Dancemax Letter #13, Thursday Aug 24, 2000

Dancing Tid-bits
It's all in the Waltz

It's like learning to fly in a J3 Cub, You get all the basics, Heading, Turn, Bank, Sway, Up and Down and the Spin in a simple little machine and then you can run with it! What I mean to say is, that if we can learn the discipline of Waltz and understand the technique and mechanics of turning, traveling and spin, you can either run with it or even go and fly on the dance floor. In the coming weeks we will study some of the very basic elements that are so important in all ballroom dances.

When we learn a new figure, it is broken down into 10 elements.
  1. Number of steps
  2. Feet Positions
  3. Alignment
  4. Amount of Turn
  5. Rise and Fall
  6. Footwork
  7. CBM, Where and When?
  8. Sway
  9. Precede
  10. Follow
I think each element is just as important to achieve a balanced dance. Let us discuss 2 elements today.

  1. Number of Steps: You might say who cares. Well, let's say you want to spell "dog". The accepted spelling of dog all around the world is three alphabets in that order. Similarly if we want to talk the same dance language all around the world, it has to be standardized and uniform. We are fortunate that we live in modern times when our ancestors such as Alex Moore and the different Committees of ballroom dancing in England thoroughly discussed the things with expert dancers and put it in a written form in 1920s and 30s. This is reflected in the "The Ballroom Technique " book published by ISTD. Yes, it is that book with a blue cover (used to be brown) and sells for $32.00. Each step is numbered and if you call someone in Japan and ask what is the foot position of 4th step for man in Natural Turn in Waltz, they would say, "you mean Left Foot Back?" and so on and so forth. Get the point?
  2. Feet Positions: Obviously this does not need explanation, but to be a little more technical it is the "position of one foot in relation to the other, at the end of the step such as Forward, Back, Side or Diagonal etc., but remember, it is the position achieved at the end of the step. For example, in the second step of Waltz turn, Man swings Forward but ends being to Side. Foot position is so often confused with Footwork; that is wrong. Thus, forward-side-together is position of the feet and not footwork. The footwork indicates what part of your foot is in contact with the floor, such as, heel, heel toe, toe heel (or ball, ball flat, etc., in latin). I am amazed, how many times, even on advanced video lessons this distinction is not made. I am not trying to be smart but I know that for fact. I am sorry, in my trade I have to be very specific.
So much for now, next time we will discuss ALIGNMENT, the hallmark of Floorcraft in Ballroom dancing...What's new...any gossip? Tell me! Best wishes......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