A DANCEWEAR shop in Northwich, which has been in business for more than 50 years, has introduced specialist pointe shoe fitting after weathering the Covid storm.
L. J. Little Dancewear is an independent family clothing business that has been run by Pauline Little for the past 52 years.
Established in 1969, Pauline has been specialising specifically in dancewear for the last 34 years and is assisted by two of her daughters, Helena and Rebecca.
The shop at 99 Chester Road, Castle, Northwich, stocks a wide range of ballet, tap, jazz, Latin, ballroom, keep-fit, stage and bridesmaid shoes, plus leotards, dancewear, dance and festival costumes, accessories and gymnastic leotards.
Like many businesses, it has been a very difficult past twelve months for L. J. Little after being forced to shut three times during the lockdowns, as it was classed as a non-essential shop.
But, they have managed to weather the storm after dance schools were finally allowed to reopen.
Rebecca Little, who is helping her mum in the shop, said: "In the last few weeks, the shop has been redecorated and has had a small refit to house a new line of specialist dance shoes for ballet which we are now stocking and fitting – pointe shoes.
"Pointe shoes have to be carefully fitted by a specialist fitter and students are normally sent to a pointe shoe fitter when their dance teacher decides that they are old enough, and strong enough technically, to be able to wear them."
Pauline was going to train in pointe shoe fitting more than twenty years ago but unfortunately, her husband and business partner Leonard suffered a devastating stroke.
Pauline nursed him through it while keeping the family business going, but had to put the training to one side.
Instead Pauline would send her customers off to the fitters at Barnum’s in Warrington but unfortunately, their shop closed early last year.
Rebecca has now taken on the role of the pointe shoe fitter at L. J. Little Dancewear, having finally completed her pointe shoe fitting training, which should have happened last year but was put on hold due to the pandemic.
She said: "I am now professionally trained to fit pointe shoes by top dance brands and trainers, including Karla Bray at Capezio London and Amanda Hill from Ballet Pro, and others including Linda Reid-Lobatto and Esther Juon.
"Having professionally trained as a performer at the Arts Educational Schools, Tring and London, I am experienced en pointe myself.
"I also have knowledge as a trained dance teacher and hold qualifications with Ofqual, CCEA and internationally recognised dance teaching organisations, the IDTA, NATD and ISTD.
"What is really lovely is that Alison, formally of Barnum’s Warrington, has been hugely supportive of L. J. Little Dancewear now fitting pointe shoes, and has been so helpful with her additional knowledge and even pops in now and again to do additional fittings with Rebecca, when demand is high."
L. J. Little Dancewear’s pointe shoe fittings are available as a pre-booked appointment only, due to the length of time they take to be fitted – which can be around an hour.
To make a pointe shoe fitting appointment, you can call the shop on 01606 75770.
For everything else, there is no need to book.