In our last article, we covered the nuts and bolts of rise and fall – what it means, as well as general tips on how to do it. But you may still be wondering how to apply it in your general dancing. The following exercises will help you improve and master ballroom rise and fall on the dance floor.

If you’re new to rise and fall, start with the slow waltz. It’s slow tempo and continuous movement makes it the best dance to practice to.

Standing Exercise

Begin with the feet together and parallel, knees soft:

  1. Over a slow 3-count, lift gradually up onto your toes by pushing down into the floor with the ankles. Hold for 3 counts.
  2. Slowly lower over 3 counts until your heels touch the floor, then continue downward 3 counts by bending the knees gently. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet.
  3. Slowly straighten the knees over three counts until back to your original position. Repeat 10 times.

Remember that rising doesn’t just happen in the lower body! If you can do these exercises easily, start stretching your spine on every rise, right up to the crown of your head.

Balanced Walk Exercise

The goal of this exercise is to strengthen your balance on each step so you can rise and fall in a controlled way:

  1. As with the first exercise, rise slowly onto the balls of your feet. Now stay on your balls and walk around a bit to get used to the feeling. Lower to relax your muscles for a moment.
  2. When you’re ready, rise again and step forward with the left foot, brush the right to the left and hold for 2 counts. You may have to put weight on the right foot temporarily, but try not to fall forwards or backwards.
  3. Take a step forward with your right foot and repeat, making sure you can stay balanced on each foot.

Imagining yourself pushing down through the floor will give you more stability than pushing up towards the ceiling.

Waltz Walking Exercise

Keep your feet brushing along the floor as you practice the following exercise:

  1. Take a normal walking step forward with the left foot, feeling how your weight rolls from the heel forward onto the ball and toes. When the weight reaches the later, press down and lift yourself up on the balls of your feet.
  2. Staying elevated, let the ball of the right foot foot brush forward and transfer your weight.
  3. Take one more step onto your left ball, and let the heel come back down as your weight transfers.
  4. Start from the beginning, but this time, try and rise gradually over all three steps (it will be harder, so focus on your balance and stay patient.)

You can also try this walking backwards, but remember: Your heels won’t leave the floor on a backwards walk. Stretch upwards on the rise with the rest of your body.

As you improve in the last exercise, you can also start using it in your basic waltz patterns. You can also try it with other dances (check the chart in the last article to see how much you rise and fall in each). Good luck!