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Foxtrot Feather

by Kay & Joy Read

The term "feather" is frequently used in conjunction with the foxtrot rhythm. In fact, quite a few figures are called "feathers" of various types, and even more figures have, as an integral part, a "feather". Understanding the term feather as it applies to foxtrot will greatly simplify foxtrot at all phases from III through VI. Even some of the most complicated and difficult foxtrot figures are actually only combinations or modifications of "feathers".

To understand and apply the feather concept, one must understand the meaning of the phase "foxtrot feather". Although several figures are named feathers, the term in foxtrot does not come from the noun Feather, but from the verb To Feather. The phrase "foxtrot feather" actually refers to the action, to feather, rather than the object, a feather. This action results in moving to a feathered position. Here, the term "feathered" is an adjective describing the type of ending position obtained after performing the action of "feathering". Therefore, a figure named a feather is a figure in which the action of feathering results in a feathered position. This concept (action) is an integral part of many, if not most, foxtrot figures. Think of the Feather (of course) but also Weaves, Natural Hover Crosses, and even the Tumble Turn.

Only four possible feather positions exist, and all feather actions end in one of these four positions. They are as follows:

  1. Man forward R outside partner's right side (Lady back L) = Banjo

  2. Man forward L outside partner's left side (Lady back R) = Sidecar

  3. Man back L partner outside his right side (Lady forward R) = Banjo

  4. Man back R partner outside his left side (Lady forward L) = Sidecar



From clinic notes prepared for the Bennington College 15th Annual Round Dance Festival, January 2004. Published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, July/August 2012.




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Past DRDC Educational Articles by
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Harold & Meredith Sears, 2005-present

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