Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Fishing for compliments?

Something fishy? This is one way of keeping an eye on the line of dance!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Tango shoes in Buenos Aires

Come February, I expect to be back in Buenos Aires - to dance, to learn, and of course to shop for shoes.

Naturally, I shall be looking to prepare the definitive blog on what is available, how the shoes I find are made - quality, price and availability. And most importantly, how they perform and stand up to rigour of Buenos Aires milongas!

If you have your favourites, let me know and I shall include them in the piece. Just list them below in the comments column, saying why you like, or dislike a particular manufacturer; or if you prefer, email me with the information.

Now is OUR chance to tell them what WE want - and what we don't!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Avoiding Tango Injuries

More from http://www.verytango.com/tango-dance-shoes.html

To minimize the chances of injury:

  • Wear good quality shoes
  • Stretch exercises: particularly the calves, before and after dancing
  • Arch exercises: raise your legs off the ground whilst in the sitting position, and point your feet as far forward as possible - this position should be held for a few minutes
  • Slow rising exercises: whilst in the standing position, slowly rise until you are on the balls of your feet, hold yourself for a few seconds, then slowly fall back to the ground
  • Toe exercises: whilst in the standing position, bring your big toe up and the other toes down; hold for a few seconds then reverse
  • Releves exercises: stand with legs together and feet to the sides; now rise on the balls of both feet, bringing the knees away from you, and remain in the position for a few seconds
  • Ankle circles: whilst sitting in straight-backed chair, slowly circle your ankle to the right and then to the left
  • Reach and return exercises: whilst sitting on the edge of a chair and keeping your feet on the floor, move one foot along the floor away from you to your limit then pull back

Tango shoes and Conversion Tables

From http://www.verytango.com/tango-dance-shoes.html

Structure of tango shoes
If a thing is worth knowing, it is worth knowing well. Hence a few minutes should be spent around what makes a tango shoe:

  • All shoes have four components: an upper (the part that covers the feet), an insole (the part that touches our feet), an outsole (the part at the bottom of the shoes) and a heel
  • The heel is attached to the outsole by glue and nails
  • In between the insole and the outsole, there is a shank (a piece of metal) to support the arch (the shank is shorter in tango shoes than in ballroom shoes, to provide extra flexibility)
  • There is normally some padding on the top of the insole - however for tango shoes this padding is thicker than normal shoes, to provide extra comfort
  • The insole is attached to the outsole using rubber cement - however for tango shoes this is further reinforced with nails to provide structural stability
Buying good tango shoes
Buying good tango shoes is as much a science as an art form. The following tips might help:

  • It goes without saying that tango shoes should be the right size, and professionally fitted - and make sure that your feet are not swollen at the time of purchase
  • Before paying, make sure that the shoes are balanced - you will often be on only one foot, so ensure that you test each shoe individually by standing on one foot and ensure you still feel secure and grounded
  • Followers: tango shoes should be tested by walking backwards!!!! That's how you will be using them, remember
  • Another test is pivoting - ensure the shoes hold well
  • Followers: choose the height of the heel well; beginners may not want to start with a heel that is too high
  • Leads: there are two heights for tango shoes heels - generally beginners should start with the lower height (ballroom)
  • The shoes should be close fitting without cutting your circulation, or causing cramps (which can be caused by particularly high heels)
  • The single most important test is to ensure that you do not slide inside the shoe
  • The sole should be made of material that allows easy turning - too much traction, particularly during pivots, may induce serious injury (more on soles below)
  • Normal shoes are not appropriate for dancing, hence correct tango shoes should be used for classes, practicas and milongas
  • Followers: for classes, you may want to purchase closed toe shoes for better protection
  • You should have a carry bag for convenience and protection of tango shoes
  • If you like especially rigid shoes, there are inserts available (which often come with high quality shoes) that distribute support across the foot arch, as tango shoes are actually made without a rigid bridge to provide flexibility
  • Insoles can also be used for two reasons: if your shoes are slightly too big, and also to provide greater comfort and bounce
  • Tango shoes themselves are normally either leather or suede: leather tends to be stronger, suede tends to be more flexible (other types of uppers are discussed below)
  • Followers: the heel needs to be situated squarely under the heel of the foot
  • Followers: with higher shoes, your feet tend to slip forward so shoes should have good padding to the ball of the foot and toes
Women's Tango Shoe Size Conversion
      US      Spain & ItalyOther EuropeUK & Aust  Inches      cm    
433.53528 5/1621
4.53435.52.58 1/221.5
5353638 11/1622
5.535.5373.58 13/1622.5
6.536.5384.59 3/1623.5
7373959 5/1623.5
7.537.539.55.59 1/224
8384069 11/1624.5
8.538.540.56.59 13/1625
9.540427.510 3/1626
104142.5810 5/1626.5
10.541.542.58.510 1/226.5
114243910 11/1627
11.542.5449.510 13/1627.5
134510.511 5/1628.5
1445.51111 11/1629.5
1646.51212 1/231.5

Men's Tango Shoe Size Conversion

    US    EuropeUK & Aust  Inches      cm    
436.53.58 15/1622
4.53749 1/1622.5
537.54.59 1/423
5.53859 1/423.5
638.55.59 5/1624
6.53969 1/224
7406.59 11/1624.5
7.54179 13/1625
8.542810 3/1626
9438.510 5/1626.5
9.543.5910 1/227
10449.510 11/1627.5
10.544.51010 13/1628
11.5461111 3/1629
1246.511.511 5/1629.5
134812.511 11/1630
1550.514.512 5/1631
165215.512 1/231.5

Tango Shoe Soles
There are three types of soles:

  • Suede soles: for very smooth floors, as suede will offer better grip
  • Leather soles: for normal dance floors
  • Rubber soles: for slippery floors (porcelain, marble, some types of hardwood) - generally should be avoided, as it can be dangerous if grips too much
  • Some shoes will actually have interchangeable soles for different types of floors
  • The sole should not stick out beyond the shoe (making a rim)
Tango Shoe Uppers
Uppers can be made of many materials:

  • Leather: stronger, long-lasting, but it also softens well and stretches molding itself to the foot
  • Suede: very stretchable, and hence is probably the most comfortable, not as long-lasting as leather
  • chrom / mara: feels like suede, shimmers, very easily stretchable
  • Velvet: very delicate, and does not stretch much

Monday, 27 August 2012

Shoes in action

Jennifer Bratt's great series of decorations comes no better than this! Its not the shoes, but what you do with them.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Alien Shoes

Are your Comme il Fauts too delicate for the cut and thrust of the milonga? Well, courtesy of Mara Mascaro here are a tough pair, commissioned in outer space. Alien shoes, just what you have been looking for!