Part one

Partnership Dance Fundamentals

When two people dance together, someone has to decide what steps to do and when.  So one person, usually the guy, is designated as the leader and the other partner is a follower.  The skills involved in each of the roles are different but are equally important.  Followers have to learn to grasp and follow non-verbal cues smoothly and quickly.  Leaders have to provide those cues comfortably and in the proper timing.

The conventional wisdom is that the leader chooses the moves and the follower responds by doing what is led.  And in broad brushstrokes, that is what happens.  But a deeper understanding of what goes on is more nuanced.  As in all matters that involve two people doing something together, they both have to be sensitive to the cues, comfort and needs of the other person.  A leader who attempts moves the follower cannot easily do, such as a double or triple spin, will not find the dance to work out well.  A follower who is hesitant to move at the pace or with the size steps that the leader tries to initiate will inhibit the leader from orchestrating the dance. They really both affect each other and that each has significant input on making the dance work.

Moreover, either gender can learn the leader’s or follower’s part, and advanced dancers often have fun doing both, and switching roles.  Learning to lead helps ladies understand how better to follow just as learning to follow helps leaders better understand how to lead.  But whatever role one assumes in a dance, it is important to recognize that you have a significant impact on what your partner is able to do when dancing with you, and try to be sensitive to making the partnership itself function well.

The dances covered here are all done to music with four beats to a measure.  A phrase is generally two measures, or eight beats.  If you think of a Salsa or Foxtrot song, and count eight beats, you will see that the first beat gets the greatest emphasis and the fifth beat gets the next strongest emphasis.  You can feel this musical pulse and that is the rhythm people dance to. 

Some dances like Salsa have a dance pattern that starts at the beginning and ends at the end of a musical phrase.  Some dances like Swing do not have a dance pattern that takes eight beats even though the musical phrase is eight beats.  That means you don’t start every dance pattern on beat one.  For example, many swing steps are a 6 beat pattern so if you start on beat one, the next pattern starts on beat 7 of the same phrase.  The following pattern starts on 5 and the one after that starts on 3 etc.  This may feel odd to dancers with a lot of musical training. But people get accustomed to it and generally it doesn’t cause a problem once they understand what’s happening.

In the dances covered here, steps are done by alternating which foot you step onto---from right to left, to right, etc. I mention this apparently obvious fact because I know from experience that beginning dancers sometimes make the mistake of taking two steps in a row with the same foot---without realizing it.  Hence dancers are advised to say “left” or “right” in their minds, and watch for a full weight shift with each step, to avoid this problem.

Another helpful hint is to lift your foot slightly off the ground as you step onto the other foot. What you want to avoid is putting your foot down to take a step without actually shifting your weight to that foot. The way to be sure you have shifted your weight onto one foot is to lift the other foot slightly off the ground.

It is a great help for dancers who are first learning to take very small steps. Any imperfection in your rhythm or how your weight is centered, etc. tends to be minimized when the steps are small. As you learn increasingly complex moves, there will be some exceptions to this rule. But for beginners, you can't go wrong with small steps.

With that, you can click to a description of some basic steps in the dances below.  And since Foxtrot is a commonly used as wedding dance, some simple choreographies for a “Foxtrot first dance” are described as well. These step descriptions were the collaborative effort of dance instructors Barbara Bernstein and Michele Kearney (a wonderful ballroom teacher in Northern Virginia).

Salsa
Cha Cha
Foxtrot
Foxtrot wedding choreographies
Swing

Part 2

ONE ON ONE SALSA

 

 

The rhythm of Salsa is quick quick slow so we step on beats 1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7.

 

BASIC STEP IN DETAIL:

 

Starting position: stand straight, knees slightly bent, feet parallel and close together. When the man is stepping forward on his left, the lady is stepping back on the right since they are facing each other.  

 

Beat 1:  step forward with your left foot 

Beat 2:  replace your right foot where it was

Beat 3:  bring your left foot next to your right foot

Beat 4   continue moving through the step you took on beat 3, so the movement never stops

Beat 5: step back on your right foot 

Beat 6: replace your left foot where it was

Beat 7: bring your right foot next to your left foot 

Beat 8  keep moving through the step you took on beat 7, slowly so the movement is fluid and never stops

Repeat

 

Below is an easy to read summary:

Basic Step Summary:

 

 

 

The man's footwork is:

 

 

Step forward on left

 

(Quick)

Step in place on right 

 

(Quick)

Close left foot to right foot

 

(Slow)

Step back on right 

 

(Quick)

Step in place on left 

 

(Quick)

Close right foot to left

 

(Slow)

 

The woman's footwork is:

 

 

Step back on right

 

(Quick)

Step in place on left 

 

(Quick)

Close right foot to left foot

 

(Slow)

Step forward on left 

 

(Quick)

Step in place on right 

 

(Quick)

Close left foot to right foot

 

(Slow)

 

 

Outside Underarm Turn

 

 

 

a. The man's footwork is identical to the basic step. However, as he steps "slow" on the left foot, he raises his left arm to prepare his partner to turn. He turns her on the next quick-quick-slow sequence (when he is stepping back). 

The woman does her backrock on the first 4 beats and then turns on beats 5,6,7. 

b. Note that there is another approach to doing the underarm turn.  The leader can do another back rock instead of the forward rock as he "preps" the lady for her turn.  In other words, he rocks back on beats 5, 6, and 7 as usual to complete the basic pattern. But then he rocks back again--this time on beats 1, 2, and 3.  He pushes the lady back so she does her usual back rock on the first 3 beats of the pattern.  The rest of the turn is the same as described above.

Note:  An "outside turn" just means that the lady's arm goes to the outside of her body rather than crossing the middle of her body.  And "inside turn" requires that the arm the lady is led withcrosses the center of her body.

 

"She He She” Turns

 

The outside turn described above can be done three times in a row, first by the lady, and then by the man, and finally by the lady again.  The man's footwork is exactly the same as the lady's when he turns.  He simply turns himself since he is the leader.  Then precisely 8 beats after the lady first turned, she turns again.  That completes the third turn in the sequence.  Note that when the ladies turn, they step forward on beat 5 and turn on beats 6 and 7.  When the men turn, they step forward on beat 1 and turn on beats 2 and 3.  

 

Cross Body Lead (with and without a turn)

 

a. The Cross Body Lead (without a turn) is done by the man stepping forward on beat 1 on his left foot.  On beats 2 and 3, he makes a quarter of a turn to his left. 

He then leads the lady to walk in front of him across his body (on beats 5, 6, and 7).  To do this, he steps back slightly with his right foot to "get out of her way."  Then on his next steps, (left foot on beat 6 and then right foot on beat 7), he turns toward her and follows her. She starts walking in front of him with her left foot on beat 5.  Then she steps onto her right foot on beat 6 and onto her left on beat 7.  

b. The Cross Body Lead With a Turn is exactly the same as the above cross body lead, except that the lady is turned on beats 6 and 7 to her left as she comes across the man's body to his other side.  

 

 

Side Rocks

 

 

 

The man's footwork is as follows:

 

 

Step left with the left foot 

 

(Quick)

Step in place with the right foot 

 

(Quick)

Close left foot to right 

 

(Slow)

Step right with the right foot

 

(Quick)

Step in place with the left foot 

 

(Quick)

Close the right foot to the left foot 

 

(Slow)

 

The woman's footwork is this:

 

 

Step right with the right foot 

 

(Quick)

Step in place with the left foot 

 

(Quick)

Close right foot to left foot 

 

(Slow)

Step left with the left foot 

 

(Quick)

Step in place with the right foot 

 

(Quick)

Close left foot to right foot 

 

(Slow)

 ------------

Part 3

CHA CHA

Below is a description of basic Cha Cha steps. The rhythm of this dance bears a close relationship to Salsa. To get from Salsa to Cha Cha, you can replace the "slow" step of Salsa with the three quick steps. So Cha Cha music is essentially like very slow Salsa music. Since it's slower tempo, there is time for all the three steps in place of one "slow" step.   

However, you will note that on the chart below, we count "One, Two, Three, Cha Cha."  This is an alternate way of counting the dance which has its own logic.  Counted this way, the one, two and three are even in time and the two cha's are shorter and also equal in time to each other.  It is a slightly different way to think of the rhythm than to consider it to be 2 steps and then 3 cha cha chas.

Funny Cha Cha story: I once did a show for the Mexican embassy; and Cha Cha was included as it’s a common dancethere. The minister of the embassy asked me why Americans call the dance "Cha Cha" instead of "Cha Cha Cha" (as they do in his country). It was an great question…..go figure!

Basic Step

 

 

 

The man's footwork is:

 

 

Step left with left foot 

 

(One)

Step back with right foot 

 

(Two)

Step in place on left foot 

 

(Three)

Step right with right foot

 

(Cha)

Close left foot to right foot 

 

(Cha)

Step right with right foot 

 

(One)

Step forward with left foot 

 

(Two)

Step in place with right foot 

 

(Three)

Step left with left foot 

 

(Cha)

Close right foot to left foot 

 

(Cha)

 

The woman's footwork is:

 

 

Step right with right foot 

 

(One)

Step forward with left foot 

 

(Two)

Step in place with right foot 

 

(Three)

Step left with left foot 

 

(Cha)

Close right foot to left foot 

 

(Cha)

Step left with left foot 

 

(One)

Step back with right foot 

 

(Two)

Step in place with left foot 

 

(Three)

Step right with right foot 

 

(Cha)

Close left foot to right foot 

 

(Cha)

 

Open Break with Underarm Turn

 

 

 

Man's footwork

 

 

Step left with left foot 

 

(One)

Step back with right foot 

 

(Two)

Step in place on left foot 

 

(Three)

Step right with right foot 

 

(Cha)

Close left foot to right foot 

 

(Cha)

Step right with right foot 

 

(One)

Step back with left foot

(He leads the woman back away from him with his left hand)

 

(Two)

Step in place with right foot 

 

(Three)

Step left with left foot 

 

(Cha)

Close right foot to left foot 

 

(Cha)

Step left with left foot

(Raise left arm to prepare woman for turn)

 

(One)

Step back with right foot 

 

(Two)

Step in place on left foot

(During the two steps above, he leads the woman to turn to her right)

 

(Three)

Step right with right foot

(Your partner is now facing you again)

 

(Cha)

Close left foot to right foot 

 

(Cha)

Step right with right foot 

 

(One)

Step forward with left foot 

 

(Two)

Step in place with right foot 

 

(Three)

Step left with left foot 

 

(Cha)

Close right foot to left foot 

 

(Cha)

 

Woman's footwork:

 

 

Step right with right foot 

 

(One)

Step forward with left foot 

 

(Two)

Step right in place 

 

(Three)

Step left with left foot

 

(Cha)

Close right foot to left foot 

 

(Cha)

Step left with left foot 

 

(One)

Step back with right foot

(The man will be pushing you back away from him)

 

(Two)

Step in place with left foot 

 

(Three)

Step right with right foot 

 

(Cha)

Close left foot to right foot 

 

(Cha)

Step right with right foot

(The man will raise your right arm now to prepare for a turn to the right)

 

(One)

Step across on left foot in front & to the right of right foot 

 

(Two)

Step on right foot in place but turn 180 degrees first 

 

(Three)

Turn another 180 degrees & then step left onto left foot

(The above three steps complete a 360 degree turn and you are facing the man)

 

(Cha)

Close right foot to left foot 

 

(Cha)

Step left with left foot 

 

(One)

Step back with right foot

 

(Two)

Step in place with left foot 

 

(Three)

Step right with right foot

 

(Cha)

Close left foot to right foot

 

(Cha)

 

Part 4

 

FOXTROT

 

Some common basic foxtrot steps are outlined in charts below.  They are done in the "slow slow quick quick" rhythm.  (A "quick" step gets one beat and a "slow" step gets two beats.)  But the box step is an exception. That step is done in a "slow quick quick" rhythm. So dancers move from the basic rhythm to this "box step rhythm." Then they move back to the basic rhythm as soon as the box step is done.

 

     And here is an interesting side note just for fun. If you take a look at the basic rhythm for both Single Swing and Foxtrot, you'll see that they are the same ("slow, slow, quick, quick"). This makes it possible to move from either of these dances into the other smoothly as long as the tempo of the music is appropriate. So for example, if you are dancing to a relatively fast Foxtrot, then after the promenade step, you can go directly into the basic step of Single Swing. Then you can do some other swing steps and from there go back to the Single Swing basic. This enables you to switch directly to the Foxtrot promenade step again, and resume Foxtrot. (Click here for a description of Single Swing steps.)

 

     This switch from one dance to another is exciting and looks very fancy, yet it is easy enough for complete beginners to do! I have taught this transition successfully in an introductory dance class.

 

Basic Step

 

 

 

The man's basic step for foxtrot is as follows:

 

 

Walk forward with left foot

 

(slow)

Walk forward with right foot

 

(slow)

Side step with left foot

 

(quick)

Close the right foot next to the left foot

 

(quick)

 

The woman does the opposite as shown below:

 

 

Walk back with right foot

 

(slow)

Walk back with left foot

 

(slow)

Side step with right foot

 

(quick)

Close left foot next to right foot

 

(quick)

 

 

Promenade

 

 

 

This step is designed to travel sideways. That is accomplished by the man turning his head slightly to the left and then walking in the direction he is turning.  As always the woman follows with a mirror image movement.

 

 

 

The man's footwork is:

 

 

Turn head and upper body to left and walk with    left foot in that direction

 

 

(slow)

Take a second step in the same direction with the right foot passing the left

 

 

(slow)

Step side with left foot while turning back to face partner

 

 

(quick)

Close right foot next to left foot while still facing partner

 

(quick)

 

The woman's footwork is:

 

 

Turn head and upper body to right and walk with right foot in that direction

 

 

(slow)

Take a second step in the same direction with the left foot passing the right

 

 

(slow)

Step side with right foot while turning back to face partner

 

 

(quick)

Close left foot next to right foot while still facing partner

 

(quick)

 

 

Left Turn (also called "Ad Lib")

 

 

 

This step enables you to change direction while dancing.

 

 

 

The man's footwork is as follows:

 

 

Walk forward with left foot

 

 

(slow)

Step back with right foot

 

 

(slow)

Step side with left foot and rotate 1/4 of a   turn to the left(1/8 of a turn is also ok)

 

 

(quick)

Close right foot next to the left foot

 

(quick)

 

The woman's footwork is:

 

 

Walk back with right foot

 

 

(slow)

Step forward with left foot

 

 

(slow)

Step side on right foot and rotate as led by partner

 

 

(quick)

Close left foot next to the right foot

 

(quick)

 

 

Box Step

 

 

 

Most dances have some steps that involve a change in the underlying dance rhythm. Here we have included only the foxtrot's box rhythm as a variation on the basic rhythm pattern. In foxtrot, so many steps are done in the box rhythm (Slow-Quick-Quick) and the box pattern is so fundamental, that we felt it should be included.

 

The man's footwork for the box step, which is done in the box rhythm, is as follows. Note that he is taking steps that outline the shape of a box.

 

 

Diagram of Man's Box

Step 1: Walk forward with left foot                           (Slow)

 

   

 

 

Step 2: Step with right foot diagonally forward and to the right                         (Quick)

Step 3: Close the left foot next to the right foot        (Quick)

 

Step 4: 

Walk back with right foot

 

  (Slow)

Step 5: 

Step with left foot diagonally back and to the left

 

  (Quick)

Step 6: 

Close right foot to left foot

 

  (Quick)

                            Repeat

  

 

 

  Diagram of Woman's Box
The woman's footwork is exactly the same but again is the mirror image of the man's:

Step 1: Walk back with right foot                             (Slow)

   

Step 2: Step with left foot diagonally back and to the left                             (Quick)

Step 3: Close right foot next to the left foot            (Quick)

 

Step 4: 

Walk forward with left foot

  (Slow)

Step 5: 

Step with right foot diagonally forward and to the right

  (Quick)

Step 6: 

Close left foot to the right foot

  (Quick)

                           Repeat

  

 

 

 

The Park Avenue Step

 

Another very nice step is called the "Park Avenue."  In this step, the man turns his body at a 45 degree angle to his left and steps forward in that direction with his left and then with his right. The right foot passes the left so it is like walk.  This is on the two slow steps. For the two quicks, he steps sideways to his left with his left foot and then the right foot meets the left foot. This is referred to as "side together" since you are stepping to the left side and then bringing your feet together.  The two slow steps are easiest done by stepping outside of his partner.  She is led to move in the natural opposite as always, so she is stepping back and at an angle to her right starting with her right foot and then continues walking backwards in the same direction with a step on her left.

 

These two slow steps can be done with the man stepping into his partner as well. But I highly recommend stepping "outside partner" as it looks and feels cleanest that way.  Note that for the "side together" steps on the two quicks, the partners are facing each other as he moves left and she moves right.

 

Then the next slow slow quick quick completes the Park Avenue pattern.  The man turns 45 degrees to his right and steps back with his left and then with his right foot. (The right foot passes the left just as it does when he is walking backwards.)  Again the side together is done by turning back (to the left) 45 degrees so the partners face each other again for the man's step to his left with his left foot and then the right foot comes next to his left.  He is moving "outside partner" again on the two slows and she is doing the "natural opposite" of his moves as always.

 

The Park Avenue is a very pretty step and if you think of the basic step moving the man forward or "north," then the Park Avenue step moves the couple to the "west" or sideways with angular steps so its creates a lovely pattern. As always, at the end of the 8 steps in this move, the man is facing his partner and ready to step on his left foot so he can do any of the step patterns above as they all begin with the man's stepping on his left foot.  I think it segues well into the "ad lib" step personally!

 

Note these nice embellishments to some of the above steps:

 

1.  On the Promenade step, the man can turn the lady to her right on the two quick steps. She has to turn rather quickly to be stabilized for the next slow step, so it may take some practice. What the lady must remember is that she turns a full 360 degrees, so she faces her partner after the two quicks.

 

2.  On the Box Step which has the rhythm change (to slow-quick-quick), the man can lead an optional turn in this step as well.  He turns the lady to her right beginning on step 5 in the box pattern above. He continues the box pattern and she turns all the way around, meeting him (i.e. facing him again) by step 3 of the box pattern.  So the leader continues stepping back on his right for step 4 and finishes the box.  It is also common to do the turn where the man moves (turns) part way to meet the woman. In this case, he is facing her by step 2 in the second box pattern.  Again, they finish out the box pattern before going into another move.

 

3. On the basic step, instead of doing the side together for the two quick steps, the leader can keep moving forward so it is like a steady walk forward in slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm.  (In fact, if someone is doing a wedding dance, this might be a sweet way to enter from the edge of the room and move to the middle of the floor or stage area.)

 

4.  Similarly, on the promenade step, the leader can keep moving in the same direction on the two quick steps rather than coming back to face the lady for the "side together" steps.  However, to end the promenade step and move into another step pattern, you need to do the "side together" facing each other.  So for example, a couple can do one or two promenade steps in the manner, moving progressively in the same direction on all steps and then the final promenade step in a series would need to be the standard way so that the dancers can segue into another step such as the "ad lib" or basic.

 

5.  On the box step, each time the man takes his "slow" step, he rotates a little to his left.  This "turns" the box so it looks much more interesting and advanced, and that rotation feels good to the dancers as well.

 

6.  With either the SSQQ or SQQ rhythms, Foxtrot could be done in a "progressive" step, going forward for the leader in a straight line, but stepping in that rhythm.

-------------------

Part 5

 

WEDDING DANCE SUGGESTIONS-      

For Foxtrot and Beyond!

 

Many people take dance lessons in a traditional dance such as Foxtrot to prepare for the "First Dance" at their wedding reception.  However, increasingly, couples are opting to do a dance of their choice at weddings---which is sometimes a livelier dance such as Salsa.  

 

DanceInTime has been called upon many times to prepare couples for wedding dances.  When the preparation is in Salsa, it's just a matter of teachingsteps the couple can do comfortably.  But in the case of Foxtrot or Waltz, even if you know the steps well, these dances can be tricky because they "sweep the floor" (unlike Salsa).  So leading either of them at a wedding reception requires not only knowing the moves but some "navigational skills."  In other words, the movement of many steps isprogressive so you don't stay in one spot.  You move across the floor broadly if you keep on doing basics or if you keep on doing promenade steps.  Then you essentially are getting near a wall (or a wall of people) and you have to (artfully) change direction. 

 

So to make a Foxtrot First Dance easier, I have constructed a series of moves using the steps described above which keep you more or less in a central area since it turns the couple around.  

 

As he pointed out, the routines below alter the couple's direction so they don't get close to the edge of the room which is very important. Moreover, the steps below also force the couple to rotate so if they are ringed by friends and family who are watching, they'll face everyone at one point in the routine.  These routines enable everyone to see them dance (and no one is watching someone's back the whole time) as well as preventing the couple from getting too far from the center of the room.

 

                        WEDDING DANCE ROUTINE I--SUPER BASIC

 

Here is a set of moves for beginning dancers who want the simplest possible routine:

-------------------------

Two Basic steps

One Ad Lib step

To Basic steps

One Ad Lib step

Two Basic steps

One Ad Lib step

Two Basic Steps

One Ad lib step

Repeat

----------------------------

Note that if the "ad lib" step rotates 1/4 of a turn then you can think of the first two basics moving you "north," the next two moving you "west," the next two moving you "south," and the next two moving you "east."  Then the final ad lib gets the couple moving north again.  So you are making a square more or less in the center of the dance floor and you won't bump into any walls.  This involves only two simple steps and would be easy to execute but look nice.

 

                      WEDDING DANCE ROUTINE II---MEDIUM BASIC

 

The sequence below is still relatively basic, but it has a little more sophistication.

-----------------------------------

Two Basics

Two Promenades (note you can throw in an optional turn for ladies on the two quick steps)

Two Ad libs

Two Basics

Two box steps (note you can throw in an optional turn for the lady as described in the embellishments)

Then keep doing the box step with the rotation until you are facing the direction in which you began the dance, and then repeat this sequence again.

------------------------

Note that box steps are always done in the altered rhythm of slow-quick-quick (rather than the basic foxtrot rhythm of slow-slow-quick-quick.

Also, if you want to dance onto the floor, you can do the basic step as described in embellishment #3 above.  That would dress up the wedding dance significantly and be exciting for the "audience!”

 

               WEDDING DANCE ROUTINE III--INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

 

The routine below is the more sophisticated and it would look beautiful. Remember that you can dance onto the stage as suggested in embellishment #3 above and that would look super sharp!

------------------

Two Basics

One Ad lib

One Park Avenue

One Ad lib

Two Promenade steps (Note the second one can include an optional turn for the lady)

Two box steps (Note at the lead's option, these can rotate as in embellishment #5)

Additional box steps can be done if needed with the leftward rotation for the man (see embellishment #5 above) until the couple is facing the direction they started.  Then repeat this sequence.

——————————————

 

WEDDING DANCE ROUTINE #IV---SOPHISTICATED INTERMEDIATE

 

Two Basics

One Ad lib

One Half of the Park Avenue Step (just the part where the guy goes forward and side step)

One Promenade Step

One Ad lib

Two Promenade steps (Note the second one can include an optional turn for the lady)

Two box steps (Note at the lead's option, these can rotate as in embellishment #5)

Additional box steps can be done if needed with the leftward rotation for the man (see embellishment #5 above) until the couple is facing the direction they started.  Then repeat this sequence.

----------------------------

Note that all we did to change from Routine III to Routine IV is change the full Park Avenue Step in routine III to a half of the Park Avenue and then a Promenade step in routine IV. This is a beautiful sequence and will look very sophisticated!

 

Final Comment on wedding dances:

There was a time when wedding dances were only traditional Foxtrots and Waltzes.  Interestingly, the SQQ Foxtrot rhythm that is done in the box formation can easily be translated to Waltz rhythm.  The only difference is that in the Waltz, all three steps have the same time value while in Foxtrot the first step (the slow) lasts for two beats while the other steps last one beat each.  Because of this 3 step pattern that applies to both dances, the moves can easily be adjusted from one dance to the other.  So a Waltz first dance can be constructed from some of these steps, too. 

 

Part 6

SWING


     There are many different forms of swing dancing (West Coast Swing, East Coast, Lindy, etc). Both Single and Triple Swing are types of East Coast Swing. I have described some steps below so readers can try them out.

     Note that in the description below, a "quick" step gets one beat and a "slow" step gets two beats. 

    

 

Above: Woodrow Wilson Plaza show


     And here is an interesting side note just for fun. If you take a look at the basic rhythm for both Single Swing and Foxtrot, you'll see that they are the same ("slow, slow, quick, quick"). This makes it possible to move from either of these dances into the other smoothly as long as the tempo of the music is appropriate. So for example, if you are dancing to a slow Single Swing, then after a basic step, you can move into the Foxtrot promenade step. Then you can do some other Foxtrot steps and finally do the promenade step again. After that you can go directly back into the Single Swing basic. (Click here for a description of Foxtrot steps.)

 

Garrey Stinson and Barb teach Single Swing at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington DC. 

 

 

SINGLE SWING

Basic Step

 

 

The man puts his right arm around his partner's middle back and holds her right hand with his left hand. They create a 45 degree angle with their bodies.

 

The man's footwork is as follows: 

 

 

Step forward with left foot 

 

(Slow)

Step in place with right foot 

 

(Slow)

Step back with left foot (behind right foot)

 

(Quick)

Step in place with right foot

 

(Quick)

 

The woman's footwork is: 

 

 

Step forward with right foot

 

(Slow)

Step in place with left foot 

 

(Slow)

Step back with right foot (behind left foot)

 

(Quick)

Step in place with left foot

 

(Quick)

 

 

The Underarm Release

 

 

 

Note that in all Single Swing steps, the man starts on his left foot with the first "slow." The second "slow" is on the right. Then the first "quick" is on the left foot and the second "quick" is on the right foot.

 

The woman's feet alternate in the same manner but she begins on her right for all single swing steps.

 

The man's footwork for this step is exactly the same as the basic step. However, he raises his left arm on the first "slow" and uses his right arm to lead the woman out (under that arm) on the second "slow".

 

The woman's footwork involves the same rhythm pattern and begins with the right foot just as in the basic. But she steps in a different direction, doing an underarm turn to the right during the two "slow" steps.

 

Both the man and the woman finish the pattern with their two "quicks" facing each other.

 

 

Woman's Inside Turn

 

This step follows the underarm release step. It is begun from an open, face to face position.

 

The man starts with his left foot and changes place with the woman by turning 180 degrees to his right on the two "slow" steps. With his left hand he leads her to his right side and goes over her head to complete the turn. The two "quicks" are in place, facing his partner.

 

The woman starts with her right foot and rotates around 180 degrees to her left, switching places with her partner. She turns as led on the two "slows". Her subsequent two "quicks" are in place, facing him again.

 

                                                  TRIPLE SWING


     Most of the general comments above for Single Swing apply to Triple Swing as well.  However, Triple Swing doesn't lend itself to the transition to Foxtrot.

     Moreover, Triple Swing is essentially the same as Single Swing, except that each of the "slows" in Single Swing is replaced with three steps in Triple Swing. The steps are done in the "trip-le-time" rhythm. These three steps are not even in the amount of time they take. The first step is twice as long as the second step. And the last of the three steps is three times a long as the second step. (The second step is the shortest in length.)  All the same patterns for Single Swing can be done in Triple Swing with this simple step and timing adjustment. 

     Here is a helpful hint for doing Triple Swing. In executing the footwork, try to keep your body weight forward on the balls of your feet and relax your knees (i.e. keep them slightly bent).

 

 

 

This dance is the same as single swing except that each of the "slows" in single swing is replaced with 3 steps in the "tri-ple-time" rhythm. All the same patterns can be done with this simple adjustment. Even dance position is the same as in single swing.

 

 

Basic Step

 

 

The man's footwork is to step in place with the left foot, then right, then left foot. This is the first "triple time." The second "triple time" is the same but uses the opposite feet. So it begins with the right foot, then the left foot, then the right foot - all stepping in place again. The two "quicks" are exactly the same as single swing: the man steps back on the left foot and then steps with his right foot in place. The woman's basic step is the mirror image of the man's. She steps right, left, right - all in place for the first "triple time". Then she steps left, right, left for the second "triple time". Her two "quicks" are the same as single swing. That is, she steps back on the right foot and steps with the left foot in place for the two "quicks".

 

 

Under-Arm Release

 

 

All leads and degrees of turn and body positioning for this step are the same as previously described in the single swing for both men and women. However, the footwork uses the "tri-ple-time" rhythm as the base rhythm.

 

 

Woman's Inside Turn

 

 

Again, all leads and degrees of turn and body positioning for this step are the same as in single swing. However, the footwork uses the "tri-ple-time" rhythm as the base rhythm.

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