Turkey is considered one of the countries with the most successful traders in the world and with a big musical influence of the Islamic and Western culture, well, from this country come the wonderful professional salsa dancer Burju Pérez, an entrepreneur who fused the tempo with the comfort and fashion of footwear.
Born in Turkey but arrived from 2 years old to Boston, Massachusetts. From very young, Burju began in the world of rhythmic gymnastics and dance. “My parents say I danced before I walked, or at least I started them both at the same time. I always had a wiggle and a bop”, said Burju for an American media.
Over the years, she learned other rhythms such as: Hip hop, Jazz and classical. Once at the university, she really dabbled in Latin dance, there a dance group was formed and she met her current husband Víctor, whose roots from Puerto Rico and who by that time was already an expert in Salsa dancing.
Once associated both personally and professionally, Burju and Víctor embarked on their way to conquer the most important congresses and festivals in the country as qualified Salsa dancers, starting with the nation’s largest annual convention, LA SALSA FEST, which for that time was only made in two cities of the world: one in San Juan (Puerto Rico – original headquarters) and the other in Los Angeles, (US).
Russia, China, Japan, Turkey, Lithuania, Germany and all Western Europe were also witnesses to the rage of the audience that generated this duo on the dance floor, who stepped on the best stages, generating great respect in the salsa community for being a couple of high competitive range.
Burju during the decade of the 90s began to add her identity to the attire, painting his shoes and creating her own style. By 2003, this regular salsa girl from the stages of Boston and New York had the opportunity to belong to Juan Matos’ Fogarate Dance Project, which was held every weekend in New York. For the same period, Matos came up with another project, this time in Italy and Turkey and for which he had no partner dance so Burju was the ideal candidate to make this tour with him for a month, working full time.
Once in Milan, this choreographer and professional dancer began to create her own project, an idea that would satisfy the needs of the dancers, simply a hybrid between dance and fashion, was the creation of Burju Shoes. In Milan, where I was based for the project, there is this very high fashion and lots of people not wearing dance shoes when they dance. I was like, “Oh, I’m not trying to be left out.”So when I was social dancing I was rocking these hot fashion shoes I bought there, but every night I was nearly crying because I was in so much pain. That’s when I was like, OH MAN! I want to combine fashion with comfort for dance shoes. She explained in an interview.
Burju shoes (created in December 2010) are the perfect combination between the avant-garden design, contrast of colors, versatility and comfort, made to highlight the distinctive beauty in each dress and coziness when dancing.
Burju decided to create this company in his home, Boston, a very welcoming place where the scenes and the Latino community has grown exponentially. When I first started my business, I asked a lot of ladies that were well known (in the dance and salsa world) to help me with a collective push with the brand. These girls not only endorsed it, but became part of the brand and helped with the designs. I even named shoes after them!, said she. I had my own following, but it was so wonderful to have all these girls supporting me and spreading the word. When I felt weak, I had people to lean on who were not just friends but collaborators in the scene… I’m so grateful for the love and support here. She added.
The Burju Shoes business was the change in the footwear industry’s perception for the ladies. The belief for years that the beauty of the shoe was synonymous with pain and tiredness of the feet was in the past.
Burju thanks to his experience as a professional dancer with 14 years of career, travel and in addition to her creative intuition, she has created great innovative designs in each shoe, which are flexible for the comfort of the user and functional for each occasion. The construction of each pair of shoes is derived from custom made patterns, high-end manufacturing and high quality materials: satins, leathers, sparkle, faux animal prints and other synthetic or man-made materials. For the outer soles, the options of suede (more traditional for dance shoes) to the street sole which is great for indoor and outdoor use. I think people appreciate that we put a higher standard on presentation… At the end of the day, selling is not my main mission. But I will educate you and help you find what’s right for you, and help you feel good about yourself. I think this draws people in, said she.
Burju Shoes offer you elegant shoes that you can use to do your dailies and go to work, they are also perfect for a dinner, cocktail and especially for a night of total fun and a lot of Latin dance. Burju also cared about brides, and created a wide selection for them for that special day.
Even though I don’t dance as much as I used to (since I got pregnant four years ago), and went the fashion and entrepreneur route, I’m still connected to this dance scene through my work and like giving back to the community… I want to show people that arts and business can function together. Burju Perez