Grapevine and the Fox Trot

September 14, 2007

During our last dance class the instructor reintroduced the fox trot to us. After doing the tango and waltz for some time, the fox trot was quite easy to pick up. The basic pattern was slow-slow-quick-quick.

After getting down the basic pattern with tempo, we were introduced to the fox trot grapevine. This is a common step found in other fitness related activities, but the gist is basically moving sideways, while alternating stepping behind and in front of the supporting leg.

We were then given the task of nearly traversing the whole length of the room using the grapevine fox trot. This was much more difficult than it sounded as one of the requirements is to keep out shoulders square facing each other while our legs pointed the direction of movement. This really works on isolation of the hips and shoulders in movement (quite the opposite from taiji).

He then gave us a hint to think about the concept of ‘push and pull’ within dancing. After watching him demonstrate it again, I noticed that during the setup, there was a strong turning of the hips to the direction of motion. This results in having the ability to ‘step through’ with the leg instead of step around. Additionally, there was quite a bit of ‘pushing’ with the foundation leg in the movement. In order to truly push with good power, the hips have to really be squared up so that one can ‘push through’.  Can we clearly differentiate between pushing and pulling in our movement?

Also, he emphasized in dancing the importance of weight changes on the foot. You have to really be clear of which foot is weighted and which foot is not. Always move with the un-weighted foot. Are we able to clearly define the weighted foot? Are we able to clearly define the transfer of weight within the foot (from heel to toe)?

With these points in mind, we attempted it again. While the result was better, we were still unable to hit our mark. We only made it about 90% of the way down the room, but this gives up something to work on.


3 Responses to “Grapevine and the Fox Trot”

  1. Taijiquan in Tampa Says:

    I originally got into kung fu from dancing. I used to freestyle dance a lot and I had kind of ‘hit a wall’ where unless i wanted to start breaking (get down on the floor, use hands, etc) I couldn’t really see what new moves I was going to invent. It was starting to get stale.

    At the same time a bunch of my friends were getting into kung fu so I followed them. One of the biggest differences I found early on was that in dancing i was rarely rooted, usually pushing one limb or part of my body in one direction involved another part going in the other direction, to maintain balance and because generally you have your little area to dance in and dont want to actually move too far. In Kung Fu you are trying to generate force in a certain direction.. pretty much the opposite.

  2. taichitoni Says:

    I took a couple of courses in swing dancing to improve my “following” and “sticking” energies in push hands. This works if you are a female.

  3. wujimon Says:

    Haha.. dancing has definitely improved my following, but that’s the opposite effect since I’m male and should be leading 🙂

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