It All Started 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. Since Joy retired, her legacy, passion and knowledge are carried on to the next generation with Joe and Molly at the helm of Footlights today. Together they run Footlights, not just as partners, but as family. 

Meet The Owners

  • Joy Ellis, Founder. Retired

    Joy opened the doors to Footlights in the summer of 1991. Although she has retired, her expertise and experiences over the decades are key notes that get passed down to each employee during their training process.

  • Joe Ellis | 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.

  • Molly Ellis | Senior Pointe Shoe Fitter, Senior Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist

    Molly has been with Footlights for over a decade. Her professional background crosses a multitude of areas including marketing, sales, business management, customer service and more.

    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.

Footlights is constantly looking for ways to be the most convenient and reliable source of high-quality dance supplies in the Greater-Washington, D.C. area. Footlights services dancers from all over the world, but it all started here over 32 years ago in the once small town of Frederick, Maryland.

Without the constant, daily, support of local studios, dancers, theater troops, companies and the dance communities of D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, Footlights would not be where it is today.

Footlights is proud to still be under ownership of the same family that started it all in 1991. The team is rigorously 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 and backgrounds. Experience Footlights for yourself and your family today.

For the serious dancer, there is only one choice!

Boutique Director | Senior Pointe Shoe Fitter, Master Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist

Ezzie

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 in 2012, 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. In the summer of 2022, Ezzie moved into the role of Boutique Director, overseeing the day to day operations of our various departments, with emphasis on maximizing the client experience online and in person at both locations. She’s one of our most experienced fitters at Footlights and loves to help dancers find their prefect fit!

Sales Associate | Pointe Shoe Fitter

Gigi

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!