Foot positions and favorite colors.
How to your favorite color may influence how you dance!
Lets have a little fun here. Whats your favorite color? Is your favorite color more subtle or do you like bold colors? Pick either subtle or bold, read on and I’ll introduce some technique to help you create a style of dance thats like your favorite color.
Have you even wondered what to do with your body while you dance? After all step descriptions only cover footwork not bodywork. I’d like to help you learn to dance with your body, not just your feet but introducing you to 2 different foot positions. However I insist on having some fun along the way. So with your favorite color in mind, read on!
Get warmed up!
First try this drill with me. Seriously get up and try it! Stand with your feet together with your heels and toes together. Now keeping your heels together turn your toes out about about 15-18 degrees each. We call that turnout. Just for fun bend and straighten your knees one at a time. You will find that with a bit of turnout your body will move pretty naturally.
3rd & 5th foot position – subtle or bold?
Now take a walking step forward with your right foot keeping the turnout of your feet. Now close your feet by drawing the arch of your left foot to the heel of your right. (this is called third foot position) Finally take another forward step on your right foot. You have now just completed a forward triple step in third foot position. If you repeat the same sequence of steps but close your feet by drawing the toe of the left foot to the heel of the right foot, you would have completed a ‘fifth foot position shuffle’
To me the difference between 3rd or 5th foot position is like the difference between colors. 3rd position is softer and more relaxed like a pale blue or pink with 5th looking stronger and more bold like a midnight blue or fire engine red. Using more 3rd position in your dancing will create a softer look in your body while more 5th position will create stronger angles in your body and hence a more bold look! Technically either on is right so artistically the choice is yours!
Dancing with your body, not just your feet!
As we get better its important to think about dancing with our entire body not just our feet. Simply put when you step forward on your right foot, your right hip and ribcage, and to a lesser degree your right shoulder, should dance over your top of your foot.
Here is another drill. Imagine you are holding a serving tray out in front of you with one hand on each side of the tray. Forget imagining it, actually put your arms out in front of your body as if you were holding a tray. Now take a forward triple step with your right foot but think about leading as much with the right side of your ribcage as you can manage.
There are 2 rules to follow while doing this. First you must keep the turnout of your front foot. You must not be pigeon toed as you step forward. Second you cannot let the tray, your arms or your shoulders stray from the direction of your step. This way you will maintain a strong frame though your shoulders while being able to dance the right side of your body over your right foot. This drill will help you understand the flexibility of your body in a specific dance sense. Don’t be surprised if the left and right sides of your body are un equal. Sometimes the paint color out of the same can of paint will look slightly different. The same will be true of your body.
Putting it all together – Painting your picture.
Hopefully by now you understand a bit about how to keep slight turnout of your feet. You have 2 basic options for the positions of your feet. Finally you hopefully understand that when you dance its important to think of using more of your body than just your feet. Imagine that as a dancer your leg goes all the way up to the bottom of your ribcage. Anytime you make a step its important to stack the hip and ribcage over the foot. From there the angles that you create with your feet and body will be like the colors of paint on a canvas. There are no right or wrong ones but having a basic understanding of your choices will help you create the picture you want.
All the best in dance,