Sunday, January 26, 2014

Atlantic Dance Retail Show

Robbie Downey - Ballet Freak and
Ballet Babbler
We headed up to Los Angeles from San Diego a couple of weeks ago to check out the Dance Retail Show. We were looking for new products to add to the Ballet Freak store which is getting a make over! You're going to love it. All of our favorite brands were there and we met some of the nicest people. What else would you expect from this industry?! Below is a recap written by me, with input from my mom, of some of our favorites 

The first booth we stopped at was ainsliewear . This brand provides the official bodysuit of Canada's National Ballet School. Ainslie Cyopik, a retired professional dancer, is the driving force behind this brand. This dancer gone designer saw a need for dance apparel that fit right. Dancewear needs to be functional and beautiful and we think she has accomplished this. We sat for some time with Ainslie and her business partner Terri Margo.

They let us touch the fabrics and took the time to show each piece. It is obvious that they are very proud of the ainsliewear line. The attention to detail from fabrics chosen to the design of each garment shows the care that went into developing the new line. These are high quality leotards!

I, being quite familiar with all brands and having worn mostly all of them, was in love with each and every piece. My favorite was a leotard with artwork on the back called the Valentina print. The story behind the art is as charming as the leotard. It was a piece of art created by Ainslie's father long before he could have known he would have a professional dancer for a daughter. The art was discovered by Ainslie and now graces the back of one of her perfectly shaped leotards.

To see the full line visit 

Next stop was to say hello to Mark Suffolk. He, of course, is the creator of Suffolk pointe shoes which I happen to wear at the moment. I'm in the Stellar model. It is lower profile and he has let me know there is an even more lower profile model coming out this summer (The Sovereign) . We attended a short seminar where Mark and Keri Suffolk discussed how the shoes are made and we were educated on the making of the shoes. They discussed lasts (if I understand correctly, are what the shoes are shaped on) and how each shoe is shaped 4 times. Each shoe has 2 lasts one for shaping it right side out and one for inside out. So if they have 9 styles of shoe and each shoe offers 9 widths and however many sizes that is about a gazillion lasts ( roughly). I think they need a lot of space just to store the lasts. The shoes must also dry on the last so it's not like they can have just one last per style. Like I said that is about a gazillion lasts. Also, the equipment needed to make the shoes is a whole other issue. Read about Mark's machine skills HERE. I can appreciate that all of this dictates what we pay for our shoes.

Me and my shoe guy, Mark Suffolk. 
Mark was even kind enough to take a look at my feet in my shoes and suggested I go even slightly more narrow than what I have now. I have already gone down one full X to XX after realizing I have a compressible foot. I will try XXN (which fits between X and XX) as soon as I can. Suffolk is the only brand that offers these variations of widths. I find it pretty useful. We all know looking for the right shoe is not fun! The shoes are made with care in England and unlike other brands they don't have "makers". Personally I find that this keeps each model more consistent and you know what to expect each time.

Suffolk is also expanding their apparel and accessories line which includes leotards to toe pads. They also now carry sewing tubes. Check it all out at 

Next stop... Jule Dancewear. In case you can't tell she's a dancer. A dancer against "granny prints" . She started her first business venture at 14 with a friend, also making skirts. At 16 Julia went off to train at Pacific Northwest Ballet's professional training program which made it difficult to maintain that partnership. So, at 19, with a desire to expand the line she founded Jule Dancewear. While Julia runs her business she is also currently in her 4th season as a professional dancer at Los Angeles Ballet. 

"I strive to design dancewear with stand out colors and prints with great quality, fit and functionality. The dance world can be quite competitive, so why not wear dancewear that will set you apart from the rest and give you the confidence you need to succeed!" Julia Cinquemani  

Her skirts are well made and the prints are definitely not "granny prints" . She sells leotards and leg warmers too. You can check them out at

Check out Covet Dance Clothing at 
Dance Passion Sacrifice Obsession! What dancer wouldn't wear that t-shirt!? We next stopped by to say hi to Sharene at Covet Dance Clothing. You have probably seen her tees around. I know I have! Great stuff. Sharene is a super creative and fun lady and her line reflects that. The apparel is quality apparel and the prints are well done. I will for sure be sporting some of her products this coming year. She even has t-shirts for your Mom! Keep an eye out for it in the Ballet Freak online store. 

Sharene is also working with artist Flaco Shalom to help raise funds for his 13th Peace project inspired by Misty Copeland. You can expect the t-shirt to be available soon! I'll keep you posted! 

Me and Aaron - Check out their website .
A portion of all proceeds benefits arts education. 

Nom Nom Nom! That is what we did at this booth. Barre is a real food bar developed by professional dancers (made with real ingredients for real athletes). Co-creator, Julia Erickson, is a Principal Dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. CEO and co-creator, Aaron Ingley, also danced professionally with PBT for 9 seasons. I encourage you to read their bios on the website

The barre is a delish REAL FOOD bar. Most "energy" bars don't have real, whole food in their ingredients. These bars are VEGAN (that's cool), high in omega-3s, rich in antioxidants and are balanced energy. What else do you want from a barre? Perfect pirouettes? Me too. My favorite is Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan. YUM!

We also stopped at Wear Moi but there was just way too much fabulousness. It needs it's own post! Coming soon and coming soon to the Ballet Freak Store =) Join my newsletter to get  updates on EVERYTHING going on with me and Ballet Freak and the Ballet World. 

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