[Callers] Barefooters

Richard Hart rich at harts.mv.com
Mon Sep 4 22:03:00 PDT 2006

Here a few of my thoughts on barefooted dancing, in no particular order.

1. If you want to keep teens away from your dances, a rule requiring 
shoes is one good way to do that. A local dance here had a very bad 
floor. 3, 4, and even 5 inch splinters were splitting from the old floor 
boards, so shoes were required by the hall owner. I know of a number of 
teens who avoided that dance precisely because they could not dance 
barefooted. That dance series was recently canceled, although the 
location, music, and callers, were top notch.

2. When you dance barefooted, you do risk injury, especially if a 
partner wearing ski boots steps on your toes. Although some used to 
dance with ski boots and hiking boots here, they are seldom seen at 
dances any more, even here in NH. Except for the dance mentioned above, 
people dance with bare feet at most of our local dances. Sometimes as 
many as half of the dancers have bare feet, but I have never head of any 
serious injuries due to dancing in bare feet at any dances here. There 
have been injuries due to crowding and falling, but not due to bare 
feet, as best I know. (I expect someone may correct me on this...)

3. I think that barefooted dancing is at least in part a reaction to the 
rules that have been enforced recently to protect floors - clean shoes, 
no street shoes, check the shoes before the dance. (At least recent to 
those of a certain age...) If you don't wear shoes, you don't need to 
worry about keeping track of a special pair of dance shoes. Often soft 
soled shoes are required, as well, so the leather soles that produce the 
best sound are not allowed anyway.

4. Finally, like Gale, sensible dancing shoes are my choice, in order to 
avoid serious foot problems. But, I'll let others wear what they want, 
as long at it doesn't threaten serious injury to the floor or others. 
(No crampons allowed...)


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