No Ladies, I'm not talking about how to find the man of your dreams; close. I'm talking about finding the perfect dance shoe! For those who have danced before, you know this can be quite a challenge, and once you find the perfect fit, you will never let it go. But for those of you who are just beginning your dance journey, here are some helpful tips on selecting THE one.
What style of dance are you doing? Probably the easiest place to start. Ballet = ballet shoes, ballroom = ballroom shoes, etc....
2.) Why and How Often?
Now, a deeper question. Are you dancing for fun or to prepare for a performance? If you are dancing for fun, then you know you can go crazy with fabrics and colors (as long as there is no dress code for class). If you are getting ready for a performance, do you need to match? If you do, that will decide the fabric, color, style, etc. If you do not, you still need to consider what "look" you want for your performance. Also, how often you will be practicing for the performance will determine if you will need two pairs; one pair for practice and one for performance. Also give and flexibility. If you are practicing four days a week for a performance in three months, you have time to break your shoes in.
3.) Fabric and Color
After answering question 2, you have hopefully narrowed down your options, but you still maybe deciding what fabric to go with. Think of shoe fabric the same as clothing fabric; patent leather will stick, suede will scuff, cotton will dirty, etc. Also, how those fabrics feel as shirts or slacks will give you a pretty good idea of how they will feel on your feet. Now color. Everyone has their own opinion, but dance shoes, in any style, were designed to match the dancers legs/leg line. Black for jazz and tap because you are almost always in black jazz pants or black tights; pink or nude for ballet and ballroom because you are almost always in pink or nude tights. When your shoes match your legs, it gives you a slimming clean look; however, if you want to make a statement (like those neon orange and green shoes your gym nemesis wears) that's okay too :)
Everyone makes a big deal out of size, but believe it or not, it's not a big deal. You can use size guides in catalogs or online and be fine. Of course, if you can get to a store that would be ideal, but in the crazy world I live in, that cannot always happen. You want your dance shoes to fit snug. Like a sock. Not uncomfortably tight, but tight. Every dance shoe is made to stretch and conform to your unique feet. When students tell me "well, my feet are narrow" or "I have fat toes" or "I have special feet", I have to stop myself from giggling because once you become a dancer, your feet will be like every other dancer's.....gross. I can wear the same sock as you and in a couple of wears it will feel like my sock no matter the exact size of our feet. So don't sweat size.
5.) Finally...where are you going to purchase from?
I think Google is one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread! Use it to find local shops or distributors online. Wherever you purchase from, befriend the sales associates for future ease of transactions, recommendations, and discounts galore!
Setting goals can be the most rewarding, and yet, the most frustrating thing you will ever do. Goal setting will be a part of our lives forever; whether you are 17 filling out your "Aptitude Test," 24 questioning your most recent career choice, or 55 and starting to plan retirement.
Being somewhat of a perfectionist, and running my own business, has lead me to read many entrepreneurial based books, and SMART Goals have helped me immensely over the years, and I'd like to share an overview with you today. (It's a quick read: you can do it ;-) )
S - stands for Specific
Get out a piece of paper or open a Word document and write down a specific goal. Specificity is super important. For example; "I want to lose weight" = Bad, "I want to lose 15 lbs by July 1st" = Good. Before you start your journey in reaching your goals, you have to know exactly what you are going for, aka 'The Big Picture'. This will help you stay focused and accountable. Many people find it helpful to create a 'dream board' where they can compile ideas and pictures on a poster board to have a visual reminder and inspiration in creating this first step. This first step will grow in specificity and length as you proceed to move through the other steps of S.M.A.R.T.
M - stands for Measurable
On that same piece of paper, write down how you are going to measure this goal. Let's keep using the weight loss goal as an example. Write down something like; "Every Saturday I am going to weigh myself on the same scale at the gym and take my hips, waist, arm, and thigh measurements when I get home." Keeping those numbers in some type of journal will keep you on track and motivated.
A - stands for Attainable
Be realistic. You do not want to set up yourself for failure, but you also want to push yourself. Losing 50 lbs by July 1st would be an unrealistic goal for most people. So before you commit to a specific goal, really think what would be realistic given your current life factors.
R - stands for Relevant
Every step and piece of this goal should directly relate to the specified goal in step one. Begin to breakdown your goal to fit into parts of your life. For example; make a meal schedule and tack it to a cork board. Add receipts, pictures, and even your measurement journal up there. Add physical activity to your families fridge calender like; under Soccer practice 7-8:15p, write walk the H.S. track, make yourself get out there for a hour instead of sitting on the bleachers.
T - stands for Timely
This is the step on that piece of paper where you really break it down. You have already set the date to reach your goal, now it is time to set smaller goals or bench marks to get there. I usually like to go backwards from my finish line, but you have to do what works for you. Break it down by life event, week, day, or even hour. Your finish line is non-negotiable so make sure it is attainable and relevant.
All of these steps can and should be done in pencil or on the computer so you can edit as you go. As you get into a schedule, you will most definitely find what is working for you and what is not, but I will say this; once you have written the final draft of your end goal - don't change it. Broadcast it on every social networking site you can, call your friends and family and let them know what is going on, write it loud and proud on your dry erase board at work, because the more people you have in your corner supporting you, and the more people you hold yourself accountable to, the easier and more rewarding reaching that goal will be.
Here is a draft example of what our hypothetical weight SMART goal would begin to look like:
Now get to making your SMART goal today! ;-)