Monday, March 26, 2007

Dancing Tips - Using Your Feet And Legs To Improve Your Posture

By Stanley McCalla, a former US amateur champion in Latin, Standard and 10 dances; 4 times US representative to World Championships; Fred Astaire National Dance Board Member and Adjudicator; Fred Astaire Dance Board Examiner; Fred Astaire Smooth Undefeated Champion. Stanley can be reached at or 845-304-9028.

In my last article, I suggested that you work on your posture. Today, I'd like to stress the importance of working on your legs and feet to complement your improved posture.

"Working on them" specifically means the placement of them on the floor and how you use them. In Latin and Rhythm dancing, it's important that you keep the toes of both feet slightly turned out. Your footwork should be ball-flat stepping forward; inside of ball of foot then the whole foot on your side steps; and ball-flat stepping backward.

In addition, you have to acquaint yourself with the different positions of the feet:
  • First position
  • Second position
  • Third position
  • Fourth position
  • Fifth position.
Except for fifth position, the other four positions are used constantly. For example, in a Rumba box, you start (man) with your L.F (lady on the opposite foot) to side in second position; R.F closes to L.F in first position; L.F forward in fourth position; and you start the same process with the R.F on the right side.

One important position that students seem to miss in the beginning is the one used in cross- overbreaks. Do you know what position that is? If you know it, good! Keep practicing it correctly. If you're not sure, ask your teacher so you can start working on it.

I will discuss this further in my next article, but now, here's the answer to last week's question:

What's the footwork in the quarter turn of Waltz (the first 2 bars of music)
Step one: heel-toe
Step two: toe
Step three: toe-heel
Step four: toe-heel-toe
Step five: toe
Step six: toe-heel.

Please note: It's important that you practice these steps correctly with the proper footwork in order to improve your balance as well as expressing the proper character of the dance.

Well that's it for now. Cheers and happy dancing!

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