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Reverse Fallaway

by Sandi & Dan Finch

Every dancer at some point struggles with the reverse fallaway and its follow-on, the slip pivot. The difficulty posed by that combination makes one wonder why it is standardized by Roundalab at phase IV for the reverse fallaway alone and only phase V with the slip pivot. All of the ballroom rating systems place it at their highest level. (That should give you some comfort, the next time you struggle through it.)
 
The basic figure and its combination are prevalent in our form of dancing, done in foxtrot, waltz, tango, and quickstep. As the name suggests, the basic figure is a left-turning (going reverse) figure that ends in fallaway position, i.e., stepping backwards into semi-closed position, facing the opposite direction of travel. The reverse fallaway itself is three steps, SQQ in foxtrot, 123 in waltz. Adding the slip pivot will give it many possible timing variations, from 12&3 or 123& in waltz, SQ&Q or QQQQ in foxtrot and tango (and give you a headache). Sir Alex Moore, MBE, the ballroom guru and author of Ballroom Dancing, suggests you could foxtrot through the figure into a double reverse spin with this timing: SQQQ QQ&Q, stealing time from the first step of the double reverse for a smoother, more comfortable slip pivot. 

Alex Moore liked the figure so much, he included it in five popular variations, identified in that book called “The Popular Variations” to catalog amalgamations considered suitable for competition but too difficult for general dancing. [In ballroomese, the figure is called fallaway reverse but is described the same as ours.] 

[An aside about Alex Moore: He published a monthly newsletter about figures, and what he saw being done wrong with them in competitions as he traveled around the world judging and coaching. He began coming to the U.S. in the 1960s to certify professionals and test avid dancers for medals on their competence with the ISTD syllabus. He became so popular that on one trip in 1967, the state of New Mexico made him “colonel, aide-de-camp, ambassador of good will” on the governor’s staff. Not quite the same as being knighted by the Queen, but then not many people get either honor.] 

Starting nearly always from closed position, Man facing diagonal line and center (DLC), the reverse fallaway slip requires nearly all the tricks we know about dancing: Recognizing the three-dimensional space of two bodies turning at the same time, inside/outside of turns, not falling backwards onto your heel while going backwards, side leading, CBMP. For the slip pivot, Man must step back R with toe turned in. Lady must wait until he is out of the way before she attempts to step forward for her pivot. Moore suggests the figure is easier if Lady keeps her head to the left. Considering how many concepts can be mastered to learn it, and how much it is used, it is probably worth the struggle to learn.

From a club newsletter, March 2014, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, November 2016.


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If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.



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Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.

Aditional articles and dance helps by
Sandi & Dan Finch
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Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)



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