1. Basic six count footwork
If you would wish to see close-up feet-only videos of the 6 count footwork before tackling the explanation below,
Click for close-up video of Ladies' Footwork Click for close-up video of Men's footwork
Lindy hop is made up of primarily six count and eight count patterns. This page shows and discusses the footwork for 6 count sequences.
The basic six count step is triple step, triple step, rock step. Here’s how it goes.
Triple Steps are three steps done over two beats. The count for a triple step is “one and two” (three words and three steps).
For the leader, starting with the left foot, the footwork of a triple step is:
1 and 2 left right left
Then starting with the right foot it’s:
3 and 4 right left right
For the follower, starting with the right foot, the footwork of a triple step is:
1 and 2 right left right
Then with left foot it’s:
3 and 4 left right left
Swing in triple steps is all about the “and.” What that means is that the second step of a triple, the “and”, is not executed in the exact middle of the first and third step as it would be in Cha Cha. As indicated in the diagrams above, the “and” step in triple swing happens slightly closer to the third step than the first step (Did you notice?!). This is what gives triple steps the bop ba-dop swing rhythm.
When doing triple steps your knees should raise with each step as if attached to puppet strings. It is important that for each step one foot is raised and the other is firmly planted with your weight directly over the planted foot. This is a general rule for which there are a few exceptions. The effect of raising your knees to do each step should make your upper body relatively still. This is called body isolation or isolating your upper body from your lower body. This is important because you don’t want the rhythm of your lower body to come through your upper body and start shaking your partner. Such shaking will limit the leader follower connection.
Stand in front a mirror, which doesn’t have to be full length, hold your forearms out straight in front of you with your palms face down, and do triple step triple step over and over again. If you can keep your hands relatively still then you have good body isolation.
The Rock Step:
You’ve done the first four counts of the six count basic. Now there’s just counts five and six.
For the leader, on count five step back and do a partial weight change with your left foot just enough so that you can lift your right foot up and then step down with your weight fully on your right foot on count six.
For the follower, on count five, step back and do a partial weight change with your right foot just enough so that you can lift your left foot up and then step down with your weight fully on your left foot on count six.
You don’t have to step back far with the first step of the rock step. While looking from the side when you step back on five there should be no visible gap between your front and back foot.
If triple step, triple step, back step sounds familiar to you, it might be because that is also the pattern for the basic triple step in east coast swing, sometimes called jitterbug.
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