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In closed position, the man and the woman are facing each other, but they are not belly button to belly button. She is offset just a little to the man's right side. Her right side is about lined up with his shirt buttons. Her right hip bone is against his right hip bone, so your right foot will slide neatly between the other's feet. In maintaining this position, the woman has two important responsibilities. One is to maintain that hip contact as best as she can, and the other is to maintain pressure into the man's right arm. I wonder if one should think of this role as one of conflict: she wants to be close, but she is pushing away, as well.

Notice that the man's upper arms are almost horizontal, sloping just a little down from the shoulders. Her left elbow is raised, and her left hand rests ever so lightly on his upper arm. You'll see some variation in the woman's left hand position below, but her contact should be light. One common flaw is for the woman to hang on her man. Yes, he is big and strong, but to move lightly, we must each bear our own weight. If he were to step back, she should be able to maintain her position with no additional effort.

Above the waist, both are well apart from each other and shifted a bit to the left, "looking out their own windows." Each body makes a gentle curve, like two bananas. The couple in the top photo demonstrates these curves especially well and in two different planes. On the plane that runs front to back, through the two dancers, each is in contact at the hips but separated at head and feet: two bananas "facing" each other. The extension of the man's lead foot and the woman's trail foot behind emphasizes this curvature. On the plane that runs side to side, between the two, each arches away to his or her left. The man's right-side stretch and the woman's strongly closed head emphasize this curvature. One common flaw here is for the man to lean over his woman. That pushes her off balance and hurts her back. Keep the top lines apart.

Closed Dance Position

Closed Dance Position

The man's right hand should reach close to the center of the woman's back, and his fingers should be held tightly together.

Let's count five important points of contact:

  • man's right hand on her left shoulder blade
  • woman's left hand on his upper arm
  • woman's left and man's right elbow
  • man's left and woman's right hand held at about her eye level
  • right hips or right rib cages
Closed Dance Position

(click on any thumbnail for a larger view)

This gentleman is taking an unusually long step here, but his top line is up; he is not leaning over her. Closed Dance Position
His left-side stretch (right sway) has closed her head. Closed Dance Position
Facial grimaces are sometimes hard to avoid, in the intense concentration and in the heat of the battle, but we should try to smile. A smile is part of what makes it look smooth and effortless. Closed Dance Position
Notice the arch to her left wrist. Her left arm is above his right, not lying on his arm. Closed Dance Position
The curves are shallow here, but the two bananas are certainly recognizable. Closed Dance Position
Look for some of the features I've described above, in these photos. Closed Dance Position
Closed Dance PositionClosed Dance PositionClosed Dance Position

Photos © A. Gorczycki; A. Miller; D. Drury; E.Allen; F. Lepretre; J. Lee; P. Sosabowski; P. Suba; from Dancesport UK photo gallery.

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