Foot Turnout: Practicing Turns

West Coast Swing Online Spins & Turns

When dancing west coast swing, you want to have your feet turned out slightly at all times. Pigeon toes, or having your feet turned in, make for unsightly lines in dance. The goal of this drill is to eliminate pigeon toes as you are turning.

Pigeon toes, as seen from above

Pigeon toes, as seen from above

As you can see from the picture below, being pigeon toed creates a weak look. In addition, being toed in can reduce your balance. As a result, west coast dancers should always strive to keep their toes turned out.

Front view of a toed-in position

Being toed-in looks ugly and unconfident!

One of the keys to avoiding pigeon toes is to let the supporting foot rotate whenever you take a step.

The Drill: Find a space where you can walk comfortably. Wearing dance shoes, socks, or some other footwear that allows your feet to rotate on the surface, take a step forward with your left foot. With your weight on your left, rotate a quarter turn to left and step forward with your right. Then, rotate another quarter turn to the left (while on your right foot) as you step forward with your left. You can continue walking with quarter turns for additional practice.

As you make each turn, watch your supporting foot to make sure that your foot begins rotating immediately. Pay particular attention when you are turning left when your weight is on your left foot; many dancers get caught in pigeon-toed positions between steps even though they rotate their feet at the end of the step into a normal position. By making sure that your foot rotates immediately, you avoid ever being caught in a pigeon-toed position.

Repeat this drill turning the other way. When rotating to the right, pay particular attention when your weight is on your right foot, as this is the foot that tends to get caught in a pigeon-toe between the steps.

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