Tango Argentino > Roll through the heel

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Gina Tangoes, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. Gina Tangoes

    Gina Tangoes New Member

    Hi so i was in a big class last week with a new couple teaching us, and they said to "roll through the heel". Before I was just plonking my foot down flat as I stepped back, but now they want us to lift the toe a little bit right after the heel strike.

    At the moment Im trying to get used to it, and its ok, but as the toe comes off the ground i tend to wobble a bit, i mean I know moving backwards is ok, but I'm moving side-to-side a bit too.

    which isn't so good I'm thinking :eek:

    My dancing shoes arent high according to the box there about 3,5cm=1.5in.

    WOuld it be better to have higher shoes would i get less of the side to side motion? and easier to lift the toe?
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    My opinion is that this a style thing. I don't like it much. Good form for the woman's backward step has the big toe and/or ball of the unweighted foot in contact with the floor.
    I value stability over styling in a dance like AT.
    But, that's just me.
    Your "center" would have to be over or behind your heel before you could easily bring up your toe, yes? Are you "releasing" the toe too soon?

    I can't really answer your question about shoe height.
  3. Gina Tangoes

    Gina Tangoes New Member

    Mmm, thanks steve. Not sure if they were talking about style or not, the belief seemed to be that you get a "smoother ride" by rolling across the whole foot rather than just dropping it down flat.

    honestly I take quite soft steps anyway even without "rolling", it might not be totally catlike but it isn't elephantine either

    Is practicing it walking in the street good?
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I remember my teacher telling ladies they should walk in high heels outside ;)
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Assuming you are practicing your "follower's walk," I'm thinking you'll get lots of funny looks walking backwards!
    RiseNFall and Mladenac like this.
  6. Gina Tangoes

    Gina Tangoes New Member

    Haha yes that would be very funny though i wasnt going to walk backwards, just practice "rolling through the heel" which should be the same in either direction (and no Mladenac not in my fancy heeled shoes, those are stricly for the dancefloor!)

    but your right actually people would laugh anyway even if it was forwards as no one walks like that in real life either, sorry for my silly idea:oops:
  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I real life people don't dance tango :rolleyes:

    It was my teacher's quote, I am not sure if she had meant to use tango shoes ;)
  8. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    I sometimes walk backward, if I'm in NYC and trying to have a conversation with someone hard of hearing. It helps him to hear me, when he can see me (a phenomenon I don't understand).

    According to him, I get a *lot* of funny looks.
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Our ears point forward (shaped to catch sound from a source in front of us), and seeing how you are forming the words adds information that can be useful in "processing" what you are saying, maybe...
  10. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Also, people lip-read more than we realize.
  11. Blue Two

    Blue Two New Member

    At risk of stating the obvious, I think Gina's point was that regardless of direction traveled, or footwear chosen, some instructors recommend a placement of the foot all at one time versus others who favor a gradual landing from front to back—or back to front, depending on sex. And maybe she was looking for direction on who thinks which is better, and why. Frankly, I have no idea and cannot comment.
    Mladenac likes this.
  12. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I don't recommend this style. I dance Apilado. Pull your hips back and lean forward onto the ball of the foot. Lean into, not onto, the leader. Reach back from the hip until your foot is completely extended, keeping your foot on the floor the entire time.

    When you reach backward until your foot is straight, all your weight is on one foot and you're grounded into the floor. Be sure to bend your knees to maximize the elongation of your foot.

    The above should help with your balance.
  13. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I've never heard an instructor advise someone to land with their whole foot at the same time. The "roll through the heel" thing, in my experience, has been a debate between keeping your heel off of the floor all the time versus using it for balance as you're transitioning to the next step. I think the advantage of not using the heel is that you're ready to pivot at all times. The pro of rolling through the heel is balance and usefulness in very slow weight transfers. However, both involve rolling, just through different lengths of the foot.

    For some examples, Heidi here almost never lets her heel touch the ground, even if forward walking (wish there was more backwards walking in this video but it's the first that came to mind)

    Contrast with Jennifer, who uses her heel and often propels her backward walk with her heel
  14. Blue Two

    Blue Two New Member

    Back in the days when I took classes, I had a teacher who caught me doing that and told me it was wrong. He called it "walking on tiptoes" (of course it isn't really). In spite of his advice, I am much more comfortable when the front part of my foot hits the floor first. Usually I find it's the outer part of the front, near the little toe, followed by the ball of the foot shortly after.

    I do eventually let the heel touch the ground but not until the ball of the foot is bearing all the weight. I am not comfortable putting any weight directly on my heel, whether in everyday walking from A to B, or in dancing.

    His advice was to put the heel down first, then allow the foot to flatten down onto the floor. That seems totally unnatural to me though and after a few attempts I have to admit I ignored his advice.

    I've never tried walking backward, though. I think in the backward direction you'd probably have to put at least some weight on the heel, because your body is going backward too and so your weight is over the heel or even behind it as you arrive at the end of each step.
  15. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Bad habit done perfectly feels natural.
    What bad in doing toes first when going forward is:
    - shorter step
    - there is no smooth transition through the step i.e. there is always some stuttering
    RiseNFall likes this.

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