Tim Hurst was an educator before he was a dancer. The owner of dancewear store Movin’ Easy in the North University neighborhood of Austin started his career as a social studies teacher in 1968 in Orange County, Texas, near the Louisiana border, teaching high schoolers during a time of school desegregation and the Vietnam War.

When Hurst moved to Austin, he worked for public television station KLRU as a liaison to the local schools, and he fell in love with dance. Hurst had taken karate classes in Orange that led him eventually to dance in Austin. He started taking classes and attending performances, meeting others who were also involved in the community.

All that led to a friend who was opening a studio asking Hurst in 1981 if he would open a dancewear store so that the dancers could have a place to buy their shoes and leotards.

“I was hesitant to go into business in [brick-and-mortar] form. But I knew dancers; I knew what they wore; I knew what they liked,” Hurst said.

After a trip to New York to stock the store, Movin’ Easy opened in 1981. Things have changed in the 38 years since. Online sales have become more important to business. As Austin has grown, dance studios have sprouted up across town, creating more demand for dancewear. Fashion sense has also changed the store, which is no longer selling what Hurst originally called “streetwear”—comfortable clothing, leg warmers and belts hot in the 1980s, but not so much today.

Hurst’s role as an educator has not changed, however, and that has spread to his staff of specialists who provide their expertise on all the products in the store—including fittings for pointe shoes for ballet dancers.

“This is one of the signatures of us,” Hurst said. “Our job is to inform, educate, and we make sure everybody here has the expertise to help the dancer—to find what it is that will make them better, make them more comfortable and keep them safe.