Do I need special dance shoes?  What are they like?  Where do I get them from?

Special dance shoes are desirable, not absolutely necessary.  They are made of much softer and lighter weight leather than ordinary outdoor shoes, and they have suede soles.  This enables the foot to move across the floor without slipping and yet give enough grip without sticking.

The nap of the sole should be brushed up regularly with a steel brush (a suede brush is too soft) and the soles can be replaced easily.  They should be treated with shoe cream not polish, as polish tends to dry out the leather in time, whereas shoe cream helps the leather to retain its suppleness.

Dance shoes are available from a variety of specialist stores (look in the telephone directory under headings such as "dance supplies") or can be obtained by mail order over the Internet.  Bear in mind if ordering shoes without trying them on that the most important thing is they should be comfortable, fit properly and not rub your feet anywhere.

Expect to pay $60 for the cheapest; between $100 and $160 for a good, average priced pair; and up to $250 for an expensive pair. Although it is generally true that you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get, the most expensive shoes are not necessarily the best value for money.  Properly looked after, even the cheapest should last a long time.  Shop around and try on lots of different styles.

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