Dance Terminology

The dance tips are provided as a guide only. In a social dance environment sometimes it is might become expedient on a crowded dance floor to modify a step as a courtesy of those around you. Remember that dancing should be fun!

Aerial†A Position where the foot is in the air, with a relaxed knee. (Slight Bend, foot pointing down, With attitude).

Alemana Usually in Latin-the lady turns under the mans raised arm as he steps back.

Alignment The direction the foot or feet are pointed,. Or the direction one moves in relation to the room.

Amount of Turn Generally measured from the feet, but sometimes measured from the body.This is when the man stamps his foot - A very strong definite and defined move.

Attitude Shape given to knee (Aerial)

Balance The correct distribution ofthe weight to the body.

Body Sway The slight sway of the body on certain steps, particularly turning steps which helps retain the momentum of balance.

Bow (In Acknowledgment) Bending slightly forward from the waist.

Brush When movingthe foot from one open position to another open position the word BRUSH indicates that the foot must be close, or almost close, to the foot supporting the weight of the body but without change of weight.

Chair From the promenade or barn dance position, both step forward with the outside foot then step forward with the inside foot and check or stop the forward movement with the inside foot bending the knee slightly as the weight is taken up, replace weight onto back or outside foot. From here the most common move is to bring the lady into natural hold or you could syncopate by doing a back twinkle or change step.

Change of Place Partners move to opposite sides, eg :- man dances to outside lady dances to inside, change places.

Chass (Chas-eh) Three steps taken in any direction, closing the feet on the second step with weight, eg:- step left foot close right foot to left foot step left foot.

Open chassA Chass with the feet open on the 2nd step.

Check A step stopping the normal forward progression, and then reversing the alignment.

Closed Change Three steps in any direction the foot on the third step with weight.

Closed Finish Partners finish facing each other in Natural hold, eg:- from promenade position man step right foot forward and across in contra body movement position and promenade position leading the lady to turn towards the man, step left forward and slightly to the side, close right foot to the left foot.

Contra Body Movement Turning the opposite hip or shoulder towards the moving leg.

Contra Body Movement Position When stepping forwards or backwards and turning the opposite hip and shoulder towards the stepping leg without turning the body, giving the appearance of Contra Body Movement.

Contra Check In Ballroom hold facing diag. to wall down LOD, step your feet forward and across your body to the right (lady right foot back and slightly left) and check, (you should be facing diag to wall but your foot should be pointing straight to the wall), replace the weight back onto right foot (lady left foot) and turning left into promenade position, place your left foot (lady right foot) down line of dance.

Traveling Contra Check†In Ballroom hold facing diag. To wall down LOD, step left foot forward (lady right foot back and slightly left) and across your body to the right, (you should be facing diag to wall but you foot is pointing straight at the wall), now almost close your right foot (lady left foot) to your left foot (leave about six inches or 15 cm), now step your left foot (lady right foot) to the side down the line of dance whilst turning the lady so you are in promenade position, try getting up on your toes when closing RF to LF.

Corte†Usually preceded by 1 to 3 of a reverse turn (Reverse Corte) or spin turn, man step right foot back turning to the left, close left to right foot without weight and hesitates. Lady, right foot back, short step left foot to the side close right foot to left foot on 3rd beat.

Counter Promenade Position A type of promenade position, to swivel and face against LOD, but with the mans left hip in contact with the lady's right hip.

Cucaracha A Latin step. mainly a side or back movement, the basic idea is, with feet slightly apart, step the left foot to the side with weight, leaving the right foot in place, now move your weight back to the right foot and close the left foot almost to the right.

Curtsy (lady only) Using the ball of the moving foot, cross it slightly behind the other foot with relaxed knees. Lower the body so that the knee of the back leg is in contact with the calf of the leg that is in front.

Curved Feather This is a slow foxtrot figure. †It can be danced in any direction, usually starts down LOD and curves to face diagonal to the wall. Man step right foot forward and curving to the right, step left foot forward curving to the right step right foot forward outside of lady to check. Can also curve left then down LOD man step right foot forward and curving the left, step left foot forward curving to the left BLOD, step right foot back outside left side of lady turning to left to head diag. To wall

Dip Step forward and with feet apart, relax both knees, lower body and then rise.

Drag Hesitation†Used to change direction, last three steps are facing diagonal to the wall down LOD, step left foot forward, step right foot forward and to the side turning to face diag, to the center down LOD, close left foot slowly to the right foot without weight, then step forward left foot into next figure.

Fallaway Position Man and lady moving backwards in promenade position hold, (See also Natural Fallaway)

Feather Mainly slow foxtrot. normally a forward movement in closed hold  lady four steps straight back whilst gents 1st and 2nd steps are in front, 3rd is outside, on lady's right side and 4th back in front of, or square to, the lady. All this whilst you maintain the closed hold and body contact, eg:- step right foot forward, step left foot forward, step right foot outside lady's right side, step left foot in front of lady.

Fishtail†A quickstep figure, looks like two locks but isn't position yourself in a natural hold on the outside of the lady (with lady on your right hip), step right foot diagonally forward (lady left foot diagonally back), cross left foot behind right foot, step right foot diagonally forward (Use your hip to move the lady to the left in a swaying movement), step left foot down LOD, cross right behind left foot, step left foot forward down LOD. (Slow Quick Quick Quick Quick Slow).

Footwork †Describes that part of the foot that is in contact with the floor, and use of the heels and ball of the foot movement. Heel Ball Toe etc.

Hairpin Run Four Medium length steps commencing with RF, curving from diag center to diag wall over one bar of music. Usually followed by Natural turn.

Heel Pivot Turn on the heel of one foot and with no change of weight step forward with the opposite foot.

Heel Turn Opposite to the Heel Pivot, that is, a change of weight does occur, at the completion of the half turn and then step forward with the same foot.

Heel Pull A heel turn but the feet are apart at the end of the turn and the weight is more forward

Hesitation A figure or part of a figure on whichprogression is suspended, and the weight is retained on the supporting foot for one count.

Holds The Manner in which a man and lady hold each other whilst dancing.

Hook Placing one foot lightly over the supporting foot in front or behind without weight, on rise, toe rests lightly on the floor, using same foot either forward or back.

Hover Part of a figure in which the movement of the body is suspended momentarily, the feet remaining almost in position. Commence in Natural hold facing diagonal wall, down LOD †Step right foot forward, brush left foot almost to right foot and then to the side and slightly forward to center down LOD.

Impetus (Open) Step left foot back diagonal to the wall down LOD  close right foot to the left foot and turn, on your hells to the right (Heel Turn), step forward left foot diagonal to the center down LOD, finishing in promenade position. (Closed) On 3rd step, LF fwd DC turning R to back agst LOD keeping Lady in closed ballroom hold.

Inwards Turn A three step solo turn that is towards your partner.

Lilt A soft up and down movement.

Line Of Dance Is the direction of movement in an anti-clockwise direction around the outer edge of the dance floor.

Link Step A step that joins two other figures.

Lock Three steps taken in any direction crossing feet on the second step with weight, and step forward or back with opposite foot.

Turning Lock This figure is the same as a lock EXCEPT you are turning. Usually the man is going backwards and turning to his right or the wall. You would start off backing diag, to center down LOD and finish backing diag, to wall down LOD. Alternately, you can finish in promenade position facing diag. To wall down LOD. Ie step RF back DC, cross LF in front of RF, step RF back and slightly to the right (starting to turn to PP), step LF to side and slightly forward to end PP facing DW.

Lunge With a man facing to the center and the (same foot) lady facing against LOD in ballroom hold, the man steps rigt foot to side down LOD and the lady steps right foot back down LOD, both relaxing the right knee, transfer weight back to the left feet and close right foot to the left foot.

Natural Turn Is to turn right or clockwise. Normally starts with man facing diagonal to wall down LOD, and consists of 6 steps. Right foot forward, left foot to the side across LOD, close right foot to left foot (now backing LOD), turning to the right, step left foot back down LOD, right foot to the side and close left foot to right foot to end facing diagonal center down LOD.

Natural Spin Turn This figure is in two parts begins with 1-2-3 of a natural turn, then finishes with a spin turn on the last three steps, facing diagonal to wall down LOD, right foot forward, left foot to side across LOD, close right foot to left foot (now backing LOD). Now, step left foot back down LOD and commence turning strongly to the right, step right foot forward down LOD still turning to the right, step left foot the side to finish facing diagonal to center down LOD. You should have completed  of a full rotation. (started facing diag wall down LOD finished facing diag center down LOD).

Natural Fallaway This figure, usually from the promenade position moves diagonally towards the wall down LOD, then down the LOD, then backs diagonally towards the center. From promenade position man step right foot (lady steps left foot) forward diagonally to the wall, turning to the right step left foot to the side (lady steps right foot), still turning right step back right foot (Lady left foot) diagonally to the center down LOD.

New York†A Latin figure, danced either down or against LOD †man, step right foot (lady left foot) forward down LOD and check, right shoulder leading lady's left hand in mans right hand (in extended hold position) replace weight back to left foot, turning to the right, right foot to side against LOD facing wall (lady facing center and partner.

Outside Check†In natural hold, face diagonal to wall down LOD, step left foot forward and to wall on the outside of the lady (lady right foot back and towards the wall) in a contra body movement position

Outside Partner Any step forward outside partner.

Partner Outside Any step back with partner outside.

Outward Turn A three-step turn that is away from your partner (outwards)

Pivot†Is turning on the ball of one foot, whilst the other is in contra body movement position.

Point Taken in any direction, point the yoe of the foot to the floor without weight, no rise on the supporting foot.

Poise Carriage of the body, or the position of the body in relation to the feet.

Postion of Feet The position of one foot in relation to the other.

Promenade Position†A position which the man's left side and the lady's right are turned slightly outwards from each other whilst the mans right hip and the lady's left hip are in contact. giving the appearanceof a †V

Counter Promenade Position†The Opposite of Promenade Position. Gents left side in contact with lady's right side. The man moves to his right the lady to her left.

Promenade Chass†Danced in any direction in Promenade position. eg : man steps left foot (lady right foot) forward close right foot to left foot, step left foot forward or step close step.

Reverse Turn†Is to turn left or anti-clockwise. Man facing (lady backing) diagonal center, down LOD, six steps to complete turn- step left foot forward, right foot side and across LOD, close left foot to right foot to finish backing down LOD, now step right foot back down LOD, left foot to side along LOD, close right foot to left foot to finish facing diagonal to wall down LOD.

Rhythm The regular occurrence of an accented beat or beats in the music.

RondMoving the outside foot with a circular movement of the leg either forward or back.

Rock Is the forward-backward-forward movement of the body with feet apart. Can also be backward-forward-backward or turning. Whilst in Latin there is a slight dragging of the feet on the forward or backward movement.

Rotary Chass †Danced in Natural hold, start diagonal to wall down LOD-step left foot forward turning right, close right foot to left foot, step left foot back turning to right, step right foot to side sown LOD, close left foot to right foot still turning right, step right foot forward turning right. (ie: side together step, side together step).

Running Finish †Used in Quickstep consists of four steps starting with the left foot back diagonal to wall down LOD, step forward turning right, step 2 & 3 outside lady and step 4 in line to end facing down LOD.

Sequence A set combination of figures.

Slip Pivot This figure turns lady from promenade position to natural hold. Adopt a promenade position, backing LOD  man slips right foot back, well under body moving towards the center and pivots to the left on right foot to face LOD, holding left foot forward in contra body movement position. Lady turns to the left on ball of right foot to get square to man, then steps in line with man and pivots left on left foot to end backing LOD holding right foot behind in contra body movement position. man steps left foot forward into next figure.

Solo Turn Usually starts from promenade position dropping the hold, the man and ladycomplete a full turn in three steps that progress either down or against the LOD and turning, in either the same direction or opposite directions. Eg: the man turns to the left and the lady turns to the right or both turn to the right or both turn to left. 1-2-3. (You do not spin on the spot).

Spin Turn (See also Natural Spin) Executed in ballroom hold and is similar to a Pivot but only completes ‚Öě ths of a full rotation and usually starts with the first three steps of a natural turn. Can be under or over turned.

Spot Turn Used to reverse the direction of travel adopt a promenade position, step forward leaving the back foot in place, turn outwards on the ball of the foot to finish facing the opposite direction. (Or back the way you came).

Sway An inclination of the body to the left or right.

Spiral or Twist Turn A strong step that turns, but with both feet apart.

Swivel A turn of the ball of the foot, whilst the opposite foot closes without weight and steps through.

Syncopated Movement Any three steps taken to two beats of music. (1 & 2-3).

Tap Release the foot from the floor and tap the floor lightly with the ball of the foot with a relaxed knee, releasing foot from floor immediately. The weight is on the supporting foot, no rise.

Telemark (Closed) A type of reverse turn starts in natural hold like a reverse turn step left foot forward and commence to turn left, then step right foot to side across LOD continuing to turn or spin on the ball of the right foot, (lady closes feet and turns on heels), step left foot to side to finish with feet apart having completed approximately of a turn.

Telemark (Open) This is the more commonly used of the Telemark turns steps are the same as the closed Telemark except step three of the lady is a forward step to finish facing towards LOD, in promenade position. (Telemarks can be over turned or under turned).

Tempo The speed at which the music is played, the number of bars per minute

Time The number of beats in each bar of music.

Travelling Contra Check In ballroom hold facing diag, to wall down LOD, step left foot forward (lady right foot back and slightly left) and across your body to the right, (you should be facing diag, to wall but your foot is pointing straight at the wall), now almost close your right foot (lady left foot) to your left foot (leave about six inches or 15cm), now step your left foot (lady right foot),to the side down line of dance whilst turning the lady so you are in promenade position, (try getting up on your toes when you close RF to LF.

Turning Lock This figure is the same as the lock EXCEPT you are turning. Usually the man is going backwards and turning to his right or the wall. You would start off backing diag. To center down LOD and finish backing diag to wall down LOD. Alternatly, you can finish in promenade position facing diag to wall down LOD. Ie Step RF back DC cross LF in front of RF, step RF back and slightly to the right (starting to turn to PP), step LF to side and slightly forward to end in PP facing DW.

Twinkle Three steps commenced on either foot and may be backward, forward or turning. eg: forward twinkle step left foot forward, close right foot to left foot and step left foot back (change feet).

Waltz Viennese Natural Danced in natural hold, start diagonal to wall down LOD step left foot forward (around lady) turning right step right foot to side down LOD,close left foot to right foot (facing down LOD), step right foot forward turning right, step left foot to side down LOD, close right foot to left foot (backing LOD), step left foot back turning right, step right foot to side down LOD, close left foot to right foot, (facing down LOD), (ie: step side together, step side together).

Waltz Viennese Reverse Danced in natural hold, start facing down LOD step left foot forward turning left, step right foot to side down LOD, close left foot to right foot crossing left foot in front of right foot (backing LOD). Step right foot back turning left, step left foot to side down LOD, close right foot to left foot (facing down LOD), (ie: step side together, step side together).

Wave A series of Links, but going outside your partner. Position yourself facing diagonal center, step left foot forward turning left, right foot to side to end backing diag. Wall (lady close LF to RF, heel turn), left back diag, wall, right foot back turning to end backing LOD, left foot back LOD, right foot back LOD.

Weave A six step turn from promenade position. facing diagonal center step right foot forward (lady left foot forward) diagonal centre, step left foot forward diagonal centre tuning left, (lady long step right foot to the side, across front of man and turning left), still turning left, step right foot to side backing LOD (lady turning left on right foot and to side with left foot), step left foot back diagonal to centre, lady on outside right, step right foot back diagonal centre, lady in line turning left, left foot to side and slightly facing wall.

Whisk There is NO backward movement in a whisk. Usually commences with man facing (lady backing) diag to wall down LOD. The man does not turn and the lady turns to the right on the 2nd step (left foot). Man stepping left foot forward, right foot forward and to the side, crossing left foot behind right foot (lady stepping right foot back, left foot back and to side, right foot behind left foot.) to end in promenade position.

Wing Commonly follows a whisk. Man steps right foot forward commencing to lead lady to mans left side closing left foot towards right foot still leading lady to mans left side, close left foot to right without weight. Lady left foot forward commencing to curve around man, right foot, left foot forward still curving around toward left side of man

X Line Tango figure, from promenade position starting with feet closed, move the left foot (lady right foot) back to the side, flexing the right knee (lady left knee) and bending the body from the waist, in the same direction as the moving foot, to form an X.

Zig Zag In natural hold, facing diagonal to wall down LOD step left foot (lady right foot back) forward diagonal wall down LOD starting to turn left step right foot (lady left foot back) forward diagonal centre down LOD, step left foot (lady right foot forward) back diagonal wall down LOD, step right foot to side and forward (lady left foot to side and back) turning right to face diagonal centre down LOD.

Contact: Noel and Lyndel on dancinghewitt@outlook.com