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Telemarks

by Pete & Mary McGee

We have so many of them in the modern rhythms, the Open Telemark, Closed Telemark, Hover Telemark, Natural Telemark, Natural Hover Telemark, Double Telemark, and Telespin.

We know that they all have one thing in common, and that is the footwork -- a forward step followed by two side steps. However, if that was all we had to know about a Telemark, we wouldn't be writing this article. In order to execute a Telemark correctly and to make it feel more comfortable for both the lady and the man, there are some finer details that are important.

The first step for the man should be a strong straight step, heel-to-toe, rising early (the early rise is what causes the lady to do a heel turn). Because a Telemark is a left-turning figure, we should always remember a second rule: "A left-turning figure turns late," and of course that takes care of the end of the first step, which is where the turn happens. Now that you have caused the lady to do a heel turn, your second step becomes very important. Since the lady is literally on her heels, she can very easily be pulled off balance. The second step is to the side on the toe. It is important that you take that step past the lady, which will put her on your left side, which is where you need her to make the next step work. Also think of slowing this step down. The third step is also a side step, and the amount of turn you make depends on what figure follows, but the important thing to remember is to keep your body toward your partner, and point your foot in the direction that you want to go for the next figure. This last step is done toe-to-heel, and it should feel like a coasting step. You never want to put a lot of power in the final step of a Telemark.

One reason a Telemark is difficult is that in one movement your are on the outside of the turn, and then become the inside. And of course the opposite is true for the lady.

The lady also has a few responsibilities to make the Telemark "work." Her first step should be straight back, keeping left poise and a "closed head." At the end of the second step, rise up on the toes, and on the last step just lower toe-heel.


From an article published in the ROUNDALAB Journal, Spring 1995. Reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, February 2013.



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