For the most part, dance doesn’t have a huge impact on what we do, and in fact is usually a non-issue. The most interesting aspect of dance is when we take the concept of rhythm to the extreme and take it to the extreme. We think of every movement as if it is choreographed by someone else in their own mind. The most extreme example of this sort of thinking was when the Beatles used to walk on the beach. They would start the song, walk on the beach, walk in the ocean, and walk out again. The music would play and if you were standing on the beach you would see these guys taking their time in all different positions. It created a different kind of experience than what you could take through other methods we could imagine. This kind of thinking has been going on since ancient times – to understand dance we need to begin with the ancient Greeks, but it was the Romans who really took it to the extreme.
When we think of a dancer we think of someone wearing a dress, but with some people you’ll see them in a pair of shoes – the first pair of shoes ever were worn by the dancer. This idea of the dance shoe is one we see most often in dance school. We use to have dance class where there would be a dancer taking you across the stage, holding their little wooden “sock,” and the teacher would talk about it. After the class he would show you some of the different kinds of shoes that a dancer could wear; the “levelling shoes,” which were used for dancing, were made of leather and had a raised heel attached to them.
If you wanted to keep moving across the stage, you could use these shoes – so one of the things we thought about was that a piece of furniture was basically the foot of a dancer, so there’s a lot of history behind this idea of a dancer foot.
The first step in learning to dance is just to get your feet wet
How did a ballet shoe come about? One idea that might have been behind this was that dancers would have had shoes – a type of dance shoe – with very special holes in it. These holes were in the sole and when you walked the feet would slide up and down the holes. We thought of these shoes as something that a dancer could wear and walk their feet into and out. They also had a groove, where it would come back into place if you fell. So basically we thought you’d get an entire new set of legs
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