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Types Of Dance Shoes That You Should Know

14 Mar 2023

When you enroll your kid in dance classes, one of the first things you'll be asked to do is buy them the proper footwear. Different styles of dance require different footwear, and it’s important to have your child properly fitted in the correct shoes before they head into their first dance class!

When searching for the optimal pair of dance shoes, there are four primary considerations to bear in mind. The purpose of the shoes, the comfort level, the quality of the materials, and the craftsmanship all play a role in the final verdict.

You may want to seek professional guidance when selecting dance shoes due to the wide variety of options available. Dance shoe specialists can ensure your dancer's health and safety in their new classes, which is more important than the shoes' aesthetics.

There are different shoe requirements for different dance genres, and some studios or schools even have dress policies that students must follow. While the requirements listed here may be in line with those at your school, you should double-check with the dance studio before making a purchase. Ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, tap, hip-hop, and theater dance all require specific footwear, and I'll explain the basics of each style here.

Types Of Dance Shoes

1.Character shoes

Character shoes

First, we'll have a chat about a brand called Character. They are most commonly worn onstage, but they are also appropriate for business attire. These footwear are strictly for use in the recording studio and on the stage. Dance classes that feature heels or are titled "Musical Theatre" benefit greatly from the use of character shoes. Songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dancing all come together in a musical theater performance. If your dancer is into ballroom, these are also useful. While they may not be as eye-catching as other ballroom footwear, having a single pair of shoes that fits your feet perfectly is essential when mastering dance steps and routines.

2. Ballet shoes

All of the standard Every dancer needs a good pair of ballet shoes. They are available in a wide variety of hues, fabrics, and silhouettes. To be considered classically trained, one must take ballet classes and own a pair of traditional ballet slippers, such as a pair of satin shoes with a ribbon for a young dancer, or a pair of canvas slippers. If you're going to buy a pair of dance shoes, make it a pair of ballet flats. The timeless style is uncomplicated and adaptable. In fact, the non-dance context of "Ballet flats" makes use of the term and a similar aesthetic to the dance context. Ballet shoes, which are often influenced by classical aesthetics, often retain those aesthetics.

3. Pointe Shoes

Pointe Shoes

Here's a little bit of backstory: for decades, dancers were made to wear ballet shoes fused with high heels, which were later removed, replaced with wire, and used to hoist ballerinas to their toes. Anna Pavlova, a famous and talented Russian ballerina, had an impact on the development of the contemporary pointe shoe, but not until the twentieth century. She flattened and hardened the toe area of her shoes by inserting toughened leather soles because of her narrow, tapered feet.

Ballerinas often daydream about donning their first pair of pointe shoes and dancing with grace and ease across the stage. Since you have to stand on your toes while wearing pointe shoes, the term "toe shoes" has been coined to describe them. These sturdy, boxy shoes give the impression that you're walking on the tips of your toes, but the addition of toe pads provides comfort for your working toes. Prior to transitioning to Pointe Shoes, proper training in a pair of pre-pointe shoes is required. Your feet and ankles take a beating, so it's important to give special attention to your toenails. Only a trained and dedicated ballerina should consider putting her feet through the rigors of pointe work. Due to the revolutionary nature of the Pointe Shoe over the past century, most ballet companies will not even consider you for a principal role if you do not have extensive training in pointe work.

4.Pirouette Shoes

The canvas or leather lyrical shoes are another name for these. These low-maintenance footwear are ideal for competitive dance, especially styles that involve a lot of turns. Turning on one leg, typically in relevé, is what we mean when we say "pirouette" (rising to the balls of the feet). These are the shoes for you if you're always on the move. The ball of the foot is protected by the padding in a pair of pirouette shoes, and the dancer's toes stay in a padded pocket thanks to an elastic band around the ankle. You can use them for modern, lyrical, or contemporary dance, making them more versatile than the others. Recently, this style of shoe has become more versatile, making them ideal for dancers who wish to diversify their practice.

5.Jazz Shoes

Jazz Shoes

I have no doubt that you have heard of and seen examples of this classy footwear. Aside from jazz classes, musical theater and even lyrical dance often require jazz shoes. They come in black, beige, and white, and can be either lace-ups or slip-ons, and feature a minimal heel. Jazz shoes, like character shoes, are an essential component of the ensemble. You should break them in well in advance of the performance to avoid getting blisters. For the initial few classes, it is recommended to wear thick socks under jazz shoes to allow the fabric to loosen. However, just like any other pair of dance footwear, you want them to fit snugly and securely, protecting your feet while still allowing you to pivot, kick, and jump around the dance floor. So, remember to throw a pair of socks in your dancer's bag in case you need to break in a new pair of shoes. If you're curious about the origins of jazz dance, we have an article on the subject.

You can now go into a dancewear store or dancewear store online knowing exactly what color and size dance shoes you need. Before buying dance shoes, it's important to get a complete picture of your dancer's motivation and enthusiasm for the class. Talk to them about their experiences in dance class to find out what they value most. It will serve you well in the long run to learn as much as possible about your dancer's preferences right off the bat.

6.Tap Shoes

We often think of broadway and musicals when we think of tap dance, but its roots go much further back in time. African slaves and Irish servants in the Caribbean sugar cane fields began exchanging cultural elements, including the West African step dance known as gioube and the Irish step dance, as early as the 1600s, leading to the development of tap dance. In the United States, the percussive dance eventually developed into tap dance during the roaring twenties. The metal taps that are screwed into the soles of the shoes at the ball of the foot and the heel are what give the shoes their distinctive tinkling sound. If you want to "dance your troubles away," there's no better way to do it than with some tap dance, which is known for being high-energy and encouraging. resulting noise.

7.Flamenco Style

Flamenco Style

Flamenco dance has been around for a long time, and it still has the power to captivate. This exciting and sensual dance form, considered a national art form in Spain, has its origins in the northwest of India.

Nothing about flamenco is subtle. These shoes need to look good, but they also need to serve a purpose, so they're made with a wooden heel and a steel shank and toe that have been nailed in place.

8.Irish/Scottish Ghillies

There are three different shoe styles used in Irish dance. Women's soft shoes are called pumps or ghillies and are typically made of leather with crisscrossing laces across the top of the foot. It's no surprise that the shoes for Irish dancing would reflect the dance's intricate patterns and shapes. Reel shoes, the soft footwear worn by male dancers, resemble jazz shoes but feature a heel to amplify the sounds of the dancer's footwork. These shoes, known as hard shoes, make a distinctive noise that will be familiar to anyone who has seen Riverdance. These shoes' distinctive sound comes from the fiberglass coating on the heels, which is popular with both sexes. The ghillies worn by Scottish Highland dancers are very similar to the Irish dance shoes except for the eyelets.

9.Dance Trainers

Get yourself a good pair of dance trainers if you want to learn hip-hop or street dance. While leather and suede make for stylish trainers, they can't compare to the comfort and adaptability of mesh and foam.

Although regular sneakers can do the trick, there are also specialized styles with a higher arch cut out of the sole for street dancing. Cross between a pair of sneakers and a pair of jazz shoes, I'd say.

10.Ballroom Shoes

Ballroom Shoes

No matter their eventual dance specialty, many dancers cut their teeth on the ballroom scene. Ballerinas, hip-hop dancers, and freestylers would all benefit from studying the grace and tempo that characterize ballroom. However, appropriate footwear is required for this.

Ballroom footwear resembles the kind of court shoes one might wear to a social dance. However, they are designed to provide optimal comfort and support for dancers' feet. It's not uncommon for these shoes to feature a strap across the foot for added stability as you glide through the dance steps.

11.Latin Shoes

As a general rule, Latin dances demand a lot of energy and physical exertion. These shoes may have a streamlined, unforgiving aesthetic, but technological advancements have made them surprisingly durable and comfortable.

Shoes for Latin dancing are typically sandals, with a toe area that is open and a suede sole that allows for arch flexibility. To effectively shift your weight onto the ball of your foot, your footwear must feature a stable heel.

How To Choose The Perfect Dance Shoe

Choose Shoes That Allow for Better Movement

Different materials are used to make dance shoes more adaptable. The flexibility of your foot is enhanced, and your heel is kept in place, by the suede or leather sole. This sturdy heel aids in stability when turning.

Pick Your Dance Genre

Ballet shoes and salsa shoes serve very different functions. Knowing the type of dancing you intend to do is an important first step in finding the appropriate footwear. You can also get a shoe that serves multiple purposes for various forms of dance, but if you're just starting out, it's probably best to consult with your dance teachers first.

Locate A Pair of Dance Shoes That Actually Fit

You want your dance shoes to be snug, but not restrictive. Your ankle should be a snug fit. Since the shoe will break in and stretch a little, it's best to get a size that's close to your actual foot measurement rather than sizing up or down. If your dance shoes don't fit properly, you might as well be wearing sandals: you won't be able to concentrate on the beat or your partner because your feet will be killing you. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out or if you've been dancing for years; your feet need to be able to move freely in your shoes. If you're a beginner dancer, investing in a good pair of shoes will give you the stability and balance you need to practice each move with precision.

Decide Upon the Material

Suede/satin and leather dance shoes predominate in the industry. It's also worth noting that some major brands have started creating vegan leathers. Those who dance often choose to wear suede shoes because of how well they mold to the shape of their feet. They can be dyed to match your dancewear or serve as an accent to your outfit. Conversely, leather is a breathable, stretchy, and conforming material. Animal-free leather substitutes exist, but they can't match the pliability of real leather.

Think About the Price

If you are just starting out in the world of dance, it is recommended that you do some research on the various options available to you within your price range, as dance shoes can be quite pricey depending on brand and style. You can find decent dance footwear for as little as $80, with high-end pairs costing between $150 and $200. Prices for high-end dance labels can easily exceed $300.

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