... And all that jazz.
Split or full-sole, lace-up or slip-on? With so many jazz shoes to choose from, how do you pick the best one for you? DANCE MAGAZINE asked the pros. Flexibility and support should top your list, says Debra Zalkind, jazz dance instructor at Broadway Dance Center. Unlike pointe shoes, you should never have to break them in. "They should fit like a regular shoe," she says. Ballet master James Jordan uses different types for different jobs. When teaching pointe class at Kansas City Ballet he wears a leather lace-up split-sole that hugs his arch and bends easily when he points. "They make demonstration easier because they're soft like ballet shoes," he says. For rehearsals he wears a lace-up full-sole for more support. Debbie Allen Dance Academy advanced student Jesse Guess prefers a slip-on to a lace-up. "They're faster to put on and you don't have to worry about them coming untied," she says. And all floors are not created equal. A suede sole is good for marley floors, and rubber is best on wooden or cement floors. Using the wrong sole can limit movement and put you at risk of injury, says Zalkind. Her motto for jazz dancers: "Know your surface. An ice-skater hardly ever falls on ice because they know their floor." Today's jazz shoes come in lots of colors with features like microfibers (for aeration) and shock absorbers to protect joints from hard landings. Take a look at a few of our favorites (here with their suggested retail prices). You decide which is best to get your shimmy on!
 BLOCH Slipstream #ES0485 $45 www.blochworld.com 775.824.2550
 SODANCA Low Jazz Boot Leather, split sole #JZ40 $33 www.sodanca.com
 CAPEZIO X-Strap Pendini #322 $51 www.capeziodance.com 800.533.1887
 FREED OF LONDON Full Sole Lace-up Jazz Shoe with rubber sole JazzR $58 www.freedusa.com 866.MYFREEDS
 LIBERTS Low Rise Slip-on Jazz Shoe #356 $39.99 www.liberts.com 800.624.6480
 PRIMA SOFT #SSJ 707 Split sole Jazz $36.00 ladies; $40 me www.prima-soft.com 800.431.6005
 LEO'S DANCEWEAR Aerojazz #7168 $28 www.leosdancewear.com 800.736.LEOS
 RALPH LIBONATI CO. Wajero Signature #7120 $70 www.powerdancefootwear.com 800.437.2526