"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #82, Thursday, December 27, 2001
Foxtrot and Waltz; Same Dance?
Sound like crazy but let me tell you what I mean. As I started to dance, I
said to myself, O' My! How am I going to remember all these dances but then
as I developed a little understanding, I started to see some light. I was
doing a Social Rhythm Foxtrot with a Box Step with SQQ timing. Then one day,
my heart throbbed and my eyes sparkled and I thought "O my if I know Waltz I
can do all those things in Foxtrot too. But then, this thinking came almost
to a full stop as I learned the English Foxtrot. I found it quite different;
long gliding linear figures and passing of feet etc. But then lately I sat
down and analyzed the similarities between the Waltz and the Slow Foxtrot and
I was pleasantly surprised.
Of course the "character" is different, music and timing is different and really it is like difference of night and day as you watch the 2 dances. But I want to take this discussion beyond this narrow vision and consider the following. We will build up a little basic Waltz choreography and compare it in Slow Fox.
1. Reverse Turn: This is a 3/4 turn to the left in both dances. Man starts facing Diagonal Center and ends facing Diagonal Wall in both dances. In either dance it takes 2 bars of music, no doubt the timing is different. In Waltz you close your feet but in slow Fox you make open turns, so what a big deal? Yes, I know the swing is slightly different but it's there all the same. In Waltz you commence to rise on 1 but in Slow Fox you rise at the end of 1. Let's keep on!
2. Left Foot Closed Change (LRL) is a link from Reverse to Natural turn, started facing Diagonal wall. In Slow fox same thing; Three Step LRL with a different character is also a link from Reverse to Natural.
3. Natural Turn. Waltz requires 3/4 turn to right on 2 bars of music. Foxtrot takes just a little more than 2 bars but then the starting and finishing alignments are more or less the same. Start DW, end Diagonal Center.
4. Right Foot Closed Change: (RLR). This provides transition from a natural turn to the reverse. The Feather Step (RLR) following natural turn will do the same in Slow Fox.
5. As in Waltz, 2 Natural Turns at corner can serve a useful purpose in Slow Fox too.
What I am saying is, don't be scared. All these basic concepts apply to more or less degree in all ballroom dances. Think more in general terms. It is just like generic drugs. There ore only a few, but each Pharmaceutical Company puts it's own patented seal with a different label. If a student knows the generic formulary well, he or she will say "O' I see! Yes, I know this drug and what it does, maybe I didn't know it came under this name".
By expanding your imagination you will have a better insight into this confusing and murky world of dancing. With best Wishes for a very Happy New Year, Sincerely...Max.
Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.