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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Heel and Toe
Heel and Toe

            The first term of Heel and Toe I have found is what was called the Seventh step or Heel and Toe Step, done in a dance called the Jig. Another was the "Lincoln Heel and Toe Polka." And another Heel and Toe was popular in the 1900's. The Bohemian or Heel and Toe Polka was done in 1888, (which was first done as a movement in the original Polka).

     In doing the Heel and Toe Polka, as a couples dance ... Brown says that -- "at the count "heel" (1), the foot is extended to the second position, but with the heel down and the toe raised, and at count "toe," (2) the moving foot is moved to the fifth position, behind the stationary foot, or in other words, starting with left foot, the foot is extended to second position, heel down, and at count "toe," the left foot is moved to fifth position behind right foot, thus forming fifth position for right foot,

except that the weight of the body rests on the right foot.

     In actual dancing these fifth positions are not conformed to strictly, and often the foot is extended to second position without putting the heel down, and while this leaves out one of the features whence the name of the dance is derived, it does not detract from the elegance of execution. The lady dances the same steps except that the dance is commenced with the right foot. From time to time, slight differences in the style of the polka step are introduced for variety; a name is given the innovation, and after a temporary popularity it makes room for something newer. These inventions are so closely allied to the varieties of polka already described that they can be learned at short notice and without difficulty". (Heel-Toe - Triple Step - repeat other side)

     There are other variations done thru-out the world as well.... One version (Heel-Toe Cha-Cha) is just a Heel-Toe-Cha-Cha-Cha, and repeat other foot (no claps). The Heel Toe Polka can be done as a adult / childrens mixer dance for groups as well ... 2 heel- toe touches, a couple side steps, Heel-Toe again, side steps, 8 count Hand / thigh clapping, a do-si-do, circle around to new partner ... simple!


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

n/a 1880s n/a Varies
Order "Dances thru time Video"

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a n/a Heel and Toe
            1966 - With A Heel And A Toe (Ray Campi)

Night Clubs



Cinderella Ballroom (LA) n/a n/a

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

Dances thru time Video [DVD] n/a n/a



Other Related Dances of the time...

Bohemian Heel and Toe Polka Knickerbocker Round and Square dance
Bunny Hop Jig Lambeth Walk Square dance
Bush Dance Conga Line Lincoln Heel & Toe Polka Waltz
Chicken Dance   Polka Wave Waltz

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Irene Castle n/a n/a
Vernon Castle    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Cartier's Practical Waltz P. Valleau Cartier 1888 DeWitt
A Treatise on the elements of Dancing Brown, R.E. 1891 Bancroft Co.
Dancing Made Easy Rosiere, Gabrielle 1919 Edward J. Clode




Poets / Writers

n/a n/a n/a n/a

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

n/a n/a n/a -

Basic Step...

  • The Bohemian, Music: 2/4. (excerpted from Cartier's Book)
    1)Place left heel on the floor in second position, resting on right foot (count one); bring the toe of left foot behind the right (count two); take full polka step (count one, two, three).
    2) Second Step. Place the right heel on the floor, resting on left foot (count one); bring the toe of right foot behind the left (count two); then take full polka step (count one, two, three).
    3) Third and Fourth Steps.--Two full movements of the Wave (Wave aka: Newport or Knickerbocker)
  • The Heel and Toe Jig Step:
    Starting from the natural position, give a strike with the left toe; swing the right foot forward, making one strike with the hell, at the same time turning the toe of the right to the right; give a strike with the left toe; swing the left foot back, giving a tap, and then a strike with the ball of the right foot near the heel of the left. Reverse - Commence by swinging the left foot forward, and continue with the same movements as before made with the right foot.
Art Of Dress 1500-1914
$ Art Of Dress 1500-1914