Footloose, founded in 2010 by Becca Duberman, is an organization that collects new and gently-used dance shoes for aspiring dancers from lower-income backgrounds. Duberman, 19, is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has danced for over 15 years. Learn more about her mission in our interview with her…
What inspired Footloose?
Year after year, I went through the ritual of sorting my old shoes as I prepared for new classes. I found myself thinking, “These shoes hold great sentimental value to me, but why are they just sitting in my closet collecting dust? Wouldn’t they be put to better use by other children wanting to experience dance and the outlet for expression that it offers?” Footloose was my way of giving back. It was born from the realization that my passion for dance as a method of communication may impact others as it has for me.
What is the average age range of the students who receive shoes via Footloose?
On average, Footloose will donate to dancers from ages 8-15. However, Footloose has donated to a variety of dancers ranging in ages from 3-25. There are many aspiring dancers in the world that cannot afford proper footwear and Footloose has done a great job in filling this void.
How and where do you organize shoe collections?
When I receive shoe donations, I store them in my home and separate those by type, such as ballet, tap etc. I often receive large shipments of shoes so keeping an accurate inventory is important. I receive many corporate donations but the vast majority of collections occur from private dance studios. Recently, I have had many dance students reach out to me to start a local drive at their studios and schools for Footloose. In this case, I will either connect them directly with a possible location for donation or I will have them send me the shoes to ship out.
What types of dance shoes do you collect?
Footloose welcomes donations of all types of dance shoes and sizes since we do not target a specific age range or dance style.
What organizations do you donate dance shoes to and how are they distributed?
Footloose donates to various types of organizations and studios across the world. We have donated to organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Newark, Soles4Souls, YMCA Sioux, as well as dance studios such as Life Skills Preschool, Bayshore Dance Academy, Hope Rural School, and Gambia Dance Factory. Footloose provides dance shoes to locations throughout the U.S., as well as to other continents such as Africa. The shoes are either shipped out directly from my house or one of Footloose’s ambassadors will ship the shoes they have collected from their locations.
What are your future goals for Footloose?
I am proud to say that Footloose has made a positive impact in lives of aspiring dancers for about 6 years now. I hope that Footloose will continue to inspire other dancers, like myself, to get involved and give back to the dance community, and to help those less fortunate acquire the proper footwear to dance.
How can people get involved with Footloose?