Believe it or not, there’s a lot of debate around the subject of shoes in pole dancing. Platform devotees (like me) almost always dance in shoes and some (like me) even have difficulty dancing barefoot. Barefoot dancers say they are more able to feel the dance, get a better toe point, and don’t have to worry about shoes getting in the way. Some dancers who prefer to dance barefoot also want to avoid the stigma that can be associated with “stripper shoes.”
For my own purposes as a dancer, I like shoes. I find that so many of my favorite moves are far easier in shoes than barefoot. Floorwork is already heck on the knees, but with shoes I can at least salvage a pedicure! 🙂 I also like the elongated leg I get when I’m wearing platforms (inherited my mom’s short gams). And since I love love love floorwork shoe slides and shoe claps, it makes sense that I prefer to dance in . . . shoes!
But once in a while, I decide to dance barefoot, and it does make me feel connected to my body in a different way. It seems I can achieve more variety to my lines when I’m dancing barefoot–that my body becomes interesting in a different sort of way. And being barefoot carries with it a different type of sensuality–a rawness, if you will. Dancing barefoot feels primal, and it’s a beautiful feeling.
So here’s a challenge: if you normally dance barefoot, try sliding a pair of sky-high platforms on and free dance a bit. See how it changes your slink, see if it changes how you carry yourself. Try out some floorwork and see if shoes make a difference for you.
And . . . if you normally wear shoes, take ’em off for a free dance or two. See if you can connect to that rawness I mentioned. Explore lines that wouldn’t be possible–or that simply wouldn’t look “right”–in shoes. See how you feel dancing when unencumbered by shoes.
These kinds of exercises help us grow as dancers–we step out of our comfort zones and are all the better for it!