I’m gonna do a 2-in-1, because if I wait to write these mini-reviews separately it probably won’t get done…
First up, Dance Paws. These are my first pair of Modern dance “shoes”, or as it says in the package “protection for the bare foot”. While I made it through a year of beginner modern without anything like this, I did notice toward the end of my second session that there was just no way for me to turn more than a half turn in my bare feet since my feet stick to the floor. I tend to have very ‘gummy’ skin, and even if I build up a callus it almost immediately peels off before it gets thick enough. (And I’ve seen, backstage, the aftermath of someone’s callus cracking *insert horrified face*). As I tend to be resistant of buying new stuff unless I absoutely need it (‘need’ being subjective, since obviously I’m not going to be eating them or living in them…), I made it through the modern classes just doing half turns and dealing with it. But for our performances there was going to be quite a bit of barefoot turning, and the least fun place for a meniscus tear would be on stage in the theater in front of everybody, so off to the dance store I went. I filed it under the ‘cheaper than knee surgery’ category…
That said, these are not cheap! Although they utilize much less material than ballet slippers, they cost over twice as much. Craziness! Especially because they look really simple, like the kind of thing anyone with a sewing machine can whip up in a half-hour, tops. Just a little bit of meshy material, elastic, and a suede (or imitation suede) sole.
Did they work? Yes, much better than I expected. I tried them on in the dance store, but it’s not the same. I tried balancing up on releve a few times, but you can’t really dance around at the store. And since it was cold in our rehearsal room, too cold for me to go barefoot, I didn’t get to actually start dancing in these until our last dress rehersal already at the theater (which was surprisingly warmer than the studio). And once we started, I didn’t notice them at all. Since I find split-sole ballet slippers to be uncomfortable, I’d been worried that these would feel the same way, but they don’t, they’re much more comfortable. The sole doesn’t get in my way for balancing at all, my turns went well, everything was fine. So yes I would recommend these, though I don’t know how the other brands of modern shoes out on the market compare. (Since trying them on entails sticking your bare toes through the little toe holes, i don’t know if these are a case of you-try-it-you-buy-it. Seems pretty unsanitary otherwise…)
Next up, Capezio Ultra Soft tights. These were a recommendation from one of you readers about a year ago, when I asked about tights that were more durable and didn’t run after one wear (like those awful Theatrical brand tights…). Of the ones recommended, these were the only ones I found at the local dance store so I picked them up back then, but I’d been waiting until I needed a new pair (like a performance) to finally wear them.
In short, I love them! Right out of the package they felt much thicker than pretty much every other brand of tights I’ve tried (that would include Bloch, Theatricals, Body Wrappers, Natalie Dancewear). They fit pretty snug, and I got the size L/XL, so that’s one potential downside (not for me personally – a snug fit makes me feel like a superhero!). While being snug as far as the circumference of the legs (and I’ve posted my leg measurements before in my knee pad post – my legs are not on the larger side at all compared to regular people, apparantly huge in dancer terms), there is plenty of room as far as length, so perhaps sizing is based more on length? I was just glad I followed the height-weight chart in the back and didn’t try to squeeze into the S/M. I got the footed tights, but it’s possible the different styles have different fit, so if i ever try out one of the other styles I’ll have to remember to update this.
As for the color, these are really pink. I know all pink tights start out life as the pinkest they’ll ever be, and gradually begin the process towards gray, but these did seem even more pink than my last new pair of pink tights (Theatricals). It’s a nice pink though, just a little startling at first.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some photographic evidence:
The Theatrical tights in the center are a pair that I had been saving since our performance last June and barely started wearing recently, so the color has not faded yet. I included the very used tights in the picture to show how grayish the pink tights get after lots of wears and washes. As youu can see, the pink of the Capezio tights is much more vibrant. If the color lasts through washes then these will be the perfect tights! However, I’m planning on putting them away for a while and just wearing my older tights to class in the meantime in case I need new-looking tights for another performance.
And, just for fun, a ballet slipper comparison picture, featuring another feline friend.
There was just no way I could get those shoes clean without accidentally scraping pieces off them!