December 4, 2020

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Different types of dance shoes and what defines them

4 min read

Shoes are the most important element of a dancer’s attire. Different types of dance shoes are worn for different styles of dancing. What they all have in common is that they are designed to be comfortable, and to offer balance, support, and flexibility for different types of dance moves, no matter how intricate and complicated they are. The designs are different because each dance style has a set of unique characteristic moves that require a certain type of form and support. This is why it is very important to wear the appropriate type of shoes.

Ballroom dance shoes

Ballroom dance shoes are those elegant shoes that draw your attention whenever you follow the passionate and suspenseful or smooth and airy dance steps of different ballroom dance styles. These shoes can be worn for Latin ballroom dance and also for Swing dancing. There are two types of ballroom dance shoes: classical ballroom and Latin American ballroom shoes. The classical ones are low heel shoes that allow the weight to be distributed across the foot evenly. The Latin American shoes have higher heels and the weight is distributed onto the toes. These shoes are made to fit comfortably so as to not crush the toes. Latin American shoes can be further categorized in ladies’ and men’s ballroom shoes. The ladies’ shoes have 2-inch, up to 3-inch heels. They are open-toed and supported by straps. The men’s shoes feature one-inc, up to 2-inch heels and also laces. The sole of the shoes for both males and females are made of suede so that they could glide smoothly across the floor while executing those fiery dance moves.

Irish dance shoes

The Irish dance is characterized by rapid leg and foot movements and stationary body and arms. Following those rapid movements can make you dizzy and that only shows how much work and talent goes into those skilfully executed steps. This kind of complicated dance moves requires safe and comfortable shoes like those you’ll find when you go online to Corr’s for Irish dance shoes. There are two types of Irish dance shoes that are used for different styles of dancing. The soft shoes for female dancers are called ghillies and the shoes for the males are called reel shoes. Irish Ghillies are made of leather and feature laces that cover the top of the foot. Reel shoes are very similar in appearance to jazz shoes but they have a heel that enhances the sound of the dancer’s steps. The other kind of shoes is hard shoes. They make a characteristic tapping sound that is resonant and sharp. These shoes are coated in fiberglass or resin compounds. Resin offers more durability and a clearer, more pleasant sound.

Jazz shoes

The jazz shoes are light and slick shoes perfect for executing those energetic sharp turns and leaping movements. These shoes can also be used in acrobatic rock’n’roll and acro dance. Jazz shoes can have full soles or split soles. The soles are usually made from rubber so that the dancer could land smoothly and safely from intense jumps. They also feature low heels and a suede patch on the bottom for easy turns. They can either feature form-fitting, elastic designs or they can have shoelaces that secure the shoe to the foot. These canvas and leather shoes are supple and very comfortable because of their support and flexibility.

Ballet shoes

Ballet shoes are immediately recognizable thanks to their lightweight and form-fitting appearance. These shoes are made of leather, canvas, or satin and feature a  full or two-part leather sole. Ballet dance movements require a lot of flexibility, so the shoes have a thicker heel and ball part and a thinner arch and are also secured by elastics at the top. Pointe shoes are used by more advanced dancers who perform pointe work. These are recognizable thanks to their design featuring two ribbons, an elastic band, fabric cover, and lovely accessories. They give an appearance of weightlessness and grace that is so characteristic of ballet dancing.

Tap shoes

Tap shoes are mostly associated with broadway and musical theatre. This energetic and uplifting dance requires solid dance shoes. Therefore, the tap dance shoes were designed with metal taps at the base of the shoe that are screwed into thin fiberboards called soundboards. The characteristic percussive sound is different depending on how lightly or tightly these taps are screwed. Tap shoes come in different styles, shapes, and colors, and are made from different materials. What they all have in common is that they are supple, elegant and produce that mesmerizing percussive sound.

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