Past, Present, Future


When considering revolutions in footwear for dance it would be difficult not to hail the early work of Marie Anne de Cupuis de Camargo, known simply as La Camargo of the Paris Opera Ballet who, in the mid-18th Century struck the heel off what was then the ballet shoe to create the ballet slipper or flat, as it’s more commonly known today. By the end of the French Revolution, some 230 years ago, King Louis XVI standardised this innovation as it allowed for more ballon in jumps and freedom of movement.

In 1795 Charles Didelot developed his ‘flying machine’, attaching wires to dancers that created the illusion of women floating on stage. Soon after, in the early part of the 19th Century the legendary, Marie Taglioni danced La Sylphide on pointe replicating this ethereal quality, yet at this time her shoes were little more than slightly modified satin ballet flats, stuffed with wool and heavily darned.

But innovations continued and the pointe shoe progressed through the 19th Century include something like a box at the front; yet it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that the modern pointe shoe, something we’d recognise today, came into its own seen in the work of dancers such as the immortal Anna Pavlova. 

And while over the next hundred years or so they’ve been many small cosmetic changes to improve footwear for beauty and comfort, and as often to attract attention and entertain in a competitive marketplace, those next hundred years saw very little significant innovation take place.

IMAGE: MARIE DE CUPUIS DE CARMARGO, MARIE TAGLIONI, ANNA PAVLOVA

In 2011 MDM blazed onto the scene as a market disruptor. If you’re not already familiar, MDM Dancewear is an Australian company that has developed the world’s most advanced and exciting foot wear for dance, creating foot wear perhaps most easily understood by comparing it’s significance to the revolution that took place in sports shoes in the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s. It was from that time that sports shoes came to be understood, appreciated and now valued as pieces of equipment; foot wear developed more specifically to improve athletic performance, athlete longevity and focused on injury prevention.

And so after 100 years of little innovation in footwear for dance, and almost 50 years after the revolutions in sports shoe design, MDM has taken dance another leap forward, assisting this generation of intelligent dancers achieve their dreams and forge new paths.

MDM – making history

Banner Image – Juliet Doherty

Photography –  Taylor Ferne Morris

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