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Growing Through Arts® Retailer: Dance Do

Divine Rhythms Dance Studio It was just two days after Hurricane Sandy had devastated Long Island, leaving homes flooded, businesses destroyed, and many people without power.

But Marilyn Schmich, owner of Divine Rhythms Dance studio in Bablyon Village, NY, and the neighboring dancewear store, Dance Do, was determined that her studio be open to serve her community.

“We have electricity and heat, so feel free to charge any devices,” Schmich posted on a local website two days after the storm. “Looking forward to seeing our families. If you are not dancing, stop by and visit us. We would love to see our dancers.”

Schmich was lucky. Her retail store suffered water damage, but she replaced the floor as quickly as possible and only lost two days of business. Her sister’s dance school, Just for Kicks, had to be condemned and moved to a new location.

Still, despite the damage to the surrounding community, or perhaps because of it, Schmich says her Christmas retail season was outstanding. “I think we had the best Christmas we ever had,” she says.

Success was due in part to the new line of Nutcracker books, toys and accessories from Growing Through Arts®. “Everybody wants Nutcracker for the holidays,” Schmich says.

Schmich does not usually decorate her store for the holidays, but she says displaying the Growing Through Arts® Nutcracker pillows and other items added a festive touch. “We had it merchandised with Nutcracker ornaments that we had painted names on,” she says.

Now that the holidays are over, Schmich has made a new display of all of the Cinderella products from Growing Through Arts®, along with other blue items in the store, perfectly timed to Rogers & Hamerstein’s Cinderella opening on Broadway Jan. 25. “I feel really confident with the blue leotards behind it and the blue leg warmers and the tiaras,” she says.

Schmich says what sets the Growing Through Arts® products apart is the fact that the books and toys come in clear plastic cases with handles, which makes them easy to display in the store and practical for children to play with.

“I think the merchandising of it, the packaging, is beautiful,” she says. “It walks out by itself. You don’t even have to sell it; you just have to show it.”

Plus, Schmich says Growing Through Arts® books and toys are educational, not just some teddy bear with a tutu on it. “There’s not enough that’s well done for the preschoolers,” she says.

And, of course, preschoolers are a large segment of the dance market. Schmich’s family owns a total of four dance schools on Long Island which serve more than 500 preschoolers in the area combined.

Schmich says teaching children about classical ballet is important in developing a new generation of patrons who understand and appreciate the arts.

In fact, Schmich and her employees make it their mission to encourage parents to take their children to see live shows, and Schmich has even organized trips to see productions on Broadway.

“We’re all about the education; it’s part of the shop,” she says. “We love dance, and we love sharing it."