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Inspired by Natalie
Natalie Buske Thomas
YOUR CLASS: Dance (Hard Shoe)
Welcome to your hard shoe dance class! You will learn steps that are common to dance styles such as Tap, Ballroom, and Broadway. Proper dance shoes are not required, but you’ll enjoy the class much more if you buy dance shoes.
Shoes and Dance Floor
Dance shoes that work well for this class include any variety of tap shoe, ballroom dancing shoe, and hard-soled styles of Irish, Jazz, Broadway or Theatrical. To search for the least expensive shoes, try “beginner tap shoe”. For men, this would likely be a lace-up Oxford style and for women either the ribbon or the buckle Mary Jane shoes.
Ballroom dance shoes tend to be more expensive, but since they also work well for formal wear, you can get a lot of use out of them beyond dancing. They’re more comfortable than regular dress shoes when you must stand on your feet for long periods. I’ve used mine for many formal events, and I’ve had the same pair for years!
Any shoe with a hard sole should get you through my “hard shoe” dance class just fine, but proper dance shoes are more fun, and tap shoes are recommended. You will be able to hear when you are time with the music, which will help you practice your steps (even if your plan is to use your dancing for ballroom or social dancing, in street/regular shoes or dance shoes without taps).
More tap shoe options: styles vary widely, from comfortable and casual sneakers, to classic vintage dressy black and whites with a block heel. There are also hybrids- tap shoes that have a flexible sole (called a “split sole”).
My favorite brand of dance shoes is Capezio, regardless of style of shoe, but you may hold a different opinion. Shoes run from under $20 for basic beginner shoes into the $100s. $30-$50 is an average range for decent dance shoes.
Find your shoe personality by searching for dance shoes online and reading the product descriptions, as well as the customer comments/reviews. I have several pairs of dance shoes. I love to try different styles! Eventually you too might want to own more than one kind. I’ve purchased shoes through discount outlets as well as major retailers. It doesn’t seem to matter, as long as I know which type of shoe I want and pay attention to product and customer reviews that describe the brand’s sizing (True to size? Runs big/small?).
Next, let’s talk about your dance floor. You can, of course, just use your regular floor if you don’t mind the possibility of scratching it. A great option is what I use: a lightweight portable dance floor over carpet. It’s easy to store behind a bedroom or closet door, and it’s inexpensive. The sound is quite similar to a wooden studio dance floor. I’ve had no issues with it sliding around, but you’d want to make sure that your board is firmly secure and safe. Having a dedicated dance floor makes the experience feel authentic and inviting.
This is the specific board I use as a personal portable dance floor:
$5.28 7/16 CAT Utility OSB, Application as 2 x 4, Item #907230, Model #1366091, Easy to handle pre-cut panels, from Lowes:
I didn’t do anything to finish the board off. I use it “as is” and store it behind a bedroom door. If this board seems too small for you, you may choose to buy a larger size. I’ve also owned commercially-sold tap boards. They’re larger and padded/finished on sides/bottom of boards. It’s an option if you want to upgrade from a basic unfinished board. Search for “tap dance boards” for ideas.
Note: I do not get paid any affiliate fees. I don’t want to endorse any particular product, other than to share what I like to use.
Learn at your own pace. Relax and have fun. Be joyful, be free!
Be inspired to dance!