Dancemax Letter # 20 Thursday, October 12, 2000

Dancing Tid-bits

As we walk in everyday life, observe that as we take left foot forward the right arm goes with it and when right foot goes the left arm goes forward. Actually it is the momentum that starts in the opposite side of the body that swings the arm reciprocal or CONTRA to the body.

Definition: CBM is the movement of the opposite side of the body towards the moving foot.

CBM is usually applied to initiate a turn. Let's use Natural (Right) Turn in Waltz as an example. On Step 1, right foot goes forward diag to wall. We must initiate the turn now, so therefore the left side of our body (shoulder more than hip) swings forward and this is CBM. As turn is continued the CBM vanishes and turn is completed by continuation of rotation created by the swing. Same thing happens when you step back on the 4th step. Left foot moves back and right side of the body (hip more than shoulder) goes with it.

Where does CBM start: In a forward movement, CBM is felt and initiated more in the shoulder but moving back it is hip that seems to lead. Some dancers become so involved in it that they start to analyze before starting the movement. "ok I move shoulder and now I move Hip" and vice versa. This breaks the continuity of movement. I think you should dance first, dance right and then analyze rather analyze first and then dance. No Robotics please.

In last letter (letter 18) we talked about Sway. It may be appropriate to add here that Sway usually follows CBM, In other words, start the turn with CBM and then you will need Sway. You heard me right "swing and sway."

Is there always CBM in commencement of a turn? Ordinarily yes! but there are some special types of turns where CBM is not used. Take for example a Turning Lock or Turning Lock to right. The turn mechanics here is different and there is a shoulder lead or shall I say right side leading. There is no need felt for any type of CBM.

What about CBM but no turn? Yes, Try a Chasse from Promenade position or a Whisk, you will feel CBM on step 1 and there is no turn. It just feels natural that way.

CONTRA BODY MOVEMENT POSITION (CBMP). As is obvious by the words itself, it is a POSITION rather than a movement. You can simply stand and put your one foot slightly across the body and it will look like you have used CBM but actually you have not moved the body. You have simply placed your foot towards the contra side of the body, or so to say you have "placed it in CBMP." Examples:

1. When you step outside partner, you don't want to look 4 hips wide, you want to maintain a reasonable body contact and if you want a thin line rather than a thick line, you will have to step in CBMP. Bodies turn less to facilitate CBMP. 2. Most steps started after a promenade will start in CBMP such as, step 1 of Chasse from PP in Waltz is forward and across in CBMP. 3. Because of Tango Hold and the characteristics of the Walks in Tango, left foot forward is always in CBMP and so is right foot back.

Can CBM and CBMP happen at the same time: Initially I used to think not, but now after dancing and studying a little, I would say, yes. Start Chasse from PP, the first step is forward and across in CBMP and you do want to move left side with it, so here it is CBM and CBMP together. In Tango Reverse turns step 1 CBMP and CBM together.

Again it is all based on Dancing Naturally, and none of this is artificially created. We should indeed study it and analyze it as we are dancing to get a better picture of "what's going on." If it doesn't feel natural, it perhaps ain't right.

Foot held in CBMP: You don't always have to "step in CBMP." Try a pivot, left foot back and pivot to right, you will feel that the right foot (or leg) will be held in CBMP.

What have I missed? a lot! I know., Well, if it could all be said in words, there will be no need to dance! right?...goodbye, sincerely...Max

Questions and comments to, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits