The Best Thing I Bought in 2023 #SOL24

March 23, 2024

tap shoes and boardYesterday was my three-year tapiversary (started in 2021). I started taking tap classes because I had been playing DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) as a form of exercise during the stay at home order and one day I realized that it felt like tap dancing but, obviously, wasn’t. Then, my friend said she was thinking of doing tap lessons so I started looking up online tap classes and THEN, out of the blue, my mom sent me enough money to buy some tap shoes and a tap board. Somewhere in there, I looked for local tap studios because I knew that I would want to keep up with the lessons, and I found my current tap studio. Reviews for the studio were very good with quite a few saying it was appropriate for older dancers. The instructor was offering outdoor lessons so my friend and I signed up for one and just like that I was back in the tap game.

first tap class

Outdoor tap lessons. My balance needs a lot of work. Also I almost fell off that board ~100 times (only when tapping backwards).

We signed up for a beginner’s/low level class and the outdoor tap situation was…precarious, I think is the best way to describe it. The teacher had boards set up outside of his studio alongside his garden and the steps leading up to it. It was fine, really, as long as you didn’t go too far back on the board and almost fall off. The most important thing, though, is that the muscle memory is real and as soon as the class started, all of the tap I had done over the years came rushing back into my body. He quickly identified that I should be in a higher level class, so the following week, I did that, and he was right. One thing I learned from that experience is that going down a level can actually be harder because the pace was so slow that I was constantly second guessing myself so did worse than when I went to the class that was on my level.

So I kept going to classes. (My friend stopped after two lessons, I think, because it was cutting into her dating time. All I could say at the time is that we live different lives, she and I.) One of the things I noticed was that people had VERY spiffy tap shoes, and it turned out that they were all custom made at a local cobbler, and I decided that if I was still going after a year, I would buy some. Well, a year came and went, and I did not get new shoes. And then another year went by, and I did not get new shoes. But by that time, I had been going for two years and realized that it was time–especially because the shoes I had bought did not actually fit that well.

So last March, I finally made my appointment to get my shoes. The process is that you go in, decide what leather/design you want for your shoes, and then get your feet measured. Our teacher gave us the hot tip to get measured with any inserts (orthotics or, you know, Dr. Scholl’s) we planned to use so that way they would fit well with those as well. The hardest part was, of course, picking the design. The owner had a look book and also different patterns and colors of leather lying around the store. I wanted something cute but also different so was torn between a design she had already designed for a client (gray, red, and white, one of my favorite color combos), something teal (which I didn’t want to do because another woman in my class already had those and I didn’t want to copy), and something purple.

slice of life logo

Slice of Life is a writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

The purple pattern won, though I still think about the other design all the time and sometimes wonder what might have been. (A woman in my class has more than one pair, but the shoes are not cheap so deciding on another pair would require a real commitment to wear both, and I’m not there yet.) But the best part about getting the new tap shoes is the reaction of the people in the class. Whenever anyone gets new shoes, we can always tell because, you know, the shoes are no longer basic black. Everyone LOVED my shoes, and I got so many compliments on them. And, okay, I said that’s the best part but the actual best part is dancing in shoes actually made to fit my feet because they are so comfortable and perfect.

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  1. Shawnda Fukano

    I’m so glad you finally treated yourself to tap shoes you love. It sounds like the investment was worth the wait! It was fun to read about how you’ve gotten back into dancing over the last few years as you built up to the best thing you bought last year. I hope your shoes and dancing continues to bring you joy!

  2. Terje

    Proper shoes are so important for dancing, whether tap or anything else. I have never tried tap dancing and watching others do it always amazes me. So cool for you to have a hobby like this.


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