Dancemax Letter #14, Thursday Aug 31, 2000

Dancing Tid-bits

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. Precedes and
  10. Follows
Today we will discuss Alignment in Ballroom dances (we are not talking latin). Alignment is defined as the relationship of your feet to the room "Period." Hunh! That doesn't tell me very much. I think this definition leaves a lot to be said and is confusing (at least to me). So I will amplify:

Actually, Yes! Alignment is the relationship of your feet to the room (lol), but certain considerations are very important.
  1. LOD: Without the mention of LOD there is no alignment. So, no matter where we are in the room, mentally we must be aware of which line of dance we are following. There are typically 4 LODs, 2 along the long side of the room and 2 along the short side of the room. It will suffice to say that alignment is relationship of the feet to the room for a particular line of dance.
  2. Facing, Backing and Pointing Alignments: If the figure is traveling forward you (Man) have a facing alignment and your partner has a backing alignment. If the figure travels backward, as man you have a backing alignment and the woman has facing alignment. It must be said that if we have facing or backing alignment our feet and body are facing or backing straight in one direction. However when one foot turns more and points in a different direction and body turns less, this is a "pointing alignment." This happens on the inside of the turns. The inside of the turn is, when one is stepping back. For example: In Natural turn (right box turn) in Waltz (MAN), the 4th step is back, backing LOD but the 5th step points towards Diagonal Center, the body is still behind in the turn and is facing to the Center at this time. Then as he closes the left foot to the right foot the body completes the turn and he faces diagonal to center. Ladies! You are going back on left foot on 1, backing diagonal wall, then in the second step, right foot points to LOD, body turns less. Then, on 3 you close your left foot to right foot and body completes turn. Get it? I know I used to have a problem with that myself but let me tell you if we don't understand this we don't understand TURN.
  3. End of the STEP: Once again this "end of the step" thing is very important. As in our feet positions, Alignment is, what we have at the end of that step... that's it!
  4. NEW LOD: Of course when at corners, we switch from one LOD to the next, our alignments take a different perspective and they become a part of that new LOD. So when you study the technique book there will be one time mention only, of NEW LOD and the following alignments will relate to new LOD.
  5. Brain Teaser: What happens to Diagonal Center at the Corner? It becomes Diagonal Wall of the NEW LOD.
  6. Center does not necessarily mean the Center of the Room. Actually it is an imaginary line to the mans left if he is going forward, like the Wall is to the right. Think about it like this! You are traveling forward along the LOD. Just imagine you are in a dark tunnel. To your right is the Wall and to your left is Center. This will hold true whether you are at the beginning of the tunnel or the end.
I said enough:...It's your turn..for diagram, see Alex Moore's Book "Ballroom Dancing" page 39....happy dancing from 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