Many things in life should just be paired. Some food examples are: peanut butter & jelly, milk & cookies, macaroni & cheese, and salt & pepper. Some character couple examples are: Mickey & Minnie Mouse, the Beast & Belle, Tarzan & Jane, and Shrek & Fiona. Some clothing examples include: gloves, earrings, and the topic of today’s post, shoes.

 Within the dance world, and usually for unexplained or unexpected reasons, peculiar fashion trends occur. At some point, someone thought it would be fashionable to wear one shoe, one sock, or one half-sole to help with turning and other elements of dance performance. This trend became habitual in the classroom and convention setting, and it eventually transferred to the performance stage. The question is, “why?”

Think about it. Under typical circumstances, you would never see a hip-hop performance with a student wearing one sneaker, a tap performance with a student wearing one tap shoe, a pointe variation with a student wearing one pointe shoe, or a Broadway number with a student wearing one character shoe. So, why is it acceptable for students that are performing contemporary, jazz, and lyrical? Plus, I am a big advocate of practicing with performance footwear, so, in theory, students should not acclimate themselves to wearing one shoe, even in class.

Plus, by wearing one shoe on stage, performers are indicating they are one-sided dancers. The most competitive dancers can perform and execute skills on their right and left sides, and by wearing one shoe, a student immediately informs the audience of their weaknesses. Do not allow your students to perform with a controllable disadvantage.

 Once you explain this perfectly logical and sensible reasoning, your students will understand your rationale. After all, it makes perfect sense. And, hopefully, they will realize that this fashionable trend is maybe not so trendy after all. 😉

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