Ballroom Dance > Latin footwork and... bunions.

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Twilight_Elena, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Hi again Miss Silly!

    Yes, it's a technique thing. But no, it's not more turn out, in fact there should be no turn out in the passing leg at the time you reach the high tip of the toe position.

    This one is too complicated to go into, but let's just say I use my technique efficiently enough that I control the timing of the passing foot/knee relative to my body (and the foot position) and the amount of weight on each foot. I therefore can control if the lip of the shoe curls under or not.
  2. Miss Silly

    Miss Silly Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmm. Okay good to know. Maybe i'll just work on the other stuff first for a while! hahah. Sounds like it's a more advanced skill than i'm probably ready for ;-P
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    :) thank goodness for long toes...cruelly and ironically, the only long thin thing on me...but, if you have them, they really come in handy b/c they hang over the front of most latin shoes
  4. Leon Theou

    Leon Theou Active Member

    The Carmen shoes are designed specifically so that the toes do not hang over the front. It comes up around four minutes into this video:

    ETA: Yay, I get my big boy link-posting privileges!
  5. Miss Silly

    Miss Silly Well-Known Member

    Hahaha that's funny because i'm posting in two threads (Ray Rose thread & this one) about similar things.... i'm trying those very RR Carmens and experimenting with toe pointing and [unsuccesfully] 'dragging' my toes in rumba walks, etc. And i've been thinking about random things about toes hanging over vs. not hanging over. I saw in a much older thread that someone posted about improving their toe-point that their shoe was too long. Personally i HATE it when my toes hang over. But i see how a shorter shoe would work for the point, because having these nice flexible Carmen shoes i can point but i see how i have all this extra shoe in a point that's not there in a normal foot position. And now fascination's comment... LOL.. so what's the deal with toes hanging over? Is this good? Or not good? Or personal preference? If your toes hang over, how do you avoid floor-burns? LOL

    (btw thanks to everyone for dealing with my lame questions! haha)
  6. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Not lame questions at all Miss Silly. I believe we have older threads on toes hanging over in latin shoes, but I do prefer overhang because of the extra material that ends up past the toes when you extend to a point otherwise. However, the fit of my RR shoes do not allow me to wear the size that fits and have "toe over hang". And yes, toe over hang is a personal preference.

    I've heard some people actually have the front of their shoes cut shorter by a cobbler and glued to make sure they don't come apart after the process. But I've chosen not to go that route. In most latin lines, the foot is on the floor when you point, so you can hide the extra material in to the floor (under the point). When the foot is up in the air, I just deal with it.... *grin*

    As for "floor burns"? Well, you don't avoid them, but you have a little bit of control with how much weight you put on your toes. But even then, be prepared to have callouses at the ends of your toes. I have seen one instance where I saw a pro tape her toes, but I could only imagine how much of a pain that is doing that day in and day out....but who knows?

    p.s. I do not "drag" my toes when I pass my foot...there is only very light pressure on the passing foot when I am in a high figure 4 position.
  7. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    I did that for my shoes, worked fabulously. not as much overhang, I have the impression that it's easier to point my foot (may all be in my mind). both my comp and practice shoes were trimmed by my cobbler.
  8. Miss Silly

    Miss Silly Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for all your typing, LG! That was definitely most helpful.

    All these details are a little above my technique level at this point (pretty sure i fully qualify as "dragging" LOL!), but it's been very helpful to know and experiment with...i've certainly been extremely curious about all this!

    On a side note-I've had to strategically use toe-tape before when breaking in new shoes... it certainly would be annoying to do that at *every* dance practice & performance.
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    personally, just for the way I use my feet, I actually find that over-hang better than the opposite issue
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I have seen lady pros with shoes that are obviously cut off at the end...I don't feel the need for that...I get plenty of damage to my feet and toes, but not neccessarily from this particular issue
  11. classydancer

    classydancer New Member

    Miss, Silly,
    How are your feet doing these days? Do you find these tips have saved your feet in Latin dancing? I'm wondering...if you think you understand the technique well enough, would it be possible for you to make a foot video of the proper Latin technique (not going to the inside edge of the big toe)? My teacher suffers from bunions because that was how she was taught. I'm concerned about following her path...
  12. Chris martell

    Chris martell New Member

    It's neat to see this thread pop up at the top.

    My fiancee shakes her fist at the skies when she is forced to wear ballroom shoes - though SMOOTH shoes are her larger problem. The pointy shape (she calls it "witch feet") squeezes dreadfully on her toes, to the point that her metatarsals cannot relax and spread when she is wearing them. She's gone so far as to have custom shoes prototyped, with a larger "toe box" so that her big toe can stay in a natural line with her metatarsals, but even with this we've not found someone who can make something quite appropriate.

    On this same topic, I came up originally as a Latin dancer and was taught all the usual "toe out, pressure into the floor with the inside of the toe" business, but my life outside dance suggests that this is not healthy movement patterning for the joints of my lower body. Ultimately, I found a higher level (and "old school") Latin coach with whom I clicked, and when we went over the fundamentals of proper movement, he prefers to see the leg, ankle, and foot well extended, but not rotated. (Incidentally, he opined that the "inside edge of the foot" pressure originates in a misunderstanding, and that when coaches used to say this, they meant that the weight should travel through the big toe & index toe, rather than the lower toes of the foot.) I've come to greatly prefer this extension-instead-of-rotating approach myself, especially from a "reducing wear and tear by moving in more natural patterns" kinda place.

    If anyone has suggestions for my fiancee's issue of "not enough room in the toe of the smooth shoe", I'm all ears (and she'd be grateful).
    classydancer likes this.
  13. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

  14. dncergrl2

    dncergrl2 Member

    There is some recent research to show that a predisposition to bunions is inherited because of inherited bone structure in the feet. I wish I would have been using podiatrist made orthotics earlier in my life. I had surgery on both big toes for hallux rigidus. Now my balance is really wonky, but at least I can bend my toes more than 10 degrees now.
  15. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I dance standard. For practice these days, I only wear practice shoes -- the ones with mesh sides that lace all the way up, so I can make the front as wide as I want. I got them with the same heel height as my court shoes (comfort dance shoes dot com makes them with more different heels than other places I found), so the transition is easy. I stretch my court shoes well with a shoe stretcher, and I wear them only for competition and the last practice before. My bunions are noticeably happier than when I was practicing in old comp shoes. (Since it sounds like she's already wearing the smooth shoes as little as possible, this may help not at all, but just in case.)
    raindance likes this.
  16. Br0nze

    Br0nze Active Member

    The OP seems to have gotten her answer (as this thread is now at the bottom of the first page) but if I may offer my two cents still, perhaps they will be helpful.

    As far as I have always understood it (and therefore taught it to my students, male or female) the "leg line/foot line" that most people yearn for comes from the articulation of the ankle rather than the flexion of the foot or toes. Perhaps relevant to the topic, perhaps not, but a useful bit of information should you continue dancing: there is quite a bit of difference between when your toe, the ball of your foot, and the inside edge of your toe/ball touch the floor. It took me a while to understand the difference between those, but it is best articulated and practiced when sitting down on a chair so you can feel the feet and the actions and sensations associated with those parts. If you are not yet aware of those positions, sit in a chair and just put the toe and then the ball of foot against the floor (going from toe to ball requires the lowering of the foot a few centimeters), and then rotate the ankle inwardly to feel the pressure on the inside edge(s). If you can do it sitting, try it standing to feel it with the full weight of a standing and/or a free leg.

    But again, the joint that is largely in charge of what our foot can do is our ankle. It comes down to not so much "foot pressure" but angle of ankle/ankle dexterity/rotation. You may experience the rotation of the entire leg while rotating the ankle, that's fine too.

    The last piece of advice concerning "leg lines" has to do with straightening knees as without a straight knee we cannot achieve a "straight leg line." Many people will straighten their knee from the front of their leg using their Vastus Medialis rather than think of stretching the back of their knee, using the Gastrocnemius, Plantaris, and the Semimembranosus muscles. Long story short for this: straighten your knees by putting your heels to the floor and "stretching" the calves, not by locking them out with your Quads. (If you already know this, cool!)

    Proper ankle articulation, as well as proper knee straightening, should take off significant pressure off the feet, and should allow you to begin to "properly" (read: more effectively, and hopefully sans-pain) use your feet.

    I hope that was clear and helpful. Apologies if it's recycled information. Best of luck in your dancing! :)
  17. Miss Silly

    Miss Silly Well-Known Member

    I have to reread this from the start LOL so i'll get back to this shortly. But i will say this, i think i'll leave any sort of latin technique videos for others HAHAHHAHA no way do i feel qualified enough to disseminate any sort of technique information.

    ALthough back in 2012... i think i was still doing American Style at a franchise. It wasn't long after that, that I switched to international style with independant instructors and well, my understanding of technique has definitely developed. I've been through many different shoes too, and a lot of ups and downs in training cosistency (both dance-training and other training to support dance). I think i'll always have bunion problems so i'm at a point where I just try to "manage them" in the best way possible.

    I think i may end up with a lenghty post, so i'll be back. LOL

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