Russian Pointe® Retailer: Magical World of Dance
Like many of her customers, Anne Gugliuzza fell in love with dance at an early age. She was only 3 years old when she began dancing, and by age 11 she was touring Eastern Europe with a performance company.
After studying dance at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and Columbia College Chicago, Gugliuzza began her career as a dance instructor, first teaching in Chicago and then in opening her very own studio, The Batavia Academy of Dance, in the Chicago suburbs in 2009.
And recently, Gugliuzza added a new chapter to her dance career: dancewear retailer.
In November 2012, Gugliuzza opened the Magical World of Dance, a dancewear retail store, downstairs from her thriving dance studio. The store sells shoes, clothes and accessories for tap, jazz, hip hop, belly dancing and more.
When it comes to pointe shoes, however, Gugiuzza only carries Russian Pointe®.
Gugliuzza began wearing Russian Pointe® shoes herself about 12 years ago, and when she opened her own dance school, she required all of her dancers to wear Russian Pointe® shoes. And ever year, she brings her beginning pointe shoe dancers to the Russian Pointe Dance Boutique in Chicago to get fitted.
“It’s so necessary to have a shoe that is amazing, and Russian Pointe® is amazing,” she says.
Gugliuzza says Russian Pointe® shoes stand out because they are handmade in Russia the way ballet shoes have been made for centuries. Mass-produced brands often have shanks that are too hard, causing dancers to jump up onto pointe rather than rolling through the ball of their foot. “Not having a good shoe creates bad habits,” she says.
Russian Pointe® shoes, on the other hand, are made with top-of-the-line materials that make them both soft and strong. “It’s a magical combination that creates the ability for magical dance,” Gugliuzza says.
Russian Pointe® isn’t the only product that Gugliuzza is picky about. She carries a limited number of brands because she only wants to sell the best. “I don’t want to offer products that aren’t reputable,” she says.
Having such strict standards has been a bit challenging as a retailer, because some customers want items that Gugliuzza doesn’t like, but she says she hopes people appreciate her expertise.
The layout of her store also reflects her commitment to quality. The store has a mini stage, a gorgeous chandelier and lavishly decorated windows. This past Christmas, the store’s windows were transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring live dancers, nutcrackers and falling snow. She even played the music from the Nutcracker onto the sidewalk as people walked by.
“We try to create magic,” she says. “We want the 2 or 3-year-old to come in with mom and have their very first experience of dance to be magical.”