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Movin' On UP!

by Kristine & Bruce Nelson

So you're moving on up! Terrific! You're dancing Phase IV beautifully -- What do you need to be able to dance more advanced figures in Phase V or VI comfortably and easily?

An important element in executing figures is a good dance position. The partners stand relaxed with flexed knees. Body weight is slightly forward on the balls of the feet. The woman is on the man's right side. The partners maintain light body contact in the approximate area of the diaphragm. The joined man's left and woman's right hands are held between the chin and eye level of the shorter partner. The elbows are slightly curved down. The man's right wrist is placed at the woman's left armpit (no, really!) and the hand placed at a slight downward angle on her back. His elbows must be held slightly forward and away from the body to make space for the woman to dance. The woman lightly lays her left arm on his upper right arm. The established frame is very solid but not rough or hard and must be consistent. In addition, both partners need to consciously maintain muscle tone to facilitate movement and sending and receiving the dance lead.

Let's think about some intermediate and advanced figures from waltz and foxtrot. As you dance each one, really think about maintaining your good, toned dance position. We will mention a few other techniques that can make your dancing more smooth and comfortable.

Reverse Turn Family -- the foundation figure is the foxtrot Reverse Turn.

Telemark: Using contra-body action, M step straight forward L commence LF turn with small rise, side R continue turn, no additional turn side and slightly forward L with R-side stretch to SCP;

W back R commence LF turn bringing L beside R with no weight, turn on R heel (heel turn) change weight to L, side and slightly forward R to SCP;

Maintain closed position through first two steps. Step 3 is a side step.

Mini Telespin: M has similar action to Telemark for the first two steps M keeping his body facing W. M extends his L leg back with toe pressure for step 3 leading the W forward in SCP/on an &-count M rotates LF to lead W forward to LOD; M forward L picking up W strong turn, spin LF on L to DRC, close R (total of five weight changes);

W similar action to Telemark for first two steps, forward R in SCP/forward L; W back R toe spin, continue spin, close L (total of seven weight changes);

Reverse Wave Half Check and Weave: M forward L commence LF turn, -, side R, back L keeping W in CP; Slip R back with slight contra-check action, -, forward L commence LF turn, side R with R side leading and slight R-side stretch; Back L in CBMP continue LF turn, back R continue LF turn, side and forward L with L-side stretch, forward R in CBMP outside partner;

W back R commence LF turn, -, close L to R (heel turn), forward R; Following M's slip and contra check action forward L, -, back R commence LF turn, side L with L side leading and slight L-side stretch; Forward R in CBMP, forward L continue LF turn, side and back R with R-side stretch, back L in CBMP;

Picture Figure Family -- many figures require body sway (stretching) and/or contra body movement.

Contra Check: M commence LF upper-body turn flexing knees with strong R-side lead check forward S in CBMP,

W commence LF upper-body turn flexing knees with strong L-side lead back R in CBMP looking well to left,

Knees must be flexed as upper body rotates with M's L and W's R leg preceding the body to move into Contra Check. Both keep hips up toward partner. Recover step and exit will vary by choreography.

Hinge: M back R commence LF turn, side and forward L continue turn commence L-side stretch with slight rise leading W to cross her L foot behind her R, relax L knee turn R knee to sway R to look at W (two weight changes);

W forward L commence LF turn, side R commence R-side stretch swivel LF, cross L in back of R taking full weight keeping L side in toward partner, relax L knee turning head to L keeping shoulders parallel to partner no weight on R (three weight changes);

Recover step and exit will vary by choreography.


From clinic notes for a past URDC convention, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, September 2014.


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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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