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Dance history - shoemakee Piškurič

Ljubljana May 6, 2024 - contribution by Branka Lončarič, introduction written by Katja Vidmar.

Bojan Piškurič - plesno čevljarstvo

In January 2024, we received an unusual message and soon after a phone call by Mrs. Branka Lončarič, the wife of the late Mr. Piškurič, whom we dancers know very well, because almost every one of us has at least one pair of his shoes, which we just can't part with. Although this pair is old, worn and the colors have faded, they are so very comfortable and "dance beautifully". I myself have had three pairs for several years - Mr. Piškurič made one for me for my wedding and he marveled at my small foot; others - jazz - covered most of the performances on television and at events; and the third ones jumped with me when we danced the kan kan and the charleston. I still keep them in a special place and I'm glad I danced in them.


After her husband's death, Mrs. Lončarič collected all the pairs that remained and offered them to our dance studio to offer them to the dancers for a symbolic price, and indeed - when we announced the news that we had his shoes, the phone rang all the time and everyone said his story and experience about his shoes - and we could tell one thing from all the stories - his shoes were really something special.

One of the dancers, Irena Ž., even brought her own pair and wanted to buy one just like it, but in the end she bought four pairs! She also wrote us a message: "I've always wanted to be a dancer. Whenever I was in the center of Ljubljana, I admired the dancing shoes in the Piškurič shoe store window in Židovska Street. They seemed so unattainable to me. But the time came when I finally went in and bought one pair, then another.


I remember a nice storefront, a nice shop and a kind gentleman in it. That was almost 20 years ago, and I still dance in Piškurič's shoes. I have never had shoes of such high quality and durability, and for many years I only used them for dancing and dance classes, and newer shoes from another cobbler for more prestigious dances. The new shoes began to fall apart, but the leather and satin on Piškurić's shoes are still in good condition today.


When I'm in that part of Ljubljana, I still walk down Židovska Street with nostalgia, where I miss a nice shop with dancing shoes."

Piškurič - plesno čevljarstvo

Bojan Piškurič - plesno čevljarstvo

It was nice to see people come and buy his shoes because they want to dance in them, because they want them as a souvenir or because they will give them to someone.


Thanks to everyone who came and bought the last few pairs. Let them dance with you for a long time!


There is also a record with photographs from a private archive, which is partially based on Barbra Drnač's article: Plesni klepet, published in PIL, March 1999, and based on the memory of Bojan's wife Branka Lončarič Piškurič.


Shoemaker Piškurič - The historic trace

Barbra Drnač in Bojan Piškurič - plesno čevljarstvo

Bojan Piškurič, an engineer of leather processing technology, a specialist in the production of dance and wedding shoes, unfortunately already deceased, had a workshop and a shop on Židovska Street in Ljubljana. At that time, one of the most beautiful portals and panels hung above the bar, a true work of art.


The family's shoemaking tradition dates back to 1962, when Bojan's father, master shoemaker Peter Piškurič, came from Črnomlje to Ljubljana and got a job in the workshop, which at the time was owned by master Viktorj Zaplata. Later, Peter took over the workshop and, as the owner of this workshop, transferred the shoemaking tradition to his son Bojan over the years. Bojan graduated from the footwear high school in Kranj, and studied leather processing technology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology. His father Peter was a great example to him, whom Bojan followed at work from an early age, later he got an education, passed the master's exam and successfully completed college.


In his youth, Peter Pikurič danced a lot, but dancing shoes were simply not available. Made it

he gave them to himself and to friends, and people saw them and started ordering them.

Bojan Piškurič - plesno čevljarstvo članek

As he said himself, he always liked beautiful things. The most beautiful events in his life seemed to him to be birth, marriage and dancing. He said: “I have nothing at birth, so I am happy to make wedding shoes. I like to do it, I like to make it in such a way that I can happily show them off and give them away, and that the bride and groom will be proud to resurrect them!" And dancing is the beautiful part of life that he remembered the most. The master of making dance and wedding shoes, Peter Piškurič, when talking about dancing, became excited that there is nothing more beautiful than a handsome dancing couple, well-coordinated and dressed, in beautiful, real dancing shoes, twirling on the floor...


With joy and dedication to his work, Peter created, created and produced all kinds of dance shoes; shoes to order, shoes for theaters, performances, confirmations, weddings and other important events in an individual's life until his death in 2004. His son Bojan was growing up next to him, and they were helped by loyal assistants.


After his father's death, the shoemaking trade was taken over by his son Bojan, who remained in this space until his death in December 2010, delighting his customers with quality and aesthetically made shoes.


View into the workshop

Peter Piškurič in pomočnik Franci - plesno čevljarstvo

VA visitor to Bojan's workshop could see glistening leather, and a sharp eye could perceive that this leather was slightly thinner than usual, that women's heels were unusually elegant, that glitter and sketches were stored in boxes, and names were written on them, such as eg: Princess Aurora, Fairy Carabosse, Prince Florimund. From these records, the visitor was able to determine that it was a shoemaker's workshop, where dance and ballet shoes and slippers are made.


In fact, it was possible to order all kinds of dance shoes in the Piškurič shoe shop, for example. for jazz ballet, tap, rock&roll, show dance, standard and Latin American dances, as well as for valet, graduation or wedding. In short, for personal events. A visit to the workshop in Židovska Street in Ljubljana was always something special.


The shoes were very nice to look at and compact to the touch. But in order for the product to be like this in the end, quite a few stages of production are necessary. In an interview with the writers of articles for various newspapers or videographers for educational shows about professions, Bojan said that first of all it is necessary to make a sketch and make a model, according to which the cuts of the shoe are made. According to the cut, the material is cut according to the dancer's wishes. One of the highly desired materials was often satin. Then, in the workshop, the individual parts were sewn together, and the shoe was shaped on the hoof, again according to the dance genre. They glued the soles and the heel, painted and did their best during production so that the shoe was like a "cast" for the dancer.


As Bojan said in an interview for one of the newspapers, it took about four hours for Latin American and standard shoes, and slightly less for jazz shoes. If the dancers were in a hurry, for example for a competition, the whole team was active at work and the shoes were finished in a few hours. After ordering, the shoes were usually made within a week.


Bojan Piškurič - plesno čevljarstvo

More than twenty different models of shoes were produced in the Piškurič shoe factory. The type of leather, the color, the treatment of the soles, and especially the heel, are important in the production, especially in the case of women's shoes. In some, the dancer has to slide on the floor, in others "hitchhiking", stop sharply, spin again, for tap the shoes must be equipped with horseshoes, for jazz dance they must be different again, in some they must insert springs... Everything must be custom made . Each shoe has its own technology, its own design. Of course, modern shoemaking must also follow fashion, but without exaggeration, because as he pointed out, the basic function of a shoe is above all to keep the foot where it needs to be. More emphasis was placed on material in his workshop - satin, silk, leather.


Since the quality of the shoe was in the first place, the shoes always lasted a long time - both after kilometers and after hours. Of course, the durability of a shoe has always depended on who owns it; whether it was a national champion who performed a lot, or whether it was someone who danced as an amateur. In young people, of course, the leg grows sooner than the shoe is destroyed. All the shoes were also returned to the Piškurič shoe shop - for repair, of course, as they wear out and had to be repaired and trained for further use.


There was always a lot of work in the workshop, because Slovenians love to dance, both professionally and as an amateur.

Bojan Piškurič - plesno čevljarstvo članek

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