"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #123, Thursday, October 10, 2002

Dancing Tid-bits
Heel Turns, How to Lead?

Question : Do you have any tips on how to lead lady's heel turns, e.g. in international foxtrot?

Answer: Some may ask what is a heel turn? Actually heel turn is nothing so magical as many make it to be. If you are an absolute beginner, I am sure you had a lesson in Basic Turning on 3+3 steps, forward-side-together and back-side-together (Man). The Ladiy goes back on the first step, back-side-together and then forward-sie-together. It is also sometimes called a "box" turn.

A Heel Turn is usually made by the lady as she takes her second step. She does not take a side step and instead she closes on the 2nd step and then steps forward on the 3rd after the turn.

Slow Foxtrot Reverse Turn is a classical example where the first three steps are called the Lady's Heel turn and the second half is called Feather Finish. That is why the technique book sometimes will refer this turn as "Reverse turn, incorporating Feather Finish."

What is the problem? Because of the heel turn, it is slight deviation from normal turning therefore Lead and Follow are very important. Leading alone will not get the job done unless the ladie's body has been conditioned to accept the lead. So Men, dont get frustrated if she can't do it; either there is a problem in Leading or she just does'nt know how to Follow.

Leading: Let us assume man is facing DC ready to step forward LF. The following important points come to mind.

a. Strong CBM, Some may question the word strong but I think lack of CBM is more a problem than the strong CBM. LF goes forward, the ride side goes with it.

b. Early rise; I feel this is the one most important element of leading the lady for heel closure. Yes we rise at the end of 1 but I think the rise can be more "abrupt" (for the lack of a better word).

c. "Cut her off" or "srrprise her", this is the best way I can put it. In other words as you swing your RF forward on 2 you just come in her way and cut her off. Someoe said "It is like you yank her". The second step of course is to side but it is to side at the end of the step. I do believe that the initial swing is forward and then as you cut her off, turn is completed to left. At this point your RF is passing LF not too far from it.

d. The left sway starts to build as soon as you have taken step 1, LF forward and I think this sway is quite pronounced.

e. If you take your time and "keep with the lady", dont let your left side come back, she would have closed her left LF to RF in a beautiful "Heel Turn", transfer weight and she will step forward RF partnering with you.

Of course all this is done with perfect posture and good frame, toned bodies and no stiffness.. Men! keep your head to left and dont let it shift.

Dancing Tid-bits are tidbits, so enough for now. Next week tips for Ladies on Following for a Heel Turn. Best Wishes, Max

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits