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February 3, 2014

Atlantic Dance Retail Show in Dallas

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Russian Pointe

Atlantic Dance Retail Show Dallas 2014Atlantic Dance Retail Show Dallas 2014

 

Every year, Russian Pointe® makes an effort to attend the Atlantic Dance Retail Show in Dallas for a chance to catch up with our loyal dancewear retailers and meet new store owners and make new friends.

This year, we were once again delighted to attend the show, which took place from Jan. 25-26 at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, TX. On Sunday, the excitement was palpable as dance retailers visited various booths, looking for the latest styles in dance clothes, accessories and shoes.

At the Russian Pointe® booth, many retailers were eager to place orders for the new Russian Pointe® iPhone covers, which feature a beautiful watercolor drawing of a dancer on the back. Russian Pointe® Business Development Manager Megan Bentz said retailers couldn’t wait to start carrying the new iPhone covers in their stores, and thanks to feedback from customers, Russian Pointe® is now hoping to roll out new covers for Android phones in the near future, as well.

Retailers also placed orders for our new line of adult tights, which we officially launched in December 2013. “The first thing they said whenever they picked them up was how soft they are,” Bentz said, adding that retailers also liked the soft waistband, which provides maximum comfort.

In addition, several retailers had the opportunity to take a closer look at all of our models of pointe shoes and ask questions about the difference between the styles. One retailer, for example, was trying to decide between carrying our Lumina and Brava models, and we were able to show her how the box and the amount of taper in the heel vary in the two models and match the right shoe for her based on the type of feet she typically sees.

On Monday, Aleksandra Efimova answered more questions about the differences between our various makes and models at the Russian Pointe® pointe shoe fitting seminar, and many retailers seemed to appreciate our commitment to educating retailers on proper pointe shoe fitting technique.

One of the highlights of the Dallas trade show was meeting one of our newest retailers, On Pointe Dance N’ Fitness Wear in Norman, OK, whose owner was a former Russian ballerina and ballet teacher, and Aleksandra treated the owner to dinner so they could catch up about life back in Russia.

We hope you can join us at one of the upcoming Atlantic Dance Retail Shows taking place in February. We will be at the Marriot Oak Brook in Oak Brook, IL from Feb. 9-10, and at the Hunt Valley Inn Wyndham in Hunt Valley, MD, from Feb. 23-24. We look forward to seeing you there!



January 27, 2014

Trunk Show at The Dance Store in Los Angeles

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Russian Pointe

The Dance Store Trunk Show

The Dance Store Trunk Show

A dancer named Chloe tries on a pair of Entrada Pros

The Dance Store Trunk Show

When Russian Pointe® held a trunk show at The Dance Store in Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan. 11, so many dancers signed up for pointe shoe fittings that every time slot was full.

Two Russian Pointe® fitters – Megan Bentz and Sofia Konstance Uralsky – fit dancers throughout the day, analyzing their feet to determine the best shoe for each dancer.

The Dance Store is a proud Russian Pointe® retailer that carries every make and model that Russian Pointe sells, so its customers are already avid Russian Pointe® fans. Many of the dancers who came in for fittings wanted to have the experience of being fit by Russian Pointe®’s expert fitters and to find out if there were any other models that would be good for their feet.

In fact, two dancers came to the trunk show to confirm they were in the best shoe possible before they took part in the upcoming Youth America Grand Prix competition.

However, a few customers were trying on Russian Pointe® for the very first time, including one girl who did not know about the trunk show and just happened to be coming in for a pointe shoe fitting. Happily, she ended up buying a pair of Russian Pointe®s!

Another young dancer from Japan came into the store with her mother looking for shoes small enough to fit her tiny feet. At only 9 years old, she has found it hard to find pointe shoes in her size, but luckily Megan Bentz, business development manager for Russian Pointe®, was able to fit her in some Russian Pointe® children’s sizes.

“I think it was really well received,” Jenny Roman, owner of the Dance Store, said of the trunk show. “The girls loved the experience of watching the expert pointe shoe fitters from Russian Pointe®.”

Roman said she loves carrying Russian Pointe® because of their quality, consistency of fit, and variety of options. “It’s really the hundreds of choices you have,” she said. “It’s just a good product.”



Atlantic Dance Retail Show in Los Angeles

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Russian Pointe
Atlantic Dance Retail Show

A retailer poses with Russian Pointe team members Megan Bentz and Sofia Konstance Uralsky

Russian Pointe® headed to the sunny West Coast recently to attend the Atlantic Dance Retail Show, which took place at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Los Angeles Jan. 12-13.

This was the first time that the show was held in Los Angeles, and it was exciting to be able to get acquainted with many California-area retailers that we’d never met before, as well as meet with retailers from as far away as Colorado, Arizona, New York, Florida, Texas, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Many people flocked to the Russian Pointe® booth, eager to see our complete line-up of pointe shoe models, and many retailers who don’t currently carry all of our styles placed orders for additional models after seeing them in person.

Retailers also had a lot of interest in our newest model, the Entrada Pro, which are ideal for dancers with medium-length, slightly tapered toes and a fuller foot.

In addition, we also showcased our new collection of convertible ballet tights, which come in a light pink that matches our pointe shoes and ribbons, giving dancers a smooth, continuous look all the way up the leg. The tights are available in small-medium and medium-large adult sizes.

One of the most popular items we debuted at the trade show were our new Russian Pointe® iPhone covers, which are available for pre-order now with scheduled delivery in March. The covers have three different designs, each with a gorgeous fashion illustration of dancers: one with the Black Swan from Swan Lake, one of Clara from the Nutcracker and one with a Spanish dancer from Don Quixote.

“The iPhone covers received a great response,” said Megan Bentz, business development manager for Russian Pointe. “The retailers all wanted one for themselves.”

One of the highlights of the trade show was also hosting a pointe shoe seminar on Sunday, where Bentz and Sofia Konstance Uralsky, Russian Pointe® sales representative for the eastern region, gave an hour-long talk about how to choose the correct model for each dancer’s foot, prevent injury, deal with pointe shoe problems and the Russian Pointe® brand philosophy.

Attending trade shows is always a wonderful way to get out and have a chance to connect with so many of our dedicated retailers and thank them for their continued support. We’re looking forward to returning to Los Angeles again next year!



January 20, 2014

Old New Year’s at the Russian Embassy

Russian-born singer Fantine

Laura Yergesheva, Prince and Princess Galitzine, Aleksandra Efimova

 

Old New Year

Aleksandra Efimova and Laura Yergesheva at the Russian Embassy

Old New Year

Laura Yergesheva, His Excellency Ambassador Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Mrs. Natalia Mikhaylovna Kislyak, Aleksandra Efimova

Old New Year

Laura Yergesheva, Igor Butman and Aleksandra Efimova

 

On Monday, Jan. 13, Aleksandra Efimova and Prince Piotr Galitzine, chairs of the Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, as well as committee member Laura Yergesheva, were invited by the Russian Ambassador to the United States to celebrate “Old New Year” at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Old New Year is a distinctly Russian holiday that celebrates New Year’s Day according to the old Julian calendar, which was still in use in Russia until 1918. For Russians, Old New Year marks the end of the holiday season, which begins with the current New Year’s Day, followed by Russian Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7, and then Old New Year’s.

“As a Russian-American, I love the chance to celebrate so many different holidays, from Thanksgiving and Christmas to the traditional Russian holidays,” said Ms. Efimova. “It is a wonderful time to be able to reconnect with friends and look forward to the coming year.”

To celebrate the holiday, Sergey I. Kislyak, the Ambassador of Russia to the United States, invited more than 400 of the most prominent members of the Russian community in the United States to attend a lavish cocktail reception and concert at the embassy.

The event also provided an opportunity for Russian business leaders to discuss ideas for the Fourth Annual Russia Day gala and business forum, which will be held in Chicago again in 2014.

During the cocktail reception, guests were invited to tour the embassy’s spectacular rooms, which were decorated for the holidays with thousands of twinkling lights, and see the amazing collection of mosaics, crystal chandeliers and valuable works of art housed at the embassy.

Russian vodka was served, along with traditional Russian hors d’oeuvres, such as caviar, blintzes, stuffed eggplant, smoked fish and olivie salad.

Following the cocktail reception, guests were invited to attend a performance by Igor Butman, the most famous Russian jazz musician alive today. Butman, a jazz saxophonist who has played with American jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubek and Chick Corea, performed several American jazz standards, as well as his own compositions. In addition, the concert featured Russian-born indie-pop singer Fantine, who has had several hit singles in Australia.

Ms. Yergesheva called Butman’s performance “captivating.”

“When he started doing jazz riffs, it was like being at a jazz club,” she said. “It kind of breaks up the stereotypes of what we think of as Russian culture. It’s amazing to me to see that a Russian-born musician could play jazz like that.”



January 17, 2014

Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities Holiday Party

 

Aleksandra Efimova, Prince Piotr Galitzine and Laura Yergesheva

 

Lyric Opera singers

Lyric Opera singers

Moscow Committee Holiday Party

William Lear and Alexander Tseitline

 

Drake Hotel

Russian caviar and vodka

 

Russian caviar and vodka

Moscow Committee Holiday Party

Aleksandra Efimova and Laura Yergesheva

Ian Maksin

Ian Maksin

 

Russians love any opportunity to get together with friends, and luckily, those who live in Chicago have twice as many chances to celebrate. In addition to participating in the American holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, Russian-Americans also celebrate Russian Orthodox Christmas and “Old New Year,” which is the beginning of the year according to the Julian calendar.

In honor of all the Russian and American holidays, The Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, chaired by Aleksandra Efimova and Prince Piotr Galitzine, hosted its First Annual Holiday Party on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

Petrossian caviar and Real Russian Vodka both served as sponsors for the event, which took play at the Drake Hotel’s Palm Court. Petrossian provided an authentic display of black caviar, served with Russian blintzes, crackers and traditional condiments. Once again, Real Russian Vodka generously supported the event, donating a dramatic ice sculpture which was on display in the center of the room, and the company’s president and founder, Inna Feldman-Gerber, spoke to the guests and offered a toast to the crowd.

In addition, guests were treated to a concert performance featuring two talented Lyric Opera singers, Will Liverman and Richard Ollarsaba, who performed selections from Eugene Onegin and the Queen of Spades, both by Tchaikovsky. Guests were mesmerized by their amazing voices, which filled the opulent room and transported the listeners to the magical world of opera. St. Petersburg-born cellist Ian Maksin, who now lives in Chicago, also delighted the crowd with his charismatic style, soaring music and expert musicianship.

Laura Yergesheva, executive member of the Moscow Committee, called the committee’s first holiday party a tremendous success. “It was an exquisite evening that celebrated everything Russian culture has to offer,” she said. “We look forward to many more successful events that bring our people closer together.”

Marat Sedenkov, President of LaMarCo Systems in Northbrook, said the holiday party was a wonderful way for Russians and Russian-Americans to network with each other. “Aleksandra creates an environment where people can talk about their accomplishments,” he said. “We’re always curious and want to know what’s going on at home.”

William Lehr, a member of the board of the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago, said he was impressed by the event and enjoyed the small, intimate setting. “It was a wonderful, elegant event and a chance to extend the good relationships of the Moscow Committee to other members of the Chicago business community,” he said.

Niamh King, vice president of programs at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said the holiday party allowed guests to connect with others who share in the vision of strengthening ties between the United States and Russia. “This year’s Moscow Committee holiday party was a lovely opportunity to connect with leading Chicagoans who recognize the ongoing importance of US-Russia relations, cultural exchanges, and partnership opportunities between our two great cities,” she said.

Chicago Sister Cities International coordinates programs and projects with Chicago’s 28 sister cities and is committed to promoting Chicago as a global city, developing international partnerships and networks, and sharing best practices on a city-to-city basis.

Since its inception in 1960, Chicago Sister Cities International has built bridges between the people of Chicago and its international neighbors to achieve greater mutual understanding and to strengthen civic, economic, and cultural ties. Chicago has been a sister city with Moscow since 1997.



January 2, 2014

My Dance Story | January 2014

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: My Dance Story

Olivia Behrmann's Dance Story

Olivia Behrmann, Age 15

My dance story began when I was 7 years old. After trying soccer, cheerleading, and gymnastics, my mom enrolled me in a ballet/tap/jazz combination class, and from then on, I was hooked! My first ballet costume was a lavender and cream dress, and I wore it in my first performance — my studio’s end of year recital.

After my first year of ballet and jazz, I went on to do competition dance for 4 years until the age of 12, when I quit competition dance to pursue classical ballet. When I was young, I loved learning new steps and wearing pretty costumes. As I have gotten older, I find that I love the challenge of not only learning new steps, but trying to perfect them. I love that in ballet, there are always things to work on and improve, and that I can push myself to be better than I was yesterday and the day before.

Now I am 15 years old, and my dream is to become a professional ballerina. I currently do my school online because I spend 30+ hours a week at the studio, and I have spent the last 2 summers training in New York City (in 2012 at Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory of New York and in 2013 at The School of American Ballet). I have won numerous scholarships (for both cash and programs), and in 2012, I won 3rd place in the Junior Classical division of the YAGP Indianapolis regional and went on to compete in the YAGP New York City finals — all in my Russian Pointe Sapfirs!



December 30, 2013

Russian Pointe® Retailer: Brandywine Dance Shoppe

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

Brandywine Dance Shoppe

Dance has always been the love of Diane Abrams’ life.

She began taking ballet at age 6, and continued dancing all throughout high school and college. But after graduating with a degree in business administration, Abrams left the world of dance and got a job in the computer science field, something she realized she quickly hated.

Then, in 1985, when she was 28, a tiny shop opened up in her hometown of Wilmington, DE. “I thought, ‘You know what? I need to buy that dance shop,” she says.

So she took out a loan and opened Brandywine Dance Shoppe. “Everyone thought I was crazy – my dad, my parents’ accountant,” she says. “I just kind of went with my gut feeling.”

Over the years, Brandywine has continued to grow, and Abrams has moved her store twice to expand to larger locations.

Today, Brandywine Dance Shoppe is a family affair, with her husband and two daughters – a freshman and a senior in high school – helping out during their busiest time of the year.

Abrams’ daughters – who both take ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical – help keep her merchandise on-trend by telling her about all of the latest styles dancers are wearing these days. Plus, one of Abrams employees also works at a gymnastics studio, giving Abrams an inside track on what the most popular looks are in gymnastics wear.

What the store is best known for, however, is their wide selection of pointe shoes, which includes models from six different brands of manufacturers. Of all the brands, Abrams says Russian Pointe® is their most popular.

“I like the variety that they offer,” Abrams says of Russian Pointe®. “I can change up a shank, I can change up a vamp. It’s just the huge variety of options available.”

Abrams says today’s customers expect pointe shoes to fit like a glove and be comfortable from the first time you put them on – very different from when she was a dancer in the 1970s when there were few pointe shoes to choose from and you assumed pointe shoes were going to be painful.

In fact, Abrams’ first pair of pointe shoes were Pavolwas from Capezio, a narrow, slender shoe that was not good for her wide feet with bunions. But Abrams didn’t know any differently.

“The dancers are so much savvier today,” she says.

Despite having danced herself for years, Abrams the process of learning how to fit someone properly in a pair or pointe shoes is an art that has taken her years to perfect.

“It didn’t happen overnight. It takes time,” she says. “I can’t imagine anyone selling pointe shoes or having a dance shop who didn’t have experience.”



December 13, 2013

Russian Pointe® Retailer: Assemblé Dancewear

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

Ginger and Noel Amend, a husband and wife team who own Assemblé Dancewear in Colorado Springs and Castle Rock, CO, have been in the dance retail world for more than 30 years, so together they’ve seen just about every type of dance shoe that’s ever been made.

And when it comes to pointe shoes, both say they like Russian Pointe® the best.

“We’re just really frustrated with Capezio and Bloch. We call those the Fords and Chevys of the shoe world. We call (Russian Pointe) the Mercedes,” says Noel Amend.

About 80 percent of the pointe shoes the Amends sell are Russian Pointe®, and both Ginger and Noel say that the Russian Pointe® shoes stand out for their quality as well as their design.

Both are partial to Russian Pointe®’s Jewel series. “We like the cut of the box… we like the flat profile, we like the amount of the taper,” Ginger says. “It’s just a very aquiline, elegant looking shoe.”

“The Rubin is probably my favorite shoe right now,” Noel says. “We’re getting really good feedback from the shoes. It seems to have a long service life.”

The Amends’ story goes back to 1979, when Ginger owned a dance studio in a small town in Wyoming. At the time, there were no dancewear stores close by, so Noel and Ginger decided to open their own. After 15 years, the couple moved to Colorado, where Ginger had gotten a job as an attorney, and they opened a new store in their new state. After a few years, Ginger gave up practicing law, and now the couple runs two stores about 45 minutes apart.

Part of the Amends’ success has been Noel’s reputation as an expert pointe shoe fitter.

“People always raise an eyebrow and say, ‘And how do you know how to fit pointe shoes?’” Ginger says.

Although Noel was never a dancer, he saw what dancing did to his wife’s feet because she was never professionally fit in pointe shoes, so he has taken every training seminar available to learn all he can about how to fit dancers’ feet properly. He spends 90 minutes in each initial pointe shoe fitting, examining the dancer’s foot and providing education about how she can care for her feet, shoes and even toenails to prevent injury.

“It’s so gratifying to know that I’m saving feet,” he says.

The ability to specialize in pointe shoes is something that has helped Assemblé Dancewear stay profitable in the Internet age, when so many customers can find products online for cheaper. Unlike dancewear clothing or ballet slippers, which can be ordered through catalogues, pointe shoes are one item that must be fitted in person.

But Ginger says retailers who are considering adding pointe shoes as a category need to weigh their decision carefully. Since pointe shoes are more expensive than many other items, retailers can make a larger profit on each sale. But on the other hand, you need to have a lot of different styles and widths on hand to be able to fit each customer who comes in the door.

Ginger says they evolved from carrying many different brands to focusing only on a few that they like, but carrying more sizes and styles in those brands. “We found over the years it was better to fine tune our inventory,” she says. “We do it big and we try to do it right.”



November 29, 2013

Growing Through Arts® Retailer: Lori’s Dancewear

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: About Growing Through Arts, Retail Affiliate Profiles

Lori's Dancewear

At Lori's Dancewear, The Growing Through Arts books are perched on top of a display area in the center of the store.

Lori Cain spent more than 20 years as a professional dancer and dance teacher before she opened Lori’s Dancewear in 2009. And even though she’s no longer teaching, she is still dedicated to inspiring young girls about dance.

“You want to instill in them some part of that passion you had for dance,” Cain says.

That’s one of the reasons that Cain carries Russian Pointe®’s Growing Through Arts® line of Ballet Series books and toys in her store in Beaumont, TX.

The Growing Through Arts® Ballet Series books tell the story of three famous ballets – The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella – and each book includes ballet-themed vocabulary words at the back to help educate children about the world of dance, something that many young children don’t learn about at school or at home.

“Some children learn about that, but I think a lot of little dancers don’t really get that [dance education],” Cain says. “The well-rounded dance experience is what you want to provide.”

When Cain took over Josephine’s Dancewear in 2009, which had been in business for more than 30 years, she gave the store a new name, a new look, and a new emphasis on pointe shoes. Today, the store offers a wide range of pointe shoe options and professional pointe shoe fittings, as well as the latest fashions in leotards, warm ups and gymnastics wear.

Despite the added emphasis on pointe shoes, young ballet dancers are still an important segment of Cain’s customers. “Every little
dancer who comes in here is important to us,” she says, adding that the books are a great add-on item for young dancers who come into store to get clothes and shoes. “It was an item they could play with and something they could take away that’s fun.”

Cain says the books have been extremely popular since she started carrying them, and she recently placed a new order of Nutcracker books and toys for the holiday season.

She’s even had dance teachers buy the books to read to their littlest ballet students in class. “I definitely would have used those if they’d had them back in my day,” Cain says.

Cain says she is careful about what ballet-themed gift items she brings into her store because she doesn’t want to carry junk, but she was impressed by the quality of the Growing Through Arts® books and toys.

“They’re unique,” Cain says of the books, which she has prominently displayed in the center of the store, just above a collection of dance bags. “You’re always searching for companies to provide something new in your store, and Russian Pointe® is the only company that provides that tool and does it in a professional way.”



November 27, 2013

My Dance Story|December 2013

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: My Dance Story

Emma Kapper's Dance Story

Emma Kapper, 14

Dussich Dance Studio

Like any young girl, of course I wanted to grow up to be a ballerina. I was put in ballet classes at my local dance studio when I was 5 years old. My first teacher, Miss Jennifer, was a sweet, kind woman and she introduced me to my love for dance. I was later able to perform in my first annual recital Winter Wonderland in 2006. My combo class performed a Thanksgiving-themed number where we were dressed as turkeys. It definitely wasn’t my favorite number, but I now look back at the old recital tapes and laugh over how adorable the dance really was. I felt like a star on stage in the tacky orange and yellow costume, gold hat, and feather tap shoe ties. I felt like a true dancer and it made dancing a part of my life as it still is today. Unfortunately, Miss Jennifer died recently of cancer, but I’m still dancing with her in my prayers.

 

 



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