"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #124, Thursday, Oct. 17 2002

Dancing Tid-bits
Heel Turn, How to Follow?

"O, Just lead me and I will follow you." No way Ladies, you can not follow or do a heel turn unless you had some training and understanding of this figure. Having said that, I say that it is not that big of a deal and any average lady should be able to do a heel turn with as little training as 1/2 hour or so; in some cases much less.

Review of a Heel Turn for the Ladies: Let us do 3 steps of a slow foxtrot reverse turn. Ladies! you are starting backing DC. Step 1. RF back and commence to turn left; footwork is TH. Start to rise slowly. Step 2. Pull LF back and close LF to RF continuing to turn on the "Heel of RF". Now you have almost completed all your turn (3/8 to left). It is now that you transfer weight to LF; footwork is HT. You continue to rise and then... Step 3. Forward on RF, lowering to TH. Now you are facing LOD and the Man is backing LOD. You have done a perfect Heel Turn and ready to do a Feather Finish which is the last 3 steps of the full reverse turn. The Feather Finish is an animal of its own species, let's not talk about it now.

What is the Problem: Listen, usually you step to side on the second step of any normal turn whether you finish it open or close at the end. So what makes you close your LF to RF in this case. This is the crux of the problem. The man (a good man) must give you the proper lead and you must be sensitive to this lead and do what is expected of you. In the previous Tid-bits # 123, we discussed the Lead. The CBM, early rise, cutting the lady off, speedy turn initially, the left sway (right for the lady) etc etc. I will just discuss some salient and perhaps controversial points here.
  1. Feet Positions: As you are stepping back RF for step 1, there is CBM from man and "your initial phase of turn is really on the ball rather than heel of RF". I feel this allows the movement of the ladies foot curves slightly rightwards. I say this with some reservation and perhaps doen't mean it literally.. Some of you will question my wisdom and I am ready to take some advise. When students concentrate on stepping straight back their CBM gets messed up and the man feels like he is pushing a truck.
  2. Understand his early rise, a feeling described by some ladies as "yanking". This and an acceleration of the initial turn will make you close your LF to RF on step 2.
  3. Rise only slightly on step 1: You will be so busy during this time and surprised that you will rise only very little even though he is rising to his maximum. This is what the technique calls for; "Rise slightly at the end of 1, NFR".
  4. Amount of turn: Dont worry about that. Just turn as much as the man is leading you, nice and easy and you would have made most of your turn between the first 2 steps. Overturning adds to the problem.
  5. The beats: you are using almost 2 and 1/2 beats (slow and 1/2 of quick) to make the turn on heel of RF. Take your time before you transfer weight to LF.
Ladies and Gentlemen, If you are taking a certification examination remember this NFR (No Foot Rise) business on the first step back of any turn specially for the lady (some exceptions to men may apply).

With Best wishes, Max

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