A Legacy in Dance
Fellow business owners and friends, like many of you I recently received the news that a longtime pillar in our dance community closed its doors. At Misty’s Dance Unlimited, we had the privilege of doing business with Curtain Call for more than two decades—nearly half of its existence—and I was saddened to hear that it was time for them to close this chapter, after 50 years serving the industry. What a gift they gave the dance world!
I’ve had the privilege of meeting Curtain Call’s CEO, Tighe King, on several occasions in my career, and each time he welcomed my contributions to the conversation about the industry. Curtain Call was even an early sponsor for More Than Just Great Dancing®, in its fledgling first year, and maintained a strong connection with us for a decade. A few years ago, I was invited to tour the Curtain Call factory, where I met designers and relationship managers, and secured the company’s commitment to becoming a YPAD Certified supplier. It’s one of my favorite CC memories, seeing the passion and excitement “behind the scenes” there.
It occurred to me the other day that Curtain Call’s legacy will go beyond sponsorships and beautiful costumes and trade shows. It will be about joy in the work and about excellent relationships in customer service. It will be about doing the right thing. I know that even now, in the aftermath of the hardest decision a business owner could make, their integrity will lead them through the process of winding down operations.
I want Curtain Call to know that we’ll remember so many wonderful things about their company—from the customer support we personally received from our representative, Terri Gustafson, to the costumes my own kids wore onstage throughout their dance experiences. (I can also recall more than one occasion where MDU needed last-minute costumes and Terri came through time and time again!)
At our very first Studio Owner University® event, my daughter Isabella (a pre-teen at the time) modeled Curtain Call costumes for our attendees, even putting on an impromptu performance between sessions. I remember how delighted she was to be showing off what she could do, in costumes she felt confident wearing. She lit up with excitement when Curtain Call asked for her feedback about this fabric, or that color or clasp or accessory. SOU was a success that year for many reasons, and Curtain Call’s presence was one of them. What I didn’t know then was how deeply our connection would grow throughout the next decade.
This moment for the industry, to me, feels a little like when a longtime dance student graduates: It is emotional and bittersweet, with a bit of unknown mixed in. Although I imagine the folks at Curtain Call never wanted to close their operations, I CAN imagine that they want to do so with the same care and responsibility with which they did business in the first place. And I can imagine that the other costume manufacturers in the industry want to be there for the studios and studio owners who need them.
Curtain Call’s final bow is a reminder to us all that there is both longevity and fragility in our industry, and that strengthening our ecosystem remains more important than ever. Dance studios depend on suppliers, software, events, and more—and those businesses depend on us. When one facet of the industry thrives, we can all flourish. Everyone’s potential goes up! But first we must recognize that interdependence as we ride the waves of post-pandemic recovery.
To Tighe King and those who were employed by Curtain Call, I applaud the 50-year legacy you built—may we all strive for 50 years in our own businesses! It is a privilege to have worked with your people and products for so many of those years. From our hearts to yours, THANK YOU for everything.