Capezio, celebrating 125 years in 2012, has launched a much anticipated new DanceSport range. Here Capezio’s designers share their vision behind these gorgeous new footwear styles.
Tell us about your new DanceSport range.
Dancing has really become a huge phenomenon in pop culture. We see a variety of competitions and shows on TV dedicated to performance and dance as well as its influence on the streets and in night clubs.
Capezio set out to change the landscape of DanceSport footwear. Our Dancesport Collection was focused around two main goals. First, we wanted to elevate the performance and the style of the shoes. Second, we wanted the shoes to appeal to a wide audience. We wanted to bring attention to the shoe and, whether it is for competition or a night out, the shoe finishes the look and is essential to the performance of a dancer. These elements have always been at the forefront of our design process at Capezio.
Are your DanceSport shoes just for professional dancers?
The Capezio Dancesport Collection is broad in scope to appeal to a wide audience of dancers. We thought about the recreational or occasional dancer as well, and a conversion piece is available in our collection so that the dancing shoe can be worn at special occasions, night clubs or wherever your dancing feet may take you.
From where did you draw the inspiration for your designs?
Designer Michelle Binienda dreamed of a misty outdoor ballroom under a canopy of leaves and a gothic filigree bridge. Characters come to life in this setting where they dance the night away with their shoes glimmering in the moonlight as they travel across the floor. This is a setting perhaps reminiscent of the tale of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” by the Brothers Grimm. This is a story she often read as a young girl. The Silhouettes featured in the collection are a mix of vintage, romantic details and modern ideas of foot covering. There is a strong essence of a garden party, a feeling that is translated through color and material, silhouettes and appliqués.
What is different about this new collection?
For this collection we mixed unconventional materials and colors with the traditional; we incorporated functional elements and enhanced design without sacrificing the beauty or necessity of either one. The subtle details elevate the styling and truly set our collection apart from the others. For example, we use like colored Swarovski Elements, engineered crystal patterns, and different buckle sizes and finishes. We accomplished all of this and still remained true to the dancer – complimentary lines to enhance the foot and the leg line and built-in functionality for high performance and comfort.
How do you make a shoe comfortable and practical for dancers’ needs, yet attractive?
The key idea here is that the beauty of the shoe is not more important than its functionality. Before it is a beautiful shoe it is a dance shoe. The Collection has a variety of footwear for different abilities and uses. We have structured uppers that create support for the entire foot and elasticized straps that offer the right amount of stretch where it is needed. We incorporate multiple straps to relieve tension and/or provide adjustability for comfort, performance or aesthetic.
We have listened carefully and analyzed the needs of Latin and ballroom dancers. Asking them questions is the best way to understand what they want and need in a shoe. We have heard from a range of dancers including professionals, World Champions, 50+ year old dancers shopping in Capezio stores or at the Dancesport competitions.
We have also tested our shoes for many hours in the studio. The feedback of our wear testers is a very important step in our development process. If wear test results deem “not comfortable” then our job is not done. All of our shoes have a performance foam insole. This foam has a memory quality that allows the foam to “bounce back” to its “pre-dance state” after long and repeated use. The foam is also non-toxic, moisture absorbent, anti-fungal and made of recycled content.
We have 3 heel heights and two heel styles. The toplift has two layers. The bottom layer is softer and provides shock absorption. The top layer is hard and grooved for stability and traction. The shoes have narrow or wider straps, and there are styles where the straps are only on the top of the foot.
How can these shoes give dancers a competitive edge?
All of our Dancesport shoes include the Capezio Signature Construction that enhances the natural movement of the foot with engineered articulation points. Capezio Signature Construction incorporates a 3/4 layered shank thinning towards the forefoot. A beveled insole, a suede forefoot sole and a leather breasted heel are built into this construction. Some of the shoes have strap channels on the sole under the arch. They are there to keep straps in place enhancing fit and performance.
Most of the styles have speed buckle closures, a feature used across the board of Dancesport brands because it allows the dancers to easily put on and remove the shoes without fumbling with itty bitty buckles.
We use deluxe satin, resistant to snagging as well as oil, water and dirt. Other than satin we use quality leather, vegan leather, and fabric. We make sure to carry colors desired and requested by the dancers.
How does Capezio stay at the forefront of DanceSport fashion?
In order to stay at the front of Dancesport fashion we attend competitions as well as observe and talk to the patrons. We also pay attention to fashion trends and shop the market. We get inspired and allow it to translate into our shoes. It isn’t one thing that we do. It is the whole package of how we put it together.
Where can dancers purchase these shoes?
There is an ever-growing list of authorized Capezio Dancesport retailers. Click here to view.
Top image: Russ and Katusha Wilder wearing ‘Xavier’ and ‘Valentina’.