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Style and Technique:

Forward and Backward Walks

The forward and backward walks are one of the most neglected aspects of our dancing. Walking is an activity that requires split-second timing; without it, you would fall flat on your face! Intuitive or not, the action of walking is the most fundamental of dance movements, and is required study if one wishes to develope one's dancing to a respectable standard.

The following description is not intended to address all of the dynamics involved in walking movements; it is basic. It should be studied until you can make sense of it and execute it slowly, with control; then it should be studied more, until you can use it while you dance.

Print this out so you can read it standing up. This is best done slowly, without music at first, and preferably with a ballet barre (or a chair back,) to hold on to.

The Forward Walk

Stand in an upright position, feet together, with the weight carried forward over the balls of the feet.

Swing the leg forward, from the hip, first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, then with the heel lightly skimming the floor as the toe is gently raised. As soon as the front heel passes the back toe, the back heel will be released from the floor, so at the extent of the stride the weight will be equally divided between the heel of the front foot and the ball of the back foot, with the front knee straight and the back knee slightly flexed. Lower the front toe immediately as the weight of the body moves forward. The back foot then moves forward, with first the toe, then the ball of the foot skimming the floor until the feet are level. The back foot then continues forward into the next step.

The Backward Walk

Stand in an upright position with the feet together and the weight held forward over the balls of the feet.

Move the foot back, skimming the floor first with the ball of the foot, then with the tip of the toe. As soon as the back foot moves past the front heel, the front toe will be released from the floor; lower again to the ball of the back foot, so that at the extent of the stride, the weight will be equally divided between the ball of the back foot and the heel of the front foot; the back knee should be slightly flexed, and the front knee straight. The front foot then commences to move back, first with the heel and then with the ball of the foot skimming the floor until the feet are level, which is when the back heel will lower. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT THE BACK HEEL LOWERS VERY SLOWLY AND WITH CONTROL.

 

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