Foot turnout for West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing Online Footwork

“Keep your feet turned out” is as close to an absolute rule as WCS has. Yet remembering to keep your feet turned out during fancy footwork is hard. How can you train your feet to stay turned out in any position?

This drill will focus on foot turnout through every position you put your feet in. By repeating this exercise, you will build the muscle memory to automatically turn out, no matter how strange the position you find yourself.

The Drill: For this drill, you’re going to freestyle dance. Start with your feet in first position, with between 30° and 45° of turnout. (In other words, your feet should form a maximum of half a right angle.)

Now start moving your feet. The only rule for this exercise is that the feet have to keep the same degree of turnout relative to each other. If your left foot rotates out, your right foot needs to turn the same amount in the same direction. The feet can be in any position—left in front, right hooked behind, right to the side, whatever. But, the angle of the feet should not change. For this drill, being more turned out is as bad as being turned in, because your goal is to keep the angle between the feet exactly the same as when you started.

As you continue to move your feet, you will discover when you need to rotate your standing leg in order to keep the same degree of turnout. Keep moving until you rotate your standing leg instinctively. By continuously pushing your feet to keep the same degree of turnout, you’ll become aware of the motions that tend to turn in, and you’ll also train your supporting leg to adjust in order to avoid turning in.

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