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Phase IV Figures Continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
October, 1989

DIAMOND TURN: This is a typical American foxtrot figure that normally covers 4 measures of music when taken to completion. It usually starts and ends facing line of dance (LOD) or nearly so, hence our description will follow this format.

From closed position (CP) LOD, the man shapes to the left on his left heel (S) rising to the toe while starting a left-face (LF) turn. Ladies step backward on their right going from toe (T) to heel (H) while also shaping to the left. Step 2 is to the side on the R (Q) for the man as he continues the LF turn, now facing approximately COH still on the toe while leading the lady to start blending to contra banjo. The lady will step to the side and slightly forward on her L as she underturns the man a little while going from heel to toe. Step 3 is backward on the L for the man (Q) going DLW, again footwork is toe to heel but being careful to keep the left side toward the lady. Ladies step forward on their R with a strong blending to contra banjo and going from toe to heel to nearly face DLW. Remaining in contra banjo, the man steps backward on his R (S) using T/H/T footwork for step 4 while starting a continuation of the LF turn, rising at the end to the toe ready for a sort of pushing off action. The lady steps forward on the L going from heel to toe and matching the man's shape to the left. Step 5 is side and slightly forward for the man (Q) as he continues turning LF on the toe, then lowering to the heel at the end of the step. The lady will step side and slightly back on the R (T/H with no body rise). Step 6 is almost like a follow-through on the man's R (Q) as he maintains the strong contra body position with a slight LF turn (H/T) to end facing DRW. Ladies step backward on the L (T/H) while keeping their left side toward partner, and of course, a closed head.

The next 2 measures of the Diamond Turn are a repeat of the action in measures 1 & 2, except that there will be a stronger shaping to the left on measure 3 in order to end backing DRC. If carried to completion, the man would normally face DLC, still in contra banjo, however, this is seldom used and the common ending is to blend to CP LOD. This is accomplished by the man stepping side and slightly backward on his L (Q) (ladies side and slightly forward) to position the lady for a blending to CP, where he will close R to L on step 12.

Sways for the man are left on 2, right on 5, left on 8, and right on 11, where they are maintained a little on the following steps before returning to the straight position (ladies opposite). If ending in CP, the sway is eliminated on step 11. Most advanced dancers will momentarily suspend their body on steps 2, 5, 8, and 11 to steal a little time from the preceding slow. When used in waltz, the long counts on these steps are used much as we have described in the Weave, etc. Although this figure does not lend itself to two-step, it has been used in the QQS timing for several older dances. When used in this rhythm, the figure usage would eliminate the sways and long 2-counts.

HOVER CORTE: The word "corte" is used to indicate a turning action and has no relationship with the kind of dip as used in American and Argentine tango. We will describe this three-step figure in its original form, as used in quickstep, and then adapt it to foxtrot and waltz.

Although the man's first step is backward (S) on his R normally toward LOD (T/H), it is almost always a contra-body one because he is stepping in line with the L in place while keeping the right side toward his partner while starting a LF turn. Step 2 for the man is side and slightly forward on the L (S) where he will point his foot DLW but underturn his body to face the wall. This will employ the standard T/H/T action on the turn while he keeps some pressure on the inside edge of the R. This is where we get the hovering action, as the R foot remains in place and the right sway develops (ladies left sway). Ladies step to the side on their R toe, then bring their L toward the R for a brushing action. Their LF turn is approximately 1/4 at first, but they continue to turn on the brush to end facing DRC. Step 3 is just a transfer of weight back to the R foot for the man (S) where his body turns a little LF to align itself with the foot before lowering to the R heel. For the ladies, there is no further turn, as they step diagonal forward on the L (T/H). The action needed for this figure is a gradual rise up through the third step before lowering in preparation for the next figure.

When used in waltz, the same basic action is employed as in quickstep with a very soft hovering action. Again, the long two-count is used to accentuate the right sway (ladies left) on step 2. In foxtrot, the normal SQQ is usually used, however, some advanced dancers employ three or more slows to make a picture figure out of it, particularly for the lady's brushing action.

OUTSIDE SWIVEL: This figure is used primarily in foxtrot and tango but is often adapted to waltz. We will describe the foxtrot version and reserve the tango interpretation for later because of its attendant variations.

The precedes for this figure depend upon a backward motion (usually RLOD or DRW) where the partners have just blended to contra banjo with the man's right shoulder leading (lady's left) and she preparing to step outside the man. Step 1 is backward L for the man in line with his R (S) followed by a crossing in front by dragging the R foot diagonally backward. This step combination will turn up to 1/4 RF and care must be taken to keep pressure on the man's R, much as he would if making a diagonal line in the mud or clay on the open ground by using the outside edge of the toe (actually, the ball of the foot is used in dancing). The lady will step forward on the R and bring the L around in a swiveling action approximately 1/2 RF to end in compact SCP with the inside edge of the L in contact with the floor. Theoretically, this completes the actual Outside Swivel, but we usually include the recovery step, which is forward and across on the man's R heel (S) still in compact SCP with no further turn. Ladies also step forward and across on their L usually starting a LF turn to complete with a Feather Ending. When used in waltz, the first step requires two beats with a little more body rise and some hovering action before the recovery step on count 3.

Next: Change Of Direction.

This column comes from a series published in Cue Sheet Magazine between 1987 and 1992, and is reprinted with permission. The full series is collected in an 86-pg booklet, available for $30.00 plus postage. E-mail Fran Kropf at This article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)  Newsletter, January 2011.


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