"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #109, Thursday, July 4 2002
Teaching QS, Part IV- Basic Choreography
1. Starting Alignment: International dancers tend to start ballroom dancing
facing DW with a Natural Figure. I think it is kind of dumb. Hey! Center is
where the action is. So I believe starting DC is more appropriate, Why not
start with a Reverse Figure, LF forward (Man) and there you go. So, I
recommend starting with a Chasse Reverse Turn followed by Progressive Chasse
and so on. No preparation Step necessary.
2. Starting DW, Preparation Step: That's Fine. RF to side on 5.6; LF brush to RF step forward, lower on 7.8 and start the dance with RF forward DW, Quarter Turn to right is OK.
What is good Choreography? It should be simple, interesting, leadable, joyous and should look good to others. So, Travel, Turn, Stop, Sway and so on and so forth seem to be important elements.
In the days of Alex Moore the Quarter Turns were a popular basic Figure. If you know what I mean, there is a difference in "Quarter Turns" and Quarter Turn to Right of the present day. The former employed a turn to the right and a turn to left using heel pivot. This heel pivot section now is dropped from most school syllabi for the simple reason that heel pivots tend to impede flow and are perhaps more difficult at a beginning stage. Therefore a Heel Pivot is now replaced by the Progressive Chasse which gives more travel and same end result. These two figures remain an ideal combination to travel along LOD at absolute beginner's level. Now let's add a Forward Lock Step after the progressive chasse. Students will get first feeling of QS here.
I think this Basic should "stop" here and this is where a Natural Turn with Hesitation should be added. This will change direction, slowing down of the movement and sway. Follow this with Chasse Reverse Turn and repeat the above Basic Figures till we hit the corner.
Corner Figures: First corner, let's use the Tipple Chasse to Right, then repeat some basics and use a Natural Turn with hesitation on the second corner with only 1/8th turn. On the 3rd corner, we can use a Natural Turn and the 4th corner a Natural Spin Turn.
This is enough material for 6 classes in a beginners group. To satisfy the curious and the keen, I used 6 Quick Twinkles (advanced variations) and a Fish Tail (silver) at a corner and eliminated the Natural Turn about which I did feel a little guilty but they liked it. What are your thoughts?
Wishing every one freedom, independence and happiness on this 4th of July. With Best wishes, Max