Another Educational Journey with Skippy Blair © 4/02
One of the most important discoveries in recent years is the use of the term "3-Toe Base". "Toe Base" - has become a common term, relating to the area starting where the base of the toes connect to the rest of the foot and ending on out through the end of the toes.
Doing a "check" - in any direction - using "Toe-Base", simply means that you would not have the ball of the foot on the floor - but - by stretching the toes - you would use the entire "Toe Base". Then came the discovery that more than a few dancers roll their weight to the outside of their foot - resulting in an open knee frame or worse yet - "toeing in". Many dancers "toe-in" on their turns. Weight on the outside of the foot, also encourages turned ankles and loss of balance. Telling people to lift the little toe worked for some people - but recently - we started focusing on the pressure of the toes needed to project the body forward. This approach is working wonders. Dancers who use that technique look more lifted in the center - more balanced - and more in control.
It has become obvious that expanding the term Toe Base to read "3-Toe Base" has solved a lot of problems for a lot of people. It never ceases to amaze me that simple little discoveries like this one can make such a difference.
Anytime you walk forward, (even walking down the street) - think of landing in the center of the front part of your heel - and then roll through the toes as if you only had three toes - the big toe, and the next two. Pretend that the little toe and it's companion are not there. This takes practice, but you will be amazed at the feeling of strength and control that runs up through your center.
I have had runners tell me how much the "3 Toe Base" has improved their speed and their feeling of perfect balance. Needless to say, the dancers in the Motion Study Classes report experiencing a big difference - from the very first time they try it.
Here is an exercise that can help you find the control that everyone
searches for. Hold onto something (back of a chair - kitchen sink - whatever) -
so you don't have to worry about balance. Now spread your toes apart - as if you
were trying to make a shoe tree out of your foot. Better yet - go ahead and take your
shoes off so you can SEE the difference. Now press the 3 toes (Big one &
next two) down into the floor.
If you stay in place - that action will make you go up! Don't buckle your knees or you won't go anywhere. Now use that same pressure into the floor - and try sending your body forward. The same pressure that moves you UP - can move you OUT! It's simply a matter of direction! Check on your little toe - You should not be aware that the little toe exists.
Many people find it difficult to stretch their toes - particularly if they have not been in the habit of doing that. Stretching the toes is a vital, necessary element, in order to keep the feet in good condition. Stretching the toes takes the pressure off of bunions - (if you have any) - and if you DON'T have bunions - stretching the toes will serve as a preventative measure. Many of us "work out" to keep the body in shape for dancing. The feet really need the same "work out" - Stand on your "3 Toe Base" - Stretching the toes - Move up and down through control of the ankle - This is the "workout" for our feet. Your feet will thank you - and your dancing will improve. Guaranteed!
Recently, I have made such a habit of continually updating my articles - that I have coined the phrase "Living Articles" - That means - they are never quite finished. The same article keeps growing as people send questions - and as I unearth new bits of information. If someone's question was not answered in the article - then I feel that I should add that information to the document. Right? Communication between dancers - spawns discovery. If you have topics that you would like to see in this spot - Please let us know.. Thank you for participating in our "process".
Yours for better dancing
through better education.
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