It all started in 1991 with a determined dance mom, Joy Ellis. 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 three 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 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 Partnership Program team, offering the best of Footlights to our clients & up-holding the impeccable customer service we’re known for.
Molly Ellis - Chief Operating 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 the trailblazer of the industry. She oversees the Studio Partnership Program, technical development and intricacies behind the scenes at Footlights. In joint efforts, Molly helps Joe maintain oversight of the three locations and seamlessly fills in for each department as needed.
Ezzie – Distribution Manager | Senior Pointe Shoe Fitter, Senior Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Do you ever wonder who it is that adds that bit of extra care to make sure you receive your online order or who counts all of those thousands of bunheads supplies when we first get them in from the manufacturer? Meet Ezzie! She has been through it all at Footlights since starting as a sales associate. She started with us when the Frederick location expanded in 2010, she was with us when we opened Silver Spring in 2012, and when we opened the Alexandria location in 2016. Now, she handles all distribution for the merchandise going in and out of Footlights, including processing and handling all of our online sales. Ezzie’s extensive background with Footlights has been a unique and challenging one. She began as a sales associate to our small, one-store operation in Frederick a year before the expansion, and shortly before we opened our Silver Spring location, Ezzie was promoted to store manager of Footlights Frederick. As Footlights grew, Ezzie’s roles expanded to cover distribution and purchasing assistant while still maintaining her role as store manager. As we continued to shift roles, 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. Make sure you say hello to Ezzie next time you stop by.
Footlights Frederick Crew:
Footlights Frederick is our founding, flagship location, established almost thirty years ago. It remains the largest Footlights location today. We expanded this location in in 2011 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!
Sam - Store Manager | Pointe Shoe Fitter, Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Sam began her journey at Footlights in 2015 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 store manager. In the fall of 2018, Sam was promoted to store 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!
Gigi - Sales Associate | Pointe Shoe Fitter, Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Gigi has been with us since the summer of 2012, she started just before the grand opening of the Silver Spring location! 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 these past seven years. Gigi regularly works weekends and shares her time at the Silver Spring location 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!
Footlights Silver Spring Crew:
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 location boasts three dressing rooms, and the same variety of selection of dance supplies as our Frederick location. Don’t be fooled by our smaller size, we’ve optimized the space to hold everything you need & more!
Stephanie - Store Manager | Pointe Shoe Fitter, Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Stephanie has danced for several years with various local companies, and currently performs as a freelance dancer. She’s also owned and operated a performing arts empowerment program for young girls, where she wrote, directed, choreographed, and produced stage plays and dance productions. As an artist, and a dance mom, Stephanie understands the importance of a dancer feeling their absolute best in the products that they purchase, and she also understands the sacrifices that parents make to give their children opportunities to dance. That motivates her to go above and beyond to ensure that each client gets the best service, advice, products and care. Be sure to say hello to Stephanie next time you stop by!
Jazmine – Sales Associate | Pointe Shoe Fitter
She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2015 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts - Ballet Performance degree. She preformed with Ballet Pensacola from 2014-2019, and moved to DC to start her career with a local dance company. She's been with Footlights since 2019 and enjoys helping dancers find their perfect fit. Come say hello to Jazmine next time you need new dance supplies!
Tracy - Store Manager | Pointe Shoe Fitter, Pointe Shoe Alterations Specialist
Tracy started with Footlights in the Fall of 2017, on a whim of looking for something extra since her daughter was going to College. As a dance mom, Tracy knew her way around the dance attire and worked closely with some of our partnered studios in the area. She gave insight to the new environment of the Alexandria dance community. When we proposed the idea of management, she was thrilled for the opportunity. Tracy makes everyone feel at home when they walk into the Alexandria store. She greets everyone and makes sure no one is left wondering where anything is. Her natural hands-on approach is the spitting image of the foundation that Joy established. When she’s not fitting pointe shoes, Tracy loves to make unique and cute displays for merchandise in the store. Every week there’s something new! She goes the extra mile to make sure everything is perfect for our clients. For only being with us for a few years, it feels as though she’s been with us from the beginning.