A key to dance is balance and a key to balance is placing your weight over your foot correctly. To do this, you need to be able to feel weight movement within your feet to the smallest degree. Increasing this ability will make you a better dancer.
Your foot is actually made to do this. There are around 100,000 - 200,000 exteroceptors (nerves) in the sole of each foot. This makes the feet one of the most sensitive parts of the body – it’s in the same category of sensitivity as the hands. This makes sense; the feet are our connection with the environment and stop us from stepping on dangerous items. Because of this sensitivity, we rely on our feet a lot to maintain balance. However, as well as losing this sensitivity as we age, we can lose it from wearing shoes. The fact is we do not need to consider the signals we get from our feet as much as we do when we have no shoes. One of the major causes of falls as we age is our inability to sense with our feet. Imagine how detrimental this could be for your dancing. As good as shoes are, they have their downside.
Let’s now talk about increasing the sensitivity of your feet.
This is an easy one. Simply take you shoes off and walk around on diverse surfaces – outside in a part is ideal. This will make your brain wake up to the signals from your feet so that they can be used to improve your balance.
This one is a bit more involved. Stand on one foot and close your eyes. By closing your eyes you need to focus more on the signals from your feet to maintain balance. Focus on the shifts in pressure you feel in the sole of your foot. By using the pressure shifts you increase your brains tendency to be aware of this information and use it.
Engage in either of the above and notice how much more grounded you are when you dance next time. Also be more aware of your feet when you dance for better balance.