Fellow. USISTD

Dance Nerd

Musings on dance technique, by no means definitive.

All them toes

There are a bunch of places in the ballroom technique where we step down on a toe or lower on a toe. This always befuddled me in years past. The normal footwork associated with a lowering would be TH on a step we lower or H on step where we are already down and don't have any lowering.

Let's look at some specific cases.

Basic Weave

Here we don't have any lowering through the middle of the figure: it's all toes through the end of the feather finish. We don't have lowering anywhere in 2-5 but any dancer worth their salt has a feeling of flexing their legs. We have to allow for bending and straightening of our knees and flection in our feet and ankles in any weight change, especially if there is sway or rotation. So basically every step will have some measure of bending and straightening of the legs.

Go ahead and try your straight-legged weave, I'll wait...

How was it?

Remember the writers of the technique were aiming to use language very specifically, not to allow for every variation of feeling. While we should have a feeling of compression through the legs and torsion in the body, the Basic Weave doesn't bob up and down in the middle so there is no need to rise and fall even though the heel may lower on 3 for a footwork of TH and a rise of up with NFR.

Bounce Fallaway with Weave Ending

What it is... Rise at the end of 1, up on 2 lower at the end of 2, down rise end of 3, up on 4 lower at the end of 4, down rise end of 5...on with a weave ending. It's the same rise and fall for man and lady. I'm just going to leave the man's footwork there, not because the ladies don't deserve equal time, but because the important information is all contained there and it would be unnecessary exposition to cover it. 

Footwork for Man, 1 HT; 2 T; 3 T; 4 T; 5 T; 6 T; 7 T; 8 TH; 9 T

There's a lovely note about how the knees slightly flex and the heels lower towards and may lightly touch on 2 and 4.

the Takeaway

Contrasted with the Basic Weave, we have rise and fall on these toe steps in the Bounce Fallaway because it is a different sort of movement. The slight lilting action over 1-4 is necessary for the "bounce" in the Bounce Fallaway. It's important to remember that the technique as written assumes a certain amount of movement or lack thereof depending on the figure. If you swing with the momentum and power of most competitive dancers today then lowering the heel all the way to the floor on 2 and 4 is not an option. You will most likely go KERPLUNK on the floor. Go ahead and give it a try, I'll wait...