Sunday, February 14, 2010

Newcomer Samba and Foxtrot

Break down the samba walk in great detail:

  • Start with feet together.
  • Straighten the legs on 'and'. 
  • Step back with the right foot. 
  • Keep weight forward. On 'a', land with split weight, heel does not touch the floor.
  • On 2, in order for the weight to be returned completely to the left foot, the left foot needs to slip a little so that the left knee can bend.
  • Do this very slow. To help understand the motion, watch Joanna Leunis do a slow motion stationary samba walk in an exhibition. I found examples of it here and here. In particular, notice that the hip starts moving before the leg, because the bounce action precedes the foot movement.

On the basics, natural and reverse stepping forward, and on side basic, the trailing foot has the instep facing front, line of ankle bent, pushing off on ball of foot.

Some technical details on the balance and body position for the latin dances.

  • Rumba: weight is low, below the navel, and the body is pretty straight up and down.
  • Chacha, weight is held above the navel, same balance as rumba.
  • Samba, weight is held at the sternum, body leans forward, heels just "kiss" the ground.
  • Jive, weight is held high, in the chest, body leans forward until just short of the point where you fall forward. Then the hips go back to restore balance.
  • Paso, the weight is held up in the base of the neck, and the balance is far enough back so that you can lift your toes off the ground.
Our instructor also broke down the feet, for the purpose of dance, into the heel, the arch, the ball, the platform, and the toe. The platforn is what one is standing on in releve in ballet. The instructor said you could tell which Latin dance was to be performed just from the posture of the dancer, based on these principles.

In foxtrot reverse turn, the way a heel turn is led is that the man steps on a practically straight knee. This stops movement forward. This is what is meant by early rise.

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