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When we first learn partner dance, we take classes, learn steps, then go out to dance socially with as many people in the room as we desire. We rarely think about the instrument with which we actually dance, our bodies. Knowledge of the instrument can allow us to dance with greater ease, with greater proficiency and efficiency for greater periods of time.

The sensitivity of your feet in the standing and walking process transports the vibration of the soul throughout the entire body. The way your feet relax or tense dictate how the body engages. From the way your knees bend to the way your pelvis opens, to the way your shoulders rest are all affected. The way we move our feet is critical to the dance, in fact it IS the dance.

Every step we take represents who we are, both to ourselves and to those around us. While dancing do we give; do we take; do we share?

Some dancers step so quickly and with such little awareness that their partner often feels left out and very unimportant. Others step so timidly that the partner is constantly trying to find them better, connect with them better and in the end, dance with them better. Some step with fear, tensing their toes as if they are falling. Then, there is the connection that all tango dancers dream of. It is the connection we all look for when we start to embrace a new partner-the connection from heaven. It is a total body connection from the very soles of the feet to the top of the head. Instead of feeling awkward, disconnected, forced or even afraid, we feel safe and dance in the intimacy of ease.

How our feet are positioned on the dance floor is a symbol of how we walk through life. When properly positioned, we stand and step from a foundation that is strong and assured. When the feet carry our bodies around the dance floor in this way, we are available and aware. This kind of walk and movement is powerful, and something we all look for in a partner. This movement creates an emotional availability in a way that allows the rhythm of the music to move freely through our bodies to our partner. The movement begins as we take a breath, spread our toes, and feel our feet melt into the dance floor.

The way our feet move is not unlike the tripod of master photographers. Though its value is often overlooked by others, the tripod is a critical component of their craft allowing them to position the camera in a way that is completely safe and stable. It creates ground for the camera - the foundation of expression in that art. Dancers need ground and grounding as well.

Like the three-legged tripod, each of us has three points in the feet that give us stability: The center point at the base of the heel; the pad at the base of the big toe; and the pad at the base of the little toe. These three points form the tripod of our feet. When we relax the toes, spread the pads of the feet, and maintain a connection on all three points, we establish a core of perfect balance as the foundation of our movement. When stepping from the heel straight-forward through the center of the pad, or from the center of the pad backward through the heel, we walk perfectly forward or backward, and even side to side.

Just as a photographer creates a masterpiece with efficient tools, dancers can create miraculous movements that take one's breath away. The movement begins both humbly - and surprisingly - with the foundation of proper feet positioning.



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