Re: What it means to swing your leg? Posted by anymouse 5/28/2013 9:42:00 AM
"I thought in these dances I go forward by gliding the heel of the forward foot so the body weight is distributed on both feet. But if I glide forward, then I can't swing the leg."
That's an important point towards realizing why you should not have any body weight supported by your moving leg as long as it is still moving.
It is true that we will generally (except in tango, and a few places in quickstep) have the moving foot in contact with the floor (or near enough). But it's extremely important that we not have body weight resting on it while it is moving, as this does indeed impede its natural movement. (Sliding your weight will also make it difficult for you to dance on a floor stickier - or possibly even substantially slipperier - than you are used to).
Many newer dancers fall into the mistake of sliding weight on their moving foot, because they cannot see any other way to create a smooth and sustained movement. But such movement is actually created with the body supported only by the drive from the standing foot. A skilled dancer is able to use this drive to support the body weight, even after the body has moved away from being directly over the standing foot. It's a skill that does take some practice time and strength-building to develop - but one that will only be learned by those who realize it is possible and work towards that goal.