Remembering What We've Learned
& Dan Finch
We will be back on the dance floor again, sometime, but after months of
inactivity, it’s not just steps you will have forgotten. The body
probably will not perform as you expect. As one world champion has
warned us, you lose 30% of the strength in your feet after two weeks of
We thought it is time to remember some of the constants we have shared
in classes over the years. Read on and see if any of these sound
When in frame, think cactus plants under your armpits. This creates
tone in the arms and reminds you to not let your elbows droop.
The moving foot irons the floor. Foot pressure on the floor is
necessary to stay in balance. The slower you are moving, the more foot
pressure you need. Try rise and fall in place while keeping a Styrofoam
cup between your ankles. This exercises the very small muscles in your
feet, which have a big job to do. How many times will you rise and fall
in a waltz? It happens on every figure, so 60 or 70 times in any dance.
Remember the waltz mantra: Begin to rise at the end of beat 1, continue
to rise on beats 2 and 3, lower on the end of beat 3.
Never treat lowering (as in rise and fall) as the end. Lower and move
or you will be stuck. The purpose of bending your knee is not just to
lower but to create compression for moving forward into the next figure.
Think of your spine as a peg with rings piled on it. Each ring can spin
around the post, like a child’s toy. This give you the ability to work
the upper body separately from the lower body.
Sternum over ball of foot; toes point where next step goes.
Ronde is a leg action, lower to lift and swing leg. Rudolph ronde has a
body turn first, then the leg can fly.
Check your semi-closed position: A free lead arm would hang in front of
your thigh, back arm behind the hip.
When cued to close your feet, bring knees together, then a rise will
bring feet together.
When you are cued to point the foot or kick, or do the triple steps in
jive, point the toes. Develop flexibility so it can happen
automatically: Stretch the right foot forward until only the toes touch
the floor, then lift the right foot four inches off the floor, rotate
it in each direction; do with the left foot.
Turn early, turn a lot Every rotation has an inside and outside of turn
because a couple is three-dimensional. The person going forward is
usually on the outside of the turn and has further to go. Person on the
inside monitors that movement and stays in frame.
Turns in smooth rhythms occur as you pass between steps; the latin
turns, swivels, pivots and spirals occur over a foot.
Learn the characteristics of each rhythm to better fit your steps to
We might be dancing sooner or later, but keep these tips. The day will
From a club
newsletter, December 2020,
in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, April 2021. Find a DRDC Finch archive here.