A nearly 100-year-old dancewear retailer has “temporarily closed” its location in River Forest and will reopen under a new name in Oak Park sometime in early 2018, according to a recorded message on Leo’s Dancewear’s voicemail.

Leo’s will open its doors in early 2018 at 159 N. Marion St. under the new name of Bloch, which is an Australian-based supplier of athletic dancewear and shoes that bought Leo’s in 2012. Leo’s website already redirects to the Bloch site. 

Leo’s did not respond to an interview request, and a Bloch spokeswoman was unable to comment.  

Leo’s was founded in 1924 and flourished as the premier dancewear company in Chicago thanks to its Wabash Avenue location. The dancewear company was located downtown within walking distance of three theaters, which featured stage shows, ballets and as many as 10 musicals playing every night. 

“This gave (founder) Leo Harris a natural platform to exercise his talents at shoemaking and passion for dance,” the business’s Facebook bio says, adding that Harris constantly worked with professional dancers to improve his designs. 

“Leo researched the anatomy of the body and the physics of dance and molded them into dance shoes that worked in harmony with the dancer,” the bio says. 

Leo’s moved to 7601 W. North Ave. in River Forest in 2012. 

Nona Tepper

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