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Foxtrot Bounce

by Harold & Meredith Sears

We know about Samba Bounce. For instance, in a Samba Walk (1a2) we step forward with a little pelvic tilt forward and with compressed knees. We are "down." On the "a" we place the trail foot behind with a little pelvic tilt back and straighten the knees. We are up to a normal height. Then we pull the lead foot back about three inches with no pelvic tilt and compress once again. The Samba Bounce is down-a-down. The action is soft and light.

But what about a Foxtrot Bounce? In the Smooth rhythms, we are usually encouraged to rise and fall over the measures of music but are warned not to bounce on each beat. Controlled rise and fall is smooth, graceful, and pretty. Unintentional bounce will probably be sharp and jerky, rough, not pretty---maybe like a youngster walking with one foot on the curb and the other in the gutter---up, plop, up, plop . . .

But quite a few foxtrots do call for some bounce, and it can add a light gaiety to a fun dance.

In A Smile and A Wink by the Broadwaters, we do a Hover to Semi and then a Bounce Feather in 5 (sqqqq). We step through lowering, side and forward left rising (W sd & bk R turning to banjo), and then three more steps: down, up, down, ending in feather position. In Au Revoir by the Fishers, we have a Curved Feather Checking to a Bounce Back Feather in 4 (s&s&). The steps are simply back, back, back, back, but again, we are down, up, down, up.

In 16 Tons by the Blackfords, there is a Whiplash to banjo with left sway and open head, and then we do a simple Bounce Sway Change. We sharply rise, lower, rise, and lower, as we change from left to right sway, closing the woman's head. There are no steps. Then we dance a quick back Feather Finish in 4; Reverse Wave.

In Milica 4 by the Woodruffs. there is a Twisty Vine 8 with Bounce. On all the side steps, we are up, and on all the crossing steps we soften the knees and drop down.

Let's think about the Bounce Reverse Fallaway (qqs). In closed position or in banjo, facing line and center, we step forward on the left foot (W back R) turning left-face and with strong rise, side R DLC but body facing DRC (W back L) sharply lower, back L with sharp rise (W bk R) to semi-closed position facing reverse.

In order to emphasize or to showcase the bounce, this figure is often done in 4 steps (qqqq): "bounce reverse fallaway in 4" or "bounce reverse fallaway and back." An additional back step on the trail feet is taken. Another slight modification that emphasizes the "up" part of the bounce is to dance the figure s&s&. With this timing, we rise on the slow-counts and hold the up position just a little, and then fall quickly on the &-counts. In Ain't That A Kick by the Cantrells, we do a feather finish; change of direction; bounce reverse fallaway & back to BJO DRW; to a weave ending.

And finally, there is the Bounce Reverse Fallaway & Slip, an advanced figure but one of the more common examples of Bounce. As discussed above, we usually dance this figure not sqq but qqqq or even s&s&, to showcase the bounce. This time, in closed position or banjo facing DLC, the man steps fwd L (W bk R) turning LF and with strong rise, sd R DLC but body facing DRC (W bk L) sharply lowering, bk L with sharp rise (W bk R) to semi-closed position facing reverse, and then the man slips his R past his L toeing in to a small back step R (woman fwd L pulling her left shoulder strongly back) with LF body rotation, and turns 1/4 more LF softening R knee to closed position facing line and wall. In Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by the Rumbles, the dance starts with a Bounce Reverse Fallaway Slip; Change of Direction; Telefeather;; In French Poodle by the Moores, there is a three step; natural hover cross overturned to BJO DRW; top spin to BJO DLC; bounce fallaway & slip; change of direction.

Foxtrot is not Samba, but sometimes, a Bounce makes it a little more of a party.

A version of this article was published in the Washington Area Square Dancers Cooperative Association (WASCA) Calls 'n' Cues, 50-10:9, 6/2010.


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