October 24, 2012

Pointes from the Postman



Oops, I did it again. That is, I waited until the last class to get new pointe shoes - only to find out that my size was not in stock at my local store! My plan B (out-of-town friend with access to another store) didn't work out either, and I was looking at two more very long weeks of dancing in dying-dead shoes.. You know there's no joy in there. That's why I did another online research on dance wear shops within the EU, to find out if I could possibly get my shoes sooner, and for a reasonable price. And I did!

My pointe shoes are from Bloch: Balance European (in size 6 XX). Here in Finland they cost about 60 Euros (75 USD / 45 GBP). At my current rate of two pointe classes per week, I need to replace shoes about every 10-12 weeks. I have never shellaced or glued my pointes before, but I'm going to do a trial with my new pair. That should buy me a few weeks extra usage. I'm also thinking of getting an extra pair, so I can switch my shoes from class to class. Pointes should be aired at least 36 hours between each use, for the glue to re-harden.

The first shops I checked online were Dance Direct and Porselli, but neither carries my model in their selection. Stores outside of the EU are not really an option for me, as shipping costs are too pricey - and you have to pay duty charges. I knew I could buy Blochs directly from Bloch UK, but they charge a whopping 19,95 £ for delivery to Finland. Even if the shoes themselves cost less there than here, I would need to order at least two pairs as not to exceed 60 € / pair. I did manage to find my model and size at Planet Dance, for 34.95 + 9.95 £ shipping, which would cost the same as buying them locally. I almost made an order, but then I googled some more.. and stumbled across Lazy Dancer (click here: Lazy Dancer).




Not only do they carry my Blochs, but the price is almost half of what I pay here! Darlings, for someone who's living and dancing on a very small budget, it's like striking gold. I was of course suspicious at first, and checked out all the details, terms and conditions, and contacts. I even sent an e-mail, just to let them know that I was interested in making an order. Turns out the store is a small but established family business in Athens, Greece - and everyone has a background in ballet. After I checked the payment system for security, I felt assured enough to place my order. I paid 35.10 €, shipping included.

Just one week later the postman rang and delivered my new pointe shoes. The shoes were in pristine shape, if you don't count tiny penciled markings on the inside for ribbon placements. The satin was new and smooth, and there were no tell-tale signs from over-fitting on previous customers. Normally I do not endorse stores, but I think this one's a pretty good deal. Of course, ordering pointe shoes online works only if you have been fitted before, and know your brand, model and size. You also have to take into account that there might be some small variation from one pair to the other.




I got my pointes this Monday, did some fast sewing (new shoes, old ribbons) and wore them to class the next day. What a relief, never mind that new shoes are always hard on you. Sure beats dancing in dead pointes! Anyway, by the time we got to center practice, I had already made friends with my shoes. Hope we're going to have a good time..

6.11.2011 EDIT: Since I ordered my shoes, prices have gone up. The same Blochs I bought for 35.10 €, cost now 42.00 Euros. Either Lazy Dancer started with low prices to get the business started, or they forgot to add VAT on the purchase price. I'm a bit annoyed that I didn't get to buy more with the "old price", but even the new prices are still a deal - at least for pointe shoes. But there's another problem which I find more troubling: the online shop hasn't been working. I've tried to purchase new flatties since the 2nd of November, but the shop won't let me add anything to the shopping cart. If I try to access my account, the entire site goes off-line. Five days later, and still it doesn't work. I have sent two messages to Lazy Dancer, and I'm waiting for the problem to get fixed.

14 comments:

  1. Love the pics of your box fresh pointes! Hope to purchase & wear a pair in the not too distant future...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! New pointe shoes always look so pretty, and even smell nice. But they feel best only right before they die, sigh.. ;)

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  2. Grats on your new pair of pointe shoes! It's always an exciting time even if you've had the same kind before. I have the same shoes but I find the shanks are very soft. They almost feel half dead as soon as I put them on. Do you find this is the case for you as well? Are your pointe shoes Super soft, hard medium etc?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Bloch's Balance Europeans come only in one shank strength (unless you're a pro with access to customized shoes). They are designed to be flexible under your arch, which works great for me. I like that I can go through a high demi pointe from the first class on. But if you feel that the shank is too soft under your metatarsals, you should try a reinforced shoe like Serenade (in extra strong). Or pointes from Grishko - they supply all of their shoes with different shank strengths.

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  3. Finding a good online source of pointe shoes is so difficult! I love my Freed Classics, but they are such a pain to access. Most major online retailers won't allow you to specify a maker, so you end up playing a game of roulette hoping you'll end up with shoes that work. And if they do let you specify a maker they charge extra. Argh! Maybe I should just move to England! ;)

    Glad you got such a great deal! Must feel fabulous!

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  4. I took another look at Freed USA's online shop today - I had no idea custom shoes were that expensive! But it would be so awesome if you could specify every little detail.. Have shoes made to meet your exact needs.. I wish!

    A friend of mine was in London beginning of October, and she went to Freed's store - turns out every pointe student in the city was getting her fitting on the same weekend! It must have been beginning of the school year. Anyway, she couldn't get the fitting she had hoped for. :/

    I'm considering trying out another Bloch shoes, with these prizes the risk is not too great. A good find, indeed. :)

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  5. I bought a few things from Lazy after your recommendation - like the black Bloch bag with pink lining that costs €24 normally and only €17 there.
    8 days after placing the order, it's still pending when I log in. I've emailed them but no reply yet. Maybe they're just "lazy" with getting their orders processed. I really hope they sort it out, because I prefer to support smaller shops if they carry the same items I would buy elsewhere.

    I'll let you know what happens from here.

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    1. Thanks for giving me an update. I wonder if they are understaffed or something. I got my first order within a week, no probs. But since then I haven't been able to make another order. Hope they do get it sorted out, otherwise I'm going to withdraw my recommendation. :/

      I did order my new pair of flatties from Porselli instead, but that's still in the mail.

      Keep me posted!

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  6. It's shipped, it's shipped!! ;) No reply to my email, just the automatic notification... but still! It's shipped! (Buying ballet things online is like choosing when and how often you can have your own Christmas ;)



    p.s. ...I really hope it's just a staffing problem, too.

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  7. Hi Johanna
    Just discovered your blog and as a fellow adult amateur dancer, love reading your thoughts - especially about pointe - I love it!

    I set up a website this year after growing frustrated as I couldn't get all our ballet supplies. I am lucky that I am only an hour from London, where there are lots of ballet shops, but it still takes time when you also work full time!

    Would be great if you could have a peek at our site and give us your thoughts.

    http://www.justballet.co.uk/

    If you like our site, please share us on facebook or follow us on Twitter!

    We are just sorting out our Bloch supplies and can assure you that postage to Finland will be very reasonable!

    Degas leotards are arriving soon and they are so gorgeous!

    Happy dancing
    Sheila :)

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  8. Everything arrived today in perfect order. The only thing I'm annoyed about is buying a different model canvas slippers than I had last time, and with different reviews telling how many sizes smaller to order, they're unfortunately too small. What with Lazy Dancer upping the prices, the €11.50 slippers now cost €17. Urgh. My fault, though.
    Like you said, though, still less than buying them in Germany or Finland.

    The rest is great, so I have no reason to withdraw my own recommendation, either.

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    1. I'm relieved to hear everything is in perfect order, well except for those slippers. It's always a bit risky buying sizes you haven't tried on before.

      With Bloch I can wear sizes 4.5 - 5, and widths B and C. The smaller size will be too snug at first, but the canvas stretches anyway. With the bigger size (and width) it's almost too loose. However, this time around I bought bigger on purpose, because I don't want to put any unnecessary pressure on my left big toe nailbed (which got inflamed some weeks back).

      By the way, soft slippers cost between 18-25 euros here in Finland, but very few shops carry Blochs (and not the models which I prefer).

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    2. I finally received a proper reply back from the shop. I can log in and select items for my shopping cart but I can't check them out or enter any shipping details.

      They said, "I checked with the technical team they will look into the problem but in the meantime you can upgrade your browsers or you can use the Google Chrome browser which works perfectly with our website.
      hope this helps"

      (FYI, my Firefox and IE are running the latest versions and I sent them screenshots of the error messages.)

      They also said that, "The Bloch prices were a special introductory offer to our site, our prices remain at a very good level" which is true. I live in Cologne, which, for the size of the city (more than 1 mil pple) only has TWO small stores. Not ideal for getting fitted as they carry limited brands (same goes for pointe shoes. When I finally wear through my first pair, I might see if I buy the next lot in a bigger city or during a weekend in London.)
      Even a pair of soft Sansha slippers cost €25, and they're cheaper than Blochs!

      I hope your toe is finally healing - that sure doesn't sound like any fun.

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  9. Hello! I just discovered your blog, and it is really interesting and has also helped me too! I am 14 and I have been dancing since I was 2, and for the first time in 7 years I am only doing ballet! It is a bit of a challenge as I normally rely on my jazz and hip hop classes to keep up my fitness, but I'm working through it :) my pointe shoes are Balance European as well, but mine are 6 1/2 X. I just got new ones, and although I already have blisters, the difference between new shoes and dead shoes is amazing!! I never realised! With my old shoes I felt like there was nothing supporting me and I used the barre to try and keep myself up, but with new shoes, I can really feel the support!! Thank you so much for your blog, because it has really helped me understand a lot of things :D

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