Using Your Sending Foot

West Coast Swing Online Footwork

Watch some videos of great dancers, and you’ll notice that the all seem to project through space. If you want to learn that same kind of intentional movement, you need to start using your sending foot.

In every movement of the body’s center, there is a sending foot and a receiving foot. One of your feet pushes off the ground and sends your center through space; the other foot receives your center and absorbs the body’s energy back into the ground.

Most dancers, however, don’t use their sending foot properly. Instead of using the sending foot to project the center, most people reach with their receiving foot and pull themselves onto that leg. When the center is pulled by the receiving leg, the center’s movement is less consistent, less fluid, and less controlled. Without using the sending foot, it is almost impossible to create the smooth and controlled body flight that characterizes WCS.

This drill will start developing an awareness of your sending foot so that you can project your center through space, rather than dragging it along for the ride.

The Drill: Find some space to dance your basic footwork. As you dance, think about the sending foot rather than the receiving foot. This is probably the opposite of how you were taught to dance, so let’s explain what you should be thinking.

Leaders: instead of starting with your left foot, think of starting by pushing off your right foot. Then push off your left foot for count 2. On the triple, think of pushing off right-and-right (3&4), then for the anchor pushing off left-and-left (5&6).

Followers: think of pushing off your left foot to start your forward motion, instead of stepping with your right. Then on count 2, push off your right. For 3&4, think push left-and-left, and for the anchor think of pushing off right-and-right.

For both leaders and followers: you are doing the same footwork as normal. Leaders, your left foot is going back on 1; followers, your right goes forward. What has changed is which foot you are concentrating on. Instead of focusing on the foot that is moving, you are thinking about the foot that is not moving and thus can push off the ground.

Do this drill until pushing onto the next foot becomes comfortable. Once you can do that, you can start to work on what the receiving foot does in order to control the energy created by the sending foot. Stay tuned for that drill!

Funk up your footwork!
with this awesome drill!
Great for leaders & followers.


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