Heel or ball ?


Well-Known Member
Isn't there a follower heel turn wossname in foxtrot? Though I suppose BR heels usually aren't as high as tango heels. ;)
I had thought yesterday that the comparison with a BR heel turn might be interesting (but was reluctant to be the one to mention it, given the usual howls of protest), but hey ...

Yes, a heel turn is commonly danced by the person on the inside of an open turn in foxtrot. The two most basic open turns (Natural & Reverse Turns) have the woman turning to the right & left, and in the Natural Turn, this is followed by the man executing a type of heel turn, called a heel pull, where the action is performed with the feet not actually coming together (which is much harder to do well). The man also has heel turns in the Impetus Turn family, and the woman in their counterpart, the Telemark turns.

The thing that is frequently misunderstood about the heel turn action is that it is a turn on the heel of one foot only, with the foot actually flat on the floor (with the weight taken towards the heel). With the 'tip' of a woman's typical shoe, this effectively has to mean that the turn is on the heel, but without any lifting up of the toe, but for the man, with the usual heel matching the whole width of the shoe, the balance can usefully be felt around the instep and towards the back of the foot. The foot is never lifted, such that the turn is made around the very back edge of the shoe - you could never keep balanced that way. Another key feature of the heel turn, is that the feet are not brought together first, but that the turn begins on the backstep as soon as weight is on the ball of foot (so it starts on the ball, and as the weight is taken fully over the foot, towards the back of the foot). The feet don't actually close together until very late in the turn. Frequently, badly trained dancers close the feet prematurely, and try and balance on the edge of the heels while more-or-less spinning in place (usually needing a lot of balance help from their partner - you would, wouldn't you?), but a well-executed heel turn is actually very easy to dance.

I do occasionally make heel turns in tango. They can be an interesting alternative to an enrosque-type action in a giro, or for navigation purposes where space is tight. Tango dancers are usually very good (assuming that their decent tango dancers) at balance, and experimenting with the heel turn action might prove useful for many who have not done so before.

One thing a leader might try (and I'm sure this is not in any way an original idea) is to accompany a follower's back ochos in cross system, taking back steps, with overturned heel pivots, so making some travel along the line of dance.

BTW, the heel height issue makes no real difference, once you understand that the foot is flat (ie that the ball of foot is in contact with the floor, but without weight) - this is a stable position for any type of turn, and if the woman is not stable, she has perhaps chosen her shoes for their looks, not for dancing...


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the heel turn I've seen was a colgada from a pasada/parada where the mans foot would obstruct the ladies if he pivoted on the ball of his foot.


Well-Known Member
Sounds as if it was a very small colgada (SAT) as said above.

And, do you remember Gianni´s double heel trick at 1:09 ?



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