Foot Positions

The human feet have one quarter of all bones in the body. Their main purpose is to support the weight of the body – in place and when moving. Dancing is mainly about rhythmic weight change rather than steps. It is quite possible to dance in place – with the rest of the body moving to music while the feet stay in place. Four parts of the foot commonly touch the floor and support weight: the Heal, Toe, Ball, and the entire foot (Flat). A traveling ballroom dance like Foxtrot step uses them all – in that order (Forward, Forward, Side, Together). Non-traveling “Latin” (“spot”) dances emphasize the inside edge of the ball.

12 Foot Positions:
In ballet and ballroom dance, teachers typically teach five basic foot positions – someone came up with hundreds of years ago. Anyone who dances quickly discovers that their feet are not always in only these five positions. I think there are actually 12 major foot positions. Where did I get this idea? Well, there are 12 basic angles of attack in Filipino stick fighting – and based upon the number of directions my feet often seemed to move when dancing that seemed like the same number for foot positions, as well. After coming up with this idea, I checked to see if there were any alternatives besides mine to the standard five most people are familiar with. I found one list of 7-9 foot positions and one kind of Indian yoga dance with 36 foot positions. I like my 12 foot positions better – and think you will, too.

1st Position: Feet together – either parallel or at an angle. Weight is almost never equally distributed on both feet. To pick up or move either foot, body weight must be supported by the other. So, unless hopping, even when standing with both feet together, either most or all weight is only on foot with the other free to move. First Position is the least stable foot position (especially when when the feet are parallel rather than at an angle) – and if both legs are kept straight with “locked” knees, this is the position people are more likely to pass out or fall down from (as soldiers sometimes do standing at attention too long during parade formations). First position is often used as the initial starting and ending position – and is often passed through as a point of collection between other positions. The feet should ideally touch or brush each other when passing by each other. It is very unattractive to show a gap between the feet while dancing – plus a gap often makes the body wobble from side to side.

2nd Position: Side step. Feet parallel. Again weight is seldom equally distributed.
3rd Position: Heal or Toe to Instep.
4th Position: Walking (forward or back)
5th Position: Toe to Heal.
6th Position: Knees together, Toe to ground
7th Position: Heal to ground
8th Position: Legs crossed Toe to ground in front
9th Position: Legs crossed, weight on front foot
10th Position: Kick, point, tap forward and across
11th Position: Kick, point, tap side
12th Position: kick, point, tap back and across
Hook turn, about face, lock-steps,

12 Foot Position Demo