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Shop keeps dancers on their toes

Aug. 16, 2007

Next door to Village Gifts, in the same retail space, JoAnn Slamka's new business, Beyond the Tutu, opened Aug. 1. The store seeks to be the south side's source for dance apparel and accessory needs for dancers of all ages.

The store carries everything from shoes to instructional books.

"I had been thinking about opening a store for two years because there's nowhere in the area to buy dancewear," Slamka said.

Slamka, whose children all share a love of dance, said she wants the store to not only appeal to budding dancers but to coaches and studios as well. She's an authorized seller of Leo's Dancewear, and carries products from So Danca and Trendy Trends, too.

She plans to stock a variety of dance shoes, including ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop shoes. Down the road she would like to offer pointe shoes, but wants to be properly trained in fitting them first.

"They're a difficult shoe to fit," Slamka said. "It can be dangerous; if you're fitted wrong, it can ruin your feet."

In addition to shoes, she will sell leotards, warm-up clothing, legwarmers and gift items.

Special ordering is available, and an online store is a possibility down the road.

"It's a work in progress right now," she said. "We'd also like to offer glamour birthday parties for kids - like hair, make-up, sparkles … the birthday girl would get a free tiara."

Slamka is working to get all of her stock in place by the end of the month before her grand-opening celebration. She will feature a prize drawing, refreshments, special discounts and possibly dance demonstrations.

Dan Cowan wants to stick his nose in your business. Contact him with tips for his Strictly Business column by e-mailing him at

At a glance

WHAT: Beyond the Tutu

WHERE: 916 Milwaukee Ave.

GRAND OPENING: gala set for Saturday, Aug. 25, but store is currently open

HOURS: 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

CONTACT: (414) 297-9240

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