The Allrounder

Maya Christofori

Part of the ‘Freeze Frame’ Master Thesis Collection, 2019.

 This design is laid out to combine all ballroom categories in one shoe. The shape of the floating heel allows the performer to channel the entire body weight onto the toe area, which automatically leads to a straightened posture, the illusion of longer legs, and a dramatic runway performance. Besides changing one’s posture and appearance, the floating heel also gives more freedom in movements. The fact that the heel is missing provides a safer landing of a dip or drop, since nothing will stab the performer in the back or scratch the thighs. Another move for which this sole shape comes as an advantage is the duck walk. While the duck walk is more likely an up and down bouncing of the upper body, performers tend to include moves in which they kick one foot in a circular motion in the air.

The shoe is a hybrid of a sneaker, a high heel and a sandal with sporty features, such as elastic straps, air circulation holes and chunky side release buckles. The leather of the upper was produced as a tryout while experimenting at the EccoLeather workshop in NL, modified with lacquered boat paint to give it a glossy finish. The piping was handmade out of reflective band, elastic cord and mesh material, of which the latter was taken from an old laundry net.

Freeze Frame: a collection of dancing shoes for the Ballroom – is a dissertation, which brings back the function of a shoe by investigating the influence of footwear in relation to dance in its transition from fast body movements to static postures. From the very start, the interest has been in the fact that footwear is the only connection between one’s body and the ground and, thus, can impact on one’s posture, movement and behaviour depending on what kind of shoes are being worn. In this case, the fundamental focus lies on the historical aspect of fashion and footwear in dance, in particular within the contemporary ballroom community of New York and London. It is this specific scene from which ‘Vogue/Voguing’ – an eccentric way of performing – has evolved and has become established. Since moving to London, I was introduced to the local community and my curiosity to find out more about these flamboyant folks was awakened.

Photographer: Suthathip Saepung. Model: Michelle Nguyen.

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