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Capezio Ballet Makers Inc.
FounderSalvatore Capezio
Key people
Michael Terlizzi (CEO)
ProductsDance shoes and apparel

Capezio is the trade name of Capezio Ballet Makers Inc., a manufacturer of dance shoes, apparel and accessories.


In 1887, Salvatore Capezio, an Italian cobbler emigrated to the United States, opened a shoe repair shop near the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.[1] He began his business by repairing theatrical shoes for the Met, and transitioned from cobbler to shoemaker when he created pair of shoes for Polish tenor Jean de Reszke in an emergency. His shop soon became a meeting place for dancers who would stop by to discuss their needs and purchase his shoes.

Over time, his reputation grew and visiting dancers would often come to his shop to purchase shoes. One of those visitors, Anna Pavlova, purchased Capezio pointe shoes for herself and her entire company during her first tour of the United States in 1910, thereby helping Capezio establish wide public visibility.[1]

From 1940 Ben Sommers was president of the company until his death in 1985. He used his position to promote and support dance and performance art, establishing events such as National Dance Week in 1978 and in 1957, the Capezio Dance Award.[2] Under Sommers's tenure, in 1941, Lord & Taylor, Neiman-Marcus, and other stores began to market and distribute Capezio footwear.

Salvatore Capezio's family eventually joined him in the business, and today the company is operated by third- and fourth-generation family members. The company now employs modern, computerized manufacturing systems, though its Special Make-up Department continues to hand craft special order footwear.

Notable users[edit]

Numerous celebrities endorsed the company's products over the years, such as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis, Jr., Alicia Alonso, Bob Fosse, Gregory Hines, Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Ben Vereen, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga[3] and Maddie Ziegler.[4]

Capezio Dance Award[edit]

The company established the "Capezio Dance Award" in 1952 to recognize significant achievements in dance, and in 1953 it created the Capezio Foundation to administer the awards program and operate a grant program for non-profit organizations.[1][5]

Notable award recipients[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "History". Capezio. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Ben Sommers Is Dead At 78; Head Of Capezio Foundation". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Capezio: Serving dancers for over 125 years". Danceinforma. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  4. ^ Brooke, Eliza. "Maddie Ziegler Takes Her Rightful Place as Capezio's Brand Ambassador",, May 21, 2015
  5. ^ "Dance Foundation". Capezio. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Awardees". Capezio. Archived from the original on 10 April 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.