Being able to do controlled footwork requires a relatively great deal of ankle strength. Unless you spend lots of time on your tiptoes reaching for something on a shelf, your ankle muscles aren’t asked to support your weight for more than a split second. That level of supporting strength, however, is required in west coast swing and dance in general. In order to roll through your feet and to stay on your toe base for fast movements, you need ankle strength. This drill is designed for footwork: building your ankle strength, so you can control your feet throughout your dancing.
Stand on the edge of a stair, a box, or a piece of furniture that will support your weight. Your heels should hang over the edge so your weight is supported by the front half of the foot.
Slowly lower your heels until they are below the level of the edge of the stair (or whatever support you are using). Hold this position for a couple of seconds, and then lift your heels until you’re in a stable tiptoe position. Hold at the top for another couple of seconds, then repeat. Aim to do sets of 20 repetitions at first, increasing your rep count as your ankle strength develops.
The key is moving in a slow and controlled manner. It’s far more effective to do 10 reps that take several seconds each way and than to do 50 explosive reps. You’re trying to train your muscles to take time as you control the height of the heel. Take your time!
When you are beginning this drill, it is strongly recommended to hold onto a railing or other support so you don’t fall backwards. This is a drill that benefits from frequent repetition. It’s better to do 30 seconds every day than a marathon session on the weekend. Before you know it, you are building ankle strength and hopefully seeing a change in your footwork!
Want a cool drill to improve your footwork?
This video includes my favorite drill to help you improve the smoothness and style of your footwork for West Coast Swing!
Other things you might like:
- 3 Spins to know for West Coast Swing
- Mastering the triple step in WCS
- Musicality – How to find the beat!
- Ladies Styling Checklist for WCS