Dance Articles > High heels effects

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by tanya_the_dancer, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    What exactly is the attraction of high heels? It's not only the height is it -- lengthening the leg? There is also the narrowness of the heel making pinpoint heel turns possible.

    Exactly who is in favour of heels, who against, and who in favour at any cost? Women demand equal pay for equal job, do they even want equal shoes? They choose to wear low-cut dresses, or they freely choose not to. How is the choice of shoes different? Who makes the decision?

    Would a fair-minded poll give more clarity? What questions could be asked? Is there different preference according to age and bodyweight?
  2. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    If the question is the attraction of high heels for dance, it is the aesthetics of longer leg lines and pretty foot articulation and placement, especially in the rhythm/latin dances. The decision may be made by the dancer, but it is based on what is going to make them look the best on the floor.
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  3. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    Wow, technical stuff. This forum really gets into the Nitty Gritty of a subject.

    But just one question.
    Armed with all this knowledge, do you still wear heels?
    Because, the girls at work know that heels hurt their feet but still get really excited about going shopping to buy new ones! It's a weird conflict.
  4. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    Beauty comes at a price, and it's a woman's prerogative to choose to pay. It's a case of girl talk ascertaining the most cost-effective value-for-money price.

    A point was made: high heels for a girl, big bill for a woman later. Not from what I saw. Lady dance judges in Blackpool Festival, many of them now in their 40/50's, stood for 7 hours in high heels. I did spot Karen Hardy discreetly going barefoot for relief as the hours rolled on -- good for Karen :D . Shirley Ballas stood glamorous and completely unfazed. Carmen showed up in 5-inch heels, and she was not even performing.

    Stress on the body comes mainly from bodyweight, not least from the pounding during rehearsals.

    Developed from a NASA idea, an "anti-gravity" machine is now widely available, reducing bodyweight by 80% thus alleviating wear-and-tear on legs and feet. 1000 such machines have been sold worldwide, not least to Olympic athletes, the Royal Ballet in London (NYC and Mariinsky Ballet for sure I would think), also for the injured or elderly. 90% of UK Premier League football clubs are known to use this machine. I am trying one out shortly in a Dublin health club (50 euros for first half-hour tryout, 25 euros thereafter). As a newbie I cannot paste hyperlinks, details from google for "anti-gravity or AlterG".

    A report here afterwards. It's alright ladies with blisters from heels, your cavalry is here :D .
  5. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily. Dancers know that they won't look as good/place as well on the dance floor unless they dance with high heels... is that their choice? I wonder, if shorter heels were considered acceptable and competitive, if more dancers would opt to dance in shorter heels? A good example is if you go to a social dance function, most of the dancers there will dance in more comfortable heels ( shorter, thicker), than when they are at a competition.
  6. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    It is their choice between low heels and high heels, but entering competitions which ban high heels leaving a level playing field, is not an option on the table. Would women vote in favour of banning high heels? It is about their welfare, but I doubt it.

    Victorian women had their internal organs squeezed out of natual placement as they struggled into whalebone corsets which gave them a slender feminine waist. Princesses and duchesses also chose to punish themelves thus, not just girls wanting to win the Amateur Rising Stars. Over many years many people including men pleaded against corsets. In the end corsets fell out of favour as women took on many masculine jobs after the slaughter of males in WW1. Layer after layer of artificial clothing became impractical for job performance.

    It is said that Concorde is beautiful, and Rolls-Royce is beautiful, i.e. outstanding physical efficiency and effectiveness happens to be perceived as beautiful. It is possible aesthetic perception is also influenced by what is practical.

    Whalebone corsets became impractical. When the idea became unsuccessful it became aesthetically less appealing. If we return to Victorian society with Victorian roles for women, who knows if corsets will make a comeback.
  7. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    High Heels and now Corsets! Just throw in seamed stockings and I will be in heaven!
  8. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    No need to wait for heaven. All 3 at the Moulin Rouge in the Montmarte, Paris. Dinner at 1pm and 7pm followed by a show featuring tango and can-can among others.
  9. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    I have said it before. My dream job would be as Wardrobe Manager in a Burlesque Club.
    If only I was much younger and much richer I would propose to Dita Von Teese. But, at least I have the imagination to Dream!
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Good taste! :D
  11. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    That image shows the incorrect way to adjust to heels: trying to adjust in the knee joint and waist, rather than correctly adjusting in the ankle joint. I honestly don't know any women - or men - who wear heels that way.

    On the other hand, I suppose it could help explain the trend towards pushing bellies out to achieve body contact.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know many women who bend the knee to adjust in a static position...but I do know women who sway their lower back when in heels (likely to compensate) and also who, when spinning in heels, will accidentally bend the knee to feel better balance..that being said, even if they avoid both and adjust in the ankle, that is no less destructive over the long haul.....that many judges still elect high heels is more a function, imo of the fact that the body and the foot does eventually adjust somewhat and many dancers now feel far more comfortable in heels than much of the, they like the look as well...

    as to body contact by pushing the belly forward, I see that, far more often, as being a function of wrongly trying to achieve the look in the upper body of having the ladies' head very far out
  13. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    Actually, that last image really is more an imaginative aid for me; the shape of the body shown isn't a typical one I see as an adjustment for heels. But what you wrote about adjusting at the ankle joint instead of the knee or waist is rather the point: a joint is made up of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that connect bones (and other muscles, ligaments, and tendons together). Even just the ankle joint adjustment you refer to results in shortened calves, and shortened calves in turn "pull" on other muscles and the supporting fascia all the way up through the body. This is the way the body works; there are very few isolated positions or movements in the body that don't have changes throughout your body's entire structure (which is why Tom Myers calls them "anatomy trains"). And besides the effects on the posterior chain, we haven't even touched on the effect heels have on the arches, balls, and toes.

    Realistically, high heels in the dance world are not going anywhere anytime soon for the majority of dancers. But justifying that by denying the repercussions for a dancer's health only amplifies the problem. At least by educating dancers about what heels do to your body, they can do any or hopefully all of the following:
    1) Know how to select the best possible heels to minimize damage and pain (see and Part 2)
    2) Improve their technique for dancing in heels
    3) Do restorative exercises on a regular basis as well as before and after wearing heels to balance the effect of heels as much as possible (see Katy Bowman's book as well as Yamuna Body Rolling's foot series)
    4) Abstain from wearing heels when desireable (when leading, practicing, or towards the end of the night)

    In addition, education could also improve the culture for those women who want or need to put their foot health first in order to continue dancing. Very often they are made to feel like they're not "real" dancers or won't be seen as skilled dancers if they don't wear certain footwear. Perhaps this is less possible for ballroom where there are standards, but even for purely social dances (Argentine tango, west coast swing, salsa, etc.) women are socially pressured into wearing shoes for aesthetic reasons rather than health reasons.
    debmc likes this.
  14. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    I do not buy this. Is this pressure from other women? From the wearer herself? Or from men?
    Ask 100 men what they prefer to see: choose either high heels or a plunging neckline, not both.

    If the answer from such a poll is passed on to women I don't believe women will take a blind bit of notice. They will wear what they want. They will accept physical pain in exchange for mental pleasure.

    Smoking used to be cool, a sign of sophistication. The anti lobby took for ever to convince the public that smoking leads to ill-health and even death, that medical bills for smokers are a drain on the nation's wealth, and that misleading advertising should be banned. Central to this change of mind is credible evidence presented not least by the Surgeon General. If the anti-heel lobby is to make headway they too need unambiguous evidence.

    High heels impact more than dancers, they are worn off the dance floor too.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    dance is the only venue in which I don't wear a sensible shoe....I do tend to wear a low cut shirt...but you are right, it has nothing to do with the man in my life, though he does appreciate it
  16. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    Not so much. I've done heel turns in dance sneakers, in practice/teaching oxfords, in low-heel Paoul court shoes, as well as high heels. the height of the heel has little to do with the heel turn.
    fascination likes this.
  17. millitiz

    millitiz Member

    I think the attraction of high heels comes from making this beautiful beautiful arch of people's ankles - and making people being more on the ball (good for Latin), which also helps for people dancing backward (i.e. ladies in standard).
    theAnnelis and Soulmate61 like this.
  18. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    Thanks. As a man I have terrible trouble going backwards because I never practise it. It's bad enough to drive backwards precariously with no wing mirror, but the backward equivalent of a heel lead is a balls lead followed unnaturally by the heel hurriedly coming down onto the floor in limited time. Wearing 3-inch heels I guess a lady performs the last two actions more smoothly.

    For those who have tried both, how do high heels compare with ballet pointe shoes for physical stress and enjoyment?
    Honestly do women have all the fun or all the pain?
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know any woman who finds a three inch heel more pleasant than a two, even though I wear a three inch for latin and a two and a half for standard...I actually find it much more difficult to articulate my foot in a shoe that has already forced it to be thus...I find it easier and less painful to dance any style in a lower hell (though in latin I tend to dance without my heels down if I have a low shoe because I am so accustomed to a certain obscene degree of plantar flexion)...however I keep practice heels to a minimum because I need to be accustomed to dancing in my competition shoes...I try to only wear the practice when my feet are so far gone as to necessitate it
  20. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    <juvenile_snicker> "balls lead" ... "lower hell".... </juvenile_snicker>

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