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How much can a wrong size shoe mess with your tap?
By adageacemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3982, member since Thu Sep 01, 2005
On Thu Jun 05, 2008 02:25 PM

I've been wearing Capezio oxfords ever since I got back into tap, and they've been fine. Well, apart from the fact that I ordered a shoe that feels like it's a size too big, but wasn't able to return them because of dire need and hassle of returns. Plus at the time I was still playing catch-up, so I figured by the time I made it to anything really technically difficult, I'd be about ready for a new pair anyway.

Now we're working on the solo choreo for my Intermediate exam, and I've noticed that although I don't seem to have any problem with double shuffles in any of the syllabus work, there's a set of them in the choreo that I don't seem to be able to pull off with any consistency. The step goes drop (L), double shuffle (R), pickup change (L), double shuffle (L) pickup change (R). So, nothing difficult at all except for the double shuffles in between the pickups. Oh, and it's pretty fast, but definitely not impossibly so. Music is Bublé's "Call Me Irresponsible", timing of that sequence is 1/16 notes.

I know my ankles are a little bit on the stiff side anyway, so I'm probably not relaxing them enough to get the shuffles in properly. But since they always seem to be ok when I'm practicing at home in socks, I wondered whether the excessive bit of length in my shoe is compounding the situation? I always did intend to get shoes in the next size down, but since I wasn't actually having any problems until now I've just been leaving it. Probably not the wisest move. The irony is I should know all about the importance of perfectly fitting shoes, what with being on pointe and all... It's just that since they don't slip around (just have about a finger's width of space if I push my foot right forwards to the end of the toe) I've been making do. If it's actually going to be negatively affecting my tap, though, I'd rather get a new pair.

Opinions?

(And also, ankle loosening exercises other than circling back and forth would be very welcome, while we're on the subject...)

4 Replies to How much can a wrong size shoe mess with your tap?

re: How much can a wrong size shoe mess with your tap?
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Thu Jun 05, 2008 08:07 PM
Tap shoes shouldn't fit as 'perfectly' as ballet or jazz shoes, but an entire finger width's worth of space seems a bit excessive. Ideally it should fit like a regular street shoe - not too tight, not too loose.

Without seeing you dance I don't know whether it's the shoes, technique, or both. I have danced in 'wrong' shoes before and managed, although I had to concentrate to keep the shoes on (then again my feet may be a bit sneakier than yours? lol).

How parallel do your feet have to be when doing shuffles? Some syllabi like them completely parallel, others let you turn out a bit more - fast shuffles are slightly harder in parallel. Although my gut tells me that if there is a technical issue it's slightly higher up, perhaps in the hip placement or your stance...
re: How much can a wrong size shoe mess with your tap?
By adageacemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3982, member since Thu Sep 01, 2005
On Fri Jun 06, 2008 01:07 AM
Ours are supposed to be as parallel as possible. Especially mine, since I have a horrible tendency to turn out (blame the years of ballet) with things like this anyway, so trying to keep completely parallel stops me doing so excessively. Sort of, give me an inch of leeway and I'll take a whole foot. ;)

But, on the other hand, I'm not sure that I actually AM doing them completely parallel at the moment. Since I've been concerned with other things (like, getting the sounds in) I've not stopped to check the alignment, and I have a suspicion I may be doing them turned out anyway.

What sort of problems could you potentially foresee with hip placement or stance? Then I can check those too; I'm really at a loss, because I've been working on this little phrase for so long and it's just not getting any better in class! Even if it eventually gets changed in the choreo (since it's solo, not syllabus) I want to be able to do it. I don't like giving up on something that I SHOULD be able to do just because it's not coming. My teacher can't seem to figure it out either, and she's normally really good at spotting what my problems are.

At this point I'm willing to entertain and work on ANY possibility.
re: How much can a wrong size shoe mess with your tap?
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Fri Jun 06, 2008 01:46 AM
Maybe it's a flexsion thing. I too have horribly tight ankles (you know that thing where people go up on the edges of their heels? I can't do that.... :/). It's particularly obvious in things like pickups done in a wide 2nd position, because I'm having to work *that* much harder.

It's possible the better fitting shoes might help, otherwise I strongly suggest lots and lots of stretching to loosen up the calf, and by extension loosen up the tendons in the feet so you've got a bit more room to move, so to speak.

Keep everything light and spongey. If things are tight, then fast things in small spaces don't happen very well.
re: How much can a wrong size shoe mess with your tap?
By adageacemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3982, member since Thu Sep 01, 2005
On Fri Jun 06, 2008 01:56 AM
Thanks - I'll do that. Hopefully will have some progress to report... :)

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