Former ballet dancer giving back to dancing community in Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tucked away in the mezzanine of a north Fresno antique store, Joseph Bascetta's Sunnyside dancewear is a survivor.

"This store's been in existence for over 50 years," said Bascetta.

Bascetta is very familiar with the products on his shelves and the rigors of the art it allows.

The former ballet dancer came to Fresno as the artistic director of the Fresno grand opera and when he retired, he took on this store as a new labor of love.

"I'm doing this because I really love it and I love the kids. I love the children. I try to go to every performance. I think last year I must've gone to 35 to 40 performances throughout the Fresno area," said Bascetta.

Sunnyside is the only store in the Central Valley where dancers can get fitted for en pointe shoes, which may be the difference between comfortable elegance and a painful performance.

"You want to walk around a little bit. See how it feels. Does it feel good?" said Bascetta.

But Bascetta says his labor lately has only paid in love.

He has not taken a salary for 14 months.

The profits just are not there as shoppers drift towards online outlets, but he says this is the place to get the right shoe.

"All brick and mortar stores, dance stores especially. We provide a service, being able to fit the dancer and fit them properly," said Bascetta.

The proper fit with a personal connection.
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