It All Began in Frederick, Maryland
In the summer of 1991, a determined dance mom, Joy Ellis, opened a small dance boutique. She saw firsthand the demand to have dance supplies in the area, not just for her own children, but for the other dancers struggling to find convenient, affordable, high quality dancewear.
Joy’s natural ability for spotting quality materials as a seamstress allowed her to confidently offer high quality dance apparel at an affordable price, locally. She strived to bring as much variety as she could, to provide her community with everything they needed and more. As she established Footlights within the dance retail community as the go to dance shop, she made an impact on the vendors with her cutting-edge fitting techniques. Today, with over thirty years of experience, Joy is considered a master fitter by dance retailers and vendors across the nation.
As the company grew, her children grew up too. Following in Joy's footsteps is her son, Joe, and her daughter-in-law, Molly. Joe grew up with Footlights, learning the ins and outs of the company from an early age. As he got older, Joy continued to share in the life of business with her son. Her legacy, passion and knowledge are carried on to the next generation with Joe and Molly. Today, they run Footlights together, not just as partners, but as family.
With multiple Boutique locations, Footlights is constantly looking for ways to be the most convenient and reliable source of high-quality dance supplies in the area. Without the constant support of local studios and dance communities, Footlights would not be where it is today. Every day Footlights is looking for ways to give back to the community who has given so much support over the years. Our employees strive to uphold the same impeccable customer service Joy started over thirty years ago. Each staff member is trained to help you find everything you need and more. The Footlights values, knowledge and experience, make shopping with us a truly unique learning, and welcoming environment for dancers of all ages. Experience Footlights for yourself and your family today.
For the serious dancer, there is only one choice!
Meet The Team
Joy Ellis – Procurement Director, Founder
Joy opened the doors to Footlights in the summer of 1991. Although she is no longer on the sales floor, she is behind the scenes handling all purchasing and budgeting for the company and constantly finding ways to keep up with the demand for new, unique merchandise. Her expertise and experiences over the decades are key notes that get passed down to each employee during their training process.
Joe Ellis – Co-Owner, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) | Pointe Shoe Master Fitter, Pointe Shoe Alterations Master
As the son of Joy, Joe has grown up in a world of dance and theater. Spending most of his time at Footlights, the family business has been part of his life from a very early age. Joe attended West Virginia University and got his degree in Business Management. He’s had his fair share of experiences with many different companies across the U.S., before coming back home to Footlights. He has worked a multitude of customer service centric positions, and handled various management positions overseeing inventory and distribution for large chain retailers. He continues to research world-wide trends to keep Footlights relevant and ahead of the curve. These days, you’ll often find him in store or on the road with the Studio Direct team, offering the best of Footlights to our clients & up-holding the impeccable customer service we’re known for.
Molly Ellis - Chief Operations Officer (COO) | Senior Pointe Shoe Fitter, Senior Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Molly has been with Footlights for almost a decade. Her background crosses a multitude of areas. With Footlights, she utilizes her expertise in social media/marketing, business management and customer service. Her unique experiences within businesses both on a small platform and cooperate platform, allowed her to help pave the way for new training techniques and internal structural growth within Footlights. Today, Molly continues to help find new and pioneering endeavors to maintain Footlights as a leader of the industry. She oversees the technical development and intricacies behind the scenes at Footlights. In joint efforts, Molly helps Joe maintain oversight of the boutiques and seamlessly fills in for each department as needed.
Distribution Manager | Senior Pointe Shoe Fitter, Senior Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Do you ever wonder who it is that counts all of those thousands of Bunheads supplies when we first get them in from the manufacturer? Meet Ezzie! She handles all distribution for the merchandise going in and out of Footlights. Ezzie’s extensive background with Footlights has spanned over a decade. She began as a part time sales associate to our Boutique operation in Frederick in January of 2010, shortly before the expansion of the sales floor. When we opened our Silver Spring boutique, Ezzie was promoted to Boutique Manager of Footlights Frederick. As Footlights grew, Ezzie’s roles expanded to cover distribution and purchasing assistant while still maintaining her role as Boutique Manager. As we continued to shift roles in 2018 to optimize our abilities to assist our client base, Ezzie took on Distribution Management full time. She’s one of our most experienced fitters at Footlights and a valued member of the team. You can still find Ezzie fitting pointe shoes at Frederick when she has the time.
Studio Direct Manager | Pointe Shoe Fitter, Pointe Shoe Alternations Specialist
Tracy started with Footlights in the Fall of 2017, on a whim while looking for something extra to do since her daughter was going to College. As a dance mom, Tracy knew her way around the dance attire and had spent many years working closely with some of our partnered studios in the area. She gave valuable insight to the new environment of the Alexandria dance community. Tracy managed the former Alexandria boutique during its last few years in operation. Her natural hands-on approach makes everyone feel at ease when working with her. Tracy goes the extra mile to make sure everything is perfect for our clients. Since closing our Alexandria boutique, Tracy took on managing our Studio Direct (VIP & Wholesale Programs) department full time.
Footlights Frederick Boutique Team
Footlights Frederick is our founding, flagship boutique, established in 1991. It remains the largest Footlights boutique today. We expanded this location in 2010 to allow more floor space for your convenience. This location sports four spacious dressing rooms and the most expansive selection of dance supplies in the area!
Boutique Manager | Senior Pointe Shoe Fitter, Senior Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Sam began her journey at Footlights in 2016 as a sales associate. She came on board just in time to dive into the hectic world of Recital Season. Her childhood experiences as a dancer helped Sam quickly adapt to the environment of inspiring & professional dancers colliding in one space. As she trained over time, Sam began learning the ins-and-outs of management as an assistant boutique manager. In the fall of 2018, Sam was promoted to Boutique Manager. Sam’s professionally trained expertise at Footlights includes how to properly fit pointe shoes and customize them to fit dancers' needs. You can find Sam most any day of the week at Footlights helping little one’s find their first tap shoes or stocking the latest merchandise, stop by to say hello to Sam today!
Sales Associate | Senior Pointe Fitter, Senior Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Brennan joined Footlights full time in January of 2012, she worked as an associate for a few years before taking on Distribution management. In 2018, she then transitioned to Purchasing Manager. In the Spring of 2019, Brennan took a hiatus to pursue a new career. While voulenteering during our busy Back to Dance seasons over 2020-2021, in the Spring of 2022, Brennan officially returned in a more permanent role as a weekend sales associate providing her decades worth of expertise to the Frederick Boutique. She loves fitting pointe shoes and is excited to help clients find the perfect fit!
Sales Associate - Training
Bio Coming Soon!
Footlights Silver Spring Boutique Team
Footlights Silver Spring was established in the Fall of 2012. Expanding the floor space of Frederick wasn’t enough, we felt the demand to open in the DMV, a calling for our expertise and expansive selection to be more convenient to our shoppers. The Silver Spring Boutique boasts three dressing rooms, and the same variety of selection of dance supplies as our Frederick Boutique. Don’t be fooled by our smaller size, we’ve optimized the space to hold everything you need & more!
Store Manager | Pointe Fitter | Pointe Shoe Alternations Specialist
Miranda has been a lifelong dancer, with twenty years in the performing arts world. When asked, she'll tell you tap is her favorite style of dance. Being a customer first and now an employee, Miranda has a special knack for picking out the perfect leotard for every dancer that comes in. She's currently in training to fit pointe shoes & on the path towards Store Management. Next time you stop in, be sure to say hello to Miranda! She is happy to help you find the perfect fit every day!
Sales Associate | Pointe Shoe Fitter
Gigi has been with us since the summer of 2012, she started just before the grand opening of the Silver Spring Boutique! Her training was, as she likes to call it, a “crash course” in the manic mode which is Back to Dance Season. Since then, Gigi has learned all about each and every product Footlights carries over the years. Gigi regularly works weekends and shares her time at the Frederick Boutique when we need an extra helping hand. As a former dance mom, Gigi has seen the dance world from the perspective that many of our clients see it, from behind the stage. But she’s not just a dance mom! Gigi has also been known to slide on some ballroom shoes & hit the floor. Her years of knowledge both personally & at Footlights makes her a gem to work with. She’s professionally trained to fit all of our shoes, including pointe shoes. Come say hello to Gigi today!
Sales Associate | Pointe Shoe Fitter, Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Alex started her journey with us in 2014. Over the years, Alex has kept a close relationship with Footlights while in full pursuit of her career as a lawyer. When she’s at Footlights, you can find her lending her expertise in her favorite element: pointe shoe fittings.
Harper joined Footlights in the Spring of 2022. She has been doing Irish Dance for eight years & also currently does Modern Dance in school. Harper loves working with our Footlights community & we're so happy to have her part of the Footlights Team!