Bert Meier is not a dancer, but he is the one professionals and students look for before stepping on the floor. He's the owner of On Pointe, a dancewear store in the Central Arts District of St. Petersburg that is a destination for performers of all kinds of rhythms and beats.
It all started in 2007. As the real estate market crashed nationwide, forcing Meier and his wife to look for a new career path in Pinellas County, their daughter, then a hip-hop dance student, struggled to find the right clothes for practice. Soon they found she wasn't the only one looking for a specialized dancewear store. On Pointe opened its doors that September in close proximity to studios and dance schools in the St. Petersburg area.
From leotards in all sorts of styles (with or without collar, side panels, front panels, sweetheart or scoop neckline for $36.95 to $42.93) to belly dance belts ($24.95) and ballroom shoes embellished with Swarowski crystals ($280), On Pointe is filled with the essentials and extras any dancer could need. Ballet, tap, modern, contemporary, ballroom, swing, Zumba, liturgical and praise dancing, and even some gymnastics and skating outfits and accessories cover their racks.
The attendants working the store are also dancers, so they can give customers honest firsthand advice, such as what shoes are best for a first-timer or what techniques are most effective for pain-free or at least less painful long practices. Last year, the advice given was even more unique when pitcher James Shields, then with the Tampa Bay Rays, came in looking for some extra large leotards and matching leg warmers for the team's rookie hazing at Fenway Park. Ten of the players wore outfits found at On Pointe and danced to Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe with steps choreographed by Annie Meier, a hip-hop teacher who in 2007 was just a student struggling to find the right clothes for class.