Hey! I’m Eleanor, a tap dancer based near London, and I’m so excited to be working with Move Dance on a blog series to help you improve your tap technique and refine some core steps!
We’re going to start with single wings. Let’s be honest - you either love them or you hate them. I personally found them tricky to master, but when you’re able to hit all three beats consistently, it’s the most satisfying feeling! If you’re confident in your regular wings but struggling to perfect them on one leg, hopefully these tips will help you out.
Before starting, make sure you’re nice and warmed up. Because of the flicking motion our foot has to make, wings can be harsh on your ankles. Spend a good 10-15 minutes really warming up your feet and ankles, then you’re ready to get going!
1- Practise in a lunged position
When learning single wings, I found it really useful to drill them like this. Start in a medium lunge with the working foot on a slight rise in front, and your other leg straight out behind. Place as much weight as you can on the ball of your front foot and, with your hands on your hips and your upper body strong, practise the single wing motion with your foot. By practising in this position, you can use your back leg as a little support whilst you get used to making all three sounds with your working leg, to really get your muscle memory working.
The better you get at this, the less weight you can keep on your back leg. Keep your body weight over the winging leg so you don’t rely too much on the back leg. Remember to drill both sides!
2- Squeeze your inner thighs!
Like with most tap steps, the smaller you make it, the easier it’ll be. The same goes for wings. If you’re trying to flick your whole leg out a million miles, it’s 10x harder to make all the sounds on the way in. By really focusing on keeping your inner thighs engaged and squeezed, you’ll be able to keep your foot more underneath you and you’ll have more airtime to get the inward brush in before you land. Think about this every time you practise, whether that’s in the centre, at the barre, or in a lunge!
3- Don’t be afraid to use your arms
Make a nice big swinging motion with both your arms to help you achieve more height with your wings. You might think it looks a bit silly to start with, but you can refine your arms and upper body once you’re confident with the technique in the feet.
I hope these tips will help you when training your single wings! Don’t forget to tag me (@eleanxrmay) and Move Dance in your pictures and videos on Instagram