Marina: “How to Dance as Much as You Want, Tip #32”

7 11 2008

No, I’m not trying to encourage overconsumption of the world’s dwindling supply of pink satin ribbons or suede. But I’ve seen several people left to dance (uncomfortably) barefoot or in bad, bad street shoes because they only ordered one pair of dance shoes online, and it wasn’t the correct size.

Because dance-shoe sizing can be confusing, yo! All of the different manufacturers number their sizes variously, some as much as 2.5 sizes smaller than street size. Different styles of dance shoes fit differently: leather jazz shoes, which will stretch, should fit more tightly out of the box than canvas shoes, which WON’T. Ballet slippers should hug the foot, while for dance sneakers you need room for socks. Especially if you’re new to dance shoes, you need time and exposure to figure out what shoes really do fit.

So, if you’ve got the funds, check the return policy of the supplier, and then if it allows for returns, buy two pairs, or three, of the shoes you need in a range of sizes that you think covers your size. Don’t actually wear them to a studio or workshop (you know how dirty those floors are!). Just sweep your living room floor and walk around in them for a bit. (then remember to return the ones that don’t fit!)

If you’re short on cash, do visit your friendly neighborhood dance store and SPEND TIME trying things on. Yes, your show is in two days, but there’s never any reason for dashing in to pick up a pair of shoes like a point-of-sale item. (P.S. for extra good small-business karma, best thing is to buy the shoes there.)