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One Figure 

A Step is a movement of the foot from here to there. A Figure is a specific sequence of steps forming a set that is complete, is often standardized, and is widely accepted and used as one component of a dance routine.

Tango Natural Twist Turn

by Harold & Meredith Sears

The Natural Twist Turn begins in semi-closed position facing line of dance (LOD). We both step side & forward, down line, on the lead foot (man's L & lady's R; a "slow" count = S). The second step is forward right for the man, beginning to turn right, and the lady steps small forward L (Q). To end the first measure, the man steps side & back L in front of the lady, and she steps forward R between his feet to closed position man facing reverse (Q). Now we are ready for the actual twist turn.

The man rotates his frame to the right and crosses his right foot behind his left without taking full weight. This is not a tight hooking action such as you might do during a Forward Lock Forward. It is almost a straight back step that blends into a crossing behind action because of the right-face upper-body rotation. So, cross; don't lock. Now, with your upper-body rotation, you are leading the lady to walk forward L (S) with left-shoulder lead, describing a tight circle and unwinding the man, forward R (Q) outside of partner to a brief banjo position, lady facing diagonal reverse and center (DRC). On the last beat, the man takes full weight on his R and the lady swivels to the right and closes L to R, to semi-closed position DLC.

Note: we have described this twist turn as though the lady is "unwinding" the man, but properly, he is powering this -- drawing her, leading her. Men, as you cross behind, press into your R toe and your L heel. This combined pressure will turn you quite forcefully, will draw the lady forward and around you, and you will end with your feet parallel and together -- a very neat unwind -- but you are doing it, not she. We have also given the standard timing as SQQ; SQQ. Another option is to dance this figure SQQ; QQS. This change makes the lady's "unwind" more of a run, and then we have extra time for the swivel to semi. We can make that ending more of a picture.

A second natural twist turn is the Natural Fallaway Twist Turn. Of course, it is similar to the standard figure, but the lady steps back to semi (fallaway) on beat 5, and the "unwind" therefore becomes quite different. So, in semi-closed position LOD, we both step side & forward on the lead foot (S). Step 2 is forward right for the man beginning to turn right-face, and small forward L for the lady (Q). Step 3 is side & back L in front of the lady, and she steps forward R between his feet to closed position, man facing RLOD (Q). Now, the man crosses his R in back of L in preparation for the unwind, but the lady's "run" is not forward, forward. She turns right and steps back L into a tight fallaway position RLOD (Q) and then crosses R in back of L (Q). The final step for this figure is close R to L for the man and side L for the lady (S) not to semi but to banjo LOD. In Tango Capriccioso, by Ward, the Natural Fallaway Twist Turn is followed by a step back lady outside swivel & forward tap. In 007 Tango, by DeChenne, the Natural Fallaway Twist Turn is followed by a step back and prep for a same foot lunge.


More tango figures here, or go to index.


This article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, July, 2011.



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Past DRDC Educational Articles by
Jim & Barbara German, ca. 2000-2001
Chris & Terri Cantrell, 2001-2005
Harold & Meredith Sears, 2005-present

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



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