by Mark & Pam Prow
Brief History --
The Quickstep was born in the 1920s as dancers began to dance to the quicker, livelier music of the era. The music was too fast for the open movements of the Foxtrot, and dancers wanted to move around the floor more than the Charleston permitted.
Quickstep is characterized by the flow of Foxtrot, with the foot closing action of Waltz movements. Also included in the Quickstep are static types of movements, which can resemble the Jive or Charleston. In competition, the rhythm is danced at 50 mpm, though in round dancing most Quicksteps feel comfortable at around 45-47 mpm. The musical timing of Quickstep is 4 beats per measure.
In basic Quickstep, the underlying music has a smooth, lyrical quality, which we want to capture in the dancing. In each two-beat group, we can either take one step (a slow) or two steps (quicks). If we are taking a slow, the movement is blended over the two beats so that it flows evenly (rather than step on the first quick and basically stand still for the second.) For the two quicks, the first step tends to move (hopefully a comparable amount to a slow) and the second step tends to 'catch up' to the first step (tends to close or lock).
A left-turning figure similar to the Foxtrot or Waltz figure "back and chasse to banjo." The figure takes 1.5 measures (6 counts) to execute. This figure generally starts with the trailing foot free. The movement turns left to align the partners moving to LOD with the man preparing to step outside the woman in banjo. Timing is SQQS.
This is a right-turning figure that keeps the couple in closed dance position throughout. You can think: forward turning right, and chasse to closed. The figure takes 1.5 measures (6 counts). The figure ends with the man usually facing DRW. Timing is SQQS. Even though this figure ends in closed position, it can start in banjo, closed, or semi-closed position.
A combination move in round dancing that combines the Quarter Turn and the Progressive Chasse. Current Roundalab definition adds a step to the front of the figure, starting with a forward step with the lead foot and taking a total of 3.5 measures: SSQQSSQQS.
This figure is danced with progression. The figure in round dancing is four counts, consisting of a cross in back, forward with slight side, forward, cross in back for the man. In order to feel the fishtail, you have to be aware of two different types of crossing actions: sideward and progressive. The sideward action is recognized in figures such as the vine. The progressive action is found in locks. In Quickstep, the Fishtail should try to use the progressive action of crossing the foot. This would describe the Fishtail as a lock, fwd, fwd, lock.
This figure combines two forward lock forward actions with an intermediate forward step. Timing is QQQQQQS. The motion can be forward or backwards.
From clinic notes prepared for the URDC annual convention, 2006.
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