Thursday, February 12, 2009

Your OTHER Left Foot

You ever wonder where the expression "I've got two left feet" came from? I'm pretty sure it was a response to some student pick up their right foot when a teacher (friend or whoever) asked them to pick up their left foot: "No, your other left foot."

"I've got two left feet."

The topic is footwork in Lindy Hop and it is immense. Let's start with some basic ideas!

One of the exercises that we've spent a lot of time on is a balance exercise and hopefully that will be implicit in all the work we do. If we have one leg standing on the floor then we should have enough support to do stuff with the other leg, right? That assumes that our weight isn't up in the air somewhere, like in a jump. Most of the things that I can think about to do with my feet revolve around the transitions between switching the weight from one leg to the other.

For example, I'm dancing on my left leg and my right leg is free to dance in the air the air, then with a hop, my center lifts and both legs are in off the ground, and then my right leg lands and my left leg is free to do whatever it wills. You have done this before. It's called running.

It's really easy to over-think this stuff, so most students learn better from observation and repetition. If you're confused about the paragraphs above, work a little bit to figure out what it means and then let it go. Trust the drills.

The other notion that makes Lindy Hop footwork a bit different from Tap or other solo dancing is that we have a partner, and we have to interact with their weight. Leads, it should be assumed that you are comfortable with placing your partner's weight. Follows, it should be assumed that you are comfortable being placed. But you're students, so let's assume you should probably still work on that a lot.

There's a lot more give and take to the interplay between lead and follow, but for now let's work from the assumption that when the lead places the follow, the follow is supported on one leg and has the other free, more or less.

Needless to say, the best way to improve on this stuff is W.O.R.K.
Only this time, with feet.

Thanks to Mary Freitag, who'll stop by today with tips on follow styling.

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