Saturday, January 3, 2015

Let's Talk Equipment!!

Let’s Talk Equipment!

As with all the sports we like to play such as football, basketball, soccer, hockey, golf, we need the proper equipment so that we can play successfully and safely. What would happen if you tried to play field football in basketball shoes? You would slip around, your feet would not be able to hug the grass the right way for optimal movement and speed. What would happen if you played golf with a putter and disregarded all the other clubs in your bag? Each club is designed for a different function and it would sacrifice your game would it not? Ballroom dance is no exception to this rule. The shoes we wear, the type of costumes and practicewear, the type of makeup for women, all serve a function for us as dancers. Equipment needs may vary from social to competitive dancers but certain tools of the trade we simply can not live without….SHOES

Why do we need special ballroom shoes to be successful dancers?
Ballroom shoes have suede soles and flexible arches. You need them to be able to accomplish the actions more easily because the shoes will not stick to the floor when you spin. When you take long strides across the floor, your shoes and heels are designed to bend with your feet and allow you to glide smoothly and without additional friction in your knees or ankles. Ballroom dance shoes also tend to be less bulky than sneakers and dress shoes. This means your feet are free to move, feel the floor, and strike the floor properly. Not to mention, because you have more of an awareness of where your feet strike the floor you are now much less likely to step on your partners’ feet. Shoes should be an extension of your foot; they should fit snuggly and comfortably.

I need shoes! Help, where can I purchase a pair?
Ballroom dance shoes are on sale at your local Fred Astaire location. Each location may vary on availability of in stock shoe styles but all studios can order shoes from

What type of shoes do I need?
The type of dance shoe or shoes you will need will depend upon the dances you do, where you socially dance most commonly, and if you have any goals about showcases or competition style performing. The average female dance student has a pair of nude Latin performance heels, flesh Smooth heels, and practice heels or social dance heels for parties. The average male dance student has a pair of black leather low heel performance shoes, and one pair of black leather low heel practice shoes. Competitive dancers will have different and more specific needs that should be discussed with their instructors or dance directors. Heel height will depend upon your comfort and dance goals. Here is a shoe height guide to help you decide what will be right for you.

How do I care for ballroom dance shoes?
Ballroom dance shoes are an investment in your dancing. We recommend you own and use a shoe brush, heel protectors for heeled shoes, as well as dust the dirt off the satin or leather with a cobblers cloth. Do not wear your dance shoes outdoors or on concrete floors as it may damage the suede bottom. We also recommend you avoid wet surfaces as they may also damage and stain the suede bottom.

What other dance equipment will I need?

Other dance equipment we recommend, especially for newer dancers, are ballroom dance CD's. Ballroom CD's have the correct tempo and feeling for the dances you are learning and are perfect for practice. Ballroom dancewear can also be very helpful when learning how to dance because the clothing is designed to facilitate the movements you are learning and show off techniques of the dances.
For example, practice skirts on women will help highlight your cuban motion and leg and foot movements.
Mens latin pants work similarly as they will move easily and more comfortably than jeans or dress slacks. For more information about what attire will be good for you ask your Fred Astaire instructor!
Other equipment used by dancers includes, dance pants for ladies, fishnets for ladies, ballroom jewelry for performances and competitions, hair nets and false hair for performances and competitions, track suits and work out wear, duffel bags and dance shoe bags. All of this equipment may not be necessary for the typical bronze social dancer.