Meredith & Harold



MAJOR SECTIONS: Figures | Articles | Links | Alph. Index | Search | Home

Figures in the Smooth Rhythms
Viennese Waltz
International Tango
American Tango
Two Step
Five Count
One Step
Figures in the Latin Rhythms
Cha Cha
Single Swing
West Coast Swing
Slow Two Step
Argentine Tango
Paso Doble
Dance Articles
Articles Home

Dance Figures

Dance Rhythms
Lead and Follow
Dance Styling
Fred Astaire Album
Other Sections
Dance Links
Music Clips For Each Rhythm
Search Site/Web
Contact Me

Phase IV Figures Continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
November, 1989

CHANGE OF DIRECTION: This is basically a foxtrot figure in three steps but can be used in waltz and to an increasing amount in quickstep. The normal starting position is from a feather ending, hence its basic use in foxtrot, varying from starting position facing DLW to DLC. We will use the classic one where the man is facing DLW with a free L foot (as at the end of a Weave).

Step 1 is a heel lead for the man, as he shapes to the left with no sway (S) and as ladies back DLW on their R, going from toe to heel while keeping the body down. Step 2 (S) is the key step because it determines the eventual amount of turn which varies from 1/8 to 1/2. It is a diagonal step forward on the R as the right shoulder leads and gives the maximum shaping to the left with no sway. The inside edge of the R toe, going to heel, is used, but the body is kept in a downward mode while the inside edge of the L toe is brought near the R (no weight), as the body completes the turn to nearly CP. The lady's part is exactly opposite except that her step backward on her L goes from toe to inside edge of heel while bringing her R toe toward her L. This step has a sort of turning hover action without the accompanying body rise of a hover. On step 3 (S), the man places his L heel in front of the R to step forward in the new direction in contra body with no further turn or sway, body still down. Ladies will follow the man's body line while stepping back on the R toe, then lowering to the heel for the next figure.

In quickstep, the timing is again three slows to cover 1 1/2 measures as in foxtrot. When used in waltz, it is done in 1 measure with a long 2-count where some time is taken more from the first step than the third.

DRAG HESITATION: This is a 3-step waltz figure which usually is taken facing DLW but can be also used when the man is facing LOD or even DLC. Often, the starting position is from contra banjo, however, the generic description is from CP.

The man's first step is forward on the L while shaping to the left going from heel to toe with no body rise. The lady's part is opposite as she uses a toe to heel, also keeping her body down. Step 2 is to the side on the R toe as the man has turned approximately 1/4 LF with a body rise at the end of this sort of momentary suspension movement. Ladies will overturn slightly as they point their L somewhere between 1/4 and 5/8 away from the previous alignment while keeping their shoulders parallel with the man and matching his body rise. Step 3 is a drawing of the man's L and lady's R foot toward the standing foot while continuing the LF turn approximately 1/8. This slow motion should continue so that it appears to be a lead into the next figure as the partners slowly lower the body into a smooth transition. Since the ladies have overturned on step 2, they will make the adjustment of underturning to follow with a small swiveling action to match the man's body on step 3. There is no sway in this figure.

HESITATION CHANGE: There are some alignment and amount-of-turn possibilities for this figure, so we will describe the original version, the one that normally follows a Natural Turn One Half. It is used about equally in waltz and quickstep -- one description will serve for both. When used in quickstep, the timing is three slows.

The man starts by shaping to the right as he steps backward on his L down LOD with no body rise and using toe/heel. Ladies will use the opposite action and keep their body well toward the man (H/T) with no body rise or sway. Step 2 is to the side on the man's R using a small step to allow the lady to match his body line. The normal amount of turn is 3/8 RF, however, this can vary from 1/8 up to nearly 1/2, depending upon the next figure alignment. The man will start a heel pull with the inside edge of the L foot, which will develop into a left sway. Ladies also step to the side on their L but with a wider step than the man, now backing DLC as they keep both body and foot alignment with the man's 3/8 turn (even though they are on the outside). She will develop a right sway but will have no heel pull. Step 3 is the completion of the heel pull for the man with no further turn as he brings the L to R without any brushing action, still maintaining his left sway. [On a normal Heel Pull, the feet will end approximately 8 inches apart, nearly parallel, and facing the new alignment.] Ladies bring their R to nearly close with the L using the inside edge of the toe with no further turn while maintaining the right sway.

CROSS HESITATION: Again, a 3-step figure but used exclusively in waltz and with quite a few variations in alignments and amount of turn. The first step for the lady is cross body, hence the name given to the figure. We will describe i as it would follow an Open Telemark, one of the most common precedes.

From a compact SCP, the man is facing the wall but pointing his L DLW. His body must catch up during the Cross Hesitation, a precedes that is often the case as in the Open Impetus Turn, etc. [as in the classic Singing Piano Waltz]. Step 1 is forward on the R in line with the L (contra body) with no turn or sway and going from heel to toe to start a body rise. Ladies step forward L crossing in front of the R to change from SCP to nearly a contra banjo while moving DLW but pointing the foot toward LOD. On step 2, the man brings his L close to his R with no weight (on both toes) while continuing his body rise where his body catches up with the R foot position, now facing DLW. Ladies step side R to end facing COH having completed about a 1/4 LF turn. They also continue the body rise but develop a left sway. There is no further turn or movement for the man on his third count. He is at full body height and ready to lower for the next figure. Ladies, however, will close L to R as they continue to turn and hold their left sway, now backing DLW. Since the men have only one weight change, the couple is still on opposite footwork.

Next: Back Whisk.

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, February 2011.


Alphabetical Index to
and Technique
Online since 2001 İHarold and Meredith Sears, Boulder, CO, All rights reserved.