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It Takes a Dancer to Know a Dancer: Saratoga Dance

Whether it’s getting a professional pointe shoe fitting or the latest trends in leotards, Saratoga Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY is where you need to visit during SSDI this summer. Founded by former New York City Ballet soloist, Leslie Roy-Heck, Saratoga Dance prides itself on truly understanding dancers and their needs. The full-service, retail dance shop is known for its superior staff and expert pointe shoe fittings.

Saratoga Dance (photo credit: Susan Blackburn Photography)

Saratoga Dance (photo credit: Susan Blackburn Photography)

The dedicated Saratoga Dance staff has extensive knowledge of dance (they are either current or former dancers and dance teachers themselves) and their high level of expertise contributes greatly to the success of the store. No question goes unanswered and Roy-Heck and her team are committed to staying on top of the current trends in apparel, the latest developments in shoes, and any new or innovative products entering the dancewear market.

Having been a dancer, Roy-Heck knows first-hand the importance of a proper pointe shoe fitting.

“While there are many very good pointe shoe fitters who have never danced, I think that those who have danced en pointe have a great advantage. Most importantly, they know how a shoe feels on the foot, how it should look and how it should properly function,” said Roy-Heck.

Dancers’ feet and needs are constantly changing, and whether it be educating a first-time pointe shoe student about the structure of the foot, the anatomy of the shoe or how it relates to the foot while on pointe, or a troubleshooting session with a pre-professional dancer whose shoes are breaking down too quickly, Saratoga Dance gives its customers the greatest care possible. In addition, the staff works closely with local teachers to determine their dancewear and footwear requirements and believes that this relationship is paramount to running a successful business.

Saratoga Dance (photo credit: Susan Blackburn Photography)

Saratoga Dance (photo credit: Susan Blackburn Photography)

Roy-Heck has made it her mission, and that of the dance store’s, to provide expert customer service so that dancers walk away with not only feeling confident about the advice they received and items that they purchased, but, most importantly, an experience that is relaxed, memorable and non-intimidating.

“We strive to make the atmosphere at Saratoga Dance very welcoming and relaxing. We play classical music throughout the day and have decorated the store with not only beautiful merchandise, but personal and unique items such as autographed pointe shoes from professional dancers and our customers alike,” said Roy-Heck. “But, most importantly, our staff, who are all dancers, puts the customer at ease by offering expert service. Everyone at Saratoga Dance is very well trained and this gives the customer confidence that they are in good hands and will easily find what they are looking for.”

At Saratoga Dance, you will never feel rushed. The warm, knowledgeable staff takes the time to communicate with each dancer and parent, educates them and helps them feel comfortable with their purchases.

“We take pride in our store and do the very best we can to make sure that the customer is happy when they leave,” said Roy-Heck.

About Leslie Roy-Heck: Leslie Roy-Heck began her early dance training at the Gerami School of Dance in Lafayette, Louisiana. At the age of twelve she received a Ford Foundation scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of the New York City Ballet (NYCB). At SAB, Leslie had the privilege of training under the tutelage of Alexandra Danilova, Felia Doubrovska, Helene Dudin, Irina Kosmovska, Richard Rapp, Elise Reiman, Michel Reneault, Suki Schorer, Murial Stuart, Antonina Tumkovsky and Stanley Williams. At the age of seventeen, Leslie was accepted into the New York City Ballet and spent the next thirteen years there, dancing in over eighty ballets. She had the honor of working with George Balanchine for the first seven years of her career and worked closely with Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins throughout her tenure. Leslie has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia on tour with the NYCB. She retired from the company as a Soloist in 1989.

Upon her retirement, Leslie moved to Saratoga Springs, NY, at which time she began her teaching career at area schools. Some include Albany Dance Institute, Adirondack Community College, Adirondack Repertory Dance Theatre, Guilderland Ballet, the Ballet Regent School, Saratoga City Ballet and Russell Sage College. In 1990 Leslie opened Saratoga Dance, Etc originally at 53 Church Street and the small store quickly became a vital part of the local dance community. With help from her friends in NYCB, Leslie hosted many events and fundraisers to provide outreach and education to local dancers and raise awareness of issues affecting the arts. Her vision and dedication have made Saratoga Dance one of the most successful dance shops around. In 1996, Leslie and her husband Michael, a Chemical Engineer, started Bunheads Dance Accessories which became a leading dance accessories company, servicing over 45 countries around the globe. In September of 2008, Ballet Makers Inc., world-wide distributor of Capezio dance footwear and apparel, acquired Bunheads. It is still going strong and continues to be the top dance accessories company in the world.


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