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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Alignment Differences between Demi pointe Ballet and Ballroom on Heels


addy

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Hi, I am just very curious about this & I think Clara76 is an expert ballroom dancer? I would love to hear what she thinks.

 

 

I ask because I just really want to understand alignment.

 

 

thanx !

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It depends upon the height of the heels!

 

When I used to compete, I wore 3" heels, but, I only used Supadance shoes for Latin & Werner Kern for Smooth because they understood well where heels should be placed. I have never danced in a pair of ballroom heels that held my foot in a full demi-pointe though. I think it would take maybe a 4-5" heel, and I refuse to dance in heels that high! I don't see how you can articulate your ankles properly in heels that hold your feet that high.

 

Of course, now I use 2-2.5" heels.... :P

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Thank you Clara, I am going to think aout this. Ofcourse I am curious about:

 

...they understood well where heels should be placed. ...

 

 

I will return to this- thanx :P

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I dance ballroom as well and dance in a 4-inch heel (of course, I'm only a social dancer, non-competitive...still, some nights I dance 2-3 hours at a time).

 

Ballroom shoes are so different...they are so much more supportive than your regular pair of pumps you wear to a cocktail party. They have the suede bottoms and then a steel shank that runs the entire length of the heel and then part-way down your instep. The difference between a regular street shoe and a ballroom shoe is like night and day.

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It has to do with where the heel counters and the placement of the stiletto. I'm going to see if I can sort of sketch it out with crude computer graphics:

 

Ballroom shoes that are made correctly-

(

*I

 

And made incorrectly-

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I

 

I find Capezio ballroom shoes to have the heels placed too far back for me, so I stick with the companies that place the heels more forward under the center of the heel.

 

4"!!!!! Geez... I don't think I ever wore them that high. 3" was my limit.

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I trained through Gold level in the International Latin dances, and when I first started getting serious I wore men's Latin dance shoes for a time, which have a moderately elevated heel and position the weight forward toward the ball of the foot. I think that these shoes are unnecessary once one develops the strength, proprioception and coordination to maintain the correct weight placement without the artificial aid of a high heel. However, women's shoes are of course different, and the long heel serves the added function of partially equalizing the height difference between male and female partners, particularly necessary in the "standard" or "smooth" dances.

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I also take ballroom lessons and am having as much touble finding ballroom shoes that fit me as pointe shoes. I dance International Standard and ( I think) because of my really high arches and instep, I can only use 2 inch heels and they have to be at least a double flare heel. I can't even wear heels normally because I never feel supported in my arch. I also have a narrow heel and wide foot, so have problems getting something to fit there, too!!! Do you know of any makers who have extra arch supports and relatively wide widths ? I am currently wearing Dancelife heels, but of course they just discontinued the style I like!!!!

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Thank you everyone for your responses.

Thank you Clara for your clarification- I understand now.

Temptresstoo, thank you- I had no idea that ballroom shoes were more supportive! I may buy a pair just for cocktail parties!

Thank you DancerRick- what you wrote is very interesting.

Onxy I never feel supported in my arch in regular heels either and according to the experts I have only a medium arch and I think my instep is pretty unremarkable.

 

 

So I am wondering how the body weight is distributed between heel and forefoot?

 

Based on on Temptresstoo's comments, I guess the steel arch also supports some weight too?

 

And for the part of the weight that is supported by the forefoot- is it centered over the big toe area only as in ballet demi-pointe or is it distributed across all 5 metatarsal heads?

 

As for body alignment, does the whole body lean forward from the ankle in a straight line or does the lower back curve ? How does the body alignment compare to that of ballet (straight up from toe to ankle to knee to hip to spine etc)

 

Thank you for your help.

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Onxy-

Showtime Dance Shoes carries my favorite shoes made by Supadance. I like the #1207 & 1208 for smooth because the straps go under the arch which gives more stability. For Latin, the Crystal is really nice because it is really strappy. Go for the shoes with the most straps! You'll get the most support.

 

For alignment-

No, you don't lean and you don't allow your back to sway. You apply good alignment with plenty of lift-off in the upper body, and usage of the abs. There is much more detail depending upon whether you're doing International Smooth or Latin, and American Smooth or "Rhythm" dances, but essentially, apply the same ideas as ballet to start with.

 

Body weight should be distributed equally between the heel, pinky toe area and big toe area, just like in ballet. Again, we could sit here and explain in detail each and every step in every ballroom dance, but bottom line is I don't have the time to do that, and it wouldn't be in your best interest as a student, because some things just need to be felt for themselves, and there is no substitution for doing it over and over again. It's certainly good to know more detailed things as one advances, and there must be enough information to get you started, but be careful of overthinking it. :huh:

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One of the things I look for in a ballroom shoe that many people don't look for when they are starting out is an open toe allowing me a little bit of toe overhang. Yes, sounds odd and it isn't what you'd want in a street shoe. But for me, especially in smooth, being able to feel the floor more and/or grip a little more as you brush through steps (mostly backward, of course) is helpful.

 

Thus, my ballroom shoes are two sizes smaller than my street shoe.

 

Addy, so supportive. I remember when I transition from ballroom lessons in regular shoes to my first pair of ballroom shoes. It was like my feet got wings and my dance "grace" switched on instantly. I was more stable, less clumsy and lighter on my feet.

 

I could run a 5k in ballroom heels without a second thought. ;)

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I need the toe overhang in my Latin shoes, but not in my smooth, however, my body is better-suited for Latin dances anyway! TemptressToo, which brand of shoes do you like?

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Clara, I can't remember the brand of my first pair of ballroom shoes. It was some Italian sounding name.

 

Since then, I've mostly worn "Very Fine" brands because they have such a variety of looks and I like their "quick release" straps (the buckle is stationary and you hook into a metal hook thing...hard to explain).

 

Also, one little addition on the toe overhang (I know some of you are horrified). It isn't extreme overhang...I'm not out to my first knuckle or anything. It's more of perhaps a quarter inch of toe...just enough to feel the floor as I'm brushing backward through steps.

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I'm right there with you!! It's enough of an overhang to really feel the floor, but not enough to look like an orangutan!

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Thanx Clara- that is enough information. I was wondering maybe the heels were not really used or perhaps very little weight is on the heels. I'm just concerned about all the demi pointe in ballet and I'm just trying to figure out what I am going to do about it.

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I competed in pre-champ in international latin, and silver-gold in standard... so I am far from being a pro in ballroom but I see a big difference in the way your placement should be between ballet and ballroom.

I danced in 3" Ray Rose for latin, and 2.5 Supadance for Standard.

In latin, your heels pitch your weight forward, but you put some weight on your heels (compared to being on demi-pointe where all the weight is over the toes). You have to compensate by bringing your upper body forward, and u pull your abs in so that your core stays connected with your partner. Also because of the connection with your partner, your almost on the edge of falling forward, which is not at all what you want in ballet.

For standard, I barely notice the fact that I wear heels. The lady's weight needs to be (most of the time) pretty much even over the whole foot. Plus it is easier to walk backwards with heels!

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