46 THE QUEENS COURIER • DANCE • SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Make your pickups on the
dance fl oor much cleaner
BY SHAWN BYFIELD
For most of us, a Pickup (also known as
pull backs) is a light, hopping step that has
two sounds, done on the ball of the foot.
For standard pickups, both feet take off
with a brush back. Th en you land on the
balls of your feet at the same time. With
practice, a pickup can also be done standing
on one foot.
Th ere are variations of the step of
course, just like any step in tap dance.
Four count (I’ve also heard them called
delayed pickups) happen when one foot
makes a brush, followed by the other. You
then land on the fi rst foot, and the other
quickly lands aft er it.
However, you’ll discover the above
technique has two major fl aws.
Th e fi rst problem – Th at brush back
adds a “scrapey” sound. If you’ve been tap
dancing for a while, you know the diff erence
between a clear brush and a scrape.
Listen to your shuffl es; Your taps should
resonate with a crisp sound.
Th e second problem – Psychologically
speaking, once you brush back, your body
wants to put the foot down behind you,
instead of landing on your start position.
Th is makes you travel backward
(ever learned pickups traveling across the
fl oor?) and makes it much more diffi cult
to stay on the spot.
So how to avoid traveling, and make
Follow these three steps:
FIRST: Take lift off . JUMP. Don’t even
think about the brush back. Spring off the
balls of your feet, and only jump straight
up in the air.
SECOND: Once you’re in mid air,
quickly tap on the way DOWN. You need
to time that split second before gravity
pulls you back down. Tap in the space
before you land.
LASTLY: Land on balls of your feet, making
sure to bend your knees. NO HEELS!
Always keep your weight on your toes.
Th is most likely involves reprogramming
the physics that you’ve learned from
previous teachers. Because tapping on the
way DOWN requires a bit more stomach,
thigh and shin muscle strength, as well as
perfect timing. But it can be done.
Try this today, and make it a habit from
Th e best way to perfect this is to sit in a
chair, lift your feet off the fl oor by pushing
off the balls of your feet, then tap,
then land. Repeat. Once you get it, you’ll
immediately hear and feel the diff erence
in your technique.
— Courtesy Creative Commons