Fixing Slippery Shoes! By Linda Pritchard
I’m of an age, (ancient!) where the rosin box was a permanent and vital feature in all studios and side stage. Great stuff, can still remember the smell! Crushing those crystals was sometimes a ritual, sometimes a chore and often cathartic! Used for giving some grip on slippery floors but you had to get the ratio just right. Too little and you still slipped, too much and you stuck to the floor with the very real danger of serious damage as you pirouetted and your ankle didn’t!
Also good when crushed finely and mixed with a judicious amount of spit, you could glue your shoes to the back of your heel! Those babies were never coming off!
Downside, well, sticky and powdery and got into everything. When combined with the dust and dirt that accumulates on a floor it left a residue on your shoes that would morph into a blob that could swallow a small dancer alive!
I was reminded of this today when speaking to a client about a chronically slippery floor. They had cleaned the floor very well, still slippery. Had used Rozzie, still slippery in spots. I had to ask if the student’s shoes were clean. “Of course! We don’t allow street shoes on the dance floor and everyone has to change shoes before leaving the studio!” It wasn’t until I mentioned the build up of residue from the dance floor that the penny started to drop. I had an instant flashback of all the stuff I used to schlep about everywhere I went!
Along with the usual assortment of various style of dance shoes, tights, leos, leg warmers, jumpers, bun nets, hair pins and hair elastics, band aids, toe pads, strapping tape, (pain killers and anti inflammatories!) sewing kit, Stanley knife (for paring down pointe shoe soles), a good book, (for the tour bus journey), and of course, a small wire brush. The brush was a lifesaver at times and was used to scrape off the accumulation of grime and goo, it’s not just rosin that builds up on your shoes, anything from dirt, body lotion, hair spray can accumulate and cause trouble. If you left it too long you had to use a Stanley knife to lift the slip inducing layers away. Clean soles and miracle of miracles, no more slip!!
Tip for young players, always check your shoes for loose ribbons, floppy tap plates and accumulated dirt! To paraphrase Ford Prefect, “Always carry a wire brush!”