If you are not an artist or a dancer you will not have an idea as to what character shoes are. Just like me, the 1st time you hear about it you wouldn’t know how different this is compared to ordinary shoes. On the other hand performers and dancers in Broadway are very familiar with character shoes as they use this everyday whether in rehearsals only or during the show itself. For non performing artists like me, let’s get to know what these dancing shoes are all about.
Character shoes have holes at the bottom of the shoe. These holes are found at the toe and the heel. These are used in order to be able to put taps. Attaching taps will automatically convert a plain pair of shoes into tap shoes. This is a perfect feature of character shoes since performers do not do tap dancing all the time. Enabling the artist to remove the taps anytime makes this pair more versatile and flexible.
Character shoes also have a thick heel which is about 2 inches only. This is the standard height of character shoes which is essential to achieve an even look on stage. Most directors would require the same type and height of heels for their performers’ character shoes on stage if they are going to have a group production number. As black is a neutral color that goes with any costume or outfit, most character shoes are in black as well. Other colors available are camel, nude and red but black is basic and a must have. The color of your dancing shoes on stage would usually dictate your role. Seductive actresses or female villains usually wear stunning red dancing shoes. The lead actress on the other hand usually wears a black pair. These are made of leather, thus it is best worn on stage only and not for everyday use on the streets. This pair does not have tread or the stoppers found in ordinary shoes that allow performers to glide seamlessly when they are on stage. If you do not follow my reminder and choose to use this pair of shoes in the streets they will surely get damaged.
These may look like plain Mary Jane’s that we used to wear to school back in our Grade School days but these shoes dictate that the one wearing it is a performer in the theater. There are no ordinary shoes. Every aspect of these dancing shoes has a function.