Posts Tagged ‘footwork’
As promised, here are the notes from the workshop Mindy and I taught on Sunday:
First, we discussed the difference between a weight change and an axis change. A weight change can be limited to just the foot itself, while an axis change shifts your center of balance completely from one side of your body to the other.
Normal Lindy footwork is a pattern of rock steps (which involve a weight change but no axis change) and triple steps (which change your axis). One way to explore footwork variations is to substitute other non-axis-changing steps for the rock steps, and other axis-changing steps for the triple steps.
Here are the steps we came up with to substitute for rock steps: Kick ball-change, pulse pulse, leg sweep, kick-and, double kick, swivel swivel, swoop (a knee-up kick), boogie back, shorty, suzy, cross cross, and a fast hallelujah (rock rock).
For triple steps, we tried substituting a single step, step hop, kick ball-change step, triple swivel, step scoot, tap step, kick step, knee slap step, sweep replace, cross step step, step heel step cross (half a scissors), kick hop/replace, and a grapevine (either front-then-back or back-then-front).
We discussed other steps that could stand in for either, depending on which foot you choose to exit with: v-slide, lock turn, jump, a quick messaround, cross twist, shuffle-shuffle, crazy legs, shimmy, knees in-out, and a slip-slop.
We reviewed swingouts, and explored bringing the follow in on beat one or beat two, using a kick ball-change to substitute for the first rock step. We discussed the idea of letting the follow finish whatever tricky footwork she might decide to throw in before yanking her into a swingout, and then we discussed the importance of the follow being able to move her footwork variation in any direction in order not to break the connection.
To practice that connection, we explored the “shopping cart” exercise, with each partner getting a chance to both lead and follow. We did this first with plain walking, then with plain lindy footwork, and then with individual footwork variations.
Then we went back to the swingout and had each partner take turns using their own customized footwork variations on seven-and-eight, with the emphasis on musicality and on maintaining a smooth connection.
Thanks to everyone who showed up and participated! Mindy and I had so much fun with this that we will most likely offer the same material in an upcoming workshop, so if you’re in the Portland area keep a lookout for it at http://www.stumptowndance.com!
Here’s another way to think about footwork variations:
The basic lindy footwork (rock-step, triple step, step step, triple step) consists of eight beats divided into four sets of two beats.
On the first two beats, there is no axis change. What that means is that if you’re on your left foot when you do a rock step, you’ll still be on your left foot when you’re done. No axis change means you end up on the same foot you started with.
On the second two beats, there IS an axis change. If you’re on your left foot, after you do that triple you’ll end up on your right foot. Axis change means you change feet.
On the third two beats, no axis change. On the fourth, axis change.
So the whole lindy footwork pattern is two beats with no axis change, two beats with, then two more without and two more with. Got it?
Now what you can do is draw up a chart for yourself like this: Make two columns, and mark the first “no change” and the second “change.”
In the first column, list everything you can think of to do for two beats, and end up on the same foot. The first thing on the list should be, of course, rock step. What else? Try kick ball change, kick hold, double kick, hangman, swivel swivel, tap tap, leg sweep, and whatever else your brain comes up with once you get the idea.
In the second column, put triple step, and then anything else that takes two beats to get you onto the other foot. How about kick step, step hold, tap replace, sweep replace, kick ball change and, etc., etc.?
Then when you’ve got your chart finished, hang it up where you do your dance practice. Stick on your music, then without thinking about it too much, just pick one thing from column one and one thing from column two, and dance them together in a pattern. So your pattern might be kick hold, tap replace, kick hold, tap replace. Work it out, and when you’ve conquered it, pick another two and keep going.
If you really want to get crazy, use one set of moves for the first half of the pattern, and then pick another two moves for the second half. That might look something like kick hold, tap replace, rock step, step hold. Pretty awesome.
You don’t need to memorize these combinations. Just keep your chart where you can see it, and keep coming up with new combinations. Add more moves to the chart as you think of them. Once your body gets the idea, it will sort of take over, until you won’t have to think about combinations at all, you’ll just be able to screw around with steps and somehow end up on the right foot.
And guess what? That’s called improvisation!