Ballroom Dance Techniques for Beginners – Foot Position

It’s common for new ballroom dancers to think that they have to learn many difficult ballroom dance techniques to look smooth when they’re dancing. Yes, there are a few rules, but nothing too difficult if you keep an open mind. Let’s start with some simple tips for the number one ballroom technique that you need to know to start dancing.

Foot Position is a very important ballroom dance technique.

The definition of foot position is, “Where one foot is in relation to the other foot“.  Similar to walking, your legs will swing out from under your hips in the direction you choose.  

Directional Movement

Forward or back step without rotation: 

As the legs go forward or back they’re scissored and closed at the thighs. In other words, as you move forward or back the legs don’t open wide. Indeed, the best method is to have them remain in their own track.

The ballroom dance technique of directional movement requires precision.

Side steps without rotation: 

A side step occurs when you move your foot to the left or right with one foot even with and parallel to the other foot. This is definitely an open step.

This is the method of doing a side step in ballroom dancing.

Forward or back step with rotation:

If the body is rotating or turning while taking a forward or back step, the foot position will be affected. This ballroom dance technique is called Contra Body Movement Position or CBMP.

When you’re turning to the left, you’ll move the left foot forward and across the right foot on a forward step and right foot back and across the left foot on a back step.

Look for the opposite to happen when you’re turning to the right. In this case, the right foot steps forward and across the left foot on a forward step and the left foot moves back and across the right foot on a back step.

Side steps with rotation:

If you’re turning and stepping to the side at the same time and using the proper method, you will have a slight turn-in or turn-out of the toes of the moving foot.

Here’s a video that depicts some of the basic methods of movement in Bronze American Foxtrot. Also, I hope you’ll spend a few minutes reading this Dance Safari post, “What Kind of Ballroom Dancer Do You Want to Be? Do you really want to be a ‘get-by’ type of dancer, or do you want to be ‘great’? It’s your choice. If you want to be great, you’ll have to work on improving your ballroom dance technique.

As you can see, it’s just directional movement forward and back, side to side. Take your time when you study these tips. You’ll be more comfortable, balanced, and confident in no time.

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