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Put on your Dancing Shoes

The attractive dancing shoes have much more to them than just looks.

When you see an elegant dancer on the dance floor spinning and twirling around swiftly have you ever wondered from where does that smoothness come from. Graceful dancers swinging to the beat of Cha Cha Cha and salsa keep you glued to their silky movements. Dancing to the rhythm with an elegance of movement is more than just talent. This could also have something to do with the shoes you’re wearing. If you ever cared to look beneath a dancer you will realize that most of the grace and energy comes from the correct footwear.

There are a lot of shoes to choose from in the market. That is why it is wise to compare each one of them and closely examine their bottoms, toe boxes, etc. You must not also forget the kind of floor you often dance on to make it a point that the shoe design makes foot movement easier. This way you’d know better whether your shoes fit with what you’re stepping on and with what you’re doing.

In Indian classical dance demands no footwear – the ‘Ghungroo’ is the only footwear. On the other hand, International dances need shoes and this footwear is like Ghungroo for International dance lover. We too pray and respect our dance shoes just like Ghungroo. Today I will give you a low down on the fashion aspect of the dance footwear.

Our flooring is often made of wood or cement. Thus, it is good to wear dancing shoes that support just enough friction between the floor and the soles. However, regular rubber or leather sole shoe may cling or slip extra on the dance floors. Thus, it is better to purchase or custom-make dancing shoes with soles made of only suede.

Generally soft flexible suede sole dance shoes body as well as the heel is made of pure leather and the ankle support is longer than that of the normal shoes. This helps maintain the balance between the slip and the grip techniques that lets the dance move swiftly on the smooth dance floor. Its difficult to find good suede shoes in India, but according to Mr. Jameel Shah, director of ‘Shah Shoes’ the only Indian dance shoe company that has copied the art of making typical dance shoes from abroad and sells the replicas in various color and styles says ‘You can fold the dance shoe anyway you want to, it takes the shape of your foot unlike normal shoes, this is the essence of the dancing shoes, they are comfortable and do not restrict the movement of your feet, weather you are on your heels or on your toes, it supports you throughout-the cushioning supports the knees and the ankle avoiding injuries.’ Shah Shoes has his main outlet in Mumbai but supplies to most of the dance schools in India, they regularly work with schools in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Chennai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Pune and more. They work through email ‘shahshoes@yahoo.in’ and each shoe rate ranges from 2000 to 5000 rupees. The other option is to buy these shoes online from websites like supadance.com, showtimedanceshoes.com and danceshoesonline.com but the international order can range from 50-120 dollars per pair plus the courier charges.

Every dance form needs different kind of shoes; I recommend standard heel shoes – small and thin for ballroom dances like the Waltz, Quickstep, Tango and the Foxtrot. Cha Cha Cha, Jive, Samba and Salsa are best complimented with feet gear that have broader and bigger heels as broad big heels enhances the hip movement of Latin dancers and helps them make swift twirls and graceful footwork. Then we have Jazz shoes for Jazz and contemporary dancers, Ballet Shoes or character shoes for other western dances.

Choice of colours is also an important aspect while buying dance shoes, for example the Tango is a dramatic dance form hence a combination of black and white shoes adds onto the effect. The standard black shoe for men is most common in leather or patent leather and dainty silver, golden and skin shoes for women are the common colours for Latin American dances. Ladies nowadays are experimenting with colors like red, shimmer, pink and even yellow and green, but such experiment is mostly done by performers and not students.

The right shoe and the right colour take the performance to a different level. One has to experience it to believe it. So invest in an appropriate dancewear and put your best foot forward.

Dance Shoe Care:

  1. Brush your shoe regularly, from top and sole.
  2. Use a wire bristles shoe brush for the soles.
  3. Polish your shoes before and after use.
  4. Do not wear your dance shoe to a party or outdoors they are only to be used on the dance floor.
  5. Keep your shoe in a cloth bag through which they can breathe, yes it is very important to allow your dance shoes to breathe if you want them to last longer.
  6. Air your shoes once or twice a week and more during rainy season as it can catch fungus.
  7. Lastly pack and unpack your shoes carefully after every use

Artscape By Sandip Soparrkar

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