Learning to be lighter on my feet

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Mr. Dance, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Also, Mr. Dance, if I can add my 2cents . . .

    Latingal's excercise is a really great one, and will help you tons.

    To help it feel more natural and to more quickly incorporate it into muscle memory, simply try to be aware of the muscles in your feet at all times, not just while dancing. So when you're walking around, or pressing on the accelerator in your car, or standing around talking to someone, take a moment to feel your feet. See if you can tell which muscles you're using for your already-natural actions like walking and driving - try to feel your feet pushing off of or resting on the floor in these natural positions.

    Body awareness is key to improving as a dancer, and I find it helpful to try to develop that awareness during everyday activities. That way I'm not so worried about what I should be doing like when I dance, but am just learning how to be very aware of what my body is doing.

    Make sense?
  2. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    wonderful point delamusica!
  3. africana

    africana New Member

    oh yeah I find myself quite focused with how my feet is positioned, what part I'm using while doing various activities, including driving, and especially after yoga standing/balance poses

    i think i get the general idea of latingal's excercises but i'd need a visual to reinforce...I'm trying to change my footwork style (for salsa) due to having switched to heels from flats, I want to be as fast in heels without it feeling like more work or hurting.
    Does jazz help? I signed up for a beginning jazz class next month
  4. alemana

    alemana New Member

    it will hurt.
  5. africana

    africana New Member

    ouch guess i can't "do it all" all the time. I'm learning to keep things more compact, but i wanna do more at times...
  6. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    ooooh, believe me, I feel your pain....somebody get me an ice bag!
  7. Mr. Dance

    Mr. Dance New Member

    I think to myself now and then, the part in Shall We Dance where Linc Peterson tells Mr. Clark while they're in the restroom at work..where he comments that he can tell that he's been dancing because he posture is much better than it was before. Strange I know but now and then that pops into my head and helps keep me conscious of how I sit at my desk all day, and walk. Slouching for so long in my chair at work is a hard habit to break but Im working on it.

    Latingal and everyone else, if you have more exercises please feel to post them up. :)
  8. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Okay Matt, here's a second exercise which is really great (especially if you want to pursue standard or smooth). It will help you smooth out your foot articulation and body weight control.

    Stand with you feet together in parallel position (aka both pointing the same direction), bend your knees comfortably, both heels should still be on the floor. Now rock your weight back onto your heels, your knees will straighten slightly (but not all the way) and hips will shift slightly back, now roll forward through your feet to the balls to that forced arch position that I mentioned earlier (knees still bent with tailbone down). Try to make sure you are rolling all the way through your feet, it should feel smooth not klunky.

    I try to pause on the heels, then on the balls of my feet to feel the weight balance. I try to keep the tailbone pointing down as much as possible when going toward the toes; the pelvis will tilt a bit though when going back to the heels.

    This forward rolling through the foot/ankle action is used quite a bit in standard, as I mentioned before it is one of the factors of developing good "drive".

    It's another great warm up for the feet and ankles too...
  9. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl New Member

    In my Pilates class last week, I did some exercises standing on that half ball (it's like an exercise ball, but cut in half with a stable base). I was surprised afterward at what a good workout for my feet it was, as well as the core.
  10. Mr. Dance

    Mr. Dance New Member

    Thanks again for the tips ladies, I'll give this one a shot tonight !
  11. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    One thing that I think should be mentioned --

    The exercises latingirl is suggesting are great, but I would be very careful about doing them too often at first. As a new dancer you probably will find that some of your muscles aren't strong enough initially and thus you'll be in the normal "rip-rebuild" muscle building regime. (Even more true of pure toe-strength exercises than the articulation exercises suggested here).

    Make sure you give your feet, I'd say at least 4 days between repeating this exercise, especially if your feet feel sore after the exercise. You'll also want to make sure you stretch your feet out after these drills.

    Suggested stretches after a foot workout -- hold for at least a count of 20
    calf muscles stretches
    -- foot flexed at a wall, lean into the stretch with good posture)
    -- straight back leg lunge
    -- bent back leg lunge (moves the stretch to the achilles tendon)
    foot stretch
    -- ball of foot on floor, bring knee of same leg to floor (or close to it)
  12. Mr. Dance

    Mr. Dance New Member

    NielsenE.. thanks for the tips. So far in just the couple days Ive been doing them, I havent been over doing it and havent noticed any odd pains or soreness in my calves, ankles, or feet. Ive just been expriementing with them and so far they seem to work out ok. I do a few at a time and take alittle break, and then a few more and alittle break. I did a few before practice today just to help warm up.

    So far so good but I'll definately keep your tips in mind, and yes its definately important to stretch and warm up in general before and after any type of activity, including dance. :cool:

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