I recently had an opportunity to take a pole workshop with Alethea Austin. Alethea is one of the sexiest artists in pole- and she knows how to work a pair of heels.
I was interested, because I don’t particularly enjoy dancing in shoes. I find six inch stilettos heavy. They also throw off my perception about how much space I have to move my legs. Part of my problem with heels is that I’m not as attracted to sexy dancing (which often uses shoes as a prop). I am interested in story telling and crazy-upside down moves.
On the other hand, shoes look good and allow you to do things that you can’t do barefoot. Dancing in shoes also prevents you from ripping the skin off of the tops of your feet when you slide around on the floor, since the shoe does the sliding.
Alethea spent a few minutes in the workshop talking about how to wear stilettos. “The main goal number 1 is not to eat shit,” she said. “Goal number 2 is to not make the shoe like a giant, heavy block at the end of your foot.”
Succeeding in these goals starts by choosing the shoe- ideally you want something that your foot won’t fall out of, and that is somewhat comfortable. Different heel widths and heights can accomplish different things. “Your shoes are an implement… just like the pole,” Alethia said.
Once you are wearing the shoe, you want to keep your ankles pointed (flexed feet don’t look pretty, even in high heels) but keep your toes loose and spread as widely as possible. This helps you maintain balance.
When you walk, you want to step up, with your feet, chest, and face. This helps you stay smooth and also helps you keep your balance, even when the floors aren’t even. Even though you’re in shoes, you still want to stay on your toes as much as possible.
To continue my theme of exploring heels, I took Virginia’s stiletto class at Tease Studio the next week. Fun. An hour long workout that focuses on getting you comfortable in your heels. She does a lot of different exercises, from strutting to using the heels on a chair to basic body rolls. It’s fun, a good workout, and you definitely feel better about your skills with shoes afterward. (To check out Stiletto class, click here.)
I’m still not convinced that I’m going to ever really, really like wearing shoes, but I definitely want to learn more. I’m even playing with the idea of wearing shoes for a performance at some point in time. The picture below is of my (only) pair of heels.