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Heel Lead

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.

10 Responses to “Heel Lead”

  1. suzicate said

    Love the ankle bracelet. I haven’t worn one in years. Maybe it’s time for me to change that!


    • Yes, I think so. I have a lot of them. I am more “into” jewelry than nail/toe polish, so that is how I dress up my feet.

      I have an idea, usually when you first start wearing an ankle bracelet it “bothers” you because you are aware of it. Well, if you start wearing one and it “bothers” you, you could use that awareness to “heel lead”. Nifty, huh? It could work, yes?


  2. maulpartin said

    It’s funny, because every once in a while I do think about how I should use my heel more when I walk, especially when I’m walking around for long periods of time. There’s also something very satisfying in walking this way (the correct way), and this might just be me but I feel like it gives my walking a more animated characteristic, almost as if I’m a walking cartoon version of myself…but that’s just me ’cause I’m kind of a weirdo 🙂


    • Maul (I call you that because I think it is so funny — Maul Partin — that just cracks me up!)

      You sound like Nia would be very natural for you, in that you sometimes are aware of your movements AND find that moving in the Body’s Way is satisfying. I truly believe that when we move our bodies the way they were designed to move we do “satisfy” our bodies. It is as if the body finds relief in that type of movement.

      I believe it probably does give your walk a more animated characteristic because if you stride with the heel leading it tends to cause the body to sink a bit towards the ground then as you roll through the foot your body starts to rise, then if you follow through on the ball of your foot you do rise. Nia calls this the smile line. (I will probably post about it. I was planning on posting all three of the moves together and mentioning the smile line.) So, to me, I can understand what you are saying.

      Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting. I know you are busy so it is so nice to see you here!


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  5. niafundamentals said

    Hi, I posted your article on my FB page. I am going for a 52 Moves training and was looking for posts like this one. Thank you!


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