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L-POSITION

L-Position is a stance in which the man and woman are 90 degrees to one another, like the letter "L." He might be facing wall, and she might be facing line of dance.

We can picture something of a continuum, from Closed, to Semi-Closed, to L-Position, to Half Open, to Open Position, the lead shoulders separating more and more, to a full 180 degrees. One feature that sets the L-Position apart, within this continuum, is the facing direction. In Semi, Half Open, and Open, both partners might be facing line of dance. These positions are symmetric in that way. L-Position may be a little more open than Semi, but both partners are probably not facing line. Again, he might be facing squarely to wall, and she to line.

Hustle is a rhythm that makes use of the L-Position maybe more than other rhythms. Closed position is an L-shaped position, and the figure Close is a movement to that L-shaped closed position. You might be in low butterfly facing line of dance. To "Close," you would rock back on the lead foot a small step and cross the right in front of the left, turning right face 1/4 (count 1/&). The woman rocks back right and steps forward left. The man steps side left on count 2; she steps forward right and turns 1/2 right face. Finally, he closes right to left on count 3; she steps back left. End in the L-shaped closed position, man facing wall, woman facing line, lead hands joined, man's right arm around woman.

The next figure might be "Release." In our L-shaped, closed position, the man steps side left and recovers, releasing his right hand. The woman rocks back right and steps forward left, turning left face. This has a "slingshot" feel to it. He crosses left in front of right, turns left face 1/4 to face line, and steps back. She continues turning, steps side and back right, and steps back left to face reverse. The timing is 1/&23, and we end in butterfly line. The release is always done from the hustle closed position, but your facing direction may vary. Second, you may release to other ending positions than butterfly, such as left open facing or left open position.

Another place where you'll find the L-Position is in any jive "slingshot" figure. For instance, Al and Carol Lillefield's Beale Street Blues has a Slingshot Throwout and a Slingshot Right-To-Left, and both begin in an L-Position. The body relations in the L-Position make it easier for the man to lunge away from the woman and so propel or throw her down line in a "slingshot" sort of way.

L-Position

L-Position

(click on any thumbnail for a larger view)

L-Position





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Photos © E.Allen; F. Lepretre; R. Sullivan; from Dancesport UK photo gallery.



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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