Milonga in sneakers

Now that I have danced in them, I feel like I can give a little review of my new Sansha Hi-Step sneakers. I tried on the Capezios and Blochs and just didn’t find a pair I liked. In the end, I took a cue from other tangueras and ordered the Sanshas (at a great price!).

The American shoe sizing doesn’t seem to match up right, so I used my European shoe size to pick the right size when I ordered. I later found a different sizing chart (why have two?!) that suggests I may have been more comfortable one size up. The shoes are quite snug, but in the end I would rather have that than have my foot sliding around in the shoe – which I think would have happened in a larger size. All in all, they are quite comfortable.

It was fun to dance in these shoes last night. It had been chilly and rainy all day, and I did not feel like dressing up. So I grabbed my dance sneakers along with a comfortable pair of heels and decided to start with the sneakers. I never changed into the heels, but boy was it an entirely different experience.

One leader, who also has other dance experience, said that in my sneakers I really felt like a modern dancer. Whereas my balance in heels is precise like a ballerina en pointe, he said, my balance in sneakers was more shifting, negotiating, mobile like a modern dancer. I couldn’t acertain if that meant I went off balance sometimes, although he didn’t seem to be saying that – just that I shifted the way I held my balance. It makes sense, too. The sneakers are more cushioned, so I could feel my weight shifting around the sole more than a high heel allows.

The other thing I noticed was a stylistic shift in my dancing. I still followed my leaders, but I moved differently. I wasn’t afraid of the heel impaling people or snagging on my clothes, which I think made me more open to picking my foot off the floor (still with caution, of course). I felt more relaxed while doing boleos, although one leader commented that without the weight of the tango shoe the boleo didn’t feel as crisp to him. Interestingly, I also felt like I was more responsive to my leaders’ small weight shifts. I always try to be sensitive to quick weight changes and fun rhythmic steps, but I felt ever more attuned to those things. Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe it was the way I felt wearing those shoes rather than the shoes themselves, but I was very happy with that little result.

In the end, I think I will stick to using these shoes for practice and classes. Aside from the being, they will be good for training even more precision with my balance and sensitivity to weight changes. They will also help strengthen my ankles and feet. And they give me a break from the stress of wearing high heels. But when it comes to a milonga, I want to be able to relax a bit and maintain the posture and feel of dancing tango – I don’t want it to become modern dance with a partner, that is unless I am consciously attempting a crossover. 😉 Funny, I never thought I would equate high heels with any kind of relaxation or comfortable feeling!

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3 thoughts on “Milonga in sneakers

  1. Hey, this is really interesting. I always think it makes a huge difference to my dancing – the way I move seems to change a lot (to me anyway, I haven’t realy talked to any leaders about it). I always thought it was just me – everybody else seems to be going from sneakers to heels and back no problem (maybe they’re just not talking about it). But I do seem to be a bit of a ‘princess on the pea’ kind of girl – every half inch in heel hight makes a big difference…

  2. Sneakers are becoming so popular in Buenos Aires among the tourists that one organizer had to announce that she will not permit anyone to wear them in her milonga (Lo de Celia).Have you seen the Fabio sneakers with stilleto heels?

  3. Claudita, my guess is that people just aren’t talking about it. Maybe some of them started in sneakers and moved to heels, so the difference is obvious? I don’t have so many differences when dances in jazz shoes, just the sneakers.Jan, no, I haven’t seen those sneakers. I can’t imagine why someone would want them! For me, the whole point of having sneakers is to have something more comfortable to change into when my feet can’t take the heels. Although I guess it would be a more comfortable way of practicing in heels?

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