Foot skills: Edgework


From August 28, 2016 facebook post

* VIDEO: About 4-5 years ago some of you that have been with us for awhile will recall that i studied some latin and smooth ballroom dance for a few years. It was humbling to say the least. There are so many reasons why men suck at dancing. But, I have never been one to stray away from fearful and humbling experiences. I enjoy being curious and trying hard things and i am ok with looking like a fool to get an edge on wisdom seeking. This dance thing was the hardest thing i have ever done, the pros make it look easy, but it is hard. Movement, coordination, timing, rhythm, memorizing steps and principles, then learning to lead a partner through all that SILENTLY ! but one of the hardest things to learn was how to use the whole body to create movement. Dancing is whole body, latin dancing is a workout, and the core gets smashed when done right. There is a reason dancers have amazing bodies, because this stuff is hard ! One day one of the male coaches came over to me and said something resembling "you are not reacting into the floor with your feet, you have to feel the inside and outside edges of your rear, mid and forefoot at any one moment of time. If you cannot get that right, you cannot properly engage the leg muscles, hips and certainly not your core". He was right. I had no idea how to move. He then said, "go home, but on some socks and polish your floors, reacting into, and then off of, the floor. When you begin to feel your leg muscles and learn that the feet can be used in so many ways other than walking, things most people never even come close to in sports, you will be ready to START." This was what happened after one week of reacting into the floor, I came to name it, "EDGEWORK". I was learning to use the inside and outside edges of my rear, mid and forefoot, sometimes on the opposite sides of the body, pronating at times through the right rear foot while supinating through the left forefoot etc. This is why I laugh to myself when i see people posting what they call holy grail "foot exercises" on the internet. Much of it is novice stuff, but admittedly that is where most people have to begin, and should begin. This was just one reason I appreciated learning 10 different dances, from cha cha and jive which had extremely fast and agile foot work, to rhumba and salsa and their complicated foot work into the floor, and then dances like foxtrot or waltz that required an entirely different kind of footwork, skimming and floating across the foot with grace. Oh, and did i mention leading a lady about the floor, silently with just body jestures and gentle hints of pressure. Oh, and to music, on time, in rhythm etc. This was a journey in which i gave zero f#@&ks about about what people thought when they knew i was taking dancing lessons, because I knew I was learning to move and use my body like few others even remotely had a clue about, and likely never will. Enjoy my silly little FOOT EDGEWORK video i shot for this coach, so he could see what i had been able to do in just a week. You will see inside edges, outside edges, skimming, floating, pressuring into the floor, directional changes, pivots etc. From here, my journey into movement took a giant leap forward. I began to truly understand how the foot worked on the ground, truly "worked" and how that would translate into hip rotation, core engagement, upper body turning, spinning, posture, arm movements, glute and calf use, peroneal stability for the lateral ankle and many more things. There is a reason why some of the greatest athletes in sports took on dancing and ballet to improve their understanding and grace of movement to their chosen field. Because it was an edge no one else willing to embrace. Go ahead laugh at the silly video, i sure did. I just found it while purging computer files and immediately put the wool socks back on and went to polish the floors. Come on men, help keep the house floors sparkly clean like mine, give them a shine :) Oh, and thanks Bruce Lee, Hong Kong Cha cha champion for making it ok to follow you. You can take that to the bank Connor McGregor. (*the silliness begins about 10seconds into the clip, give it a sec)
- Dr. Shawn Allen, the other gait guy

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