Bee of Gravity
by Sandi &
anyone ever said you need to be more “into the floor”?
Have you felt like you don’t have good balance sometimes or you’re not
with your partner?
The problem is probably gravity, or your not understanding
how it works. You know what gravity is—it’s Sir Isaac Newton’s theory
explains why the earth revolves around the sun, why the moon influences
tides, why we say “what goes up, must come down.” Throw a ball up in
and it comes down. Gravity. What about you? Explaining how more complex
move is where the “center of gravity” (CG) comes in. The ball’s CG is
center. Your CG is not. CG is the point at which an object is balanced,
being able to fiddle around and figure out how to keep a pencil lying
We can feel the effects of
gravity when we practice sway
while holding a small ball in one hand. As you swing an arc with that
in front of the body and up almost overhead, you realize you have to
(create a “C” shape through the body by moving your head to the
so you don’t fall over. That’s sway. That’s also a center of gravity at
Our general CG—the point at
which we are most comfortable
when we walk—is just above our waist. You don’t think about falling
you walk. If your center is higher than that, you will feel like you
speed up to catch up to keep from falling down. Being into the floor
are in balance when you can move comfortably from flexed legs using
pressure. As dancers, we need flexible CGs. Different rhythms demand
shift your “center” up or down to achieve their specific
CG for quickstep is higher in the body to allow your legs the freedom
to move quickly.
Rumba and tango want your CG to be low in the body so you will be more
We often talk about a center of
levitation, which is a
higher point in the chest, which is its own center point for top lines
picture figures. It is probably better named the artistic center.
Play around with your CG to
figure out how to apply it.
Imagine a bumble bee flew up your shirt and is now trapped inside,
furiously in all directions trying to find a way out. Imagine he’s up
your neck. Try walking forward picturing your center of balance in your
You have to move faster to keep up with your top half to stay in
imagine he has flown down to your ribs. Walking becomes a little easier
the lower your CG, the more stable you are.
Now, let him fly down to your
pelvic area. Walking now may
be a problem; you feel heavy. If he flies up a bit to just under your
button, you should feel good taking the slow, purposeful steps of rumba
its periodic settling.
When you rise on your toes,
don’t let your CG fly up into
your chest. To let that happen means you will be top heavy and out of
Your CG may move comfortably anywhere between your pelvis and your rib
Practice this. You will find that to keep your CG under control, you
experience a little shifting to the side (like a small windup). Now you
getting creative and artful as well as smart in the physics department.
You will be most comfortable
and in sync with your partner
if your CGs match. Good partnering comes from following your partner’s
How can you match your partner’s CG, though, if you can’t control your
newsletter, April 2016, and
in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, January 2019.
If you would like to read other articles on dance
position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit
the article TOC.
If you are not a member of DRDC,
do consider joining. The group sponsors triquarterly weekends with
dancing and teaching, and the newsletter is one of the most informative
Past DRDC Educational Articles archived
Aditional articles and dance helps by
Sandi & Dan Finch
& Susie Rotscheid
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