Heels on the back step

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Lola, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Lola

    Lola Sonero

    Okay, so I've been dancing about a year, but when I get privates with an instructor I always ask to review my basics first. I want to make sure I'm not getting into any bad habits, and that I'm dancing in a way that facilitates easy movement/response (and thus my ability to follow the lead).

    Here's the problem; I have heard a few different theories on this particular movement.

    I took a class from one of the great salsa dancers and she said that my heels should rarely ever go down at all. It can go down only occasionally if my weight needs to be completely on that foot, but very very rarely ever on the back part of a basic, and even then very controlled so you can't hear my heel. She says that by pushing into the floor with my toes I am in better control of my weight and balance and can follow better.

    Then I take a private with another great instructor...he asked me why I didn't put my heels down, that I need it for correct weight transfer/pressure on the feet. That if I don't I am likely to knock myself off balance and that many people pitch themselves forward doing this. (The fact that I don't pitch my weight forward makes me very happy).

    I've had local instructors verify both these ideas...but inevitably the girls have said don't put your heel down and the guys put their heels down. (I've even seen guys here SPINNING on their heels).

    What are your viewpoints on this?
  2. chr

    chr Shine Officer

    It probably also depends on the style.

    All my CBL style instructors told me:
    1) ball only on break steps.
    2) flat feet (but ball first!) on the other steps.

    My Cuban style instructor wants to see flat feet all the time, but
    when I observe him, he often does just breaks with ball only.
  3. GForce85

    GForce85 Rhythm Deputy

    I rarely put my heels on the ground; if I do, it's usually because I just lost my balance or because I'm doing something where I need to support some of my partner's weight. I think staying on the balls of your feet allows you to be quicker and more precise with your footwork, and it gives you better control of weight distribution. Then again, I used to be a sprinter, so it could just be a habit to stay on the balls of my feet...
  4. Jambo

    Jambo El Sabroso de Conguero

    I'll give Terence a quid if he can resist answering on this thread :twisted:

    I've been told both ways too Lola ;)
  5. lolita

    lolita Capitán Del Estilo

    I do what I feel best suits my balance.. Sometimes I notice that when the beat is faster, I am most likely to stay on my toes and do not put my heels down.
    On slower songs, I tend to put my heels down.

    Just do whatever feels convenient for the very particular song, dance, and the leader as well.
  6. dark99

    dark99 Changui


    What I've been told (I'm a guy) is that your weight should be always on the balls of your toes but the heel can touch the floor to help with balance. Basically you should be able to slip a piece of paper under your heels. There are exceptions to the rule.

    I've asked my instructor about spinning, and spinning on the heels isn't recommended by my instructor, because it's suppose to give you less control, but there are exceptions (hook turn). The reason why some people spin on their heels is that it's easier to balance on your heel.

    Take that for what it's worth. :)
  7. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    This is what my (current) teacher tells me, and I'm sticking to it for now.
    What she says is to do the weight transfer from ball to heel using two beats over the 3-4 and 7-8, i.e., land on the ball on the 3/7 then put the heel down on the 4/8. Ball only on break steps - helps your weight to spring back so makes you more responsive.

    I had a teacher before who taught never to put the heels down though. I think every teacher teaches what works for *them* best, and you can try different ways and see what works for *you* best.
  8. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    Good post and welcome to Salsa forums :) :) :)
  9. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I guess I will not be collecting !

    Technique in movement is not automatically " optional " ..and most, is specific .

    The basic concept of ALL the latin dances , is no "rise and fall " so.... the footwork varies only very slightly between fwd and back motions, as follows.. no pun.." Ball / flat" on ALL fwd steps . Its also for the reason of dynamics ( a compress and release theory ) . The fwd break action , should have the " poise " set more central .
    On backward steps, again lowering thru a " ball/flat action ". The heel should touch the floor on back breaks with a " kiss " action . This "softening " of the directional change is brought about by this action .

    If one were to analise the action of the feet between the " break " and the following fwd action, you would note, that as the heel of the breaking foot lowers to the floor, the heel of the next fwd motion begins to release from its " flat " position.

    The poise , as in ALL partnership dance, is set over the inside edge/ball of the foot.

    In essence, the footwork in either direction, is essentially flat, with no pronounced " ball" action. This is what defines the " street " look about the genre , as to the more defined look of ballroom latin .

    Its not Ballet !
  10. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I'll pay terence his quid for that post!
  11. Fundance

    Fundance Changui

    The gender gives it away. This is a he and she thing.

    For the ladies, if you're staying balanced and straight and not transferring weight to your heels you'll be quicker to respond from the springy balls of your feet - and probably just as wiggly. With the guys, if they don't transfer at least a little weight to the heels they don't get the natural hip action. A lot of male instructors have never actually thought about that from the girl's point of view. But I know at least one (very good) lady instructor who also tells the girls to make sure their heels at least touch or brush the floor if not with weight
  12. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    It is not easier to maintain balance if spinning on the heel.. the weight is "out" of centre and will subsequently affect balance..

    Also the " hook " as you call it ( a backspot turn or natural top ) is danced with a flat foot (L ) and a pivoting action on the ball of the right ... standard technique thruout the industry .
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Gender has little or nothing to do with weight transference, we are all goverened by the same dynamics .

    As to Cuban motion, this action is precipitated by how we transfer the weight to the stepping foot ( towards the inside edge of ball and whole foot ) thru a relaxed knee with a slight straightening of the supporting leg ( the Intern. style is danced with a different leg action ) .
  14. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    The reason you are losing your balance is because you are constantly on the ball of the foot. And if you are trying to support your partners weight ( tho I cant imagine why ) you need a firm base, so the analogy is flawed .

    If you were a prof and danced this way, you would do irreparable damage to your feet and would not have any long term life as a teacher . Its also bad technically .
  15. Jambo

    Jambo El Sabroso de Conguero

    Phew :lol:
  16. antigone

    antigone Pattern Police

    Hehe, I didn't think you would go for that quid.

    As for spinning on the heel - really?? Are you talking abotu the square men's heel? Because I don't see how it would be better to spin on my high heels, even if they are flared - the smaller area is much worse for balance than the ball of the foot. For example, I tried to get the damned heel turn in standard for years, and I still fall over 25% of the time.
  17. dark99

    dark99 Changui

    I've rarely seen a woman spin on her heels, I'd personally think that spinning on high heels would be dangerous because the heel may break.

    Antigone, yup, I was referring to those big square heels on men's shoes. The large rigid surface area seems to make balancing on them easier. With the right training where you'd learn to move your center of gravity (balance) over the heel(s) I can see that it'd be easier to spin on your heel because of the larger stable platform and no need to use your calf muscle.


    Terrance, by hook turn are you talking about this? (Watch David Nieto at time 0:32) (BTW the Mayan competition was really fun to watch!):

    I always thought those kinds of turns were done with a split weight at start and transfering weight from heel->toe (vice versa on other foot) as you spin, but then this is salsa, so the standard is that there is no standard.
  18. GForce85

    GForce85 Rhythm Deputy

    Haha it's not like I spend entire dances losing my balance; just sometimes when I do double hook turns or get overzealous doing something. Also I didn't intend to make any analogies, flawed or otherwise. The fact is I was a sprinter and it affects how I dance. Wanting to be quicker and light on my feet sends me to the balls of my feet purely through habit (and of course, habits are often wrong). I don't intend to be a prof or a teacher, but I do respect your expertise as both, so I will try to adjust based on your earlier post regarding proper footwork. Thank you for the information :)
  19. dark99

    dark99 Changui

    Thanks, smiling28! This seems like a fun place to be!
  20. Fundance

    Fundance Changui

    Hey Terence, you must have noticed that girls have a far more accentuated natural wiggle than boys. And that boys are rarely to be seen in high heels on the dance floor.

    The former means that girls can forego some of the treading boys have to do to get any hip action at all. The latter, that there's a substantial difference in the scope for treading down anyway.

    Unless both are in the likes of jazz shoes.

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