Standing Leg vs Dancing Leg
What are the differences, their individual functions and how to use both to make your dancing look effortless?
First, in definition the standing leg or supporting leg (as named in Ballet) is the leg that carries the weight of the whole body. It could be either the left or the right leg alternating each step. The dancing leg is the free leg or the moving leg. It doesn’t carry the weight or very little weight for balance.
In the technique books and information received during dance lessons a lot of description of the actions of the legs is for the dancing leg. Technique details of weight transfer, bending and straightening of the leg, swing and footwork are mostly associated to the dancing leg. So, most dancers will focus on the quality of execution of the dancing leg while very little about the standing one.
While both functions are important, focussing only on the dancing leg can become a problem and gives the dance a look “ungrounded” and with lack of control.
The muscles of the standing leg must be toned to power the body to move. The body weight and centre of gravity must be first in line over the centre of the foot, then be pushed from the heel rather than toes as it would give more stability. In Ballroom the knee will stay bent while in Latin the knee must remain straight. The quality of movement and superb look of the dancing leg will be better if it supported by the standing leg.
So, pay more attention in your practices to both leg functions and you will develop more control and beautiful “grounded” look.