For many, learning to ballroom dance often culminates with the excitement of a performance or competition. But whether you plan to compete or not, it is important to understand how to choose the wardrobe that will help you look and dance your best. From the rehearsal room to the dance floor, your shoes and costume will affect the way you execute steps and interact with your partner.
Keeping your Feet on the Ground
As a beginner, it is not important to have a professional pair of ballroom shoes. What is important, though, is that the shoes you learn in are both well-fitting and safe. Ballroom shoes should be lightweight and snug. Your feet should not feel crushed, but there should not be any ‘growing room’. In order to ensure a secure fit, men should wear shoes that lace-up, while women should opt for a T-strap or ankle strap. For women, it is a good idea to begin learning in a low heel. This way, you’ll grow used to dancing in an elevated shoe, but you won’t put yourself in danger of twisting your ankle or slipping. Once you are more advanced, you can gradually increase the height of the heel if you prefer a different look.
When it comes to the sole of the shoe, you must consider the type of floor you’ll be dancing on. If and when you decide to invest in professional shoes, the soles will likely be suede. This will allow you to turn and glide on the floor without difficulty. For beginners, though, a suede sole might be too slippery, depending upon the room in which you rehearse. A jazz shoe or ‘character shoe’ is usually a good option for the less-experienced dancer. As with all dance shoes, be sure to try before you buy. And if you need further advice, your dance instructor is always a great place to start, as he or she will have lots of experience choosing shoes and advising students.