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Top 5 Bay Area Shops For Ballet Apparel

Ballet Shoes (credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

The Bay Area is home to a vast number of people passionate about the art of ballet. While dance studios and professional performances abound, finding quality apparel at a locally-based shop can prove more daunting. Dancers looking for more personalized attention and quality fitting can still find a number of spots with excellent selection and professional assistance. Here is a list of five of the Bay Area's best independent stores for ballet equipment.

San Francisco Dancewear
659 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 882-7087

A full-service shop, San Francisco Dancewear's Mission Street location carries a vast selection of ballet apparel, pointe shoes and slippers. The expert staff can help customers with shoe fit and sizing to ensure comfort and satisfaction with each purchase. The shop offers a Pointe Shoe Club, in which customers may earn a free pair of pointe shoes after every five purchased. Discount cards are also available for dance teachers, and entitle 15 percent off of apparel for personal use. Both men and women, as well as children, will find everything from leotards and tutus, to dance bags and legwarmers.

1887 Dance Shoppe
2206 Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 441-1887

Located in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, the 1887 Dance Shoppe has been servicing the local dance community for more than 20 years. Walk-in shoe fittings are welcome, and the knowledgeable staff is happy to help customers with fit and comfort. Both men's and women's Capezio, Freed, Gaynor Minden and Bloch shoes are available. There is also a generous selection of ballet leotards, tights, children's apparel and dance bags.

San Jose Dancewear
376 Race St.
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 295-9316

One of the oldest dance and costume shops in the area, San Jose Dancewear originally opened in 1938. The newer, larger storefront is a one-stop shop for everything from dancewear and gymnastic gear to ice-skating apparel and costumes. Ballet apparel is reasonably priced, and is perfect for the dancer who knows what they are looking for. The store also has two sister sites, one located in Marin and one in Santa Cruz. For those passionate about their craft, the shop's online blog has some wonderful information on apparel construction and getting the most out of various pieces such as leotards and dance shoes.

Prima Dancewear
5885 Santa Teresa Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95123
(408) 227-2200

Nestled in South San Jose's Blossom Valley, Prima Dancewear specializes in selling quality dancewear. The neat interior makes for a boutique shopping experience, and customers can expect to find a decent selection of pointe shoes and ballet slippers. Dancers needing to be fitted for new shoes can expect personalized attention and expert assistance, and appointments are strongly recommended for shoe fittings. Prima is also one of the few area retailers of Russian Pointe shoes.

Benicia Dancewear
408 Military E
Benicia, CA 94510
(707) 747-5022

One of the Bay Area's newer dance shops, Benicia Dancewear opened in 2011 in downtown Benicia after recognizing a need within the East Bay dance for a spot to buy quality dance gear. The shop carries a large number of Gaynor Minden, Bloch, Grishko, Mirella and Capezio ballet shoes. Dancers may also browse through a good selection of leotards, tights and other accessories. Other styles of dance are also catered to, and customers can find jazz and tap gear.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on


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