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Figures Without Phase Ratings

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
April, 1991

FORWARD IN & OUT: Starting from a fallaway position after a Fallaway Whisk, Outside Swivel, etc., this figure can be done as a S&S (preferred) or as a QQS in foxtrot or quickstep rhythm. We will describe it from a compact SCP facing LOD; however, it is not limited to this configuration. The man steps forward on his R heel and going to ball of foot with a very short step (about 3") and uses his L to bring the weight forward with no turn. Ladies step forward on their L heel, also going to the ball of the foot, using the same short step to match the man's while remaining in compact SCP. Their step is about 5" in length.

Step 2 (the "&" step) for the man is a swiveling action on the R while still on the ball of the foot and keeping the legs in line (=CBMP) as he brings the lady to CP, now facing DLW. He brings his L slightly toward his R with no weight. Ladies swivel LF on the ball of the L blending to CP and facing nearly DRC using a closed head with a quick motion.

On step 3 (S) the man swivels on the ball of the R LF to bring the lady quickly back to compact SCP facing LOD as he brings the inside edge of the L toe to the side with only a small amount of floor pressure. Ladies swivel on the ball of the L back to SCP while bringing their R (i.e. toe) to the side with no weight. At this point, she must again open her head quickly back to the starting position. Note: Both partners must use their entire body for the turns, not just the hips. Only the ladies have a head turn.

FOUR FEATHERS: Although this is an amalgamation of four types of feathers, it is used enough in this grouping to rate a figure status in the foxtrot rhythm. For this description, we will assume that the couple is already in a feather position having just completed a Feather Step or a Feather Ending and facing DLC with the man's L foot and the lady's R foot free. This will be presented in chart form with notes to follow in order to simplify the progression without losing track in the process.

Amt. Trn.


Footwork M

Footwork W


Fwd Feather on the R side




T/H, T/H, T


Back Feather on the R side

1/4 LF



T/H, T


Back Left Feather

1/4 LF


T/h, *T, T



Feather Finish

1/4 LF




Notes: The man keeps his head to the left on steps 2 and 3 as he ends outside the lady on her left side. On the Back Feather, he will divide the turn into nearly equal parts as he brings her into line (CP) on the first "quick" (lady steps L to side), then back down LOD as the lady once again is in contra body. On the start of the Back Left Feather, the couple again blends to CP with the man backing down LOD using a soft R knee. He then uses a left shoulder lead to bring the lady back to his left side on the second "quick" while keeping his head to the left. The Feather Finish is still high on the toes to end facing DLW. It is important to keep both bodies high on the last four quicks in order to get the soft and flowing desired effect.

*This step can be toe/heel in order to aid the lady in her movement.

SPLIT RONDE: The best lead is after a Double Reverse Spin, man facing RLOD, where the lady ends with the L in front of the R, both high on the toes and weight on the man's R and lady's L. On step 1, the man continues his turn LF on the ball of the R as the lady takes a small step to the side on her R to end slightly forward. As the lady changes weight on her small step, the man lowers into his R knee and rondes his L CCW while continuing his turn on the ball of his R. The ronde is taken somewhat forward before going around in back where it will end behind the R (no sway). The man must keep his left side toward the lady and rise to full height as the ronde is completed. Ladies ronde with their L going forward, then around to side CCW and finishing behind their R with pressure on the ball of the L. Ladies also keep their left side toward their partner and rise to full height at the end. The total amount of turn at this point is 3/8 LF.

On step 2, the man places his R to the side with a small movement as he continues a little LF turn. Ladies simply uncross their feet to end with weight on their L. The amount of turn for both is about 1/8 LF and will end in normal CP facing LOD for this description.

Note: A variation for step 2 is for the man to make a small step diagonally backward on their R as the ladies match this by stepping forward on a small step with their L. Timing as used in waltz would be 1&23 where the "1&2" is the ronde and rise. The toe would remain in contact with the floor as this figure implies a floor ronde.

We will cover the Aerial Ronde in the next column and its application as a double.

Note: Some of these figures have been phase-rated since this series was written.

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 2013.


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