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Dance Shoe recommendations

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Cathy Stephens


We recommend that you wear "dance shoes" to Grand Traditions workshops and other dance events. These do not have to be expensive or fancy, especially if you're just starting out. Street shoes will do; however, to protect the floor, we ask that you make sure the soles are relatively clean. We do not recommend athletic shoes as they can be difficult to dance in. If you plan to attend many dance events, you might want to invest in dance shoes.

For workshops and practice: Jazz sneakers or jazz oxfords, character shoes, or ballroom shoes. If you don't want to buy dance shoes, you can wear smooth-soled dress shoes.

For formal balls: Same as above, although the jazz sneakers are less suitable for formal events.

For workshops and practice: Jazz sneakers, jazz oxfords, coaching shoes, or comfortable street shoes.

For formal balls:

  • Early to mid-1800s -- Ballet slippers or other flats are appropriate for this period. They also are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
  • Late Victorian (late 1800s) -- Shoes with low to medium heels, such as Capezio character shoes, are most appropriate for this period. However, many of us find that ballet slippers or flats are more comfortable.
  • Ragtime through 1920s and '30s -- Shoes with low to medium heels are most appropriate for this period. Mary Janes and T-straps were especially popular in the 1920s. Character shoes are excellent, and tend to be less expensive than ballroom shoes. Ballroom shoes come in a wider selection of styles and colors. We tend to wear shoes with lower heels (1" - 2"), but if you are comfortable in the higher heels, fine. Just be aware that very high heels can be hazardous to other dancers!

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