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June 17, 2014

Resources for Retail Affiliates

Russian Pointe is beside our retail affiliates every step of the way. We are honored to be able to provide dancers with the best possible tools for their artistic development and performance, and our retail affiliates are essential partners.

Educational materials

We believe that there’s no such thing as too much learning! We offer informational reading and graphical aids for both retail affiliates and dancers (and their parents!), and videos that explain each pointe model and Russian Pointe’s unique features and benefits. We also develop articles and videos in which dancers and retail affiliates talk about dance and Russian Pointe, sharing their stories and tips. Through this wealth of information and inspiration, both retail affiliates and dancers find enriched opportunities to make informed choices and grow in satisfaction.

Visits and seminars

Both new and experienced retail affiliates are invited to request visits from our business development and pointe fitting experts. One of our favorite ways to support retail affiliates is through a day of guided fittings and demonstration. Upon request, one of our experts will spend the day at your store working closely with you and your staff to provide fittings for your clientele, or to demonstrate fitting methods through “mock” fittings with dancers of your choice. We have hosted seminars about Russian Pointe and pointe fitting for groups of retail affiliates and for teachers (in partnership with a retail affiliate). We also welcome invitations to work alongside you at special fitting events for professional studios or summer programs, depending on availability.

Consultation

When our retail affiliates have questions, we are only a phone call or email away! We receive many requests for consultation about individual fittings, and we welcome your questions. For example, if you are working with a dancer who hasn’t yet found her perfect fit, let us know what is working and what is not working, and we will suggest options for you. We know Russian Pointe inside and out, and we can often find solutions to your greatest challenges.

why sell Russian Pointe

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June 12, 2014

Why do you wear Russian Pointe® pointe shoes?

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Russian Pointe, Choosing a Russian Pointe Pointe Shoe

Johanna Sigurdardottir in Russian Pointe Rubins

We asked some of our wonderful pre-professional dancers (and their Moms!) what they love about their Russian Pointes. We’d love to hear from you, too!

Last summer’s three-week intensive was the “deciding factor” for Gianna Forte. Her fitter, a former dancer, had suggested Russian Pointe’s Entrada (V-cut). To get the most reliable comparison with her previous shoes, Gianna packed three pairs of each for the Extreme Ballet intensive at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, New York. The Entradas won easily for appearance, fit and comfort, and she’s worn them ever since. In her previous shoes, “I had to tape my toes and wear more padding,” she says. “Now, I only wear a cloth gel pad and a gel tip on my big toe. And the shoes look sleeker on my feet, not so clunky and big. They taper to a better pointe.” Several other dancers in her studio have followed her good example and now wear Russian Pointe too, she adds.

Like Gianna’s friends, Olivia Behrmann switched to Russian Pointe after seeing them on other dancers. “I liked the color and the sleek fit. I got my first pair of Sapfirs in Chicago and I have been wearing them ever since!” Olivia has narrow feet, especially at the heel, and she’s found that her Russian Pointes fit beautifully, without gapping. “I love the way they look on Olivia’s feet,” says her mother, Carrie Behrmann. “They are beautiful.” She adds that Sapfir’s flat platform is great for turning and balancing, and that the shank seems stronger so that the shoes tend to last longer than other brands that Olivia has tried.

Emily Cairns started wearing Russian Pointe on the advice of the fitter at her local dance store. “She noticed my high arches and said, ‘I have a great shoe for you that will support you and make your foot look good.’” Before Russian Pointe, Emily had found that her shoes didn’t last very long and that the shanks broke. “The material of the Russian Pointe shank is pliable, so instead of snapping it bends to the shape of my arch,” she explains. The Russian Pointe toe box also meets with Emily’s approval. “The way it’s shaped gives better support,” she says, adding that the box’s pliability at the vamp doesn’t cut into her high insteps in demi-pointe. Heading into the summer, Emily ordered “a ridiculous number of pairs” of Rubin!

Two years ago, Johanna Sigurdardottir got her first Russian Pointes because of recommendations from both her fitter and her teacher. From the first pair, “I really loved them and I’ve worn them ever since,” she says. “They don’t hurt as much” as other shoes, she explains. Johanna started out in Rubin, but switched to Almaz after changes in her foot shape and size. “My feet are very narrow, and they grew longer but not much wider,” she explains.

Jennifer Petursson, Johanna’s Mom, is also a big fan. “What I like most is that she’s not coming home in pain from blisters, or complaining that her shoes are too loud or that she’s having trouble getting through half-toe,” Jennifer comments. “Russian Pointe gives the best fit for her feet, and she says they feel the best. And I think they’re the prettiest shoes – there’s something so beautiful about them that I haven’t seen in other shoes.”

We’d love to hear what YOU love about your Russian Pointes. Please write a comment below, or write us an email!


ABOUT THE DANCERS

Gianna Forte in Russian Pointe Entrada Gianna Forte, 15, dances at New England Ballet Company in Orange, Connecticut, trains privately with former American Ballet Theatre soloist Christina Fagundes and (previously) with Lisa Denaro School of Classical Ballet, has attended summer intensives at NEBC and Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, and is going to ABT in New York this summer.
Olivia Behrmann in Russian Pointe Sapfir Olivia Behrmann, 16, dances at Indiana Ballet Conservatory in Carmel, has attended intensives at Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York and School of American Ballet, and is going to San Francisco Ballet on scholarship this summer.
Emily Cairns in Russian Pointe Rubin Emily Cairns, 16, dances at Janice Lee’s School of Ballet in Encinitas and has attended intensives at ABT, Boston Ballet and The Rock School, where she is returning this year.
Johanna Sigurdardottir in Russian Pointe Rubin Johanna Sigurdardottir, 12, dances at Lise la Cour’s LaCademy in San Jose, attended School of American Ballet’s Workshop for Young Dancers last summer, and is headed to New York for SAB’s summer intensive this year.

 

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June 10, 2014

Becoming a Russian Pointe Retail Affiliate

Russian Pointe retail affiliates enjoy an unparalleled level of customer service, along with access to a line of pointe shoes that facilitates fitting every dancer, and a range of other beautiful products.

The first step in becoming a retail affiliate is simply getting in touch! Send us an email, use the “contact us” form on the Russian Pointe website, or give us a call.

Creating an account

Once you have expressed your interest, one of our business development representatives will follow up with a personal call. As we start getting to know one another, we’ll find out where you’re located, to ensure that each retail affiliate has security in his or her local marketplace.

Our next step is to send you our catalog and special informational materials that will help you get to know the Russian Pointe product line better, along with our standard agreement for retail affiliates.

Developing your opening order

As soon as your account has been created, the real excitement begins! To help you developing an opening order totally personalized for your needs, we’ll learn about your customers. You’re welcome to give us information as general as your current bestsellers and trends, and as specific as the size and shape of individual dancers’ feet.

We’ll also guide you through the Russian Pointe ordering process; we recognize that all our options can seem complicated at first, but with guidance you’ll discover the underlying simplicity of the line.

Most opening orders include four or five of our eight pointe models, in the most popular sizes and specifications, and often include slippers and pointe accessories. After developing the order with you, we’ll send it for your approval. When the order is finalized, your exquisite Russian Pointes will be on their way to you!

You will receive continuing support, including additional resources and consistent access to customer service. We’ll also announce your new affiliation throughout Russian Pointe social media (according to your preferences), to share the great news with the dance community.

Your partnership with Russian Pointe

From your opening order throughout your partnership with Russian Pointe, you will be given all the support you need and desire. Check out our other article, “Resources for Russian Pointe Retail Affiliates” to learn more about the wealth of resources we offer, from reading materials to personal visits and consultations with our expert pointe fitters and business development team.

why sell Russian Pointe



June 6, 2014

How was the leotard invented?

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: Ballet History & More

history of the leotard

 

Early in its history, the leotard was called a maillot, a French word for “swaddling clothes.” This name may have derived from the tightness of the garment, or from the name of a 19th-century costumier at the Paris Opéra Ballet.

Whatever the origin of its name, the maillot was popularized by the circus performer Jules Léotard (1839-1870), the acrobat about whom the song “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze” was written. Léotard invented a skin-tight, one-piece garment designed to give him freedom of movement and show off the fitness of his body.

Although dancers were already moving toward lighter, tighter clothing for practice and performance, Léotard’s maillots certainly inspired ballet costumers. Dancers gravitated naturally toward the new garment for the same reasons that Leotard had created it.

Léotard’s name gradually replaced maillot as the preferred term for the garment, and the first recorded usage of the word leotard in English dates to 1886. The word maillot later became a term for a one-piece bathing suit, but it is rarely used in English today.

Although Léotard created his maillots for men, the fashion spread to women as standards of modesty were loosened, and dancers gravitated naturally to the new garment that allowed such freedom of movement. Popularity increased drastically in the mid-20th century, with the creation of new stretch fabrics that greatly improved fit and availability. Leotards also became fashionable outside of dance class, and inspired the “bodysuit” craze of the 1970s.

Today, dancers, gymnasts and others enjoy a variety of fabrics and styles that certainly would have amazed Jules Léotard and his contemporaries!

See a photograph of Jules Léotard in his maillot! >>

 



June 4, 2014

How do toe pads affect pointe fitting?

how toe pads affect pointe shoe fit

Pointe shoes must be fit very precisely in order to function properly. In shoes that are too loose, dancers are in danger of injuries such as sprained ankles and blisters. Blisters and bunions can also result from shoes that are too tight. With either fitting problem, the shoe and foot do not work together as they should.

Padding and the fitting process

It’s essential to fit pointe shoes with the same type and amount of padding that will be worn during class and performance. Because of pointe shoes’ precise fitting, even the most slender and lightweight padding can make a difference.

If a particular pointe model is selected based on a fitting without padding, and then lightweight padding is added, the dancer is likely to need to go up a width to adjust the fit. If thicker padding is added after a no-pad fitting, the dancer could need a different width and length, and possibly a different model. Thicker pads can add as much as a quarter inch of space between the toes and the end of the toe box.

Pointe fitters need to know the preferences of both dancers and their teachers in order to provide a perfect fit (and to avoid the need for returned shoes).

Changes in padding

For the same reasons, if a dancer changes her preferred toe padding, she will need a new fitting. Either toe pads or lamb’s wool can change the dancer’s need for both size and shape of the toe box, so that a different size, width or model could be needed. When it comes to pointe fitting, padding changes the shape of the toes! Dancers should tell their fitters when they have made a change in their toe padding, so that these factors can be kept in mind during new fittings.

Less is more

Many dancers feel they need a lot of padding to protect their toes from injury. In fact, injuries are more likely to come from ill-fitting shoes, and a perfect fit is much less likely to cause damage to the feet. Blisters are caused by friction, and friction is caused by movement. When the toes are held snugly (not too tightly or loosely) in the toe box, movement is minimized. Sometimes too much padding can bring about more movement, because thick padding compresses and releases as the foot moves on and off pointe. Some dancers find that taping their toes reduces blistering more effectively than thicker toe pads.

Dancers should choose the toe padding that provides the comfort they need without limiting their ability to “feel the floor.” The toes should reach the end of the toe box, the shoe should feel supportive, and the foot should not move inside the shoe. Experimentation with different padding is sometimes necessary, but should always include awareness of how changes in padding can affect the fit and function of pointe shoes.

Read more about choosing toe pads for your pointe shoes >>



May 30, 2014

Trunk Show at Bou Cou Dancewear in Montgomery, AL.

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: Uncategorized

On Sunday, May 4, Russian Pointe® held a trunk show at Bou Cou Dancewear in Montgomery, AL.

Owner Candace Love opened Bou Cou five years ago as a women’s boutique that also sold a selection of dancewear and pointe shoes. Since then, however, Love has realized how much of a need there was for a professional dance store in her area, and the store now mainly focuses on dancewear with a sprinkling of clothing, jewelry and gift items.

Love has been carrying Russian Pointe® since the beginning, so she was very happy to be able to host the trunk show and show us how much her store has evolved and changed in the last five years.

“It was a good experience,” Love said of the trunk show. “I just think it’s always a good opportunity for girls to come into the store.”

Russian Pointe® is very popular in the Montgomery area because many of the dance schools there recommend them, and almost all of the dancers who attended the trunk show were already loyal fans of Russian Pointe®.

In fact, one family drove more than three hours from Meridian, MS, to attend the trunk show because their daughter loves Russian Pointe® and there are no retailers nearby where she could receive a proper Russian Pointe® fitting.

Love is very connected to the dance community in Montgomery and keeps good tabs on each of her customers. She creates a card for each dancer, writing down the dancer’s foot length and width, as well as the most recent pointe shoe model she bought so that Love can immediately pull a shoe that will work with the customer.

Russian Pointe® fitter Sofia Konstance Uralsky said she was glad to see that most of the dancers who came to the trunk show were already wearing the right model for them, proving that Love and her staff are not only good fitters, but that they are carrying enough models of Russian Pointe® to serve their market. “They’re really great supporters of the brand.”

Bou Cou currently carries the Almaz, Sapfir, Rubin, Brava, Encore, Lumina and Entrada models, and during the trunk show, Love had the chance to see the Entrada Pro and the Muse models in person and see how they look on different dancers’ feet.

“The thing I like best about [Russian Pointe®] is how many styles there are. Whatever we need, there is always a model that can work for every type of foot,” Love said. “None of the other pointe shoe companies even come close to offering that many options.”

 



May 28, 2014

Regional Dance America Mid-States Festival

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Russian Pointe
Regional Dance America

Dancers from Central Indiana Dance Ensemble

Regional Dance America

Dancers from Salt Creek Ballet

Regional Dance America

Dancers from Illinois Youth Dance Theatre

Regional Dance America

Dancers from Forum Dance Theatre

Over Memorial Day weekend, thousands of dancers from all over the Midwest flocked to Skokie, IL, for Regional Dance America’s Midwest Regional Festival, and Russian Pointe® was proud to participate as a sponsor.

Held at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center and the adjacent North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, the festival featured a weekend full of master classes, taught by dancers and choreographers from companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago and others.

In addition, the weekend included outstanding performances by dance schools and dance companies that are members of Regional Dance America on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, as well as a dancer party and Gala Banquet on Sunday night.

Russian Pointe® was on hand throughout the weekend, selling items such as our new adult pink tights and colorful, dance-themed iPhone covers and displaying our full line of pointe shoes at the Russian Pointe® booth.

The dancers, who ranged in age from nine to 13, were thrilled to meet a representative from the company and have a chance to see our complete line of pointe shoes in person.

“Girls came over and showed their friends and said this is what I wear!” said Megan Bentz, Business Development Manager for Russian Pointe®.

Several of the dancers who were already wearing Russian Pointe® shoes asked questions about the fit of their shoes and wanted to know if there were other models that would work even better.

Two dancers, in particular, who are both members of the Salt Creek Ballet in Westmont, IL, were especially excited to visit the Russian Pointe® booth because they had served as the models for the Russian Pointe® Parents’ Guide to Fitting Pointe Shoes.

“They were the little celebrities of the weekend,” Bentz said.

Bentz also had the opportunity to meet several Russian Pointe® retailers who were also at the festival, including JoJean Retrum, director of the Monona Academy of Dance in Madison, WI, which sells Russian Pointe® shoes at its on-site dance store.

Retrum also serves on the board of the Regional Dance America, and it was she who first approached Russian Pointe® about being part of this iconic event.

“We’re so glad she asked us to be part of it,” Bentz said. “It’s wonderful seeing young dancers grow as artists and performers.”



Russian Pointe® Retailer: Centerstage II Dancewear

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: Retail Affiliate Profiles
Christina and Delayne Meaders

Christina and Delayne Meaders

Delayne and Christina Meaders are quite the mother-daughter team. Both have been dancing since they were young. Both have worked as dance teachers, and now, both are serving as store managers for Centerstage II Dancewear’s two stores in Marietta and Duluth, GA.

Centerstage II’s Marietta location was founded in 1989, followed by the Duluth location in 1990, and since then, both stores have become known for their outstanding customer service and thorough pointe shoe fittings.

Christina began working at the store when she was a teenager, and then a few years later, her mom, Delayne, decided to get a job there as well. Today, Delayne, 57, and Christina, 29, work as managers at each store and often talk about what’s trending at both stores, what items are selling well, and what new products to order. “It’s nice to have her to bounce off of,” Delayne says.

Delayne has noticed, however, that what sells well in one store doesn’t necessarily work in the other store. “My side of town is more of the ballet people,” she says. “Her side of town has more of the competitive dance people with the pink sparkly tops and booty shorts.”

Both stores carry Russian Pointe®, and Delayne says it is one of the most popular brands of pointe shoes she carries. “It’s probably one of our top-selling shoes,” she says, adding that the Entrada Pro with a drawstring and the Muse are two of their most popular models of Russian Pointe®. “Once people get in them, they usually stay in them.”

Delayne says dancers appreciate both the elegant look of the shoe and their superb construction. In fact, Delayne says her customers who wear Russian Pointe® are so loyal to the brand that they often order eight or nine pairs at a time.

“I think the shoe is beautiful,” she says. “Your product is really, really high quality.”

As a pointe shoe fitter, Delayne says she tries a Russian Pointe® on most dancers, and because the company offers so many different variations in widths, vamps and shanks, it’s easy to get the perfect fit for each dancer. “Most everyone can at least try a Russian Pointe®,” she says.

In addition to working for Centerstage II, Delayne has also had a long career as a dance teacher and choreographer, and she says that experience has helped her form strong relationships with many dance studio owners in the area, which has been important for business.

“I know what they’re going through,” Delayne says of other dance teachers, adding that it’s important to be honest with dance teachers and make sure to keep them informed if you can’t get a product that they want. “You just can’t upset them.”



May 22, 2014

Visiting Russian Pointe® retailers in Virginia and Maryland

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Russian Pointe
 

Dance Supplies Etc.

Emily in Muse

Dance Supplies Etc.

Ysabel in Rubin

Dance Supplies Etc.

Sally in Brava

Dance Supplies Etc.

Danielle in Brava

 

Recently, Russian Pointe® visited retailers in Virginia and Maryland, and we were excited to help dancewear retailers improve their skills and help dancers find their perfect pointe shoes!

Our first stop was at Barre & Pointe in Leesburg, VA, on May 15, where we conducted a pointe shoe fitting seminar for the store’s employees. Although the owner and manager of Barre & Pointe have been fitting pointe shoes for years, many of their other staff members are in high school and college and don’t have as much experience, so the seminar was designed to help get them more comfortable with the fitting process.

Sofia Konstance Uralsky, one of Russian Pointe®’s expert pointe shoe fitters, explained the differences between each of the Russian Pointe® models and then had the younger employees practice fitting shoes on the older employees.

Uralsky even fit a pair of pointe shoes on a male employee, giving him the opportunity to try on his first pair of pointe shoes so he could relate better to his customers.

“It was a very different experience for him!” Uralsky said.

Then on May 17, Uralsky traveled to Severna Park, MD, where she hosted a trunk show at Dance Supplies, Etc., one of the largest dance retailers on the East Coast.

Manager Paige Wright said she likes to carry Russian Pointe shoes because there is a large variety in the models, widths, shanks and vamps that are offered, making it easier to find the right fit for each girl. “It’s easier for us to fit people with unusual feet and a large variety of students in general,” she said.

Wright also likes the elegant silhouette of the Russian Pointe shoes. “It gives dancers a sleek look and creates a longer line,” she says.

Russian Pointe® shoes are very popular with Dance Supplies, Etc., customers. “All of our appointments filled up within a week,” she said. “We had some customers who were wearing Russian Pointe® who came in just to watch.”

One of the highlights of the day was fitting two girls in their very first pair of pointe shoes – a memorable experience for every dancer. Usually, when girls are trying on pointe shoes for the first time, Uralsky will fit them in Russian Pointe®, and then let the store’s staff fit them in other brands to make sure they are satisfied with their new pair of shoes. This time, however, both girls were so happy with the Russian Pointe® shoes that they wanted to buy them immediately.

“They were just like, ‘This is my pointe shoe!’” Uralsky said.

Many of the other dancers who attended were already wearing Russian Pointe®, but wanted to find out if there were any other models that would work even better for their feet, and Wright said the store offered a 15 percent discount on all Russian Pointe® shoes during the event.

“We sold a lot of Russian Pointe® that day,” she said. “All of our customers were really, really happy.”



May 14, 2014

Russian Pointe® Retailer: Pat’s Dancewear

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Russian Pointe, Retail Affiliate Profiles

Pat's Dancewear

Back in 1981, Pat Troseth was a typical busy mom who was often driving her two daughters to and from gymnastics and dance, and Troseth was frustrated by a lack of selection of leotards, tights and shoes in her community. Then she thought, why not open her own store that was close by?

“I couldn’t find things I liked so I decided to try it,” she said.

What began as a small store inside a gymnastics studio with two racks and a set of shelves soon blossomed into Pat’s Dancewear, a full-fledged dance store in Bountiful, UT.

Today, Troseth’s two daughters are all grown up and work in the store, and her granddaughters are now involved in gymnastics and dance.

One of the secrets to Pat’s Dancewear’s success has been that Troseth is a hands-on manager who is in the store every day and who also knows how to delegate things that aren’t her strength. More than 20 years ago, Troseth hired Jill Bell, a long-time dance teacher, to join the staff as the store’s expert pointe shoe fitter, and today, Pat’s Dancewear has become known for its large selection of pointe shoes and its quality pointe shoe fittings.

“We do take our time and make sure we get a good fit,” Bell says, adding that people drive from several states away just to be fit at their store. “We’ve done up to 30 pointe shoe fittings in one day.”

Bell says the store first started carrying Russian Pointe® shoes in 2007 when customers began requesting them because there was another store in Salt Lake City that was carrying Russian Pointe®.

Today, Pat’s Dancewear carries the Russian Pointe® Muse, Lumina, Dolce, Rubin, Sapfir, Entrada and Almaz models, and Bell says she likes the fact that the wide variety in models helps her accommodate many different dancers.

“They just work really well for a lot of feet,” she says.

Bell also loves the elegant silhouette of Russian Pointe® shoes. “I like the streamlined fit of them,” she says. “I love that you can get them in a U-cut and a V-cut as well.”

Troseth’s seen a lot of changes in the 33 years she has been in business – there have been advances in technology in shoes and fabrics, a boom and then a reduction in the number of suppliers, and of course, all of the changes in fashions. But one of the biggest changes has been in the size of girls’ feet.

“I never thought I would see the day I would stock a shoe in a size larger than a 7, and now I stock shoes in sizes 10, 11 and 12,” she says.

Still, the one thing that hasn’t changed has been Troseth’s passion for what she does. “As long as I walk out onto the store floor and get as excited about a little girl getting her first pair of dance shoes and leotard as she does, I’m good,” she says.



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