Posted by terrepruitt on June 24, 2010
Often times in a Nia routine we are stepping or even walking. Since Nia’s movements are based upon the way the body was designed to move a Nia routine is often created with the step to be done with a heel lead. The Heel Lead is one of Nia’s 52 Moves.
A lot of different types of dancing is done on the ball of the foot, cha-cha, two step, etc. Some dances are done on the toe as in ballet. With Nia we often are using our heel to lead and not the toe or the ball of the foot. This is a challenge sometimes. Sometimes it seems easier to step onto the ball of the foot or the toe. Using the heel lead technique really allows for our ankles to move through the full range of motion.
In addition to allowing the foot to move as it should, stepping on the heel gives the ball of the foot a chance to rest. If it is one’s habit to walk on the ball of the foot it can sometimes become a source of pain. The foot in its very architecture was designed to have the weight (when stepping) borne on the heel not the ball of the foot.
While I am leading a Nia class I frequently say, “Heel lead.” And most times it is to remind myself to use my heel. I tend to start dancing on the balls of my feet.
A lot of women’s high heeled shoes do not allow for a heel lead. In the case of some of the shoes if the heel were to lead and the weight were to be place on it, it would collapse. I know many, many women who love their high heels for so many reasons. I am not saying that people shouldn’t wear them, but I am saying that we dance Nia in bare feet, the routines are designed to allow the body to move as it was created, so embrace the heel lead.
Right now, if you are not wearing shoes that would inhibit the heel lead, try it. As you walk through your day actually consciously, place your heel down (not roughly, just place it down) first then roll through your foot. Notice how your ankle flexes and extends. Practice the heel lead. Enjoy the heel lead.