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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 hip-to-hip banjo.

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 closed.

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).

These 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.

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