I should just dance in these, really.
I dunno about you, but I have wimpy feet. Real wimpy. They’re fat and they’re flat, and thanks to a combination of genetic factors, my right foot is particularly sensitive. (Why couldn’t I have gotten the thick, wavy chestnut-hued hair from my family instead?) Switching to dancing shoes with a higher heel was and has been a challenge as a result. My endurance (in terms of longer wearing time) has increased since I started, but I don’t know if the pain will ever completely go away. I suspect it’s rather like most women I know and their regular high heels: “comfort” is merely a level of pain you are so used to, you can handle it (if you even think about it).
That brings me to the bolero.
Up until now, I’d done a grand total of two group classes on the bolero, whereupon I decided that I Wasn’t A Fan because bleeping bleepity bleep that crap hurt my feet! The way the class worked required a lot of pausing at key moments to make sure all our body parts were doing the correct thing. Unfortunately for me, the longer I have to hold a position where my weight presses on the balls of my feet, the more loudly my feet begin to complain. I’ve realized that after a certain pain threshold, I instinctively shift my weight to the outside of my foot while simultaneously moving through the problem parts as quickly as I can. This is problematic because it messes up the whole look and rhythm of the bolero. So yeah, I concluded that bolero was blah.
Last week, however, Instructorman decided it was time to actually learn learn the bolero, since he sees it as a nice transition between rhythm and smooth styles. I agreed to go along with it as my opinion isn’t fixed, but I specifically warned him that in the group classes, my feet hurt like hell and my tolerance was low. (Ironic, really. My shoulder popping so bad I scare him? Oh, no big deal. My feet hurting? BIG FREAKING DEAL.)
Since then he’s asked me several times how I’m doing, which is nice of him to do. During the first lesson, I made it for about forty minutes before I was at the end of my rope, but yesterday, I only made it about halfway through. He suggested I simply remove the shoes. I resisted because I felt I needed to continue practicing with a consistent heel height and width rather than changing these factors all over the place. And for that matter, I wanted to increase my endurance, not give in to my lack thereof!
Instructorman was like, “no. Seriously. Just take the shoes off.” He said he had other students who couldn’t even make it past twenty minutes, and I certainly didn’t need to kill myself!
I thought about it for a moment, then chucked the shoes, only to feel like the world was going weird. I felt short – not just average short, but really short! I’d always logically known that Instructorman had a good five inches of height on me, but I didn’t really perceive the height difference when I first started wearing the higher heeled shoes. (This may have been because I was still freaking out about the pegs attached to my feet.) Removing the 2.5 inch heels while in the middle of the lesson put the height difference front and center.
Artistic Prinnie Thought: Interesting! Dancing ballroom while barefoot makes it seem much more earthy.
Competitive Prinnie Thought: I DANCED MODERN BEFORE THOSE WEIRD LITTLE UNDERFOOT SOCK-THINGS EXISTED. WE GAVE OURSELVES CALLOUSES ON PURPOSE. WATCH ME SPIN ON MY BLEEPING BARE FOOT, MOTHER TRUCKERS!
Realistic Prinnie Thought: You don’t have those callouses anymore. This still feels better, though.
I’ve been debating trying a different shoe brand, perhaps at a higher price point, since I hear you get what you pay for when it comes to dance shoes. Or maybe practice shoes (which are almost uniformly hideous)? I’m still reluctant to switch to a lower heel, but I have to admit that getting out of those shoes felt great!
p.s., if I’ve been trying to dance the bolero for longer than five or ten minutes, I will be unable to dance the rumba immediately afterwards. Instead, I will create a unique mix of the two
because I can’t keep it straight right now which I shall call the bolumba. Rulero? Rumbero!