New dancewear store Art in Motion at the Louvre opens for business in Grass Valley
When Sierra Sparks-Burton, local business owner and lifelong ballet dancer, found out that the only dancewear store in Nevada County was closing, she saw an opportunity to bring this service back into the community.
After growing up with ballet and later performing with local dance companies, Sparks-Burton had taken a break from dance for some years — until she was inspired to return as her daughter, who is now 12 years old, began ballet lessons eight years ago. When they were both promoted last year into practicing pointe technique — which requires expert shoe-fitting — they went to Escott Place, which was run by owner Delores Jones.
Then Escott Place closed its doors in June after over 20 years in business.
Sparks-Burton then decided to open a new dancewear store — named Art in Motion at The Louvre, 124 E. Main St., Grass Valley — which will share a retail space with The Louvre, a Grass Valley art restoration and framing shop and gallery operated by her family for over 35 years.
“It was kind of full circle that we were able to, together, take over her inventory, and her mentoring has been really special,” said Sparks-Burton, on continuing in the spirit of Jones’ business.
She said undertaking a new business venture during the pandemic has presented challenges, primarily in setting up wholesale accounts with suppliers who are operating at reduced capacities or are experiencing shipping delays. She said, however, that she was motivated to open the business at this time by the lack of local options for local dancers.
“With Dolores (Jones) closing her dance store, Escott Place, the closest dance store other than that is in Sacramento, so that (would make) it really challenging traveling across counties, and most dance stores also have limited capacity and hours,” she said.
Sparks-Burton said Jones would also, as she had in her own business, be providing her expertise at Art in Motion.
“Pointe shoe fittings require special knowledge, and we haven’t been officially trained yet, so she’s going to be handling that,” she said. She explained that this is an important service at a dance store because a pointe shoe fitting evaluates a variety of factors in the dancer’s feet and their flexibility, takes into account hundreds of shoe specification options, and is essential in preventing injury as dancers take on the difficult practice.
Sparks-Burton said the early opening stage at Art in Motion at The Louvre is going well, and that she has begun making connections with local independent and school-affiliated dance programs. She said that, while the dance business has set hours shared with The Louvre, they can also assist customers with making orders over the phone, and will make appointments for those who would like to come in but can’t make it during their regular business hours.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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