Or, why aren’t you doing any foot work dude!
We all have fond memories of looking down at our feet trying to figure out why we are looking down at our feet. Those fleeting moments of intimacy where your concentration is broken by the person you’re trying to dance with gently telling you to look up.
Oh happy days.
Anyone new to Modern Jive/Blues, when you are all new and shiny you’re going to struggle with lots of Newbie things. Footwork is on that list.
Saying that, Modern Jive and Blues are very generous when it comes to poor technique. This isn’t because you’re not supposed to do it but because most of what we do is for fun. It is sociable fun for everyone and in most cases taught as such. Technique is something that needs constant work and is a personal endeavour not a requirement.
As you’re reading a blog on how to improve, we will take that as a positive.
So, as you start up, there is a time where you think you have it all sussed but as Admiral Achbar once said “It’s a Trap!” that will keep creeping in unless you do something about it.
The trap is The Rock God Stance.
Feet shoulder width apart with you grounded to the floor like a limpet going nowhere while you let you partner run back and forwards doing all the work.
The reason for this is because when you first started, you weren’t thinking footwork.
You’re thinking Get Out of the Way!
We all lose count of the amount of times we were in the wrong place as we pull our partner into a move and the easiest way around this is to stay out of the way.
In class they teach you to swap positions but once that is done you’re on your own and there is a perfectly good way to avoid all your problems. No one but you is going to pull you up on this. Take a side on position and let the ladies do their thing; you can lead spins and walk byes, even chuck in a couple of drops if they take your fancy.
All the while not moving a single step.
The Pro to this is easy; you’re not in the way, getting anything wrong.
The Con to this is you are not being fair to your partner. They are doing all the work for minimum return. You’re in the wrong position to lead most things properly. There is a high chance you will hurt them leading the spins.
You’re in the wrong position to look after your partner if anything goes wrong, from a bad spin to them tripping over another dancer. You’re not actually dancing, you’re being a puppeteer and not doing your job well at all.
The solution is nice and easy.
Firstly, recognise it for what it is, poor technique. It is a habit born from either when you first started and were worried about hurting your partner by treading on them or just through plain laziness.
Half the time it will creep on late in the evening as you start to tire or during really fast tunes when you aren’t up to the pace.
So look out for it.
And here is my tip on how to resolve this issue.
Take as many steps as your partner.
Even if you are in one spot letting them do something, move you feet! Get up on your toes and bounce, Do something other than plant your feet and stand there waiting for the dance floor gods to give you salsa hips. Keep Moving.
Unless you are leading a drop you have no excuse. If your partner is moving then so are you and if you can pay attention to when they move then you can offer the counter balance. This will help you. It matches your timings up together which makes a smoother dance. It means you are already up on your toes making you lighter on your feet. It means you will be quicker to get in the right position to do your side of the dance properly.
Think about it and then do it.
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