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Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum—

Some Picture Figures

 

Right Lunge (Waltz, Phase 4)

 Laurann (among ICBDA Top 15) ends in a Right Lunge. There is only one step in the Right Lunge – but often dancers hearing the first word (i.e., Right) will take that step incorrectly sideways. Even the Roundalab description says that this is a “side and forward” step. Dancers should instead think of the Right Lunge as a FORWARD step with only a tiny bit of diagonal direction to the man’s right. The key idea is that this figure should begin in closed position, where man’s right foot can go forward directly in-between his partner’s legs and precisely do that when doing the Right Lunge. As in most waltz steps, begin the step by relaxing the leg/foot that you are standing on (the lead leg/foot) so that you lower and then begin going forward (lady back) with the trail foot (man’s right, lady’s left). As the couple is moving into the Right Lunge they turn their upper body frame left face (i.e., apply contra body movement). Bend the knee of the trail leg as you take weight onto the trail foot – making it a true lunging step – but straighten the lead leg and point the lead foot. To make it attractive, you should turn the pointing lead foot out away from you as opposed to keeping the toe on the floor and having the foot bent. Finally, you can apply a slight body sway, man stretching his left side and lady stretching her right side (i.e., a right sway). If you have maintained a good body frame, applying this sway will raise the lead hands slightly above your heads.

 Same Foot Lunge (Waltz, Phase 6)

 The Same Foot Lunge is one of the "picture figures" that makes waltz so beautiful. The figure gets its name from the fact that both man and lady take one "lunging" step with their right foot (i.e., the same foot for both). It is only one step for each, but the difficulty lies in all the technique that must be used to achieve the beautiful picture. Another reason for the difficulty is that you must transition to same footwork in the measure before the Same Foot Lunge and almost always must transition back to the normal (i.e., opposite) footwork, usually in the very next figure that follows.

If you are familiar with the phase 4 figure "Right Lunge" and the phase 5 figure "Contra Check" you can think of the Same Foot Lunge as a "Right Lunge" for the man and a "Contra Check" for the lady.

The starting position for a Same Foot Lunge is a loose closed position, where both the man and lady have their right foot free and in which the lady has just slightly turned right face to "tuck" her left hip into man's right hip. Getting to this position is usually done with a "Preparation" figure of one type or another in the measure immediately before the Same Foot Lunge.

To do the Same Foot Lunge, the man will lower by relaxing his left leg, smoothly move side right & slightly forward with his right foot contacting the floor with the inside edge of his right foot, and roll his weight fully onto the ball of the right foot. The man smoothly moves his head from its normal position (slightly left) to looking toward his right. The man’s head moves in conjunction with the man starting with a slight left sway while moving his right foot, to ending with a slight right sway when fully weighted on his right.

 The lady also begins the Same Foot Lunge by relaxing her left leg and thus lowering with the man. As the man takes his step, so does the lady – she crosses her right in behind her left (XRIBL). Her back step must be about the same length as the man’s step, and if she is following well, she will keep moving her foot back until she feels the man’s foot take weight whereupon she takes weight. The lady will take her left shoulder back as she steps back with her right foot, and it is thus a “Contra Body Movement.” As the man finishes, by rolling his full weight onto his right, the lady will settle onto her right, remain looking to her left, and expand her topline.

 Both the man’s left foot and the lady’s left foot should be pointed straight with no weight on them. The man’s and lady’s left legs should be parallel to each other (i.e., toes pointed in the same direction).

 Take the whole measure, all 3 beats, to smoothly lower, take the Same Foot Lunge step, and extend at the end.

 Natural Preparation (Waltz, Unphased)

Above, I point out that the Same Foot Lunge is almost always preceded by some type of “Preparation” figure. Roundalab has not defined any of the “Preparation” figures nor even defined an action called “Preparation.” The preparation action is a slight rise on man’s left foot/leg and right face rotation, causing the lady to rise to her toes and change weight to her left foot. The lady rotates a little RF – but not as far as to semi-closed position –  i.e., remain in closed position (lady’s head still turned to the left). Her right knee is tucked just behind her left knee. Her left hipbone needs to settle into the hollow of the man’s right hipbone (inside his right hip). Both now have right feet free. The man also applies a little left sway, stretching his right side, while touching the toe of his right foot to the instep of his left foot.

 Getting to this preparation position is done in a few different ways – remember this is not yet defined or standardized by Roundalab. Here is a list of some of the cues that have been used in dances by different choreographers in preparing to do a Same Foot Lunge:

 

Adagio -- (Worlock) -- "Natural Preparation"

Come To Me -- (Lamberty) -- "Open Natural Preparation"

Watermark -- (Herr) -- "Pivot Preparation"

Dark Waltz -- (Vogt) -- "Pivot Preparation"

Antichi Ricordi -- (Molitoris) -- "Pivot Natural Preparation"

My First, My Last, My Everything -- (Preskitt) -- "Natural Pivot Preparation"

Am I Blue -- (Lamberty) -- "Natural Preparation"

 

There are some differences.

 The “Natural Preparation” is like starting to do a Natural Turn, where you start in CP or BJO with trail foot free. The first step is forward (back for lady) swiveling right face in a maneuvering action. The second step for man is side and back completing his maneuvering action. The second step for the lady is a “heel turn”. The third step for the lady is a very small side & back step on her left “tucking” into the preparation position. The man simply does a touch with his right foot with a slight left sway.

 The “Open Natural Preparation” starts in SCP instead of CP or BJO. The man’s steps are the same as in the “Natural Preparation,” but the lady’s steps are very different. She steps forward on her first two steps (not back), simply swiveling right face and then taking her third step side and back to the preparation position. She does not do a heel turn on her second step.

 The “Pivot Preparation” starts in CP or BJO with the trail foot free and is just like the “Natural Preparation” with one big difference -- the lady does not do a “Heel Turn” on her second step – she instead “pivots” right face stepping into the man.

 The “Pivot Natural Preparation” and “Natural Pivot Preparation” are other cue terms for one of the above figures.

 Note that, in all of the above ways to do a Preparation figure, the man essentially does the same thing. It is what the lady does that is different, and even so she ends in the same “Preparation Position” in all of them. This means that you can learn one way to do it and with dancer’s “discretion” do it that way no matter how it is written in the dance or how it is cued. My recommendation is that you learn to do the “Natural Preparation” as your preferred method. The “heel turn” on the lady’s second step makes the figure more compact allowing you to more easily and smoothly go into the “Preparation Position” by reducing the progressive momentum that you would have to fight to stop when coming off of a “Pivot.”

 Stork Line (Rumba, Unphased Position)

 In Carnival (also among the ICBDA Top 15) there is one point where the couple is in close Shadow/Tandem with right feet free and the cue is “Slow Side to Lady’s Stork Line.” Stork Line is a rarely done figure in round dancing, but if done correctly it conveys a moment of beauty. Note that the man is close enough that he can place his right hand on the FRONT of the lady’s right hip. Man’s left hand is supporting the lady just above her left elbow. Lady’s arms are folded in front of her loosely (right over left).

 From this position both man and lady steps side to their right. The man simply touches his left foot to his right while the lady goes into the Stork Line Position. The man’s hands stay in the same position throughout the figure supporting the lady.

 After placing weight on her right foot, the lady goes into the Stork Line Position by quickly drawing her left foot up her right leg to her left knee with left toe pointed down. At the same time she raises her right hand high above her head. The lady’s left arm is still down and across her front loosely. The trick now is to hold this position for another two beats maintaining balance. The man’s support helps but should only be lightly needed.

 

Tim Eum has prepared many Round Dance Tips for Calls 'n' Cues, WASCA, for his weekly Rocket Rounds email reports, and for other publications. DRDC is grateful for permission to collect and reprint. Visit www.rounddancing.net/dance/articles/guest/eum/ for an Eum archive.. A Tim Eum archive.

 


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