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Dance Shoes – What You Need to Know

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Dance Shoes – What You Need to Know

To the untrained eye, dance shoes seem like just another pair of shoes. A lot of new students will put off buying the proper shoes for far too long. Whatever you do, don’t wait!  Could you imagine showing up to play 18 holes of golf with your buddies wearing all the right gear, but missing golf shoes? Would you forego those oh-so attractive shoes when you go bowling? There is something to be said about wearing the proper footwear for the sport; ballroom dancing is no different.

Being an experienced dancer, I have danced in both regular street shoes as well as high heels. Usually the next day I’m reminded of why Ballroom Dance shoes are so important. I will always wake up with a spot somewhere on my foot that hurts from the stiffness of street shoes. I also find that both my legs and knees will hurt. This is due to regular shoes sticking to the ground when you execute turns.  Regular shoes create a delayed response in how your foot swivels in relation to your body, putting extra load on your joints. When I’m wearing my dance shoes, I can turn smoothly and let my movements flow.

Proper dance footwear is very important.  As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize just how critical they are. Yes, Mom…you were right, yet again. Dance shoes are pretty unique; you can’t buy them at a regular store. You can only buy them at a Ballroom Dance shoe store. One of the things that make the shoes so unique is that the bottoms are suede. The suede makes it easy to spin, turn, and twist without the floor seeming too slippery.

Dance shoes are also flexible, allowing you to point, kick, and move properly while the shoe bends with you. My students always say they are surprised at how comfortable their shoes are, and that’s because of the flex. While flexibility is important, it’s also essential that the shoe is not too flimsy. For the support required, dance shoemakers put a “shank” in the arch of the shoe. The majority of women’s shoes also have some sort of ankle strap that keeps the shoe firmly on their feet.

Thankfully, dance shoes are all lightweight, which prevents your legs from getting tired as quickly. This is an important feature, especially for men. When learning to dance, male students are always worried about stepping on their partner’s feet. No matter how good of a dancer you are, at some point it’s bound to happen. Getting stepped on by a man’s heavy dress shoe or boot is no joke – proper dance shoes definitely lessen the pain.

Chances are once you see the selection of dance shoes in the store, you will be overwhelmed by the various options and styles. For the men, I would recommend a basic, black leather lace up shoe…they should be easy to spot. Compared to women’s shoes, there isn’t as much variety in the men’s lines.Note: there are men’s dance shoes with a “Latin heel,” which feature a 2-inch heel. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing those unless you compete in big time Latin competitions. For everyday lessons, dancing, and even competitions, the standard black units are fine. You will also see patent leather, which looks a lot like the typical wedding shoe. These are typically only used for Ballroom competitions.  They have a very dressy look that compliments the men’s tail suits. Some of the shoe companies have gotten a little more creative recently, tooling options that look more like street shoes, with a wingtip or braided design. These are all great shoes – as long as they are really dance-specific shoes.

For the ladies: your first instinct will be to buy black shoes, which are fine for dancing nights out on the town. However, you will want to purchase a nude or tan pair, preferably with an open toe and straps. This is an all around good shoe that you will be able to wear to lessons, out dancing, and even at competitions.

These are the shoes of Ballroom dancers. The idea behind it is it gives you a long leg line. Dance floors are, more often than not, brown in color and black shoes will stand out. You want people to watch your body, not your feet. This is similar to why Ballerinas wear pink/nude ballet shoes…it makes for pretty dancing.

You will see close-toe style pumps as well. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing these unless you are competing in a Smooth Ballroom Dance Competition. The shoes tend to be a bit stiffer and are definitely not for everyday use. When I was competing, I had to wear that style and my toes were squished in the closed toe – my big toe hasn’t been the same since.

Don’t worry though – this was only at a highly competitive level. Ladies’ shoes will come in a variety of heel heights. A 2.5 inch heel works great for pretty much everything. The 3 inch rhythm shoe is also fine if you are used to heels, otherwise, it isn’t necessary. Anything taller than that, in my opinion, will make balancing and dancing more difficult.

With all of this being said, I do believe there is some magic in dance shoes. You will not only dance better, but also feel better – that alone is worth the investment.

Live, Love, Dance and Enjoy!

BALLROOM DANCE IS A SIZZLING WORKOUT FOR SUMMER!

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EXERCISE TIPS: DANCE YOUR WAY INTO SUMMER

Let’s face it. The elliptical can get boring, running can wear on your joints, and making time to navigate all those people at the gym is just plain difficult. But this summer, it may be time to ditch your normal workout routine and explore a new and fun way to get in shape!

Health care professionals are starting to take notice of what ballroom dancing enthusiasts have claimed for years: dancing is great for your health! And it’s starting to catch on across the board.

Whether you favor the fast paced foxtrot, or the flow of the waltz, the cardiovascular, weight loss and overall muscle toning benefits of dancing score “perfect 10’s” across the board.

From a strictly athletic point of view, dancing also can be an incredible workout. It merges aerobic (like cardio) and anaerobic (like strength training) exercise, while increasing your overall stamina! You also will build leg and core strength, all while steadily burning calories and fat throughout the course of your dance lessons.

If you want to take your ballroom dance workout to the next level, there is one dance that stands out when it comes to dance health benefits.

Experts say that salsa dancing can burn up to 10 calories a minute, without the negative side effects of high impact exercises like running. That means, in an average 30 minute class, you can burn upwards of 300 calories, or 600 in an hour!

Why You Should Come to the Social Dances

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Why you should come to the Social Dances (even when you don’t know anything)

Originally appeared on AccessDance.com by Lora LaMon, Septembeer 12, 2016.


Since you are learning how to dance, then actually dancing is the best thing you can do for yourself and your partner. Coming to an actual dance is different (and better) than dancing in your kitchen. The environment and experience is better. There is a sense of “community” at the dances, a community that is a safe place for you to work on and improve your dance skill. This is especially important for new dancers.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary, but . . . Coming to the dances is well worth the effort. Others will dance with you, which helps you get better and more confident, too. And yes, you can decline if dancing with someone else is still too scary. But it gets easier and better the more often you attend the dances and the more involved you become in them.

At the dances, you have a good floor, the right music, and comradeship to encourage you. The dances are where you will meet other like-minded people who love to dance, just dance. You’ll get to know your classmates, and meet others, too. As you enlarge your dance “circle”, you will find yourself dancing more (and loving it!). The more you dance, the larger you dance circle becomes. See how that works? It’s ALL good.

Yes, we have singles who come to the dances.
They find out there are other singles who are coming to the dance, and Waa Laa, they don’t just find a dance partner, they find SEVERALdance partners.

Finally, dancing need not be overwhelming. The dances are the best place to just watch, ask questions, see what all those dances look like and what music goes with each. If you are not sure where to start or where to go next with your dancing, coming to the Social Dances will help you sort it out and decide by getting eyes and ears on the variety of options.

See you on the Dance Floor, and remember . . . . . Keep Counting !

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT DANCE SHOES | 7 THINGS TO CONSIDER

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How to pick the right dance shoes.

You have taken a few ballroom dance lessons and are starting to get more serious about dancing. It’s time to look into purchasing some dance shoes! A pair of quality dance shoes, with its special construction and materials, will help you learn better and dance longer. Below are 7 important things to consider when choosing the right dance shoes.

1. Make Sure it Fits Like a Glove

When you first try on a pair of dance shoes, make sure they fit snugly without excessive pressure. This will give you the most control of your shoes even after they are broken in. I usually go a half or full size down for my dance shoes.

2. Open Toe vs. Closed Toe

Generally, open toe shoes are designed for Latin and rhythm dances, such as Salsa, Rumba and swing, which require more pointing of the toes and articulation of the feet. The opening in the shoes allows you to point your toes easier and execute footwork more precisely. Closed toe shoes are designed for smooth/standard dances, such as Foxtrot and Waltz, as these dances require a more traditional classic look. Unless you are focusing on a particular dance style, beginning dancers can pretty much choose any style you’d like. Though, when you first learn to dance, it’s almost inevitable to get stepped on once in a while, so you may consider getting closed toe shoes as they provide some protection for your pedicured toes. Personally, I prefer the open toe.

3. Heel Heights

The heel height for Latin and ballroom dance shoes ranges from 1.5″ to 3″. For beginning dancers, you should choose a heel height that gives you the most comfort. If you are not accustomed to wearing heels, you may want to start with shoes that have a lower heel to start with. Also, there are different shapes of heel, such as slim and flared. A flared heel is a popular choice as it gives you more stability. For men’s dance shoes, a 1″ heel is designed for ballroom dance styles while a 1.5″ Cuban heel is designed for Latin dance styles. Unless you are participating in dance competitions, a 1″ heel is generally sufficient for both ballroom and Latin dancing.

4. Suede Sole Shoes

Suede soled shoes are perfect for dancing. It is recommended to have a suede sole for your dance shoes. The suede sole gives you the right amount of slip and traction so that you can feel more balanced and have more control when turning and moving around the dance floor. Every once in a while, you need to brush the suede sole with a wire dance shoe brush to maintain its roughness.

5. Buying Dance Shoes Online vs. In Store

Whether you order shoes online or purchase them in a store, I suggest you first go to a dance supply store to try on some shoes. Since sizing can vary from brand to brand, it is best to try and compare various brands, sizes and models to ensure you find the right fit. We usually have a few pair in stock that you might try.

6. Maintenance

Moisture is the # 1 thing that kills dance shoes. After dancing, I usually use shoe trees to absorb moisture and keep the shape of the dance shoes. Cedar shoe trees are particularly great for fighting odor! Unfortunately, dance shoes are not made to last for a long time due to their delicate materials and the way dancers use the shoes. To extend the life of a pair of dance shoes, I recommend having 2 or more pairs of shoes (depending on how frequently you dance) to rotate between dance sessions. This allows each pair enough time to dry out before the next use. Also, never wear your dance shoes outdoors as the suede leather is very delicate and can be damaged easily by any harsh objects and water!

7. Cost

The cost of Latin and ballroom dance shoes range from $80 to $300 a pair depending on the brand and quality. For about $170, you can get a great quality pair of shoes. It is definitely worth spending a little more money since a good pair of dance shoes can last longer and give you more comfort and support when learning to dance. Because we want our students to have dance shoes, we sell them very close to cost $80 – $90 plus shipping.

Happy dancing!