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Phase V Figures

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
May, 1990

DOUBLE REVERSE SPIN: As round dancers, we have taken this figure directly from the ballroom literature. Three starting alignments are possible, but the one facing DLW is seldom used -- we will describe from starting position of CP facing LOD. This figure is characterized by an early rise and creation of controlled momentum. We will include a few notes that are not in the charts but which are needed for correct interpretation. The lady has four changes of weight and the man three actions with two changes of weight. The timing in waltz that best describes this figure is 12&3, as described below.

The man's first step is forward on the L starting to turn LF (CBM) going from heel to toe. Ladies step back on their R toward LOD also shaping to the left and going from toe to heel, therefore, only body rise. Step 2 is the critical one for the man because he must commit himself to one spot as he takes a fairly wide step sideward on the R going slightly across his dance alignment with both feet pointed toward DRC and at full body height. It is the momentum that he has developed that will take him through the toe pivot to follow. Ladies close L to R for a LF heel turn as they continue to rise on the L toe for nearly a 1/2 turn. On the "and" count, the man uses his momentum to pivot on the R toe LF while holding full body height. He must not accelerate any more than the lady's ability to keep in CP contact. The lady's step on the "and" count is her critical one because she must complete her heel turn (approx. 1/4 LF) stepping side and slightly back moving directly down LOD with the right hip leading (not a sway). If she is too close to the man at this point he will be pushed off balance -- if too far away, he will be pulled off of his pivot. The man must slow down his pivot progressively with his L toe in contact with the floor and close to his R, now facing DLW. The ladies complete their turn on step 4 and allow the L to cross in front of the R in a natural follow through action, now facing DRC still on the toe. Both partners lower to the heel at the end of the figure.

When the Double Reverse Spin is started with the man facing DLC, it should still end facing DLW, the 3/4 LF turn divided with most of the turn being made between steps 1 & 2. When started facing DLW, a full turn is made in most instances, however, some choreographers specify the normal 7/8 and end facing the wall. In any event the lady always makes a 1/8 LF turn on her fourth or crossing step.

Additional Notes: Advanced dancers use steps 1 & 2 with more flow, so that their timing would be 123&. Ladies will find that, as they develop more power in their dancing, the heels are not together but only close, as they do their heel turns. When used in quickstep, the timing is SSQQ.

EROS LINE: We will consider the Right Eros only as the Left Eros is much too difficult for round dancers not in the challenge class. The lead into the Eros usually comes from a right turning pivot like the Rudolph but the man steps side R with full weight on the foot to turn the lady into a right-side position, and he does not lower or "sink" but only has a moderate flexing. As soon as he places the R foot, the man will start to straighten it. The action of the man's right hip toward the lady and the right leg movement will create the clockwise opening that is the Eros Line. Previously, she has stepped to the side on her left before she flares out her R leg where the heel is kept below the level of the knee while feeling a stretch in the instep. [Note: Professional dancers often lift the leg a little higher, so that the lady's foot is farther from the floor than her knee.] She will rise to the ball of her L in order to facilitate the freedom of movement necessary for a good-looking leg line. For the man's part, he will continue rotating to the right with his upper body to accommodate the lady's turn but must keep his shoulder and head shaped to the left. If the lady keeps her upper body to the right, it will form a good X-Line, with the head and shoulders much farther apart than in the Rudolph Ronde.

The Eros Line is not a pose figure -- that is, you immediately think about dancing out of it. The man will again have a strong left leg line. It is not essential that the Eros Line comes from a pivot (hence the word "line") for it could be taken at the end of a chasse, for instance. Since it is a slow count single movement, it can be used in any rhythm except quickstep.

FALLAWAY WHISK: This figure always starts with a backward step on the man's L while starting a RF turn, usually backing LOD or wall. He goes from toe to heel starting to rise at the end of the step (body rise only). Ladies step forward on the R (HT) starting to turn RF, also rising at the end of the step. Step 2 for the man is side and somewhat backward on his R (TH) to lead the lady into fallaway position = compact SCP. This will turn up to 3/8 RF, but the body is held more to the left. Ladies step to the side on their L going from toe to heel, now normally backing toward DLC with continued body rise. Step 3 is a crossing loosely behind on the man's L and the lady's R (TH) to the whisk position. As the man lowers to the heel, he straightens his R knee (ladies L) to develop a right sway as ladies sway left. The man's head is turned to the right as the ladies look well to the left. Both have the flat-footed whisk position as contrasted to the Back Whisk, which is a rising one where a gradual turn to SCP is used.

We will continue to describe the figures in Phase V using the waltz directions and note other rhythms when needed. Later on, the figures unique to foxtrot, quickstep, and tango will be included.

Next Time: Natural Hover Telemark

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, May 2011.


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