Step Smart

Step Smart Shoe for tap dancers.

THE CHALLENGE
Tap dance shoes (tap, Irish step, Flamenco) have metal parts on the sole. Dancers ruin the floor surface where they practice and are very loud, causing a nuisance. Footwork is very bad for the joints and back, especially if the technique is poorly taught. The team’s hybrid educational tools and IoT wearables aim to solve these problems.
 

THE SOLUTION
To develop a flexible anti-shock & soundproof shoe sole cover for tap dance shoes applying advanced materials. The partnership will use the analogy of silicone horseshoes, the rubber anti-slip shoe cover, and the silicon shoe heel protector. The Project draws attention to the possible crossroads of digital culture and old cultural heritage. What can tech innovations do for art and well-being?

 

 

The Idea
Being a hobby flamenco dancer and an art director-designer myself travelling a lot, I realised that step dancers badly need some portable dance board they can use to practice anytime, anywhere. Having solved that part of the problem I had to face another problem: that we are very loud. Just like drum or trumpet players. You get on your family’s nerves, you neighbours complain. If a drum player  can have silicon drumstick mute why
we dancers cannot have a silencer overshoe we can easily take on and off if we need to be on mute? Especially in the Post-Covid lockdown period, got stuck in your home taking zoom dance classes.
 

The Birth of the Project 
I’ve been long experimenting to develop silencer layers you can apply to your mobile practicing dance board. I just never got satisfied. It was difficult to manufacture,  carry with you, a pain to ship to customers. What if the shoes themselves had a muter layer on the shoe sole not the board? It could be a so much smaller and lighter object.
Horses have joint friendly silicon horseshoes inserted into the metal horseshoe. Furniture legs have adhesive EVA or felt patches to make moving them less noisy and not to scratch the floor. Chair legs have silicon cups to mute. Amazing new, advanced polymer innovations are used for shock absorption in latest generation sneakers. Sneaker shoe sole technology, music instrument muter, sound proofing materials used in  interior design were my first threads to follow.
 
 
The Creative Process 
I had a couple of key words in my mind: Overshoes, Advanced Polymers in Shoe Sole Technology, Sound Proofing materials. After a thorough research in each field and backing out from various dead end streets I’ve realised that aqua shoes and compression sleeves are our closest analogy regarding material use. Dog muffle is the closest object regarding the form of our high heel cover. Our biggest pain was that our shoe sole is not flat  (like that of a sneakers ) plus we can only use thin layers otherwise we’ll change the mechanisms of the dance.  
 

The Collaboration
Being only a hobby flamenco dancer I needed a professional dancer, a music instructor who is open to innovative approaches. This is how I found Madrid based Rosa de Las Heras years ago whose innovative educational DVDs I’d used long before we first met in person in Madrid. We’ve both had very exciting innovative projects regarding dancing and wearables in mind, so it was a perfect match to work together. I’ve been collaborating on my smart portable dance board project with TU Budapest TMIT Department for more than two years now, so Gabor Feher, Istvan Godor and Istvan Halasz from Polymer Engineering Department TU Budapest were our third amazing partners with whom I could get continuous feedback from a highly different mindset.
 

The Future 
We’d like to offer a wide range of heathy, environmental friendly, highly innovative, time and cost effective step dance accessories which make practicing easier and more efficient and even accessible the elderly and deaf-and dumb people. ( Our other ongoing project is a wearable digital metronome) . We’ve been working on a new collaboration to create a high-end, green neoprene ( Yulex Lexcell) overshoe as well with another company.  We're collaborating with a diver/seaman  from Lanzarote, who has a small wetsurf repair workshop with proper machines to work with used and cut off neoprene. 
Rhythm is life. Rhythm training benefits all cognitive functions. The anti-aging effects of dancing is proven fact.
 

The Message 
When tradition meets innovation it can give birth to incredible new things and can open new horizons. We respect articraft and traditional cultural heritage. We work on keeping all that we can build on as a base to strengthen our roots whereas constantly keeping an eye on technological innovations which could bring existing solutions to a new level.
Step smart.
With compassion. 
 

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