One thing you must do on every step in WCS.

West Coast Swing Online Footwork

One of the keys to a strong, confident appearance is having your feet turned out. Feet that are turned in look weak, and parallel feet can look turned in from the wrong angle. That’s why WCS pros constantly pay attention to turnout in their own dancing and with their students.

Today’s drill is an exercise to keep your feet turned out, no matter how crazy the position you end up in. By focusing on swiveling the supporting leg, you will stay turned out and avoid the ugly lines that come from pigeon-toed feet.

The Drill: Start with your feet in first foot position (heels next to each other), and point your toes away from each other at about a 30° angle. Your goal is to maintain this relative orientation of your feet through the exercise. In other words, if you rotate your left foot to the left, your right foot should rotate to the left by the same amount. If one foot rotates to the right, the other foot must rotate to match it. It doesn’t matter where the feet are—you can step to the side, go forward or back, cross in front or hook behind, but the relative orientation can’t change.

Start by moving your feet around slowly to feel how you can keep this relative orientation. After a while, you should notice that the supporting leg needs to rotate when you are taking a step; if you wait until you land the new step, the original foot will be out of sync for a little bit. (If you are rotating in the direction of the supporting leg, you would be temporarily pigeon-toed. Rotating the other direction would over-turn out your feet, which isn’t as bad visually but still is not ideal.)

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