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Dancing Your Foxtrot As Smooth As A Feather

by Kristine & Bruce Nelson

Let's think about techniques to help smooth out your (ruffled) feathers, untangle your weaves, and give flight to your FOXTROT!

FEATHER? What’s that?

It’s simple! A feather is a figure that ends in Banjo position. The figure may be started from closed or semi-closed position and may begin forward or backward. When moving forward the man dances heel, toe, toe. When moving backward there may be rotation involved and the man dances toe, toe, toe. The lady follows the man’s lead (of course) and will usually be making a left-face body turn to banjo position. To easily get into the correct position both dancers will use a left or right side lead of the body. Good practice sequences are [3-Step, Feather, 3-Step, Feather] or [Hover, Feather] or [Telemark to Semi-Closed, Feather] or [Closed Hover, Feather Finish].

WEAVE? Help! There are SO many and I am SO confused!

Here is the key - all the weaves in foxtrot follow a few simple rules:

  1. Weave timing is always 1 slow and 6 quick steps = 2 measures of music (only 1 exception)

  2. Each weave ends the same, with a back and feather finish = 4 quicks

  3. The beginning figure of each weave gives the weave its name (e.g. Promenade weave, Natural weave, Check and weave)

So if you know the beginning figure and you know the “weave” ending, the figures become easy to understand.

Weave Ending? Can it really be that simple?

Of course - it takes only 4 quick steps - and it’s always the same. Starting in a banjo position man steps back L in banjo (BJO), back R to closed position (CP), side and forward L to BJO diagonal line of dance and wall (DLW), forward R in BJO DLW (Woman steps forward R in BJO, forward L to CP, side and back R to BJO DLW, back L in BJO DLW.)

Promenade Weave starts in Promenade or Semi-Closed Position (SCP): Man steps forward R (S), forward L leading the lady to Closed Position (CP), and side R preparing to go to Banjo (BJO).The lady dances from SCP to CP between steps 1 and 2, side L preparing to go to BJO. And then you both dance the weave ending that you already know!

Natural Weave starts in either CP or SCP. We dance a half (1/2) Natural turn: Man steps forward R turning RF (naturally!), side L to CP, back R preparing to go to BJO. The lady dances back L turning RF, heel turn on L closing the R foot to the left and transferring weight, forward L preparing to go to BJO. And then you both dance the weave ending that you already know!

Check and Weave starts in CP M facing diagonal reverse line of dance & center of hall (DRC): M checks back R with slight contra check action, -, forward & side L, side & back R preparing to go to BJO. The lady checks forward L with slight contra check action, -, back R, side & forward L preparing to go to BJO. And then you both dance the weave ending that you already know!

See it’s simple! It only takes a little bit of fun practicing. And YOU can do it easily and comfortably!

From clinic notes prepared for the NSRDC, 2009, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, August 2015.


If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.

If you are not a member of DRDC, do consider joining. The group sponsors triquarterly weekends with great dancing and teaching, and the newsletter is one of the most informative available.

Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.

Aditional articles and dance helps by
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