Namine is starting a new class in dance, and she is super excited.

Let me back up a bit, actually. Since this season of dance class started, Namine has been enrolled in the same two classes as last year, ballet and jazz. The difference this year is that instead of being back to back, those two classes book-end a third class, tap. Namine hasn’t been enrolled in it, but she’s been allowed to sit through it and participate on the floor or in her wheelchair.

Namine has expressed interest in actually participating in tap class — this is, in her walker — so this week, she’s officially in tap as well. She doesn’t yet have separate tap shoes, so this week she’ll just use her jazz shoes.

Namine’s orthopedic doctor has given Namine permission to dance in her walker sans braces, so she participates in each class with the appropriate shoes. I’ve written before on the difficulty of finding shoes with flexible soles, and shoes for dance is no different.

Of course, ballet shoes are already flexible, and though jazz shoes have hard soles, they are also split, allowing for some added flexibility where none might otherwise exist. But tap shoes are rigid, and we might have a hard time finding a pair that fits Namine’s feet well without hurting her.

But we needn’t write off being able to get tap shoes quite yet. As it turns out, you don’t buy tap shoes with the taps already attached; you buy the shoes and the taps separately. So with that in mind, we might be able to get taps and attach to a more flexible shoe — like, for example, another pair of jazz shoes. The unknown here is that tap shoes are made with their soles explicitly thick enough for screwing in the taps, whereas we don’t know whether or not the jazz shoes’ soles are.

Anyway, we have some experimentation ahead of us, as we’ve had in other situations. We’ll just have to see what we can do.

  • I may have an idea for you! You’d have to check with the teacher about this to be sure it isn’t bad for the floor, but maybe you could simply use several flat thumbtacks in the bottom of a pair of jazz shoes. They have shorter sharp-ends, so they might go in and not pierce the sole. Another option would be to see if the local dance shop can order taps that come in two pieces — screw and flat metal separate — and just glue the tap to the jazz shoes.

    I hope it’s so much fun for your daughter!