Meet These Dancing Feet

Article excerpt

High heeled, low heeled, soft leather, hard leather, split soled, and full soled--all tap shoes are not created equal. Different styles of tap shoes facilitate different styles of tap dancing. When shopping for a shoe, you need to consider comfort, flexibility, aesthetic, shape, and, of course, sound. Lynn Schwab, who teaches tap at New York City's Steps on Broadway, says: "While part of a tap dancer's sound is a product of technique, it also relates to the material of the shoe. For rhythm tapping, the best sound comes from a harder shoe with a wider heel." Dancers hoping for a career on Broadway, however, have a little more leeway, partly because most Broadway dancers use different tap shoes for performance, classes, and auditions. Jennifer Marquardt, who has been an ensemble dancer in Broadway's 42nd Street, says: "While we get our shoes custom-made for the show, I prefer a flattering high-heeled T-strap shoe for auditions and classes. But a high heel can also mean less support, so I always buy arch supports or orthotics to put in the shoe." For a little advice about sound Marquardt says: "Regardless of the shoe you wear, you can adjust the tone and sound by tightening or loosening the screws on the taps. We always have a screwdriver backstage." To give you a leg up, DM shopped around. We found versatile tap shoes from prominent manufacturers in both traditional models and the latest styles seen on Broadway (plus their suggested retail prices). …