What is it with tangueras and their shoes?
Yes, for me it is partly a fashion thing. I love having people compliment my shoes and my feet. Years of ballet have trained my feet well, and I like to show off how nicely I can point them and collect them and have control over them. A nice pair of shoes can highlight those qualities of my dancing. I also glow when another woman compliments my shoes, because she knows what it takes to get a nice pair that fits well and is “just so”. I currently own three pairs of good dancing shoes, and I think I blushed with gratitude each time one of our local tangueras who is known for her great shoes complimented them.
But it isn’t only about how nice they look. A quality pair of shoes can make a world of difference in a person’s dancing. I have heard leaders complain that a perfectly nice dancer can be a disaster (and thus not invited to dance) when she is wearing pumps instead of dance shoes. I can feel the difference when I wear my nicest pair versus the first pair I bought. And what makes my nicest pair so good? They fit like a glove, they are flexible but supportive, they are perfectly balanced, and they are a comfortable height.
As a fairly tall dancer, I try to avoid heels that are over 3″. This does mean that I have yet to dance in a pair of Comme Il Fauts … I am waiting for that perfect 3″ pair to come along. I’m afraid that leaders will complain if I splurge on a 4″ pair! 😉 (Not to mention that it took me long enough to get used to walking in just 3″ heels …) In fact, this heel height issue can make the search for a good pair of shoes just that much more difficult – especially when added to concerns about price, style, color, etc.
Currently I am on the hunt for a nice pair of shoes with lace. And a nice pair of bronze shoes. I am also thinking about getting something with shorter, more stable heels for practicas/classes – my first pair is okay for that, but I have learned a lot in the last year about how to pick out better fitting, more comfortable shoes. And to think that I wasn’t at all a shoe person before I started tango – modern dancers go barefoot!