Magazine article Dance Spirit

Weight in Gold

Magazine article Dance Spirit

Weight in Gold

Article excerpt

HOW PROPER WEIGHT CHANGES CAN HELP YOU NAIL TAP ROUTINES.

Have you ever ended a tap combination on the wrong foot? Or kept missing the transition from a flap to a leap? These common mistakes can be avoided by perfecting weight placement. "You cannot dance if your weight is not in the right place," explains Michele Ribble, director of youth programs for Tap City at the New York City Tap Festival. "Each note that comes out of your foot has a different weight value, so it has to be right on."

BALANCING ACT

Correct weight placement is about the whole body, not just the legs. Even the position of your head-the heaviest part of the body-can make a difference. Finding your balance during and between steps can help you master weight changes. Since your hips control the trunk of your body, be mindful of their placement. "If you're on your toes, your hips have to be over your toes," explains Ribble. "If you are working on your heels, then your hips have to sit back a bit."

THINK ON YOUR FEET

During a tap routine, it's important to think ahead. For example, a shuffle by itself requires no weight shift. But if a step comes after, then you have to be ready to transfer your weight. Any hesitation will slow you down and throw you off the rhythm. "If you're not ready or not in the right position and you try to transfer from one step to another, you will fall out of balance," says Ribble. "It's like a chest of drawers. You cannot pull out all the drawers at once or the chest will topple over."

SPEED BUMPS

Even at Savion Glover speeds, weight shifts, however imperceptible to observers, are the glue that holds a dancer together from one step to the next. …

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