Monday, February 19, 2007

Dance Shoe Guy

Although I can't claim to have penned the name, "Dance Shoe Guy", it does seem very appropriate since I have been fitting and selling dance shoes for nearly 25 years now . The moniker and subsequent license plate "DNSHU GY" ('s not some Chinese dish) came about 12 years ago while I was courting my now wife. We would be out and about town at a restaurant, mall, grocery store, bank, post office or wherever and no matter where we were someone would recognize me. It was always the same scenario. A mom with a little girl. The mom would say, "Hey where do I know you from?" Before I could respond that it was likely from my dancewear store, the little girl would invariably chime in, "Mom! It's the Dance Shoe Guy."

I've always said that my favorite part about this job of 25 years is fitting that 3-5 year old little girl for her first pair of ballet or tap shoes. It's what makes going to work everyday worth while. Just seeing that wonderment in their face when they first hear those taps hit the wood floor or the gleam in their eye when they first look in the mirror at the barre and see their ballet slippers that confirm what they had always dreamed. I am a real ballerina! The fact that they remember me makes me believe that the moment was worthwhile and memorable for us both.

Support Your Local Dance Store

One of my favorite things about this job is fitting a little girl for their first pair of ballet or tap shoes. The wonderment and excitement in their eyes is priceless and washes away all the problems in my day-to-day business regiment.

Now this either sounds crazy from the "Pointe of View" of someone who owns an online/mail order dancewear business or borderline begging from someone who owns several local dance stores. As someone who has been in the dancewear business for 25 years and owns both, I'm not really sure if it's either. I'll explain further and let you decide.

Here is why I think, as a dance teacher, dance studio owner, dedicated dancer, a dance mom, or just a fan of dance who wants to insure that dance is here to stay, that you must shop and support your local dance store wherever you live. Now mind you, if you don't live within, say 30 miles of a decent dancewear store, by all means shop online (preferably at ). Most metropolitan areas over 200,000 in population have at least one dancewear store. Most local dancewear stores are family-owned by someone within your dance community. This business owner provides a valuable service to the dance community by having a place to view, try on, special order, provide expertise and advice on all the basics and latest trends in dancewear. In addition, they are likely employing local dancers, dance teachers and dance moms. Much as we all might dream, not everyone is going to making a living solely as a professional dancer (especially if you are not in a major metropolitan area...even there the premium dance jobs are rare).

Let's look at it from an economic standpoint. These local store owners are not only providing jobs, but they are also providing state, local, and sales tax revenue for your area. They also spend what they earn in your community so it comes back to you. Dance store owners eat out, buy clothing, food, cars, homes and every other product just like you. They bank locally, use local lawyers, see local doctors, go to the movies, bowling alleys, local dry cleaners and send their kids to local dance studios! Do you see what I'm getting at? Somehow or another whatever business you're in, they are probably supporting it, so it's only fair that you return the favor. Don't get me wrong, the internet is great for some things but not trying on dance shoes, leotards and tights. Not to mention the social aspect of shopping. Getting out of the house with or without the kids. Seeing and interacting with other people is good for you. Besides bolstering the ecomony, shopping was recently listed as one of the top 10 activities to help keep the mind sharp as we age. Have you heard of Urban Blight? It can affect retail areas too. If everyone shops online for everything, eventually our malls, shopping centers and cities will look like ghost towns.

OK. If I haven't convinced you yet, it can only be one of two things. #1 Convenience. Yes, it is convenient to shop at home in your pajamas. It can also be a little scary and maybe a little too easy. So you get online and navigate a website or two to find what you think you want, splash your credit card into cyberspace, oops you got kicked offline, get back on, see if the sale went through, it didn't, now you buy a few things and then wonder when they'll arrive and if that style and color will actually look good on you when you get it and if you got the right size then it arrives and now you have to go to the post office to send the wrong things back and pay for return shipping and wait a few more days for the right item to arrive, only to find out that your teacher has changed their mind and now wants tan jazz shoes instead of black and yah you're right...that was convenient! Or you could just shop local and walk out with exactly what you want at a fair price and with a great customer service experience.

or #2 "The Almighty Dollar!" You have to save money, right? We won't even count the facts stated above about how if you shop local, the money you spend stays in your community. How much do you really save? An item that costs $20 in a local dancewear store is usually featured online or in a catalog for about $15 + $6 to $8 for shipping, net savings = -$1-3. You lost money! Oh but you buy a lot at one time and never make mistakes and know exactly what you want. You are one of the lucky ones for now. I'm sure when you're in a pinch you'll run into your local store and grab a pair of tights that you need for that night.
One more brief point on why especially local dance studios, high school dance teams and theatre groups should be patronizing and promoting their local dance store, as opposed to the catalog and online businesses. When you have a production upcoming who do you approach for advertising in your program, displaying a poster or asking to purchase tickets? When you are planning a fundraiser, who do you ask for a donation, ad or gift certificate? The local dance store is one of your first thoughts, right? Maybe the same local dance store you just bypassed to save a couple bucks by ordering online. Does that seem fair? The door swings both ways. Business ethics and basic right and wrong should play in your decisions as well.

Here is the sad truth. If you don't shop at your local dancewear stores, within one to two generations, there will be no more local dancewear stores. Then when you want to take your daughter or granddaughter for their first pair of ballet or tap shoes, you will have nowhere to go. And you will be cheating both of you out of a magical experience.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

No More "Travis ties" in 2007 Please

"So, You Think You can Dance?" Well, personally, I can't. I'm mean, I'm not your average, middle-class, rythymless white guy on the dance floor; but I'm not a "dancer" by any stretch of the imagination, either.

With that said, I do, however, think I know enough about dance (and the performing arts in general) to recognize real dance talent when I see it. And the two biggest "Travis ties" of 2006 occurred on America's two hottest dance shows: "So You Think You can Dance?" and "Dancing with the Stars." Clearly, personality won over dance talent on both shows. Both Travis and Mario were ROBBED by a public more interested in feeling good than using critical-thinking skills to make a serious evaluation of someone's "dancing" skills and technique.

Of the two egregious offenses, I believe Mario was robbed the most. Benji should not have beat Travis on "So You Think You can Dance?" Travis is a brilliant dancer, whose versatility and technique far outweighed Benji's "personality" and energy. However, Benji is a very good dancer. Emmitt Smith, however, is no "dancer." He moves very well, has great feet-exactly what you would expect from a Hall-of-Fame running back. But, Mario blew him away as a dancer. Clearly, Mario is someone who could have been a serious dancer if he had studied in that direction. Mario was ROBBED! That was the true "Travesty" of 2006.

So, if anyone is reading this post and votes for contestants on either show this year, please vote for the person who truly deserves to win-not the person you "like" the most.

Jon Hallstein,


Saturday, September 23, 2006

On2Dancewear owner, Cris Ferrante

Monday, July 17, 2006

Welcome to "Pointe of View"

Welcome to Pointe of View, the blog spot for On2Dancewear. This blog is intended to communicate and share ideas, opinions, knowledge, and information to dancers of all backgrounds. It is not, however, intended for direct communication with On2Dancewear. All direct questions about dancewear products and sales can be answered online (; by email (; or by phone at 614-337-9787. Click, email, or call, and one of our knowledgeable, friendly staff will be happy to assist you with any questions you have about our products and services.

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