As a dance teacher, I always have students complaining of their shoes being too tight. Some of the words they use are “squeezing,” “pinching,” or just plain “hurts.” But, the story usually ends the same. Their parents purchased the shoes only a few months (sometimes even weeks) ago, and they just don’t believe the shoes are too small.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen ill-fitting shoes be the demise of a promising young dancer. We can usually tell who will be a good dancer from the time they start at a young age — trust me, we’re not just blowing smoke! If a student at age 3 or 4 can feel and hear the beats in the music, smiles during class, does their movements really big, and generally knows their routine or the flow of the class, chances are the little dancer will grow to love dance and stick with it for a very long time. So, it just plain stinks to see one of those little ballerinas quit class because they “lost interest.” We know the real reason relates to the shoes, but the parents just wouldn’t believe it. So, how can you tell if your dance shoes are actually too small?
What is your child’s foot type?
The first thing to realize is that there are different types of feet but rarely different widths of dance shoe, particularly in children’s styles. Some dancers have a wide foot all the way down, while others are particularly narrow. Some have a narrow heel and an average width across the bridge of the foot (where the toes are), while some others have a narrow heel and a wide bridge. All of these lead to different fits; however, the dance teacher usually requires one brand and style of shoe for uniformity. Therefore, knowing the width of your child’s foot will help you in determining how big or small to go when initially purchasing the shoe.
Floppy Shoe Syndrome
This is a sincerely professional term for when a parent buys shoes two sizes two big (or uses big sister’s hand-me-downs) to avoid having to purchase multiple pairs of shoes in the same dance year. Ok, just kidding…it’s not a professional term. But it’s definitely annoying to the dance teacher and to the student. They can’t work properly in a shoe that doesn’t fit — whether it’s too small or, in this case, way too big. Learning how to stretch their feet and understanding the connection between the ground and their foot is learned at an early age. Floppy shoes will stunt their growth in this area and lead to frustrations from your dancer down the line.
If your dancer’s foot is growing, you will need to purchase shoes throughout the year. It’s just the way it is, folks. When I fit shoes on my students, I usually tell the parents that they will need one pair at the beginning of the season and one pair mid-year. Plan on purchasing shoes twice in the same dance season in order to avoid the inevitable — your dancer tells you a week before the recital that their shoes are too small. Now you’re stuck buying a pair that they may grow out of before next season starts. Also, checking the shoes about every month to two months will help you determine if your dancer needs to order new shoes and when that order should take place.
The “Rule of Thumb”
The “rule of thumb” is just that — your thumb is the ruler. Take the front of your dancer’s shoes and see if you have room for your thumb to fit horizontally without touching their toes. If you have a lot more than a thumb’s space, the shoes are too big. If you don’t have room for your thumb, the shoes are more than likely a perfect fit and you won’t get much wear out of them. The shoes are too small if their toes are crunched in the front of the shoe, but since all dance shoes should fit snugly around the foot, dancers often crunch their toes because they aren’t used to shoes being so form-fitting. Use your best judgement to determine why they are crunching their toes, and when in doubt, ask your dance teacher.
Ballet and jazz shoes should fit like a sock would — hugging the foot completely around with no gaping at the heel or around the ankle. Ballet shoes are tightened using the laces at the front of the shoe and can be loosened as the dancer’s foot grows. Jazz shoes will stretch after repeated wear and almost mold to the dancer’s foot. Tap shoes should fit more like a street shoe, but make sure when the dancer walks around that the heel of the shoe isn’t slipping off. This could lead to blistering and complaining! If the tap shoe fits perfectly in the front but is slipping off the heel, go to your local drugstore and buy heel grips. They are sold near pantyhose and shoe inserts; you put them inside of the heel of the shoe and it helps to the heel to stop slipping off.
Hope this helps you in determining how to fit your dancer’s shoes and avoid future complaints! Comment below with questions regarding shoes or how they should fit! I’d be happy to help!
Dancers are difficult to purchase gifts for, especially since they spend so much time in dance clothes practicing in the studio. They can’t wear jewelry or a lot of makeup, and they generally prefer to pick out their own dance wear (if there isn’t a dress code for their classes, which in most cases, there is). So, what are some of the top gifts to give your favorite dancer this season? We compiled a pretty great list.
We hope you find everything you’re looking for this holiday season for that dancer in your life. Can’t find something online? Post a comment here and we will help you find what you’re looking for. Alyce Dancewear is always ready to help! Happy (holiday) dancing!
Wearing tights during dance practices and performances is more than just a part of your costume; rather tights are indispensable tools that break the friction between your feet and the floor. Too much friction may cause leg pain and weakness. There are many types of tights that you can use as part of your dance clothes. Among these are footed,Capri, seam, footless, stirrup, fishnet, body tights and the convertible. Of all these types the convertible dance tights offer the highest flexibility.
But dance tights are not only for adult dancers because they also make great dance costumes for kids. Compared to adult dancers, children dancers are inexperienced and their feet are still too soft to be constantly exposed to friction. They need to be well protected in order to encourage the proper development of their legs which is essential for their progress in dancing.
Convertible dance tights can be worn in either a footed or footless style. The secret is behind the presence of a hole that can be wrapped on the ankle or used to cover the entire foot. This makes it easier for ballet dancers to wear these tights comfortably underneath their ballet shoes. Sometimes, if you choose to use these tights to cover the entire foot, a small lump can be felt. Most first-time users would feel uneasy and get distracted with the lump but over time, it wouldn’t be such an issue anymore.
The significance of wearing convertible dance tights is especially felt by dancers needing to change in between classes. This makes it possible for you to shift from ballet to jazz to ballroom without having to wear different kinds of tights for every dance genre. Hence, it would be easy for dancers to shift from wearing a pair of pointe shoe pads to a pair of sneakers or flip-flops. These tights also come in many natural colors so they won’t interfere with your costumes and would look almost look invisible once you start dancing.
As mentioned earlier, the convertible dance tights are the most flexible and that’s because they are usually made from 14% spandex and the remaining 86% nylon. In addition, the cotton gusset ensures comfort and the included waistband keeps the material in place while you are dancing. The combination of these materials allow for ease of movement especially when you are doing dance routines that require a lot of stretches like ballet.
During theatrical performances, dance tights can be adorned with small jewels to improve its look. However, the addition of small decorations does not devalue these dance accessories even by a single degree. Just be sure to practice extra care when putting on the rhinestones to prevent the tights from getting unpleasant lumps and holes.
Now if you have invested in a pair of convertible dance tights and you suddenly decided to stop dancing, there is no reason to feel any regret over the money you spent. This is because these dance tights will also make great tools for exercising like aerobics and yoga so you have a whole new world of fitness to explore just by using the same accessories that you already have.
For your first pair of convertible dance tights, look only for the best. Check out www.alycedancewear.com.
Dancing is an art form – whatever the genre of the dance is. You’ll often hear dancers say that dancing is a way of expressing their thoughts and emotions, similar to the way singers express themselves through their songs. Performing arts are very visual – aside from ensuring that performers have the right moves, it is also essential to keep the interest of the audience with the dance clothes and dance costume accessories they wear.
Dancing is an activity that requires a lot of body movements. Performers do not only need to look good, they also have to move well while wearing the dance clothing. Thus, finding the right dance costume accessories is important. In fact, there is a list of factors to consider when choosing specific dance attire to ensure that your choice suits the rhythm and style of the dance.
Every dancer needs to project a good impression to the audience. Having the right clothes – fit, style, and design – is essential for a dancer’s overall performance. If a dancer is uncomfortable in the dancing wear, it will be very obvious to the audience. It takes a lot of effort and time to find the right fit and type of dancing clothes and dancing shoes.
Dancing is a work of art; consider these tips when you need to buy dance apparel to ensure that you exude the confidence you need to perform your best.
Imagine this scenario: your little one just started dance class for the very first time. You purchased the cutest leotard, the dance bag that speaks to her personality, and the tiniest little tap and ballet shoes. She’s ready for class! Flash forward two months later. Your little one is complaining that her shoes are too tight, and you don’t understand the problem – did her feet really grow that much in such a short time?
There are a number of factors that could decrease the life of your little one’s dance shoes. We have identified the most commonly reported reasons and some solutions that could help you stretch the life of the shoes (and your wallet).
Shoes are tight on my beginner dance student after just a few months of class.
Let’s face it – children’s feet grow pretty quickly. But if you haven’t noticed much growth in their everyday shoes and the dance shoes are tight, chances are the shoes were too small at the time of purchase. When fitting dance shoes for your dancer, make sure the sizing is at least one half size larger than their regular shoe size. The best rule of thumb is to ensure you can pinch the front of the shoe with your index and middle fingers on top. Ballet shoes can fit tighter by pulling the front elastic, and tap shoes can be outfitted with a heel grip, available at any local drug store.
My pre-teen and teenage dancer is complaining of tight shoes.
Shoes are sized larger on small dancers because their feet will grow throughout the year; however, teenagers have probably grown into their permanent shoe size, which changes the sizing process. Jazz and ballet shoes should fit snug around the entire foot with one finger of pinch room at the front of the shoe. These shoes stretch slightly, molding to the shape and size of their feet, so it is important not to have too much additional room in the shoe. This will hinder their progression and make the line of their leg from hip to toe appear shorter.
I just bought these shoes and they are falling apart! Did we purchase bad shoes?
There are many different brands of dance shoes, and not all are made the same. Price sometimes plays a part in the quality of the shoes, but more often than not, it is how the shoes are cared for by the dancer that preserves their appearance. First, dance shoes should not be worn outside. Walking on concrete, grass, and the general moisture of the outdoors will change the shape and fit of the shoe. When worn in class after walking outside, they will wear down much faster than shoes only worn in the classroom. Make sure your dancer has a pair of shoes to change into when leaving class. Also, make sure your dancer has a dance bag to store her shoes. A dryer sheet placed inside the dance bag can eliminate odors and moisture when the shoes are not in use. Keeping the shoes away from any external elements will ensure they last as long as possible.
My dancer wants to wear her shoes at home to practice.
It is great for any teacher to hear that a student is practicing at home, but the more often the shoes are worn directly corresponds to how often you will need to purchase new ones. There are a number of different exercises that will help your dancer improve their technique without needing to wear dance shoes at home. Also, the safety of your child is in question when they are practicing skills at home, outside of an environment made for dancing and while under the supervision of their instructor. Ask your child’s instructor what can be done at home to improve the skills your dancer wants to master. For example, pirouettes require balance, core control, and alignment. These can all be practiced without actually turning and without the use of shoes. If your little one loves tap and wants to wear her shoes because she likes the way they sound, purchase an inexpensive or used pair for her to wear at home. Explain that the shoes required for class can only be used at the dance studio, but she is allowed to use this pair you have purchased for her use at home.
It is important for your dancer to know that dance shoes are an important tool for any dancer and should be treated well. As they grow up and begin to take more classes, they will begin to treat the shoes with respect and you will be purchasing fewer pairs throughout the dance year.