|Betty Roeser, original (Balboa) Swing dancer, |
often wore flats - but her feet flew!
Photo Source: LAPL Library
For roughly the last 3-4 years, I've danced nearly exclusively in heels - not too tall, 2 3/4" is my favorite heel height. But I don't give it a lot of thought, my shoe choice is almost exclusively based on color...
Dancing only in heels wasn't a conscious decision - back before that I only danced in sneakers or wedges, but my feet started feeling heavy and sluggish and grounded, and when I danced in heels it forced me to lighten up and pick up my feet more. It changes your posture because your weight is forced forward onto the ball of your feet, and it gave me a jolt to re-evaluate how I wanted my posture to look while dancing Lindy. The more I wore heels, the more I liked the look and the feeling, and now I feel clunky in wedges. (I still kinda like tennies.)
Nowadays, I rarely drop my heel to the ground, and when I do it's usually to accent a beat or do a certain styling - I almost never put a lot of weight on it. It's come a long way from my old flat-footed dancing!
Reasons I wear heels:
1) I'm lazy - I don't like to change my shoes throughout the night, so I just pick a cute pair and stick with them.
2a) They're loud. I know just enough tap dancing to make trouble, and it's easier to add a little tap rhythm styling while wearing heels.
2b) I'm more inspired to do footwork in general - because I'm not as "grounded" it's easier to move the dogs around.
3) I like the look of a tight narrow base (regardless of 1 foot or 2), and heels help focus your weight into the smallest area possible. Should I try pointe shoes next? :)
4) I only go dancing 1-2 nights per week, and that's when I like to dress up. I'm super casual and wear flats the rest of the time, so I figure I have time to recover from the damage I do to myself. If I danced more, I'd have to switch it up.
5) Heels were popular with Original Balboa dancers.
Reasons to not wear heels:
1) They really do injure you, and make existing joint issues worse.
2) In general, Original Lindy dancers wore flats or wedges.
3) Because your weight is forced only the balls of your feet, it's really really hard to pike properly in a swingout, especially to fast music.
Funny thing is, after talking about wearing heels, I want to get out some flats and experiment with them. I wonder what I'd discover?