Sunday, September 4, 2011

Followers backstep

Isn't it quite interesting how you can block out information just at a skin layer away. During the last years my concentration has totally been on leader's steps but I thought I knew the follower's steps. Actually the question of knowing or not knowing did not occurred to me! But when I tried to explain the steps to the two followers in our training group my knowledge was like a puzzle in a pocket! .... unsorted and with great risk for missing pieces!

So I have now recalled the information fragments from my follower days and reviewed my video collection. I hope you get a picture about the different aspects of the footwork easy to understand and oppose, if you disagree! Please let me know! A step is a phenomenon of moving and I think that's the reason I ended up using vocabulary for trips: departure, traveling and arrival.

I will go through the normal, ordinary caminata where the follower is walking backwards with normal, comfortable steps. There is another technique for the long steps. The moving energy for steps is coming from the leader and I would like to use expression – follower is placing the step – you are not taking the step but receiving the leaders forward movement and placing your step. Don't you think this idea could make followers balance stronger? 
Just concentrate to PLACE the step!

Here you stand with one foot in front of you and you start to feel how leader is advancing; so your foot needs to leave its place in front of you and then start to travel backwards!

Many times ladies let the heel have the last contact to the floor and this makes the toes to jump up - a nice decoration but it should not be part of an ordinary step. With other words: When you feel leader's forward movement it is time to leave, lift your heel a tiny bit, keep the ball of the foot on the floor but without delay let leaders movement have impact on your foot - let it move. Please remember your ball of the foot is the last thing leaving the place!

This lady has a fantastic classical style! Though I prefer lower heels – should always be directed towards the floor!

(Please do NOT follow the advice to tilt the feets – there is risk for injuries!)


The most common recommendation is to step on one line but there is also many appreciated teachers talking for two lines; so both your feet have the luxury of own line! You can let the ball of the foot move on the floor or just above; it's a choice of your taste! Let the foot touch the other one when passing by and then KEEP THE HEEL still DOWNwards. It is more safety and it helps you to keep the foot, knee and hip line beautifully stretched.

When you watch the experienced followers you find how they keep the heels vertical/ towards the floor. The ones who have the stileto parallell with the floor are dangerous - it's like a piraya longing for nearby heels! There is ladies I do not dance with because of that or I change the line when having her behind me.

Another way to travel backwards is by letting your big toe to brush the floor. After passing your supporting leg keep your heel downwards and let your foot go straight backwards.

This is Jennifer Bratt, You find her video in the end of this posting. In the left picture she is placing her left foot, it is a little bitt toooo much toe and you can see how high the end of the heel is in the ear. Think how it would look like if ball of the foot could be used more here!  On the right she has some of the weight on the left foot. The right heel is slightly in the air but ball/toes still on to the floor.

Your landing moment comes with the leader's step but your landing style is your choice! Please touch the floor with the whole ball of the foot, anyhow with as big part of it as you can do comfortably. (If only your toes meets the floor I think your heel is too high!) Let your leader then do the rest of the job and roll you to your heel.

Let me know what you think!  Missing some parts?

Jennifer Bratt - Low back boleos

At the end The main aspects!
Keep your ball of the foot towards the floor (heel towards the floor)
Receive the movement from leader, relaxed but with extended lines; heel – knee – hips
Placing your foot at every part of the step

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