The Mundane – Shoes

My lady lessons were cancelled last week because of schedule changes which was a bummer because I was looking forward to that time. But the weather was so hot outside that I spent some time with my dance shoes because I need to figure out what in the world is going on there. I need to start wearing the shoes I’m going to compete in during my lessons and they’re all sitting in a bag somewhere in my closet. I’m so glad I did this. I scaled a few fear mountains and used a few new gadgets. 😀

I bought practice shoes sometime last year because Teach likes to mix lessons up between styles and this was putting too much wear on my rhythm shoes. It was also expensive to keep changing heel protectors all the time. Those heel leads are no joke. I don’t know if it’s my weight or my technique, but I have to change them often. My practice shoes were pretty ugly-looking and needed a bit of a brush and some Gorilla Glue on the heels to tack down the suede, but I am so glad I purchased them. They were worth every penny.

I have been in denial about how to wash the scuffs off my satin pumps. Technically they are for standard, but I use them for smooth – I can’t find smooth shoes that fit. Those shoes are precious because 1) They fit on my extra wide feet right out of the box, and 2) they are the most expensive shoes that I own. I read copious articles on shoes and decided to settle in the middle of the street on what everyone had to say. I washed my shoes. Yes, you read that correctly. I washed them (with complete terror in my hear). I did try to keep the suede bottom dry (but I read it’s not necessary) and I wiped them with the grain of the satin using a soft washcloth with Woolite on it. Then I rinsed them. They came out beautifully. I plan to do it again the week of team match.

Shoes for rhythm have been an endless problem for me. My first pair of dance shoes have died. They wouldn’t have worked anyway because they’re black. I should have never bought black shoes, but they fit. Now they’re no more. I have two pairs of light tan shoes staring at me, but my feet are so wide in summer that there is a lot of pain to even walk in them, much less dance. They also don’t match my skin tone well. So I spent some more money and bought another pair for my collection. These are also not perfect, but they’re better than what I won. Problem. They have 3 inch heels. That has not happened before. I’m nervous that I may not be up to par to dance in these by Team Match. So my contingency plan includes a shoe stretcher. I used it on the two pairs that I purchased for cheap first and it worked. I can fit my foot in them! I’m still going to have some swelling and ugly rub, but at least I’ll have circulation. 😀 I plan to do this with my new shoes this week. Any extra room to start helps out.

Every pair of dance shoes comes with a shoe bag, but I’ve found out that this isn’t enough. My shoes then rub together and curl up in weird ways. They also smell despite the cute little potpourri packets that come with some of the less expensive pairs. I washed one of my older pairs just like I did for my pumps, with results that were ok. I bought some more cheap shoe bags from Amazon and am putting a shoe of a pair in a bad bag and then putting it inside the other bag with its pair. Inside it goes a charcoal pack designed for stinky sneakers. Hopefully this will increase the life of these precious shoes.

My little shoe army is now washed, stretched, bushed, packed and ready to go and practice in this week! Has anyone else washed their shoes? Happy dancing!

Heels Are Tricky

My lessons were great this past week. Really great. I’m not sure what happened in my brain, but my lessons are better than ever!

I mentioned to Teach how hard it is for me to see progress in myself. I can’t see myself easily as I’m usually trying to dance, not gaze upon myself in the mirrors. We spent some time talking about and dancing some of the things I’ve learned the past year. It was encouraging to see how much improvement he’s seen in me, plus he showed me in my dances the things that I just do naturally now that I couldn’t do a year ago.

Then we spent a long time on my feet again. Specifically, the roll through in smooth dances. I do not like backward heel leads. Heels on shoes are skinny and unstable and I don’t like pushing off from them. I do it because I have to. Well, apparently I’ve been doing it wrong. Teach walked me through it by telling me to lift my toes up first. Guess what? It worked! I’m no longer as afraid. I’m not saying it’s perfect. It’s one of those concepts that takes a while/forever to do well, but it’s the start of a new relationship with my dance heels.

As for all the things going on with too many teachers, too many studios, too little funds –  I haven’t been to Studio #2 because my daughter hurt herself at a party and can’t dance for a few weeks. So, I’ve shoved it away for now.

I’m off to practice my roll through. It’s quite amusing to watch me use my feet in this manner while grocery shopping, at work, during meal prep… Anyone practice in strange places?