NEW YORK and TOPEKA, Kan., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Payless
ShoeSource (NYSE: PSS), the largest specialty family footwear retailer in
the Western Hemisphere, and American Ballet Theatre, America's National
Ballet Company(R), have teamed up to democratize dance across America by
making authentic dance footwear affordable.
The new line, branded ABT for Spotlights, is available now for under
$25 in about 3,000 Payless stores nationwide and at Payless.com and
includes styles for ballet, jazz and tap, as well as accessories such as
dance bags. The shoes are available in kids and adult sizing and are
perfect for the beginning dancer.
Payless has offered dance shoes under the Spotlights brand for the past
several years. Through the Payless/ABT alliance, which was launched in May
of 2006, Payless footwear designers were able to access ABT(TM) and its
world-class dancers to gain intimate knowledge of the art of dance to
develop and bring forward the enhanced, co-branded line.
"Our alliance with ABT for the ABT for Spotlights collection enables us
to bring innovation and authentic performance shoes to our customers, and
allows us to support the arts in a meaningful and interactive manner," said
Matt Rubel, chief executive officer and president of Payless ShoeSource.
"Everyone wins -- consumers receive authentic dance shoes at a great price
in our stores, ABT makes dance accessible to the public, and Payless as a
company becomes more connected to young girls -- whose number one activity
Sarah Lane, Soloist Dancer for ABT, is the face of the new ABT for
Spotlights brand and is featured on the shoe boxes, as well as in-store
signage and ads. Lane always dreamed of being a dancer; as a beginner, her
first pair of dance shoes were purchased from Payless. Recently selected as
a recipient of a 2007 Princess Grace Award, this prestigious honor further
pays tribute to Lane as among the nation's most talented young artists.
"As the first-ever partnership of a major dance company and mass
retailer, we are thrilled that Payless and ABT are leading the way in the
marriage of art and commerce," said Rachel Moore, executive director of
ABT. "The importance of having the right gear when participating in
athletic activities is paramount; as such, we are striving to deliver
high-performance dance footwear at an affordable price to help increase
youth access to the art of dance."
In June, Payless ShoeSource and ABT were recognized for their
collaboration with a 2007 Encore Award from the Arts and Business Council
of New York, a division of Americans for the Arts. The Encore Awards
celebrate innovative partnerships between the arts and business that
strengthen both sectors and the communities they serve.
Through the alliance, Payless also supports ABT's Make a Ballet On Tour
program, held in Chicago this past April, as its exclusive dance footwear
sponsor. Aimed at educating underprivileged kids about careers in the arts,
Make a Ballet on Tour is done in conjunction with ABT tours and teaches
underserved students various elements of creating an original dance
performance. Finally, to support the overall effort, Payless
representatives conducted outreach programs at local dance studios to make
them aware of the new ABT for Spotlights collection, so that they can share
the good news with students and their families.
ABT for Spotlights Details
The ABT for Spotlights collection is priced from $15 to $25 and includes:
-- Ballet shoes: available in pink, black and white, the ABT for
Spotlights ballet shoes are designed to form to a dancer's foot and
become a part of his/her body, allowing for greater movement and
expression. They are made from quality leather and keep young dancers'
feet aligned for proper muscle control.
-- Tap shoes: ABT for Spotlights tap shoes are designed to be the
instrument of creative dance. They are made with soft and durable
materials, and provide a generous fit for a young dancer's growing
-- Jazz shoes: ABT for Spotlights jazz shoes are designed with a soft,
durable leather upper, breathable suede insole and a flexible split
outsole to allow for superior expression.
-- Accessories: designed with the dancer in mind, ABT for Spotlights black
duffle and pink quilted satiny tote are perfect to carry dance gear.
Payless ShoeSource, Inc., the largest specialty family footwear
retailer in the Western Hemisphere, is dedicated to democratizing fashion
and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion
possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of the first
quarter 2007, the company operated a total of 4,564 stores. In addition,
customers can buy shoes over the Internet through Payless.com(R) at
Payless is on a mission to democratize fashion, design and innovation
in footwear and accessories, and this includes active lifestyle footwear
like performance running shoes, basketball shoes, as well as authentic
dance shoes. Having recently revamped its brand image, redesigned stores
for an enhanced shopping experience, and launched Designer Collections
(which hit the runway at New York Fashion Week) such as Abaete for Payless
and Lela Rose for Payless, the company is also securing its position as a
"House of Brands" retailer with an expanded portfolio of well-known brands
now or soon-to-be offered at Payless stores including ABT for Spotlights,
Airwalk(R), American Eagle(TM), Dexter(R), Tailwind(R), Champion(R),
Spalding(R) and Dunkman(TM).
American Ballet Theatre, America's National Ballet Company(R), is
recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet
companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Since
its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the Unites States, performing for
more than 600,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do
so. It has made more than 30 international tours to 43 countries and has
been sponsored by the State Department of the Unites States on many of
SOURCE Payless ShoeSource, Inc.