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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 02-03-2006
Title : It's all about Walks
Article: Dancing Tid-bits #220, Thursday, February 2, 2006.
Today's Topic: It's all about Walks

"If you can walk, you can dance". How true! Actually now a days one can dance even in a wheelchair. What I am trying to say is that any dance,Ballroom or Latin for that matter, is based on "Walks". In order to be good we must learn how to walk. Latin Walks (Rumba) are different than Ballroom (Foxtrot) Walks because of the character of that style of dance. If you care to read about Rumba Walks you can read my Tid-bit #41 at Dancesport UK . Today we will discuss Foxtrot Walks, the basic principles of which apply to all ballroom dances including Tango to a great extent.

A complete walk is considered from one closed feet position to the other and therefore consists of a stepping foot and a closing foot. The middle part of course then becomes "Mid Stride",a very important event.

Forward Walk for the Man in Slow Foxtrot: Assume he starts with RF forward as thefirst step of Feather Step. Now a days, it usually will be preceded by a preparation step of the left foot when lowering will be accomplished before starting the first step of the Feather.As the RF starts to pass the LF we would have accomplished a pronounced flexion of the left knee. Hilliers jokingly refer to this as an exact 46 degrees flex or shin to floor angle before the heel of the right foot will start to skim the floor for the forward movement. Anyway as the RF will move forward, first the ball of RF will skim the floor and then as RF pass the LF, the heel will lightly skim the floor to reach the maximal distance of "mid stride"

Mid Stride: A very important moment in any walk when the weight will be equally distributed between the heel of the RF and ball of the back LF. This is Center Balance.

Completion of the Walk: As the mid stride and center balance is accomplished the toe of the RF will come down to the floor (HT footwork) and the back foot will move forward to meet the RF with brushing of the ankles. As the LF moves forward, the ball will skim the floor till it is almost flat on the foot closure. The walk is complete and this process now will be repeated with the LF but then of course if you are going for a Feather step, things will change accordingly with a rise and LF will go forward with toe skimming the floor for a TH foot work.

Is it different for the lady? Not really. She will use the same technique for a forward walk but her poise will be her usual poise and at no time she will use a forward poise or try to be too aggressive and take a leading role.

Backward Walks: A Backward Walk is a different species and requires very intricate lowering of Back Heel which we can discuss in the next Tid-bit. So much should suffice for now.

With best wishes, Max

Important Announcement: The Hilliers (Stephen and Jennifer) will be at Dancesport Academy of Michigan (313 724 3262) from Feb 7-9. They will have Lectures/Clinics on Heel Turns, Expression in Dancing and use of Feet in Dancing, 8 to 9 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday consecutively. There will be snacks and general dancing following the lectures. All are cordially invited.