When it comes to dance, no truer words were spoken than what was said by British poet and dramatist, John Dryden in the 1600’s, “Dancing is the poetry of the foot.” Whether dancing in front of an audience or dancing down a street on a sunny afternoon, the feet write and display the graceful beauty of dancing. They are, after all, the most fundamental aspect and building blocks for any dancer.
In the world of dance, the requirement for good technique and precision means correct use of the legs and feet, the footwork. Similar to building a home, careful attention is taken when constructing the foundation. No one would say to a builder, “Forget about the foundation; just focus on making the walls and architecture look pretty!” You don’t have to be a builder to know that a home with a poor foundation will not stand when it is subjected to even the smallest amount of stress. Paying close attention to the footwork in dance is also the fundamental foundation to good technique.
Incorrect use of the feet while dancing can lead to a ripple effect of issues that, in return, impact the rest of the body’s movement: lack of transition into the next move, change of rhythm, inability to keep up in speed, unable to keep up with a partner, loss of rhythm in hip and torso action and the list goes on. The cure for all of those issues is correct use of the feet and legs along with accuracy when performing the footwork. Everything a dancer does, rising, leaping, slowness, quickness, swaying, and action, are all connected with and credited to the feet.
When we stop for a moment and realize what the feet are capable of and how intelligently they work with the legs, it is amazing how often they are ignored. Many doctors recommend the best way to keep your body feeling young is to stay active. Dancers have to move in 10 different directions at once and be able to switch quickly, building great coordination along with weight bearing, increasing bone density and strengthening joints. Footwork also has a positive effect on the rest of the body like improving cardiovascular fitness, increasing circulation, and decreasing blood pressure.
If you are looking to get started in ballroom dancing and begin lessons for the benefits in footwork or health, our West Hartford dance studio offers ballrom dancing lessons for all stages; beginners to professionals. We offer group and private dance lessons as well as practive parties, regional competitions and other fun events!