"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #148, Thursday, July 17, 2003

Dancing Tid-bits
Three Step vs. Shennay Turn-Final

Sorry, I have been gone for a few weeks due to computer glitches. Let's get back to the discussion of Three Step and Chaine's Turns.

Don't take me wrong; I am not a book worm. But I do believe that when someone writes a book, he or she seems to be dedicated to a subject and has done extensive study in most cases. The textbooks in Ballroom and Latin Dancing are classics and I am talking here the ISTD or the IDTA texts that are on the market. I think it is almost a miracle that all this dancing can be put to infinite details in a book form and I dedicate this Dancing Tid-bits to all who have contributed to the written texts.

The discussion started with "What is a Three Step Turn?" Then came the Chaines' Turn, pronounced as "Shennay Turn". Now we have reference to written texts from credible authorities on both subjects. So, what is the difference between the two turns.

Chaines (pronounced Shennay) Turn: Janice Boles gave an authenticated reference and detailed description of Chaines' Turn in my last tid-bit. (See Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren, 1989, p.190).

The gist of that turn is

1. You step in direction of the turn. In other words step forward on left foot and turn left. I call this straight action in contrast to a spiral action.

2. You, then continue to turn after bringing the right foot to left foot. Now you are on the right foot and turning left. This is spiraling action as the left leg tends to wrap in front of the right leg. The Chaines turn is done.

3. If you want to do another weight change, you can transfer weight to left foot again and therefore you have used three steps.

What I am saying is this: that in a Chaines' turn, the spiral action comes in the middle and a straight action in the beginning and the end. Are you with me so far?

Three Step Turn: Both, the ISTD (Samba-page 29) and Walter Laird (Samba-page 80) manuals describe this animalistic action in their textbooks; so this is not my conjured up thesis. I quote the following, word for word.


1. *RF to side turning strongly to left (Spiral Cross)...Count 1 (3/4 beat)

2. Continue turning strongly to left, LF forward...Count 2 (1/2 beat)

3. Still turning strongly to left, RF forw. to finish LF crossed without weight in front of RF (Spiral Cross)...Count 3 (3/4 beat)

This is the exact description by late Walter Laird: God bless his Soul. A little detail here; *actually the turn starts on the previous beat of music before you start to tun left on RF and that is how you step to side.

If you will notice, here the Spiral action comes at the 'beginning and the end' as compared to Chaines where it comes in the 'middle'. That is all I have to say!

Lady can use a Three Step Turn (RLR) described above following LF Open Rock (LRL) to achieve a Counter Promenade Position (CPP) as a Precede to Samba Locks in Open CPP.

With Best wishes, Max

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits