Do you rise low enough to get high?

  • It is challenging to control the degree of the rise through the proper use of the feet, ankles, knees and the inner thighs. Oftentimes the quality of dancing suffers when the "Rise" is too high or occurs too soon. It is wise to understand the different types of Rise and Fall and their executions. Listed here are some of the main ones:
    1. A Quick Rise is where the rise occurs at the end of the first step as in many of the figures used in Foxtrot. At the end of the first step the rise is high on the toes with knees flexed as the feet are collected underneath the body ( by stretching the ankles, the knees, the legs and the inner thighs we employ the muscles that are utilized in all other types of rise). Examples of such figures (one step rise) are, the Open Telemark & the Double Reverse Spin.
  • 2. A 3-Step Rise is also commonly known as a gradual rise where the feet end together on the 3rd step - traditional terminology - " Commence - Continue - Continue". On count 2 it is essential to rise on low "toes", i.e. on the ball of the foot with knees bent, then continue to elevate to the toes of the supporting foot with knees flexed until the closing action is complete. Examples of such figures are: The Natural Turn and Reverse Turn in Waltz, but when the feet end in an open position on the third step, we use the terminology of "Commence - Continue - Up" because the rise has reached its highest point at the end of the 2nd step, and there is no more rise on the 3rd step for the reason that the foot is moving to position in anticipation of an immediate lowering action. Further examples are: The Outside Change and Whisk in Waltz.
  • 3. A 4-Step Rise is where the rise is more gradual, the feeling of going " up the stairs" slowly, using "commence - continue - continue - up " where the rise starts on low toes on the 2nd step, then continues to rise slightly higher as the 3rd step occurs, completing the pattern on the 4th step, with obvious foot elevation, in anticipation of an immediate lowering action. It is beautiful to see when this figure is executed with control. Examples of such figures are Chasse from Promenade in the Waltz and The Quarter Turn to Right & Forward Lock in Quickstep
  • 4. There are figures which start from the " UP " position because they are already UP due to the rise from the preceding figure, like the Top Spin in Foxtrot, and generally after dancing steps 4-6 of the Reverse Turn.
    i.e. the Feather Finish (both man & lady do not lower the heels at the end of the step 6 of the reverse turn.)
  • 5. A Late Rise is where the rise starts ON the 2nd beat as in the Reverse Corte , or at the end of the 2nd step as in the Natural Spin Turn or Impetus Turn. This type of rise requires to rise which contributes to the element of suspension between the 2nd and 3rd step.
  • 6. There are figures which do not have a rise at all, namely, the Left Whisk and Change of Direction where the center of gravity needs to be lowered to secure balance.
  • 7. There are figures which only use Body Rise, with no Foot Rise, like lady's Feather Step & Three Step. In cases of "no foot rise," rise is still delivered through the legs which, of course, are part of the body. NFR simply means that there is no rise delivered from toe to toe but in fact from heel to toe, i.e. a slightly different type of foot articulation is utilized. By doing so, this enables the movement to flow with continuity and ease.
  • 8. Heel Turn type of Rise. It should be noted that on count 2 after the actual turn the knees are bent, the heels are still on the floor. The implementation of further rise should not be contrived. It is a natural part of the process as the heel of the supporting foot is released in the normal manner of moving forward to a toe lead.

"Practice makes a good dancer and practice with precision makes a better dancer!"


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