"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #215, Thursday, April 7, 2005
Should I lock my Knee?
After my last Tid-bits, we agreed that for a dancer, a locked knee is a knee that is "heperextended" or let's say the last 5 to 10 degrees of Extension which also creates a 'snap' or a locked feeling. Now the question is; does locking mechanism happen in dancing? Well then, we have to look at two different styles, Ballroom and Latin.
Ballroom Dances: Do we ever lock our Knees? I just have to print Chris's e mail here and he has written my Tid-bits for me, just read. I have not edited it.
I read with interest your article on locking the knee, and as a result tried an experiment that I think may shed some light on it.
First, I think we can dismiss the medical textbook meaning - that's pathology, and has little to do with various positions we could put an undamaged knee in.
My primary experiment was to try to lock my knee without weight on it... and I found I can't get that locked feeling. As a result, I think the feeling of locking a weighted knee actually comes about if you hyperextend it, and then let weight settle slightly into the small lowering that can be accomplished by the few degrees of bakcwards bending. In contrast, a "soft", or "ballroom straight" knee would be one that is just the tiniest bit flexed, so that any up/down change stays safely on the flexed side of the hill, and never crests over to dip down onto the hyperextended side.
Presumably you could also lock a knee during a kick type action, where it is inertia rather than gravity that provides the force.... but doing too much of that might bring the medical textbook meaning back into play!
But then what about latin? Don's mail is just in time. This will need further discussion but for now the following should suffice.
Hi Max. In Latin unlike Modern there are many locked knees, just one for instance is the locked knee for the lady on the very first Rumba Basic, the knee is dead straight with the knee pushed back as far as possible, and at the same time the heel of the front foot is raised as high as is possible, but still keeping the knee locked and the toe pointed giving the lady a beautiful leg line. Not my words but those of Donnie Burn's; off a tape I have. Best Wishes, Don.
Hey this Tid-bits was easy, Best Wishes, Max