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Rotational Figures

by Brent & Judy Moore

There are two types of rotational action in closed position. Both focus on the position of the spine. In type one, the spine is moved through space in an arc. In type two, the rotation occurs with the spine as the center. Most “rotational” figures use both types of action.

Using the double reverse spin as an example, let’s examine the man’s spine positions first. In step one, he is moving the spine in a arc as he moves forward at the same time applying body turn (CBM or contra body movement). The swing into step two continues the arc movement of his spine. As weight comes on the foot in step two, he changes to another type action of rotation, using his spine as the center of the rotation, and he continues using it as the center of rotation through step 3.

The lady has a rotational action that complements the man’s. On step one her spine moves in a arc since she is moving back with body turn. On step two as she closes her feet her spine becomes the center of rotation. As the man starts his rotational action on step two the lady changes back to moving her spine in an arc around the man.

This example of a rotational figure emphasizes a critical point—when the rotation is around the spine of one of the partners, the other’s spine must be moving in an arc around that center. It’s not possible for both to have the spine as the center of rotation at the same time. The spines can be moving in an arc at the same time but they cannot be the center of rotation at the same time and maintain the partner position.

There are a couple of other points to note about rotational figures in addition to paying attention to what’s happening with the spine. The first of these points is that once rotation begins, it is continued at the same speed of turn until the figure is completed. So often, there is a start/stop or a start/slow/reaccelerate action in the rotation, which causes the partnership to break down somewhat. By that I mean that our connection with partner becomes less than ideal. Remember that one of the “Holy Grails” of partner dancing is to maintain our center line connection . . . that is, keeping our centers pointed to the partner.

A second point about rotational action is to always think positive; that is, to think of the side opposite the turn as moving to the turn. Never think of taking a side back to start rotation. In rotational arc movement, both sides are moving, it’s just that the side opposite the turn moves more. Even when moving backward into a rotation, think positive movement of the sides.

Of course, there are many other figures in which these concepts are important -- double natural spin, outside spin, telespin . . .


From clinic notes prepared for the ROUNDALAB Convention, June 2010. Reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, April 2013.


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