Russian Pointe® retailer: Arabesque Dance and Active Wear

Jacquie Smith When her youngest daughter was 13 years old, Jacquie Smith took her to a local dancewear store near Gainesville, FL, and inquired about buying a pair of Russian Pointe® shoes. The woman behind the counter said they didn’t carry them, and they weren’t willing to order them.

“When are you planning to close?” Jacquie asked the woman.

So Jacquie took matters into her own hands. She met with several parents at a local dance competition and asked them what they would like in a dance retail store. The parents gave her three requirements:

  1. Know what style and size of shoe my daughter wears and keep it on hand.
  2. Have a comfortable chair for me to sit in while my daughter gets fitted.
  3. Have some variety in your dancewear styles and keep a good stock of tights.

Jacquie took the suggestions to heart, and when she opened Arabesque Dance and Active Wear shortly afterward in 2003, she made sure that her dancewear store would have customer service in mind.

Today, Jacquie services dancers from 11 surrounding counties, including several who drive all the way from Alabama.

Pointe Shoe Specialty Jacquie specializes in pointe shoes and 70 to 80 percent of all of her shoes are Russian Pointe®. To make it easy on parents, Jacquie keeps an extra pair of pointe shoes on a shelf for her regular customers in their size with their name on each one.

Although she was never a dancer herself, Jacquie has become known for being an expert pointe shoe fitter and has attended fitting seminars offered by every pointe shoe manufacturer.

Versatility of Russian Pointe® Jacquie says she loves Russian Pointe® shoes because of the wide variety of choices in widths, vamps, shanks, and styles. “They are as close to a custom-made shoe as you can get on the market,” Jacquie says. “I can really make them work for almost every dancer.”

Often, dancers will come in not knowing that their shoes don’t fit correctly, but they’ll say they don’t feel balanced up on pointe. That’s a clue to Jacquie that the old shoes did not fit properly. “I’m very clear with my parents that I’m trying to make sure what you get is what your daughter needs to succeed as a dancer,” Jacquie says.

Clearly, Jacquie loves what she does. “I love helping people find what they need,” she says.