Gelsey Kirkland

Former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre
Co-Director of The Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet

“Finally, there is a pointe shoe that makes no noise! They are completely quiet in running steps and landings from jumps. In addition, Gaynor Mindens have a gracefully tapered vamp allowing the line of the leg and foot to become one. The tip of the box is completely flat making the shoe truly excellent for balancing and turning. To me, the most beautiful characteristic of this shoe is that it allows the artist to whisper.”

Gelsey Kirkland, November 2010

With ethereal technique and gripping dramatic power she electrified her audiences. Balanchine recreated Firebird for her when she was just 17. Baryshnikov chose her as his partner. Tudor and Robbins made her their muse. Principal Dancer at both New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, she inspired her generation. Now she inspires the next.
Ms. Kirkland currently Co-Directs the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York, NY.

Maria Calegari

Former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet
Repetiteur for The Balanchine Trust and The Robbins Rights Trust
Co-Director of Caleco Ballet Studio

“Some of the most accomplished ballerinas that I have worked with on Balanchine's ballets have given definitive performances of these great works of dance in their Gaynor Minden pointe shoes. Alina Cojocaru in Jewels/Diamonds, Veronika Part and Maria Ricetto in Mozartiana and Deanna Seay in Ballet Imperial, all dancing some of the most intricate, difficult, and expressive pointe work made for a ballerina. They must move quickly and smoothly on and off of their pointe shoes. The Gaynor Minden shoe clearly enables these female artists to bring their great skill and beauty to the stage time after time.”

Maria Calegari, September 2010

As an acclaimed Principal Dancer at New York City Ballet her eloquent line, impeccable technique, and soaring stage presence made her a star in the Balanchine repertory as well as a muse to Jerome Robbins. Now an internationally renowned teacher and repetiteur for The Balanchine Trust and The Robbins Rights Trust, she is seen here coaching Aria Alekzander of Houston Ballet. Ms. Calegari currently Co-Directs the Caleco Ballet Studio in North Salem, NY.

Melissa Hayden (1923 – 2006)

Senior Faculty North Carolina School of the Arts (1983 – 2006)
Former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet

“Gaynor Mindens strengthen the feet and elongate the leg muscles. They facilitate articulate footwork, good balance, and correct technique. Gaynor Mindens shape to the foot, allowing it to become an extension of the leg in a long, continuous line. I recommend them to everyone I teach.”

Melissa Hayden, January 2006

A ballerina of unforgettable brilliance, power, and artistry. Principal Dancer at New York City Ballet for over 20 years, Melissa Hayden originated some of Balanchine’s greatest leading roles, and commanded a huge repertory with that fusion of technique and passion that turns a dancer into a legend. She joined North Carolina School of the Arts’ Senior Faculty in 1983 and started recommending Gaynor Minden pointe shoes in 1995.

Yuri Fateev

Ballet Director
Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, St. Petersburg, Russia

“We come across fantastic technological advances everywhere. I am so happy to watch them finding their way to the art of ballet!

Gaynor Minden pointe shoes make feet look elegant, conceal their imperfections, and protect them effectively. They stand out for their flexibility; a dancer can easily make soft roll-ups and downs without ‘springing’ onto pointe. This is an effective way to develop foot strength and technique. The design of different Gaynor Minden models helps to achieve maximum responsiveness and comfort. As a teacher, it is so much easier to gain a result with dancers wearing Gaynor Minden!

Gaynor Minden shoes last much longer than other brands. They are very quiet, and they facilitate smooth, soundless movements of the corps de ballet, which is very important for ‘big scenes.’

Gaynor Minden pointe shoes make feet sing!”

Yuri Fateev, January 2008

After a distinguished career as a star of the Kirov Ballet, Yuri Fateev is now the Ballet Director. He is in charge of the company's Balanchine repertory – as well as one of the company's leading teachers and repetiteurs. Internationally in demand, he has taught, coached, and staged ballets all over the world.

Marina Leonova

Director, Bolshoi Ballet Academy

“Gaynor Minden pointe shoes are high quality, professional ballet footwear, ideally suited for beginners as well as for experienced dancers.

In these shoes, it is possible to achieve a truly perfect fit, thus minimizing injuries and general discomfort. The shoes are stable, perfectly balanced, and create a beautiful line of the foot.”

Marina Leonova, November 2007

For twenty years, Marina Leonova was a leading ballerina with the Kremlin Palace and Bolshoi Ballet companies. At the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, which is the school of the Bolshoi Ballet, she has been a Professor on the Faculty of Classical Dance, a Vice-President on Creative Work, a President of the Academy, and – since 1996 – Director. She is a recipient of the prestigious National Artist of Russia award.

Bart Cook

Former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet
Repetiteur for The Balanchine Trust and The Robbins Rights Trust
Co-Director of Caleco Ballet Studio

“Over the last 15 years I've seen the design elements of the Gaynor Minden pointe shoe greatly improved to meet the demands of training and performing for today's dancers. It's exciting to see that the Gaynor Minden shoe not only enhances a beautiful line to the leg, but is equally designed to ensure the dancer's foot is protected and safe. The Gaynor Minden shoe allows the dancer to tombé or "fall" off pointe easily, a transitional movement quality that is so important in Mr. Balanchine's and Mr. Robbins' ballets and in the most up-to-date choreography of our time. I also appreciate that Gaynor Minden offers so many choices of flexibility and durability appropriate to each dancer's foot.”

Bart Cook, September 2010

As a Principal Dancer at New York City Ballet, Bart Cook was among the foremost interpreters of Balanchinian neo-classicism. His extensive repertory included leading roles in the original casts of some of Balanchine's greatest "black and white" abstract ballets; he also originated major roles in works by Jerome Robbins to whom he became Assistant Ballet Master. He is now a choreographer, a master teacher and coach, a repetiteur for The Balanchine Trust and The Robbins Rights Trust, and Co-Director of Caleco Ballet Studio.

Mignon Furman (d.2012)

Founding Director, American Academy of Ballet

“I highly recommend the Gaynor Minden pointe shoe for the training of young dancers — it is not only the professional
who enjoys its benefits. It supports the foot in such a way that the dancer is better able to feel and attain
correct alignment on pointe.”

Mignon Furman, May 2006

Mignon Furman, distinguished, award-winning ballet teacher. She is the creator of the Performance Awards Program, and the Founding Director of the American Academy of Ballet. She has been recommending Gaynor Minden pointe shoes
since 1996.

Igor Zelensky

Principal Dancer, Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet
Former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet
Artistic Director, The Novosibirsk State Academic Ballet Theater

“I encourage my dancers to wear Gaynor Minden pointe shoes. The quality is excellent and the appearance is elegant. Dancers benefit from their comfort and consistency while the audience enjoys articulate - and mercifully quiet - footwork.”

Igor Zelensky, October 2008

Igor Zelensky, Principal Dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre since 1991, has been a Principal Dancer at New York City Ballet, a Principal Guest Artist at London's Royal Ballet, and an acclaimed guest star worldwide. In 2006 he became Artistic Director of Russia's third largest company, the Novosibirsk Academic State Ballet Theatre where he has staged his own versions of the classics. Zelensky was honored with the People's Artist of Russia title in 2008 and the Golden Mask Award in 2009.

Victoria Mazzarelli

Artistic Director, Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts

“So much is expected of dancers today, and the Gaynor Minden pointe shoe is an excellent tool for their training at all levels. As a former professional dancer and now a teacher, I have found that Gaynor Minden pointe shoes are supple, encouraging a beautiful rolling-through of the feet, and at the same time durable — perfect for building strength. They mold wonderfully to the foot, promoting a lovely line.”

Victoria Mazzarelli, 2007

The sole Gold Medalist in the 1984 New York International Ballet Competition, Victoria Mazzarelli went on to further acclaim during her twenty year career as a leading dancer at the Basel, Frankfurt, and Zurich Ballets. She is now a teacher, choreographer, and Associate Artistic Director at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. Her former students dance at major companies throughout the world.

Kathryn Sullivan

Senior Pointe Instructor, Steps on Broadway
Ballet Faculty, Barnard College and New York University

“Gaynor Mindens are excellent for the beginning pointe student. They enable the dancer to build her own strength in the foot, without overly relying on the shoe. They encourage the correct position of the toes, and provide just enough resistance for a smooth roll-up and roll-down. I strongly recommend this shoe — along with good training — as a perfect way to be introduced to the wonderful world of pointe work!

It’s the shoe of the new generation.”

Kathryn Sullivan, April 2006

Kathryn Sullivan, master teacher of ballet and pointe. She is a published author of articles and videos on pointe technique, and a respected faculty member at Barnard College and New York University. She has been teaching pointe at Steps on Broadway since 1991, and started recommending Gaynor Minden pointe shoes in 1995.

Christopher Caines

Founder and Artistic Director, Christopher Caines Dance Company
Winner of 2006 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in Choreography

“Gaynor Mindens have affected my work artistically by expanding my conception of what is possible expressively on pointe. My company performs exclusively with live music, often with intimate chamber scores. Because Gaynors are a whole order of magnitude quieter than any competing shoe, I find that I can set all kinds of steps—petit allegro, taqueté, échappés—to even the quietest passages of music without, so to speak, adding percussion parts to them that the composer did not write.

While the shoes have obvious advantages for the dancer—their superior comfort and fit conduces to healthy technique—their advantages for the choreographer are impressive too. Their astonishing durability and consistent performance makes Gaynor a most cost-effective investment—they save a lot of money.

Even more important, Eliza Minden to my mind is not only an engineer and designer of genius, but an artist. In Eliza you encounter the same questing, never-satisfied spirit, the same desire for the ever elusive goal of perfection, that I recognize in the great dancers and choreographers I admire and whose integrity I strive to emulate in my work. I think Eliza and John are brave too: it takes courage to fulfill the promise of a tradition in a way that may look like upending it—there will be some who don't understand at first what you're doing. Gaynor Minden pointe shoes continue to expand my idea of what is possible. All the women in my company are “Gaynor girls” now, and I wouldn't have it any other way.”

Christopher Caines, March 2010

Photo of Gelsey Kirkland by Eduardo Patino.
Photo of Maria Calegari and Aria Alekzander by Amitava Sarkar.
Photo of Maria Calegari courtesy of Steven Caras, 2010. Maria Calegari in "Mozartiana," choreography by George Balanchine. Balanchine® is a Trademark of The George Balanchine Trust.
Photo of Melissa Hayden by Rick McCullough.
Photo of Yuri Fateev by Neff.
Photo of Marina Leonova by Alexey Brazhnikov.
Photo of Bart Cook courtesy of Steven Caras, 2010. Bart Cook in "Agon," choreography by George Balanchine. Balanchine® is a Trademark of The George Balanchine Trust.
Photo of Mignon Furman by Costas.
Photo of Igor Zelensky by Eugeny Ivanov.
Photo of Victoria Mazzarelli by Don Perdue.
Photo of Kathryn Sullivan by Eduardo Patino.
Photo of Christopher Caines by Shannon Hennigar.