Mastering Incremental Weight Transfer

West Coast Swing Online Footwork

We often describe great dancers as having “body flight,” but what does that mean? Body flight is hard to define, but you can see it when the movement of the center is perfectly controlled during the entire process of moving from one foot to another.

There are a lot of skills that go into creating great body flight, including rolling through the feet and using the sending foot. Today’s drill puts a number of these skills together. You will practice controlling your center’s movement as you go incrementally through the foot and to the next foot, using both your sending and receiving legs to control the flight of your body’s center.

The Drill: Find a space where you can walk forward in a straight line. Start with your feet together and put all of your weight on one foot. Throughout this drill, you are going to imagine that there is a laser pointing straight down from your center to the floor so that you can see where you weight is. Right now, the laser dot showing where your weight is should be in the middle of your foot on the front-to-back axis and centered or slightly towards the inside on the left-to-right axis.

Use your supporting leg to slowly move the dot forward, towards your toe base. As you get to the toes, let your free leg move in front of you and place it down, but do not commit any weight yet. The dot should still be over the toe base of your rear (supporting) foot.

Now, continue to push through the rear foot while simultaneously using the front foot as a brake to your movement. You should be able to move the dot so that it rests just in front of your rear foot. In this position, you are literally split weight—your center of gravity is hovering between your legs.

Now using your rear leg to push you forward and your front leg to control the energy, continue to slowly move the dot forward until it reaches the heel of your front leg. At this point, there should be no weight on the rear leg.

Slowly move your weight forward from the heel up to the toe base of your supporting leg, and as you get to the toe base let the trailing leg move forward past the supporting leg. Repeat this drill as you continue to move forward step by step.

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