Russian Pointe® retailer: Artistic Costumes and Dance Fashions

Harriet Berlin Sometimes, a passion for dance is passed down through the generations.

That was definitely the case for Harriet Berlin, owner of Artistic Costumes and Dance Fashions, Inc., located in Towson, Md.

Harriet’s father, Max Krents, was a pointe shoe cobblesmith, who made pointe shoes lovingly by hand. He was so renowned for his expert knowledge that he fit many of the most famous dancers of his day who lived near Washington, DC, including Susan Jaffe and Goldie Hawn.

Max and his wife, Edna, opened Artistic Costumes in 1951, selling dancewear and pointe shoes to ballerinas in the greater Washington area, and Harriet began working at her father’s store in the late 1970s. Today, she continues the tradition of providing only the best dancewear and theater costumes to her customers.

“It’s in my blood,” Harriet says of running a dancewear store. “I love that I never know who’s going to walk in the door.”

A long-time seller of Russian Pointe® shoes, Harriet’s favorite Russian Pointe® models are the Entrada, the Rubin and the Sapfir. Harriet says she loves Russian Pointe’s elegant lines and superb craftsmanship.

“They’re my go-to shoe,” Harriet says. “I like the way someone who has a poor-looking arch, when they get up on pointe (in Russian Pointe® shoes), they look even better.”

The store is comprised of two sections: a 2,000 square-foot dance section and a 3,500 square-foot section devoted to everything for the theater, from wigs and costumes to fake eyelashes. The store serves dancers of all ages and provides costumes for many high school plays throughout the region.

Harriet says she still gets joy out of fitting girls for their very first pair of pointe shoes and seeing the excitement on their faces, and she says it’s gratifying to know that she fitted many of the dance teachers in her area when they were little girls themselves.

“In an age where there’s a lot of Internet shopping… it’s nice to see some loyalty and see them grow up,” Harriet says.

If you’re interested in becoming an Authorized Russian Pointe® Retailer, please contact Molly Beck at or 312-332-7200 ext. 201.