Heel Turns – Step By Step

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The famous Slow Fox Heel Turn Breakdown

There are numerous of heel turns in the slow foxtrot – Reverse, Natural, Double Reverse, and that’s just to name a few. One way to approach them, (and most things for that matter) is to ensure that you are comfortable and can awesomely execute each component parts individually, and, of course, put it all together.

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Part 1 – Prep

  • If the plan is to turn left, have your weight and bend the left knee down and forward. Maintain weight on the left foot.
  • Extend the right leg straight back from the hip with the toe, without weight.
  • Even though the extension of the right leg is straight back from the hip, it presents as diagonal because the position of the body is with the left side forward, right side back. This position is critical to so the leader‘s movement is not blocked.
  • By the way, this is a beautiful starting position so check the mirror to admire yourself (or make a quick fix before you do anything else).
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Part 2 – Transfer & Pull

  • Transfer weight to the right (back) foot while pulling the front foot toward the back one
  • As it moves back, track the front foot right under the body, so both feet easily end up parallel and you maintain your own balance.
  • Your weight needs to be fully transferred to the back foot before any turn is made. This is really important for any turn for that matter, but is often forgotten in the early stages of learning the heel turn.
  • When closing the front foot, so it is parallel beside the other, use your partner’s momentum right at the end. If a follower closes only uses their own energy, especially at the last part of the close, then there is a risk of a “2 heeled” heel turn. This is because of arriving too quickly on the close, and feeling the need to seek balance before the turn.
  • Think of only partially pulling the front foot back to allow for the partners’ momentum for the completion of the close.
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Part 3 – Rotation

  • The right (back) foot maintains the weight, and does not start tuning until the left is parallel with it.
  • The turn happens because of the body action of the leader. This is the single most common challenge for followers to fully accept, but without it, you mis-match and may even knock each other off balance.
  • During the turn, knees should be straight, but do not need to be locked.
  • When done correctly, this feels great – a turn based on someone else energy – Nice!
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Part 4 – release

  • Transfer your weight to the closing (left foot) at the end of the turn.
  • Then, weight is transfered to the balls of both feet toward a foot rise (ankles flexed, weight on the balls of the foot, knees staying at the same level from start to finish as you raise your heels).
  • The right foot then is free to move forward with the aid of push from the left (back foot). That’s it! You will now have an amazing smile as the heel turn hell of push, pull, off time, off mark, has been duly avoided.
  • Then you practice again and again… and again….. to avoid it the next time too.

Author: Miss P [Celebrate DanceSport]
Photography: DanceSport Photography
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review

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