Whether you’re a trained dancer or you want to feel more like JLo on the dance floor, people around the world are clamoring to learn how to dance in heels. It’s sexy, empowering, and oozes confidence, so it’s no wonder that so many want in on the action.
Here, we’re going over the basics of how to start dancing in heels to help take you from Bambi to Beyonce.
Picking the Right Shoes
First things first, you have to find the right shoes to dance in and this usually takes a bit of trial and error to find what works for you. Heels that have laces and sit above the ankles are a great choice so that you can adjust them as necessary and will give you extra support.
For beginners, you might opt for a chunkier, lower heel when you’re first learning how to dance in heels. But to give your legs a nice line, the goal is to eventually be able to dance in a four-inch stiletto heel. We know it seems daunting – but with enough patience and practice, you’ll get there!
That said, it’s important for you to feel secure and ready to groove with confidence, so pick a heel that’s right for you!
Walking in Heels
Learning to walk in heels is the first step (get it?) towards learning how to dance in heels. Feeling sexy and powerful in your walk is absolutely essential – and it’s not as easy as it looks.
Let’s begin with a basic exercise: Starting in a bevel, create an “S” shape with your body by sitting in your hips. Step forward onto a turned out foot, toes pointing out at a 30 degree angle. It’s normal to feel a little stiff when you first do this, so try to focus on relaxing and letting your hips and shoulders move naturally. Stay grounded by dragging your toes through that bevel position after each step. Remember – you’re in heels! It’s ok if you’re doing the wobble at first.
Hitting a Pose
Few things make a dancer feel more powerful than a good pose. Heels choreography often has moments to pose built in to create pictures with clean, beautiful lines. It’s all about empowerment and confidence.
Our number one piece of freestyle dancing advice – don’t overthink it! The same goes for posing since the whole point is to strike a pose that feels right in the moment.
A good starting point is to think about whether you’ll keep your knees straight or if you’ll bend them in plié. Even just bumping your hips to one side on straight or bent knees can create a sexy pose in a simple way.
Then, playfully add your arms and hands to the mix – crossed on the chest, draped overhead, or proudly on your hips – and you’ll soon find all kinds of poses that feel good in your body.
Dancing in heels is a lot more than just walking and posing (duh). Throughout both heels choreography and freestyle, there are more flowy, sensual movements that get incorporated into the dance.
Try this exercise on for size: Begin by swinging your hips from side to side and practicing your hip rolls, trying both with either bent or extended knees. Focus on how smoothly you can make this movement happen, with no hard stops or twitches in your body.
Using your fingertips to touch your body is also a beautiful way to transition through movements, and body rolls are another classic move in heels classes. As always, feel free to bend through those knees during your sensual moves for more support!
Turning in Heels
Before we get into it, let’s talk about spotting. Focusing your eyes on the same spot in front of you keeps you from getting dizzy and allows you to quickly reorient yourself at the end of a turn. To practice spotting, keep your eyes facing forward during a turn until the very last moment before whipping your head around to once again focus on the same spot.
In a three-step turn (or a chaines turn if you have dance training), you take three steps to turn yourself around while moving forward. Your arms can move naturally here but make sure to spot!
Being confident walking in heels comes in handy when attempting three-step turns, so if you have a hard time turning, take more time to build up your walking first.
Another basic turn you might come across in a heels class is called a drag turn or pencil turn. As you turn toward your standing leg, your free leg drags behind you on the floor. Imagine the toe of that free foot drawing a circle around your standing leg as you turn.
Since you’ll be rotating on one leg for your drag turn, it’s extra important to activate your core. And again – don’t forget to spot!
Whether you’re brand new to dance classes or you’re coming back to basics to brush up on your skills, there’s always value in learning the fundamentals. Having a deep understanding of these beginner steps is the only way to nail more advanced choreography when the time comes.
So, are you ready to put it all together?
Be sure to check out our online dance classes with Cat Rendic in her Beginner Heels Program for more on how to dance in heels. She’ll demonstrate all these moves (and more!) before taking you through your first heels combo. Click here to check it out, and start dancing in heels today!