“In the Defense of Pole Dancing in Heels” aka ”Day 28: Shoes or no shoes? Why?” of The 30 Day Pole Challenge.
I’ve been putting off this post for awhile because I have a lot of opinions on the question, but I want to say both are great. I believe that it’s good training try and use both in practice.
And in the defense of heels:
It really is a bummer to hear that so many girls in the “pole fit” community hate heels because they “cheapen” the look of the dance. I do believe in fitting the look of a performance to the music. This goes right down to footwear. If the song calls for it, don’t be afraid to whip out the shoes to add an extra oomph to your peformance. I myself would never have the confidence to dance to a rock/alt/metal song without the aid of my heels.
Heels work your body harder since they will add weight to your inverts and will force you to point your toes. Your calves will look AWESOME after dancing in heels since you’re actively lifting and lengthening your legs. Floorwork will be a piece of cake in heels, as you will have both the heel and the toe of the shoes to slide around on. If you have time, I would definitely advise you to watch an Alethea Austin video. Watch her floorwork — it’s as smooth as butter. Shoes add a wonderful element of slinky and sexy that is difficult to achieve without shoes.
However, bare feet is also beautiful. There is a versatility that is unmatched in working with bare feet; the power of a pointed toe and a flexed foot are really just awe-inspiring to see on stage. A pointed toe is literally what it sounds like, pointing your to accentuate the arch of your foot. A flexed foot is the look of a foot when the balls of a foot are stretched back with toes and arch and pointing towards your face. Have you ever watched an aerial silks or hoop video? Dancers will fluctuate between the two because of their function, whether it be climbing or holding.
A pointed toe at all times is what every dancer wants to be actively practicing towards. It shows that the dance is encompassing all of your body parts — from the movement of your fingers to the tips of your toes.
But remember, a flexed foot is also powerful. It can act as grip aid or add a strong visual line to a pose. Can you imagine a V-spin or Spinning Straddle with a flexed foot? You’re probably like: “Gross, I would never do that! That’s RAUNCHY!”, but if you were playing a character in your dance — say you were pretending to be the Big Bad Wolf dancing to Another Brick in the Wall by Korn, it would be approriate!
Train in both and your dance will get stronger. Being a versatile dancer and performer means mastering all mediums, and this includes shoes. Try to be open minded about the types of movement shoes or no shoes will bring to your dance and what opportunities will present themselves. Finally, be proud and revel in your accomplishment! You’re dancing in 6 - 8” heels that most people would sprain their ankles just trying to walk in!
Photo credit to Poleagraphy