Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum—
Curt & Tammy Worlock did a clinic on "Feathers." It was the best clinic I've ever attended on feathers.
FEATHER: Don't take lady to banjo too soon -- she should ease her way
to banjo as you are taking the second step of the feather. "Drift" into
the third step, i.e. softly (like a feather) instead of powering into
it and plopping down.
BACK FEATHER: Definitely don't take lady to banjo on first step, again ease her there as you are taking the second step.
FEATHER FINISH: It always starts going back with trail foot so cueing
"back feather finish" while not wrong is a little redundant. The
feather finish turns 3/8 but don't think turn. The first step is
straight back with NO turn until after you have taken weight. Man
should point foot to the 3/8 direction and then rotate enough to step
side into contra-body banjo. Then "drift" into the third step to
finish. A common mistake is to overturn the body rotation, so that
instead of ending in contra-banjo, the couple ends in a flat, even a
CURVED FEATHER from closed position: The first step goes forward
between the lady's feet (common mistake is to force an uncomfortable
first step outside the lady). Again, the first step should be straight
forward with the turn not occurring till after weight is taken. Even
the second step is still progressing forward (not curving around) but
the body is turning to make it a side step. The third step then does
most all of the "curve", crossing into banjo (sort of feels like a
hairpin using this technique). Curt was very adamant about NOT
"maneuvering" on the first step and "cutting the lady off".
CURVED FEATHER from semi-closed position: This is where Curt said that
the "maneuvering" mistake shows up often. Even from semi-closed, the
first step should be straight forward, then by the second step the
couple should have turned toward each other into a momentary closed
position, still using the same technique as the curved feather from
FEATHER ENDING: Note that this is NOT a feather finish and it is very
different. This is literally the last two quick steps of the feather.
For instance, after a slow change of direction (3 slows), you can then
do a feather ending to take up the final half measure.
LEFT FEATHER: (SQQQQ) From closed position or from banjo, step straight
forward slow with the lead foot, then two quicks to contra-sidecar,
then two quicks (like twisty vine) turning left-face to contra-banjo. A
key point is to keep heads left (both man and lady) and in the same
frame position for all five steps.
BACK LEFT FEATHER: (SQQQQ) From closed position or from banjo, step
straight back slow with the trail foot, then two quicks back to
contra-sidecar, then two quicks back(like twisty vine) turning
left-face to contra-banjo. Note that you can dance a back left feather
directly after a left feather and Curt says that he knew of at least
one dance that did this recently (and he seemed to like it so we may
see it in one of his dances in the future).
tips represent Tim's interpretation of a clinic presented by Curt &
Tammy Worlock at the 2008 Roundarama Institute and were first published
on the Weavers discussion list, reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance
Council (DRDC) Newsletter, July 2010.
Three more feather-like figures: Diamond Turn Ending, Feather Finish, and Outside Check.