Dance Terms from A - Z

Footwork Terms



Ball
(1) The rounded part of the foot between the toes and the arch.
(2) Described in the footwork section of a technique chart, abbreviated “B”. A “Ball” step is taken with the heel slightly raised off the floor and is usually initiated from the inside edge of the ball of the foot. .

Ball Flat
Described in the footwork section of a technique chart, abbreviated “BF”. A “Ball Flat” step is taken first with the ball of the foot (usually initiated on the inside edge)and then lowered to the whole foot (flat)

Ball Heel
Described in the footwork section of a technique chart, abbreviated “BH”. A “Ball Heel” step is taken first with the ball of the foot and then rolling backwards onto the heel. It is used in the description of backward walks to indicate the delayed lowering of the heel.

Heel/Heel Lead
(1) The part of the foot directly below the ankle and behind the arch.
(2) Used in the footwork section of a technique manual abbreviated as “H”, “HT”, or “HB” In all three examples, the first part of the step is taken with the foot flexed and the heel in contact with the floor, then rolling down to a flat foot. “H” is used when there is no rise on the step. “HT” is used when there is commencement of rise at the end of the step. “HB” is sometimes used in Tango to indicate a heel lead without rise but with turn. “HF” is used predominantly in samba and is not a heel lead since there is no flexing of the ankle.

Inside Edge
A Footwork term indicating that the foot is placed first on the inside edge of the ball or whole foot prior to completely transferring weight to the whole foot.

Stride
Used in the ballroom dances to indicate the furthest distance between the feet as a step is taken.

Toe
Used to describe footwork where the weight is on the toes of the supporting foot with the heel raised.

Toe Heel
(1) Footwork starting from a rise on the toes of the supporting foot and then lowering onto the heel.
(2) The footwork used on back steps in the Smooth and Standard dances where the weight rolls backwards onto the foot from the toes to the heel.

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