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Phase V Figures continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
October, 1990

HAIRPIN: Normally a quickstep figure, it is used more and more in waltz (the counterpart in foxtrot is the Curved Feather to a check). We will describe the quickstep figure and note the waltz adaptation.

Starting with a LOD alignment, the couple should have a precedes, which anticipates the man going outside partner, namely CBMP or man's R in line with his L (lady preparing to step backward on her L in line with her R). Step 1 is a heel lead for the man starting a RF turn and rising to the toe with some body rise. Ladies step back on their L (T/H) with matching body rise. The RF curve is continued on steps 2 and 3 on the toes for both partners with full body height attained on 3. The amount of turn is usually 3/8 RF to end with the man in contra body (banjo) facing DRW to check forward motion and lowering to the heel for the next figure. Timing is QQS with an increasing right sway on 2 and 3 (ladies opposite).

In waltz, the Hairpin is basically a four-step figure that usually starts from DLW (ditto foxtrot) with a L-foot lead for the man. Step 1 is a heel lead while shaping RF, then followed by the steps listed above with a continuation of the curve on step 4 to end approximately man facing DRC, or can be underturned to face RLOD, ending always in strong contra body. Timing is 12&3. The three-step figure that uses the configuration of the quickstep can also be called a Hairpin (man's R, L, R and lady's L, R, L). The second step is usually hurried a little to give more time on the checking step. If the Hairpin starts in SCP, it is more properly called an Outside Check, and the man will once again blend to contra banjo on step 3. If taken in four steps from SCP, it becomes a Hairpin variation.

When used in foxtrot, the count becomes quite often an extended version of five steps with 1&2&34, where count 1 is held longer, but a continuation of the RF turn is made. If using the four-step figure, the count would be SQ&Q (= Curved Feather Check variation).

TIPPLE CHASSE: This is a quickstep figure in four steps that suggests a sway in the process. It can start in either CP or in contra body but must move backward for the man and incorporate a RF turn, either maintaining the CP or ending in CP. If taken from CP with the man facing RLOD, he starts with a left toe lead and lowers to the heel while starting the RF turn. Ladies have a heel lead on their R and go to toe at the end of the step while matching the man's slight body rise. Step 2 for the man is to the side on the R toe as he continues body rise to face approximately COH. Ladies also step to the side on their L toe. Since this is the first step of the chasse portion, it is optional whether a sway toward the direction of travel is started. If so, it is normally subtle at first and increases to step 4. Step 3 for the man is a closing one on his L toe as the RF turn and body rise continue. Ladies close R to L also on the toe and continue their body rise. Step 4 is to the side and slightly forward on the man's R toe as he is now facing DLC, the ladies stepping side and slightly back on their L toe. Timing is always SQQS.

When the Tipple Chasse starts in contra body, it is usually taken back toward DLW. The man will once again start a RF turn on step 1 and start to blend to CP. As he takes his side step on the R toe, he overturns the foot position toward LOD but keeps his body facing DLC. Ladies are now facing DRW as they take their side step on the L toe. On step 3, the man turns an additional 1/8 RF so that both body and L toe face LOD. As ladies make their closing step, they will retain the CP. Step 4 is precisely like the above description where the man ends facing DLW. Again, the sway is optional on the chasse portion, however, most dancers feel more comfortable with perhaps only a slight one. If the sway option is used, it is normally accompanied by a head turn in the same direction. Also, the body mechanics of a tipple sway require a more controlled body rise, meaning less overall.

DOUBLE LOCK: This is not a listed phase figure but more of a variation from the established lock, as used in quickstep. When first introduced in early quickstep choreography, as in Let's Dance, no change of direction was indicated and it was usually a forward motion. The extra step was principally used to conform with timing needs. Later, the Double Lock, as used in backward movements, became more popular -- we will describe this version as a standard figure.

When taken backward, this figure is more properly described as a back lock to a side lock. Normal starting position is when the man is facing DRW with the R foot free, say, after an Overturned Spin Turn. The man's first step is backward on his R toe with the right shoulder leading so that his toe is pointing diagonally away. Ladies are also on the toe as they step forward on their L with a left shoulder lead. Both will commence a body rise that continues through the next step with the man going to a left sway and ladies to a right sway. Step 2 is L crossing in front of R on the toe for the man as he backs toward DLC with both feet pointing DRC. Ladies have just the opposite as they cross R behind L. On step 3, the man first lowers to the L heel and starts a slight curve RF on the R toe, lowering to the heel. Again, the ladies have opposite footwork and body position as both partners start to change sway. On step 4, the man crosses L in front of R, no further turn on the toe, now using a full left sway. Ladies step side and slightly forward on the L toe as they match the man's sway while both heads revert to the closed position. This ends with a lowering to the heel for both in readiness for the next figure. Timing is four quicks in quickstep, rarely QQSS. For waltz, the normal timing is 123& where a further RF turn can be made on the "&" to position the couple for a right-turning figure.

Note: To avoid over-curving the line of dance, this figure should be thought of as moving diagonally back in a more or less straight line so that the man will end facing between DRC and COH.

Next Time: Big Top

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, November 2011.


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