Dancemax Letter #15, Thursday Sept 7, 2000

Dancing Tid-bits
Amount of turn

When we learn a new figure in Standard Ballroom Dances, 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 Amount of Turn. It may be said what is there to discuss about it. Well, in the least it is quite a thing to analyze. First of all, the amount of turn in Ballroom dances is measured between our feet. The feet are usually more or less parallel (?) at the end of the step. In Latin, turn is usually reflected by the body because feet are usually turned out. Consider the following in Waltz.
  1. Waltz is a good example to learn all the basic principles involved in turning. In the early days it was usual to make a complete turn on 123, 456, but later this was felt to be uncomfortable for the lady. In 20's, Frank Ford, Molly Spain, Josephine Bradley, GR Anderson, Victor Sylvester (don't know who exactly) introduced the concept of 3/4 turn on 2 bars of music. Alex Moore wrote the technique and thus came the Diagonal Lines in all Modern Dances (Viennese Waltz excluded). Now it is understandable that if there is 3/4 turn on 2 bars of music, there has to be 3/8 on 1 bar (1/2 of 3/4). This is the hardest thing for beginners to comprehend. To understand this you can stand in the center of a room and make repeated turns to right or left turning each time 3/8. You will see that the end product will be an OCTAGON, an eight sided figure, each inside angle being 135 degrees. Of course we dont ever dance like that but I personally found it good training to understand this 3/8 business.
  2. Outside and Inside of the Turn: The person who is stepping forward is on the outside of the turn. If you are stepping back you are on the inside of the turn
  3. On the Outside of the turn, the person who is stepping forward will split the turn throughout the bar of music, 1/4 between 1 and 2, and 1/8 between 2 and 3. The person who is stepping back on the inside of the turn, will make 3/8 turn between 1 and 2, body will turn less and it will feel like your legs are split apart like Donald Duck. Then on 3, as you close your feet, the body will complete turn. Another way of saying this will be that if you are stepping back, get out of the way or open the door and let the person moving forward "move in"
  4. Remember Men! you will make Reverse turn facing Diag to Center starting with left foot forward, end Facing Diag to Wall at the end of 2 bars of music. Make a Left foot closed Change (no turn). Now go Right foot forward Diag wall and make a Natural Turn, end facing Diag to Center after 2 bars of music. Make a right foot closed change and start with reverse turn again. At Corner no change step, just make 2 Natural Turns and u will be OK. ladies! Just Follow
Did I make any sense? I hope I did... This is the Basis for TURNS and Waltz is a good example, believe 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