Dancemax Letter #16, Thursday Sept 14, 2000

Dancing Tid-bits
Rise and Fall

Rise and Fall is an important aspect of Swing Dances. Swing Dances are Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quick step, and Viennese Waltz of course. We will base our discussion on Basic Waltz today. The term Swing Dance could be a little confusing to North American dancers because we relate this to Swing, like Jive. Actually when I heard this term for the first time I didn't know what exactly it meant. Then it got so complicated with terms like metronomic swing, pendular swing, upswing, downswing, that I thought it was about time to make some sense out of it. So I started teaching swing as a simple "Feeling" thing rather than a mechanical motion.You have heard "Less is more." So, with beginner students, first I will just walk the steps and tell them, this is "one way we can dance." Actually then I say "we are really not dancing, we are just walking the steps." Now I get them in a little mood and start swinging... "Come on Swing a little, like this." Steps get a little longer and I tell them to do a little "waltzing," up and down and they really start to swing and dance.

I dont know whether Swing creates rise and fall or vice versa. It's like asking, chicken or the egg first? You tell me. This I must say, you have to go down before you go up.

Let's see how many different ways it works: Preparatory Step: The purpose of the prep step is many but the most important thing is that it makes you go down so that you can start to go up and develop a good swing on the next step which will really be the first step of the figure such as Natural Turn.

Let us study the rise and fall of natural or reverse turn
  1. The rise usually will be at the end of the first step. It would be commence to rise at the end of 1
  2. Then you will continue to rise, on 2 and 3 (feet are closing).
  3. You will then lower at the end of 3
NFR: No foot rise will happen on the first step if you are on the inside of the turn, stepping back (Lady's first step)

It is important to remember that you cannot continue to rise on two consecutive steps taken apart, such as Whisk or Outside Change. In this case you will commence to rise at the end of 1, continue to rise on 2 but you must be up on 3. In Whisk, this step crosses behind and in outside change it is to the side and these are not closing steps.

Q. Rise at the end of 1 vs commence to rise? Good Question.
A. This is considered early rise (or I should say more abrupt rise even though I dont like the word abrupt, you know what I mean) and this type of rise usually is a lead for heel turn for the lady such as in Telemark or Double Reverse Spin.

Yes, it is confusing. May be not but that is the point, and if we dont understand this, we dont understand the basis of Waltz. I can assure you it is very logical and if you are willing to ponder over it again and again, it becomes your second nature, like you rise and lower when jumping over a puddle of water.

It may be said that Fall is not the correct term and it should be, Lowering, well as long as we know what that means. I did not write the technique.

If any of you are preparing for certification, rest assured you will be asked what are the different types of rise and fall in Waltz. That is quite a subject in itself and someday when we have nothing else to talk about, we will pick that one up..bye.bye..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