Height Difference

I recently moved to Japan and started dancing. The first time i started dancing Waltz, I really noticed the height difference between Americans and Japanese. I started bumping legs in dance, whether having body contact or not.

Is there a way to compensate for this? Is it just that i need to take smaller steps? Let me know if i need to explain more.

Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
"Bumping legs" has more to do with an improper connection with your partner than height difference.

If your follower is a "shorty," then you may need to use your knees more to get closer to her height level. She can't rise to your height. But you can "drop" to hers by bending your knees more.
I’m assuming by connection, you mean like physical communication right?
I also haven’t really taken on leading properly, my instructor hasn’t really made me lead her. Could it be that I’m not communicating to her how far she needs to step?

I feel I’m overthinking it a lot.


Well-Known Member
There could be a number of causes - and it could be one or many. Off the top of my head:
  • You aren't shifting your weight clearly from foot to foot as you step, so she doesn't know when you are stepping and how far.
  • Either you or she are not stepping on your "track" (crossing your feet, taking steps straight when they are supposed to be on a slight diagonal, etc.), so you're stepping on each other or bumping legs
  • One or both of you are deviating from your position (either crossing the midline of your partner or drifting too far outside), making your partner's legs in the way.
  • One or both of you are letting your frame collapse (arms drifting behind you), meaning you're not maintaining proper distance and making it hard to move in unison
  • Your steps (as the leader) are too big for her current ability and you need to ease off a bit.
  • She (as the follower) isn't using her standing leg to push from foot to foot, making her steps smaller than she is capable of.
  • You're both beginners and trying to not step on each other, which actually increases the likelihood of you stepping on each other, because you're turning out your foot and trying to step around when you need to keep it straight and step through.
The very best way to figure it out is to take a lesson with a shorter pro. She should be able to give you some concrete tips to help.
As you begin to step forward (for any given step) I might ask if your weight is back toward the heel, such that when you move forward it is not abrupt, but rather you are capable of having the step last longer. And by last longer, I mean that there is a time period where your hips are moving horizontally across the floor, as your weight goes from backward part of your poise the forward part of your poise, at which point you must commit to the next step.

And of course, we can reverse this story for the person moving backwards.

I think if you are thoughtful of this, you will get improvement to this problem. You might also find some value to adding more outside partner steps to your routines. :)

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