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Dancing in dance shoes

  • Joined 9/16/08
  • 32
  • Lindy > Swing Talk
  • Posted Thursday, September 18, 2008
  • 58
  • 0
  • 10921

Okay, so yeah the title sounds dumb, but bear with me here.

I finally ponied up the $$ and bought some aris allen dance shoes (a pair of dance sneakers and a pair of captoes). Now, until now I've been dancing in a pair of All Stars, and they're comfy enough but on most floors, I can't spin or slide when I need to (thus sometimes I simply CANNOT lindy hop fast enough as I have to pick up the feet instead of slide) or at least do so efficiently.

So, while I like these shoes, I've now started having the reverse problem: I'm sliding when I don't want to (i.e. need to break). With certain follows, when I try and shift her weight with mine, it's only ME that ends up moving and in the opposite direction I wanted to move HER! OR, I've ended up "dropping myself" (just once, and it was NOT right up in front), though that was more due to me not keeping my weight properly balanced.

Anyway, I'd like to know HOW do I dance in these such that when I need to slide/spin, I can (the easy part), but when necessary I can still STOP/BREAK. My all stars are fine for breaking b/c the rubber sole really grips the floor when I put all my weight into the floor, and part of the ball of the soles are getting flatter so it's easier to spin. However, I REALLY like these AAs, but most floors around here are too fast for me, yet I see other dancers with the same shoes doing just fine. So, my natural conclusion is that I'm somehow doing something wrong.

Thus, the question: how do I dance in dance shoes.

Thanks folks.

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  • Joined 1/11/06
  • 2370
  • Post #1
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)

Scuff the bottoms of your shoes. Walk outside in them and go shuffle-shuffle on some concrete or asphalt. or go dance in bar that doesn't clean the floor too well/often. you'll get 'em all gooked up that-a-ways. --R

y i no haz signature? Come on people, make with the funny.

  • Joined 7/22/99
  • 2622
  • Post #2
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)

Also, make sure you're engaging your core when you dance (your abs & back). That will help with keeping your feet under you. But yeah, scuff them up.

  • Joined 8/7/06
  • 2448
  • Post #3
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)

Dance smaller. Keep you feet under you. Listen to Peter & Ramona when they speak about 'clarity'.

you just got to listen to the music, 'cause it's talkin' to you man! -frankie http://www.zazzle.com/anarchyforpresident

  • Joined 4/28/00
  • 256
  • Post #4
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)

Lots of practice. Dancing in slippery shoes requires really precise balance. You have to learn to judge exactly how much force is required to move yourself where you want to go; any extra will turn into you slipping or sliding. There isn't really a secret trick, it's just something you develop slowly over time.

There are a couple of exercises that you can try: The first is doing lindy hop to a really slow song and making sure you place your feet deliberately for each step. Make sure that you have complete control of your balance at all times. You should be able to stop at any point and hold that position. The second exercise is to try dancing to any song no matter how fast. Even if you don't want to dance the whole song, just grab a girl you know and ask if she'd mind swinging out a couple of times just to see if you can. The goal there is to push your tempo limitations a little bit without risking the fatigue that usually comes about halfway through a fast song, fatigue that leads to sloppy dancing and bad habits.

That was my advice, this next thing is a matter of personal preference, so ignore it if you want. I think dancing looks sloppy when people don't pick up their feet. A big part of lindy hop to me is hearing the rythm in the music and feeling it in your feet. Sliding can get tired and old just like any other move that's done too much. If you're planning to change your first four counts to something like rock-step-slide-slide-slide, (or worse yet, push-off-skiiiiiiddddd) your dancing will look and feel like you can't really keep up with the music. Pretty soon you'll just be cheating all the time, even to the slow numbers. The advantage to the fast exercise above is that it gets you trying to do good basic footwork to every song no matter how daunting. If you dance regularly and you swingout a couple times to most of the fast numbers you'll be doing 250 bpm triple-steps with ease in no time.

  • Joined 8/7/06
  • 2448
  • Post #5
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "lerondare"
That was my advice, this next thing is a matter of personal preference, so ignore it if you want. I think dancing looks sloppy when people don't pick up their feet.

Follow this advice, don't ignore it. A variant you can do is try this with a follow in open position. Ask her if she can feel your feet and where she feels it. You might be interested in their responses.

you just got to listen to the music, 'cause it's talkin' to you man! -frankie http://www.zazzle.com/anarchyforpresident

  • Joined 9/16/08
  • 32
  • Post #6
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "TheRiz"
Scuff the bottoms of your shoes. Walk outside in them and go shuffle-shuffle on some concrete or asphalt. or go dance in bar that doesn't clean the floor too well/often. you'll get 'em all gooked up that-a-ways. --R

Won't that ruin the ability to slide/spin when I need to?

I did dance on a pretty crummy floor on Tuesday night (when I went to see the Jive Aces), and my captoes were AMAZING on that floor. I had so much fun. I'd like to be able to have that much control on the better-maintained floors in the area.

Thanks for the tips. I do pick up my feet (or at least work on doing so, as I lose my place if I cheat like that), but with my all stars, I have to really lift my feet.

If the goal though is to get my shoes scuffed up as well, then why are dance shoes prefered over street shoes (like my all starts)? B/c the weight is about the same.

  • Joined 4/19/02
  • 7557
  • Post #7
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "SirBrass"
Won't that ruin the ability to slide/spin when I need to? I did dance on a pretty crummy floor on Tuesday night (when I went to see the Jive Aces), and my captoes were AMAZING on that floor. I had so much fun. I'd like to be able to have that much control on the better-maintained floors in the area.

Slick shoes scuffed shoes = perfect Scuffed shoes slick floor = perfect

This is why many dancers have different sets of shoes for different floors.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

  • Joined 5/18/04
  • 6808
  • Post #8
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)

Dancing in slippery shoes on a slick floor is a great leveler and certainly teaches you where your center is.

One dancer that IMHO has some of the coolest complex footwork is Skye Humphries - if you watch YouTube footage of him, you will see how his feet are always under him, which I think is how he manages to dance Lindy to songs that most dancers would hesitate to even do Balboa.

FWIW, Ballroom shoes are often sueded on the sole - if you brush up the suede, it provides you with additional grip on the floor, but you can still slide/glide when you need to.

"Change your thoughts, and you change your world" - Norman Vincent Peale.

  • Joined 9/16/08
  • 32
  • Post #9
  • Originally posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 (8 years ago)

So scuff up my raw sole captoes and brush up my dance sneakers, huh?

I'll definitely work on keeping my center over my feet.

I just watched the DVDs from IW 08, particularly my heat in the pro-am J&J, and saw some stuff there that I need to work on.

Keep the advice coming, folks; I'm eager to learn as much as I can here.

  • Joined 4/19/00
  • 4069
  • Post #10
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "pill_popper"
Keep you feet under you.

<rant>

Die, meme, die. I'm developing a pet peeve about this particular bit of advice, so forgive me for going off on you. It's nothing personal.

First off, it's precisely by not having our feet under us that we're able to move and change direction in the first place. I dare anyone to do a rockstep while keeping the foot that's rocking directly under their center of gravity. If anyone thinks can actually accomplish that I'd love to see a video of it. And the faster your momentum, the more at least one of your feet need to move outside of your center of gravity in order to change direction. Watch, say, a soccer player making a tight turn and ask yourself whether they look like their feet are directly under them. If so, you must be watching an incredibly old and slow moving soccer player, because it's impossible.

What I imagine people are thinking of when they say this -- if they're actually thinking when they parrot this useless meme -- is the huge honkin' bad rocksteps done by drunk beginners wearing kakhi's from The Gap and loud Hawaiian shirts at your sister's wedding. But said dancers lack both balance and co-ordination, and the evil rocksteps are merely symptoms of a general lack of control and possibly an improper (overly upright) posture for swing dance. You might as well offfer the equally useless advice of "be balanced" or "have control" or "be graceful."

Now, it's true that in the context of a swingout we use our partner's momentum to help us redirect our own momentum in ways that allow us to keep our feet somewhat more under us than we otherwise would. But that requires lots of good lindy technique, and the "keep your feet under you" meme merely masks all sorts of good advice about how to do a proper swingout which I won't go into here because it's 5am and I'm cranky with insomnia.

</rant>

  • Joined 2/5/01
  • 1486
  • Post #11
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)

I completely disagree with scuffing up the shoes...They were meant to be slick, and smooth...why ruin that? The only thing to do is just dance in them...a lot... I am sorry, but scuffing up a perfectly good sole is just wrong...

If you are used to converse...then the hard leather will seem like ice... I am assuming the dance sneakers are suede and not hard leather? If so, use them a bit more at first, since suede is not as slick as hard leather...then work up to it...

I may not live there anymore, but my dancing feet will always be from L.A.

  • Joined 5/27/00
  • 38
  • Post #12
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)

i think the rock step is the exception to the rule so far as keeping your feet under you, as is part of the triple step. i used to teach the basic footwork as "push step, step push step, step step, step push step" where each 'step' is keeping your body right above your foot, and the pushes are just enough to get your other foot off the ground, but not stay there. the triples could also be push step step, depending on your style. that's for leads, the first two counts for follows would just be step step. interesting stuff to think about, at any rate.

  • Joined 9/16/08
  • 32
  • Post #13
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "sdswinger"
I completely disagree with scuffing up the shoes...They were meant to be slick, and smooth...why ruin that? The only thing to do is just dance in them...a lot... I am sorry, but scuffing up a perfectly good sole is just wrong... If you are used to converse...then the hard leather will seem like ice... I am assuming the dance sneakers are suede and not hard leather? If so, use them a bit more at first, since suede is not as slick as hard leather...then work up to it...

That's what I was doing, but those sueded soles have gotten mirror-like very quickly and are now more "icey" than my captoes.

Anyways, a very encouraging (to me) update: I went dancing to see the Jive Aces on Tuesday and b/c I heard the floor of the venue was....um....in need of some TLC, I knew my chucks and my "needed brushing up" dance sneakers would probably screw me up so I gave my captoes another chance.

WOW is all I can say. I don't know what changed between my sliding across the floor at the Firehouse in La Jolla and swinging at Club Red besides a few weeks of time passing but it was ALOT different (well, floors were way different too. firehouse's floor was VERY fast and the captoes hadn't been danced in yet). Now, I did still have trouble breaking (thus why I posted this thread), but control was there like it hadn't been last time.

Last night at Wrigley (Solomon Douglas playing), I wore the captoes again. This time, just the right pressure right behind the balls of my feet "breaked" my movement, but it was mooshier than it is with all stars (like the difference between breaks that are so tight that a tap on the pedal will jerk you to a stop, and ones that are not so tigh). Though there were a few times where if I let my leg get out from under me too much and then put weight on it (I still need to do something about the heels, as they're like knife edges when I try and susie Q while leading a follow through switches/swivels), overall I felt ALOT of control and didn't go sliding out of control ever.

Maybe they just needed to be danced in more :). Though now I need to get a wire brush and brush up my dance sneakers (there are some floors here in Phoenix that ARE way too fast for my captoes), as they're too slick for the floors I want to wear them on.

About the rant against keeping one's feet under oneself, I'd like to say that I never took that literally either. What that said to me was, "keep your center of gravity over your feet." I found that when I get off balance somewhat (without proper connection to my partner), that's when I tend to go sliding more often. And the captoes just made it so I didn't have to make a HUGE balance mistake before I felt the consequences.

  • Joined 11/17/06
  • 1184
  • Post #14
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Phlurg"
Quoted from "pill_popper"
Keep you feet under you.
<rant> Die, meme, die. <snip> First off, it's precisely by not having our feet under us that we're able to move and change direction in the first place.

But needing to move is exactly the opposite of the problem SirBrass is having. What he is saying is that he is having trouble staying in a spot. It is impossible to <i>not</i> move if your weight isn't centered over your feet, so that's a good first step for giving advice on that issue.

Quoted from "Phlurg"
What I imagine people are thinking of when they say this -- if they're actually thinking when they parrot this useless meme -- is the huge honkin' bad rocksteps.... You might as well offfer the equally useless advice of "be balanced" or "have control" or "be graceful." &lt;/rant&gt;

Actually, I've thought about that quite a bit (although I can't remember ever advising anyone about it), and found it to be very helpful. And I'm well beyond the giant rockstep phase of which you speak. It's absolutely more specific and helpful than phrases like "be balanced" or "have contol." Failure to keep my weight over my point of contact with the ground may be one of many possible reasons I could be out of control/off balance. It's something I was able to learn to feel, with a relatively small amount of study, when it is and isn't happening. It applies to a LOT more than rock steps (in fact, I can't remember ever being told that about rock steps, but I have heard it in several other contexts.) So yes, more specific advice can be more helpful in a situation where an instructor is there to see what specificially is causing the problem, bit it's a general feel that I can recognize and it helps me diagnose issues when I'm practicing on my own and having control/balance issues. (And the more I do hear it from instructors, along with the more specific advice, the better I get a feel for how to apply it.)

It might not work for you (or you may have been dancing too long to remember what it was like when that sort of advice would have been useful, I don't know), but I strongly suspect that the reason you hear it so much is that a lot of people do find it useful and helpful.

Quoted from "sdswinger"
I completely disagree with scuffing up the shoes...

I completely agree with the disagreement. If you have sneakers, I would think they are suade, which is not that slick, especially if they are new. If you are sliding when you don't intend to in those, it sounds like an a control issue for you to fix. (If you are sliding too much in hard leather on a slick floor, then maybe it is just the wrong shoes for the floor.)

I know it's possible to have the kind of control you're looking for. I sometimes dance with a guy who can, in one beat, do a long slide, and in the very next beat, plant himself so thoroughly that he sends me out with an amazing amount of juice while he moves not at all (and I'm 6 inches taller than him, and weigh I-don't-know-how-much more.) I don't know how he does it, but I've seen proof that it's possible. (And yeah, it's not just one guy. All of the really skilled leads seem to be able to spin or slide when they want to, and plant themselves when they want to, in the same dance.)

I do have some ideas about how it's done, mainly from listening to advice given to the leaders during classes, but I'm even less qualified to advise about leading than I am about following, so I'll leave that to someone who knows more than I do.

-- Rachel

  • Joined 8/7/06
  • 2448
  • Post #15
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Phlurg"
Now, it's true that in the context of a swingout we use our partner's momentum to help us redirect our own momentum in ways that allow us to keep our feet somewhat more under us than we otherwise would.

This is the fun part that all this practicing on technique gets you.

you just got to listen to the music, 'cause it's talkin' to you man! -frankie http://www.zazzle.com/anarchyforpresident

  • Joined 2/5/01
  • 1486
  • Post #16
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)

SirBrass...yeah. a wire brush is a must if you want to keep your suede from getting as smooth as glass...I used to use one when I had suede...(before my hard leather) then it got to a point where I didn't need to brush them anymore because I was just an overall better dancer...It also made the transition to hard leather a whole lot easier.

I may not live there anymore, but my dancing feet will always be from L.A.

  • Joined 4/19/00
  • 4069
  • Post #17
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "r_c_s"
But needing to move is exactly the opposite of the problem SirBrass is having. What he is saying is that he is having trouble staying in a spot. It is impossible to <i>not</i> move if your weight isn't centered over your feet, so that's a good first step for giving advice on that issue.

I agree that it's impossible not to move if your weight isn't centered over your feet, but the corollary is that it's impossible to move if your weight is actually centered over your feet (assuming they're not splayed out). . Which is sorta my whole point. You can't both move and keep your center of balance directly over your feet, so any advice to the contrary is just incoherent.

Quote
Failure to keep my weight over my point of contact with the ground may be one of many possible reasons I could be out of control/off balance.

Failure to keep one's center over one's point of contact with the ground is how humans move. To demonstrate this, look at yourself closely in a mirror. Stand up totally straight, so that you're exactly perpendicular to the ground. Now, take a step forward. Unless you walk rather strangely, you'll notice that you naturally tilt forward slightly before the step. That's you placing your center of gravity off center with respect to your feet. Movement is merely a controlled fall. ;)

Quote
It might not work for you (or you may have been dancing too long to remember what it was like when that sort of advice would have been useful, I don't know), but I strongly suspect that the reason you hear it so much is that a lot of people do find it useful and helpful.

Here's my theory, having taught for quite a while. When you get up in front of a group of students you sometimes find yourself wanting something to say, and often what comes out of your mouth is stuff other people taught you. Yes I've heard "keep your feet under you," a number of times, and I've even said it a number of times. I don't know when it dawned on me that it's nonsensical, exactly, but once you think about it, it's hard to come to any other conclusion.

And it may help some people, even though it's technically incorrect, but for my money, I'd rather find something to say that's more enlightening.

  • Joined 5/22/01
  • 4649
  • Post #18
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)

You may need to be more specific about which kind of slides.

There is a slide often seen in pictures where the guy sends his follow in front of him and uses her momentum to take a huge sliding step forward. This particular slide uses the hedge of your heel so whether or not your sole is scuffed or not has no relevance because your weight isn't on it.

There is also a slide where your feet start together you bend your knees and as you straighten them, you push both legs apart in a sideways fashion. Pushing off the floor reduces the adherence you have to the floor just like if you were doing a turn in downhill ski or stopping on ice skates. For this slide too, you are sliding on a small part of your heel so again the slickness of your sole has little or no bearing.

If you are doing a slide where most of your weight is on the sole of your foot, you are then using the sole to slide, all you have to do in order to stop is to shift some of your weight to your heel. Your heel is most likely not as slick as your sole.

  • Joined 9/2/99
  • 3132
  • Post #19
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)

Put on shoes.

Dance.

That's it.

Dancing in slick shoes, IMO, can make you a better dancer. It will force you to have control over your center in ways that dancing on a "stickier" shoes doesn't. When I dance in sneakers I feel like I can cheat a bit more on my wieght placement than I can when in hard leather or raw leather soled shoes.

I dont' see any reason to scuff up slick shoes. They are meant to be slick. Dancing in them and eventually you will learn how to control yourself on them.

It is important to brush suade though, as it will get matted down and become a slicker shoe over time.

So just keep dancing in them. Eventually you will come to love the options and degree of control that a slick shoe gives you, even if it feels like a lack of control at the moment.

  • Joined 1/11/06
  • 2370
  • Post #20
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)

For getting a wire brush, don't bother with an official dancer one. The best thing to do is go to a hardware store and ask for a plumber's wire brush for cleaning pipes before joining them. You can find them cheap and in a rotary shape. I paid maybe 4 for mine like 2 years ago. --R

y i no haz signature? Come on people, make with the funny.

  • Joined 9/16/08
  • 32
  • Post #21
  • Originally posted Friday, September 19, 2008 (8 years ago)

I was just figuring on going to macys (it's on the way home from work) and seeing if they had something like that in the men's dress shoe department. That, and I should get some cedar balls and maybe a pair of cedar trees for my shoes. Foot sweat no bueno for really nice raw sole shoes.

  • Joined 1/23/07
  • 850
  • Post #22
  • Originally posted Saturday, September 20, 2008 (8 years ago)

I have a pair of Aris Allens and I was disappointed with them. The problem with dance shoes is lack of support or weight. It is like dancing in bedroom slippers. Aris Allens do not wear well. The sides tend to split. I resorted to sneakers with suede on the bottoms. They have support, are light but not too light and I can slide in them.

  • Joined 1/11/06
  • 2370
  • Post #23
  • Originally posted Saturday, September 20, 2008 (8 years ago)

Support-wise, I've been having some trouble with my feetz of late and so I started first using a Dr.Scholl's type o' insert in my AAs. They were alright, but I switched to Super Feet which are a hard type of insert and I've been alot happier since. --R

y i no haz signature? Come on people, make with the funny.

  • Joined 8/6/08
  • 52
  • Post #24
  • Originally posted Saturday, September 20, 2008 (8 years ago)

If DR. Scholl's works for you thats great. Some folks (me) may need more support. I have used too many insoles to count and the only ones that have worked are SOLE brand. They cost quite a bit but they can be custom fit to your feet. All you have to do is heat them and stand in them while they cool and BANG custom fit. I know that I am sounding like and ad. I just got mine this week and fell in love with them. Seriously, I could go on for hours... Anyway you may want to check them out here.

  • Joined 10/12/06
  • 1750
  • Post #25
  • Originally posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Phlurg"
Failure to keep one's center over one's point of contact with the ground is how humans move. To demonstrate this, look at yourself closely in a mirror. Stand up totally straight, so that you're exactly perpendicular to the ground. Now, take a step forward. Unless you walk rather strangely, you'll notice that you naturally tilt forward slightly before the step. That's you placing your center of gravity off center with respect to your feet. Movement is merely a controlled fall. ;)

Agreed.

Quote
Here's my theory, having taught for quite a while. When you get up in front of a group of students you sometimes find yourself wanting something to say, and often what comes out of your mouth is stuff other people taught you. Yes I've heard "keep your feet under you," a number of times, and I've even said it a number of times. I don't know when it dawned on me that it's nonsensical, exactly, but once you think about it, it's hard to come to any other conclusion. And it may help some people, even though it's technically incorrect, but for my money, I'd rather find something to say that's more enlightening.

I believe where it comes from is from people overthinking their footwork and moving their feet where they have been told they need to go (feet move first, out from under their center), rather then as you say, move the body first and know the feet will catch up on their own (normal walking).

  • Joined 5/21/01
  • 1868
  • Post #26
  • Originally posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 (8 years ago)

Phlurg,

Yes you are technically correct, however, that piece of advice actually does help many people. Not because they ACTUALLY keep their feet underneath them entirely, but because it causes them to REDUCE the distance they are moving their feet from their center of gravity or their center of gravity from their feet to a point where they are more in control of themselves. It's exaggeration in a good cause. You should know better than most that the way we think about things isn't always accurate and can still be very useful.

And quite frankly, your counter-example of the way soccer players move is just as much of an exaggeration. Soccer players wear cleats and can do all sorts of things because their shoes are literally sticking their feet to the ground. I'd like you to try to move like a soccer player, wearing cleats on a pitch, on a polished ballroom floor wearing slick shoes. Should you try, please get it on film. I'd pay for that :)

  • Joined 10/12/06
  • 1750
  • Post #27
  • Originally posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Addict"
Phlurg, Yes you are technically correct, however, that piece of advice actually does help many people. Not because they ACTUALLY keep their feet underneath them entirely, but because it causes them to REDUCE the distance they are moving their feet from their center of gravity or their center of gravity from their feet to a point where they are more in control of themselves. It's exaggeration in a good cause. You should know better than most that the way we think about things isn't always accurate and can still be very useful

Personally I feel I was hobbled for quite some time as I was assuming my instructors were actually telling me the literal truth as they understood it. It wasn't until I had spent a significant effort watching closely at what they were actually doing when they danced...and how as often as not it didn't have much to do with anything they were telling me, that I started making real progress. I started ignoring what they had to say and simply watched more closely what they actually do when they dance.

I've learned that for the majority of instructors out there...you've got to take everything they say with a few cups of salt. Instructors lie, as often as not, both unintentionally and intentionally (albeit with good intentions). So no, I don't find this type of "exaggeration" beneficial. At least in my case, it was extremely detrimental. Worse yet, once I've learned you've intentionally tried to mislead me anything additional you have to say will be automatically suspect and discounted.

It's a bad, bad road that far too many instructors choose to venture down. It's a large reason why I only have a very, very short list of instructors I'll bother taking a class from. That short list tends to consist of instructors that dance more and talk less.

  • Joined 7/21/03
  • 1871
  • Post #28
  • Originally posted Monday, September 22, 2008 (8 years ago)

When I dance, I try to keep my shoulders over my knees and toes and my butt over my heels. Now obviously this isn't exact, and will change depending on the degree to which I bend my knees, but as my default... that's the basic weight distribution. If I bend my knees more, my knees, shoulders, and butt will all project further outward, but equidistantly. From that perspective, my feet are not entirely underneath my entire body, but my weight is more or less centred over them. Now, when I take a step, there is one foot left behind my body. But because I'm no longer putting any weight on that foot, it doesn't matter for the time being. Also, because I am engaging my core muscles, that leg is not far behind. It collects quickly and moves forward with my body on the next step. I do not fall into my steps... I push off the floor to move my body up and over and control my descent with the landing foot. When I'm dancing well, anyway (moments of counterbalance--which is not my default--notwithstanding).

I think the important part about saying, "keep your weight centred over your feet," is that thinking about it that way forces you to contract your core muscles to control your limbs. This control and balance is what helps prevent slipping. It helped me immensely and I've seen it help many other people. I've never seen anyone fight a battle over keeping their feet under them or moving. Whether or not it's technically accurate doesn't matter, because from my perspective, it sure feels and looks as though my feet are under me. And that's the only way I'm going to know whether or not I've got it right. I need to have some kind of concrete criteria to aim for.

As for dancing fast with slippery dance shoes on a slippery floor... I usually try to avoid it. I agree with Ogden that learning to control your dancing in such a scenario will make you a better dancer, but it also makes it easy to pick up bad habits. Personally, I'd recommend starting off wearing sticky shoes (the floor in our studio is super-slippery and most of us still find it possible to slide with grippy sneakers) and practicing picking up your feet. I never recommend sliding on fast music, unless you're using it as a purposeful and occasional styling. Once you're solid with that, then you can start working with progressively slipperier shoes and trying to maintain that same level of control.

Just my opinion, of course.

Air Air
  • Joined 12/30/04
  • 10190
  • Post #29
  • Originally posted Monday, September 22, 2008 (8 years ago)

Also some good advice over here and here.

Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man?

  • Joined 11/20/00
  • 16167
  • Post #30
  • Originally posted Monday, September 22, 2008 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Addict"
And quite frankly, your counter-example of the way soccer players move is just as much of an exaggeration. Soccer players wear cleats and can do all sorts of things because their shoes are literally sticking their feet to the ground. I'd like you to try to move like a soccer player, wearing cleats on a pitch, on a polished ballroom floor wearing slick shoes. Should you try, please get it on film. I'd pay for that :)

Better yet, I'd like to see him make a fast hairpin turn on slick grass (wet preferably) without cleats.

:P

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