from Eliza

     Here's my confession: I've been writing about dancers longer than I've been designing products for them. Ever since the day in sixth grade when I discovered that even a term paper could be a pleasure if the topic were dance, I've written on my favorite subject at every opportunity. It was the shortest meeting in Gaynor Minden's history when our marketing team persuaded me to start a regular e-mail dance newsletter.

     I want Gaynor Minden's dancer.COMMENT to inform, entertain, and inspire you. We will strive to keep it lively and useful. Our mix will include the nitty-gritty of the studio as well as the glamour of the stage. We'll have profiles of the stars of today and also of tomorrow. We'll tell you what we are doing in the dance community, and have special offers on our products that you can only get online. We also hope that you will write to us and make dancer.COMMENT a true dancers' dialogue.

So please let us hear from you.


Eliza Minden is the co-founder of Gaynor Minden, the designer of the Gaynor Minden pointe shoe, and the author of The Ballet Companion, a reference book for ballet students.

Back to Class
Special Offer.

     Check out our new, not-so-basic, "BASIC LEOTARDS". Buy one in burgundy or navy blue, and get a black one for half price. Classic never goes out of style. Only on-line.

More photos and details.

     When Gillian Murphy, as the wicked Odile in Swan Lake, turns the fouettés that hypnotize poor Siegfreid, she doesn't just turn 32 flawless ones. She inserts so many doubles and triples that the even the most restrained, "I've seen it all before" audience roars. Moreover, she jumps like Superwoman and has all the speed and extension a dancer could ever want.

     Only rarely do ballerinas attain this kind of technique, but rarer still is the technical virtuosa who can also move the audience with her artistry. Murphy's got both. She rose through the ranks at American Ballet Theatre in record time, and when its Swan Lake was aired on Great Performances on national television it was she who was chosen to dance the lead. But her talents go beyond the classics; her brilliance in the Balanchine repertory has earned her special praise too. As for her feet (yes, she's been wearing Gaynor Mindens since she was fifteen), they are, according to the New Yorker magazine "strong as a truncheon, sensitive as a finger".

     "Turning is a gift, though it requires a certain dynamic and a certain fearlessness."

     Gillian's breakthrough with turns came when she was practicing the Black Swan pas de deux...at age eleven! She was trying to build up to thirty-two fouettés and polish her multiple pirouettes. Her father was watching and explained that centrifugal force would pull her arms away from her body and slow her down. By gradually pulling her arms in while turning, Gilian was able to resist centrifugal force and maintain the tight, compact position needed for fast fouette's and multiple pirouettes.

  • Don't move your front heel before you turn.
  • Push off with both legs but keep your weight forward.
  • Relevé strongly and quickly. Pull up from the back of the leg right under your buttocks to get on your supporting leg.
  • Use your spot. Free the head and relax the upper body.
  • Good turns come from your work throughout the barre and center, especially from pliés, relevés, and petit allegro.
  • You know both a good and a bad turn immediately, and in a bad turn, you know to cut your losses. A good turn feels easy.
  • Don't sacrifice form. There's no point to lots of turns without form. In fact, everyone just wants them to stop.
  • There's a smaller turning surface when turning on pointe but not much difference in placement. You feel higher off the ground.
  • You gain mastery through repetiion-but not repetition of your mistakes. Make sure you practice correctly.

Excerpted with permission from The Ballet Companion by Eliza Gaynor Minden; 2005 Simon & Schuster.

     Do you know a remarkable dancer? Please tell us. "In The Wings" will be 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.

     In July and August, the Gaynor Minden team was out and about visiting the country's top students on our annual tour of summer dance programs. This year we were delighted to add dance teachers into the mix at two outstanding gatherings in New York City: the teachers' conferences sponsored by Broadway Dance Center and Dance Teacher Magazine. Gaynor Minden held an Open House at our Chelsea boutique on August 6 to welcome teachers who were in town for the events.

     Over 800 dance instructors converged at the midtown Hilton Hotel August 7-9 for Dance Teacher's convention. Exhibitors included manufacturers of dance shoes, floors, barres, clothes, costumes, and other necessities. Gaynor Minden was delighted to present several of the special events including a pointe shoe seminar, attended by almost 100 ballet teachers, at which John Minden, CEO, Amanda Tindal, Product Manager, and Kiley Stoker, Sales Manager explained the specifics of fitting the Gaynor Minden pointe shoe. There was a busy book signing by Eliza Minden, author of The Ballet Companion, and a special appearance by leading ballet teacher Kathryn Sullivan. Sullivan recommends Gaynor Mindens as particularly good for students, and over 50 of the visiting teachers came to hear her observations.

     We're looking forward to the upcoming United Dance Merchants of America conference in Secaucus, NJ October 14-15. If you're in the area around that time we would love to meet you. Please visit www.UDMA.org for details on the conference.

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

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

Photographs: Eliza Gaynor Minden by Sardi Klein, Gillian Murphy by Eduardo Patino, NYC, Basic Leotards by Eduardo Patino, NYC, Pointe Shoe Seminar ©Jenna Todd (shot for Dance Teacher Magazine).

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