New Beginnings on The Hip Joint’s 12th Anniversary!

Maya at our very first location, upstairs at 2nd St NE

This weekend twelve years ago, I opened the doors of The Hip Joint in a small office directly above its current location. I was with my one year old daughter and no employees. It was a good sign when customers immediately showed up. And what an amazing twelve years it has been! Years later, some of you have become employees and friends as well as loyal patrons of The Hip Joint and the Charlottesville arts community. I want to express a sincere and heartfelt message of gratitude to all of you. I have learned more than I imagined I could when I opened those doors. I have enjoyed the life of a small business owner in my hometown. Thank you again to everyone that has contributed to The Hip Joint. It started out as an idea in my head and became a part of our community. This has given me so much joy!
moving to 2nd st During the years in between then and now there were big events that affected me significantly… my husband opening up his restaurant (named after our daughter, Maya,) my MS diagnosis, the birth of our son and entering a training course to teach the Alexander Technique. This now brings me to the choice of selling The Hip Joint in order to spend more time with family and build an Alexander teaching practice. I am so honored to announce that Kathy Taylor and her family are in the driver’s seat at the shop. Kathy is an incredibly experienced and energized small business owner as well as a dancer. I look forward to seeing how The Hip Joint lives on! I will be consulting from time to time, and you will certainly see me and the kids shopping in there!! Don’t miss the 20% off Anniversary SALE on Sunday, the 29th!
 20151113_151430(0)_resizedIn the meantime I’d like to share with you a little about my new business: teaching the Alexander Technique. I teach workshops in dance schools and universities as well as private lessons in my office downtown. I love teaching performing artists, and I also enjoy working with people to alleviate their pain. I felt some immediate relief from my pains after the first few lessons in the Technique so many years ago. I was excited to see a study published this month regarding data about the long term effects of acupuncture or the Alexander Technique for those with chronic back pain. You can find out more information about this method of self care and my practice at

Thank you for supporting The Hip Joint and local business. We live in such a great town! Here’s to a great holiday season and NEW YEAR!

~Jennifer Kelly, AmSAT

Dance at Second Street Gallery

Moving Meditations with Katharine Birdsall Thursdays at Noon

POSTED ON 3.9.2015

Katharine BIrdsall along with fellow dancer/choreographers Dinah Gray
and Jennifer Kelly will be performing a series of dances entitled
“Moving Meditations” in response to Susan Bacik’s show, “Contructed
Meditations”.  This Art for Lunch offering will be presented from
noon to 1 on Thursdays, March 12, 19, and 26.  “Moving Meditations”
is a series of 6 dances that reflect the dancer’s visceral response to
Ms. Bacik’s work. They are meant to offer the audience insight into
how visual art might translate into movement and performance.

image gallery

Guest Blog: The Hip Joint’s 11 Year Anniversary!

Our current location on 2nd St NE

On November 29, 2003, the Hip Joint opened its doors in Charlottesville, VA. I was only 9 years-old at the time, and ballet was the love of my life. When I heard that a dance store was opening in Downtown Charlottesville, I couldn’t wait to go see it. Within days of the Hip Joint opening, my mother and I planned a special outing to go visit the shop. I can still remember how excited I was leaving the store that day, clutching my new pair of ballet shoes and the wrap sweater that I’d convinced my mother I absolutely had to have. Even at such a young age, I was impressed by the positive, creative environment and happy to be in a space that celebrated the things I loved: dance and movement.

Katherine's first pointe shoes

It’s hard to believe that 11 years have passed since then. The Hip Joint is home to many memories for me. In 2005, Jen fit me into my first pair of pointe shoes, marking a very important milestone in my dance career. To this day, that battered pair of Grishko Elites hangs in my childhood bedroom. A few years and many pairs of pointe shoes later, I won a scholarship to attend my first summer program. Every black leotard and pair of tights I wore that summer I had picked out in a flurry of excitement with the aid of the Hip Joint staff. When I transitioned from student to teacher five years ago, I was excited to be able to send my own students to the same place that I had shopped as a young dancer, knowing that they would find the same warmth and enthusiasm that had made such an impact on me.

Katherine in 2014

In June 2012, I transitioned from customer to employee when I worked my first shift at the Hip Joint. As I went through my training, I really gained a deep appreciation for the amount of detail and care that goes on behind the scenes. Every piece of inventory, from the tutus to the jazz shoes, is chosen, fitted, and sold with a genuine desire to fulfill the needs and desires of each individual that enters the door. In the two years that I’ve worked here, the store has continued to grow and develop. We have a new POS system, new brands, and new faces. But one thing has definitely not changed. The Hip Joint is a family, with a deep desire to support and nurture the local dance and movement communities, and I’m very thankful to be a part of it.  ~  Katherine Hall

The Hip Joint Sponsors Dirty Dancing at The Paramount

The Hip Joint Sponsors
Dirty Dancing at The Paramount

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey

The Hip Joint is sponsoring a screening of the 1987 classic, Dirty Dancing,
on Sunday, February 16 at 2pm at The Paramount Theater!
Visit the Hip Joint any time to pick up FREE tickets, while supplies last! (limit 2 per customer)
*Note: This film is rated PG-13. We will not distribute tickets to unaccompanied children under
more info at

"This is my dance space..."

Local dancer turned Alvin Ailey member is “Top 25 to Watch!”

Demetia Hopkins of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at The Hip Joint!
Charlottesville, VA – January 10, 2014 – Come celebrate Virginia’s own Demetia Hopkins, of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who was chosen for Dance Magazine‘s prized accolade,

“25 to Watch” in 2014!

Demetia Hopkins of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

Meet and greet Demetia on Friday, January 17th from 5-7pm at The Hip Joint, located at 110 2nd Street NE, just around the corner from The Paramount Theater. We will be giving away issues of Dance Magazine for autographs and sparkling wine for a toast.

Don’t miss this opportunity to give Demetia a warm homecoming and honor our community!

Demetia Hopkins (Orange, VA) began her dance training at the Orange School of Performing Arts. She has studied with the National Youth Ballet of Virginia, Virginia School of the Arts, the Summer Dance International Course in Burgos, Spain, The Rock School, and Dance Theatre of Harlem School. Ms. Hopkins graduated with honors from the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program in
Dance in 2009, and she was a recipient of a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts in 2009. Ms. Hopkins was a member of Ailey II and joined the Company in 2010.

FORO- Performatica in Mexico. Calling all movement artists!

Performatica!  This was the last place and venue in which I performed.   It seemed like so long ago!   I just received the following message via email:

**Dear Colleagues, we are pleased to announce PERFORMÁTICA 2014: April 20-26, 2014

Deadline for artist submission is October 26th, 2013, 12 midnight CST.          

Please visit for more information and to submit your proposal. 

We would appreciate it if you could forward this e-mail to anyone you think would find it of importance.  Thank you.

So– I wanted to help to spread the word about a great international opportunity conceived by a former Charlottesville artist.  My friend Ray Eliot Schwartz started this dance festival where he teaches at UDLAP in Mexico.  It has continued to be an enriching experience for many.  They are currently calling for proposals for performers and teachers but students, I believe, can check back in with the website in the Spring to apply to attend.

Here is a small excerpt pasted from their website….please visit it (see above) to get more info…

Philosophy / Mission

Founded by Mayra Morales and Ray Eliot Schwartz, professors of dance at Fundación Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, Performática is a festival, a conference, a workshop, a community builder, an exchange project, and a creative vision.

Inspired by years of exposure to international workshops, performance festivals, academic conferences, and community art projects, Performática aims to synthesize the best of these events into a unique forum. The event brings together an international cadre of practicing dancers, choreographers, theorists, and teachers of contemporary dance and related movement arts.

Photo by Matthew Young

Over the course of the forum, workshops, roundtable discussions, and performances will be convened with the goal of facilitating international and intercultural exchange of practices, knowledge, theory and culture as related to the contemporary discourse of body movement, expression, and philosophy.

Fun to reflect back on a great performance experience for me!  I highly recommend Performatica!

April 2009. After our performance created by Zap McConnell. On campus.

From the mountain overlooking Cholula.

I know most ballet dancers are thinking only of Nutcracker right now….( I did five pointe shoe fittings for this purpose today!)… but all you contemporary artists out there in the Hip Joint sphere- this blog post is for you!  Deadline for submission is soon!  Happy Fall everyone-



Sept 14th, Meet the Author & Book Signing Event! Press Release –

The Hip Joint Presents Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy author, Elizabeth Kiem

Charlottesville, Virginia – The Hip Joint is hosting Elizabeth Kiem, author of the anticipated young adult spy novel, Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy on Saturday, September 14th from 5-6pm. The Hip Joint is located on the Downtown Mall at 110 2nd Street NE, around the corner from the Paramount Theater.

Released on August 13th, Elizabethʼs first novel is currently the Editorʼs Pick for Teen and Young Adult Best Book of the month on Amazon. It is also both an Indies Introduce and an IndieNext Selection by the American Booksellers Association. Elizabeth will be signing books that will be available for purchase at The Hip Joint as well as giving a brief presentation and Q & A. Admission is free.

Elizabeth Kiem is a Virginia native and was a Culture Editor at The Hook while living in Charlottesville from 2001-2004. She studied Russian Language and Literature at Columbia University and currently writes novels, essays, reports, reviews, grocery lists and more. Brooklyn is Elizabethʼs home but she experienced living in Moscow as it entered a new era, immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dancer Daughter Traitor Spy draws on the authorʼs years living in these locations and a long time fascination with the politcal statements and performance career of Mikhail Baryshnikov. Combining the Cold War intrigue of “The Americans,” the cutthroat atmosphere of the elite ballet academies at the Bolshoi Theatre and American Ballet Theatre, and the frenetic pulse of New York City in the early ʻ80s, Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy is a new breed of spy novel.

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy has it all: love, death, ballet, and pop music during the Cold War ’80s. A romantic, suspenseful, and gracefully written novel.” —Natalie Standiford, author of How to Say Goodbye in Robot

“In a world where nothing makes sense, what is sanity?…. This atmospheric, suspenseful story is one of devotion and deception, innocence and independence, friendship and love, music and dance, immigration and coming of age.” —Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)

“Sophisticated storytelling with complex characterization and details that provide color and texture… A compelling portrait of a young woman on the verge of adulthood, caught up in the domestic secrets of her parents and the enmity of two countries.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Creates the mood of the oppressive, fearful state of Communist Russia that persists outside its borders, and builds levels of intrigue that lead to a devastating climax.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating… The twists and turns, as Marina tries to decide whom she can really trust, keep readers guessing right up to the end, just as a good spy novel should. —School Library Journal

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Heads Up> The shop will conclude the last fitting of the day at 4:45pm to get ready for event.


Everyone might not realize that our business sibling….

…is a restaurant called Maya.  Named after our daughter.  Poor Willie.  Our four year old son didn’t get a business named after him.  No more businesses.  First we have a retail shop named after my fascination with the human structure and then a restaurant named after our first kid.  Will came along and we were getting tired!  I know Will will make his own mark.  I named him Will for a reason.

Some days I question what are choices have been… Does life need to be this crazy?  Often the responsibility overwhelms me.  I am thinking about not only responsibility for myself and my family but also for all of the people we employ as well as the customers…. It is how our choices affect others.  My husband and I are constantly asking….What is interesting?  What is healthy?  What is relevant?  What will bring more positive consequences? What is worth it?  And ultimately  there comes the question of….Will people invest in it?…  Very important question because if they don’t then the business(es) will fail and all the people we are responsible for will be affected.

A woman came up to us at Whole Foods last night while we were getting into our car.  She knocked on the window and said, ” I know you!  You are The Hip Joint!”  I smiled as I recognized her face.  She was so excited to show me the shoes she had on.  She was wearing a pair of dance sneakers that I had sold to her for a class she was taking.  She told me that she knew that she wasn’t supposed to wear them on the street but that she was loving them so much that she didn’t care.  She loved wearing them anytime and wanted to tell me.  That made me feel really good.

Those moments are always gratifying and so is when someone’s compliment is published for others to see.  I am attaching an article that was in the local weekly paper about my hubby’s restaurant.  Congrats Christian and everyone in our restaurant family!


C-ville Weekly August 6, 2013

by C. Simon Davidson, photo by Justin Ide

at Maya

Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville’s original gourmand, was famous for the food served at his Monticello home, which statesman Daniel Webster said was “half Virginian, half French…in good taste and abundance.” Fast forward 200 years, and things seem very much the same in Jefferson’s hometown. Half Virginian, half French food, in good taste and abundance, is everywhere. In fact, food that marries Southern and French tradition has become so common in Charlottesville restaurants that it may be our town’s signature cuisine.

Yet, while many area restaurants serve it, none does it better than Maya, the Midtown restaurant whose kitchen, now in its seventh year, has reached a level of consistency that few others can match.

At the helm is Christian Kelly, the former chef of Clifton Inn who in 2006 was lured away from fine dining by restaurateur Peter Castiglione. One of the founding owners of Zocalo, Castiglione had moved on and was seeking a chef to partner with on a new venture. Naturally, he started at the top. He remembered a dinner at Clifton a year earlier that he had enjoyed so much that he even scribbled a note to the chef that it was the best lobster he had ever eaten. Though it seemed like a long shot, he thought, maybe that chef would join him.

Castiglione’s timing was perfect. When Castiglione called, Kelly was at a spiritual crossroads of sorts. Kelly had recently helped Clifton become one of just 60 restaurants in America to qualify for Relais & Chateaux, the elite collection of luxury hotels and restaurants of the world. But, as significant as was that achievement, Kelly felt ready for a change.

Long before the term “farm-to-table” became popular, Kelly had first fallen in love with food growing up on his family’s farm in upstate New York, where his mother would prepare daily feasts from the farm’s bounty. Decades later, after working his way to the peak of Charlottesville fine dining, Kelly found himself longing to return to that type of cooking—simple dishes that celebrate the produce more than the preparation.

So, Kelly went for it. “I was dumbfounded when he said yes,” admitted Castiglione.

The next year they opened Maya, named after Kelly’s daughter. To showcase the region’s produce, Kelly chose to focus on simple preparations of Southern cuisine. The accessible food and moderate prices ($12 Tuesdays!) have won Maya broad appeal across diverse parts of Jefferson’s hometown, including those at his University.

For example, UVA men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett calls Maya one of his favorite restaurants, and recently joined me for dinner there. One of the first meals Bennett ate in Charlottesville was at Maya, for an assistant coach job interview that helped reel in former Cavalier Jason Williford.

He has been hooked ever since, and has tried nearly everything on the menu, much of which consists of straight-up Southern classics like baby back ribs ($18) and cornmeal-crusted catfish ($15). The entrée plus two sides style of ordering is also a nod towards Southern tradition.

Bennett’s favorite dish happens to be the same as mine: “Local Trout” ($19), which is prepared as simply as it is named. A butterflied skin-on Rag Mountain trout is sautéed in nothing more than butter before a dousing of capers and a quick trip to the oven. Chef Kelly’s favorite, meanwhile, is an amalgam of menu items: an appetizer of cornmeal-crusted fried oysters ($9) eaten together with two sides, collard greens and stone-ground grits with white cheddar. The combination was so perfect that it might supplant the trout as my go-to order.

But, while you can take the chef out of fine dining, you can’t take fine dining out of the chef. Kelly’s classical French training manifests itself, particularly in his sauces. The country ham gravy that tops the local chicken breast ($19) combines Virginia ham with a classic French sauce, béchamel. The red wine reduction that accompanies Castiglione’s favorite dish, New York Strip ($26), is another example.

Exposed brick walls and tall ceilings help to create a relaxed setting that matches the food, whether in booths near the lively wrap-around bar, or in the cozy room upstairs. The partially covered patio is a welcome option, too, and was the ideal spot for our dinner on an unusually mild July evening.

Maya’s motto is: “Southern menu. Local food.” Throw in some French culinary tradition, and you have a restaurant that epitomizes Charlottesville cuisine and also warrants Bennett’s high praise. I bet his school’s founder would have approved, too.

Atlantic Dance Show 2013!

I love going to this super specific trade show every year in Baltimore.  Atlantic Dance Show is hosted by my excellent reps, Sandy and Roger.  When they started the show years ago, I thought, oh I will get a chance to see the Harbor or tour Baltimore.  Um, yea right.  Each of the last two years I didn’t leave the hotel conference center for 48 hours.  Oh, it’s sunny?  Good thing I brought my vitamin D supplements.  Ha!

I had another successful trip this past weekend.  I always enjoy spending time with my colleagues that are fellow dancer retailers or small business owners/designers.  It is also inspiring and informative to take the seminars and classes.  Even though I have taken most of them repeatedly I always get refreshed and take home another nugget of nuance in fit that I didn’t know or had forgotten.   In the mornings I worked with Gaynor Minden, Bloch, Russian Pointe and Suffolk.  And after watching Mark Suffolk make a pointe shoe by hand right in front of me as well as explain what goes into the integrity of his craft and business I decided to pick up the line.  That’s right- The Hip Joint will soon be carrying the “Spotlight” by Suffolk.  We will let you know as soon as the shoes arrive!

Mark Suffolk!

Thanks, Blake from Gaynor Minden. Always classy.

As you may remember from last year, kd dance or kd dids is always our longest appointment.  I sit with the designer, David Lee, for three hours and map out shipments for the entire year.  We have beautiful knitwear from this fabulous designer and former dancer always coming in and out of the shop.  It is wearable all year ’round!  The Hip Joint loves KD!

After working all day Sunday it was fun to have the trade show cocktail party revolve around the Oscars.  We walked the “red carpet,” ate, drank, danced, and watched the Oscars.  I can’t believe that I had energy to do any of that but I think I just really needed it.  My brain was full.  New shoes.  More bun covers.  What colors? We are low on this.  That didn’t sell.  Do we want to carry that one or this one?  Lots of thoughts and decisions.  So at the end of the day when I could throw some money into the pot and place my picks for the Oscars it sounded easy to have a trivial thing to place my “bet” on!  I put my ballot in the pile and forgot about it.

Dinner with Renee from Repertoire Dance Shop, Amy Cogan of DRN, David Lee of KD and Georgia Tetradis from Beam and Barre. Love you guys!

Ok- So Monday was just as busy but I was even more tired so I didn’t go running in the hotel gym that morning.  (I forgot to say previously….I went on the treadmill before work on Sunday- what was I thinking!)  After placing all of my orders with my tried and true vendors I stop by the booth that caught my eye when we had walked in the first morning.  This was not a need but a want.  (You may remember my “Needs and Wants” post from last year at this time….He He!)  This year my “want” showed itself in a new shoe line called Rio Soul.  It is another woman owned small business and I cannot wait for you all to see and feel these great shoes.  I have plenty to say about them but I am going to write about them in detail when they come in…..I love how comfortable they are.  More on this later!

As I am getting ready to leave Sandy announces over the intercom who won the Oscar pool.  It was a tie!  Who could it be?  Not me…. OH- but it was me!  Me and a few others, he he!   But I won! Yay horray!  It’s always fun to place a bet and win.   As I was driving home I was just hoping that the new shoes that I just placed my “bet” on would be winners too!  I think that they will.

Colleen Bohen from Dance Retailer News