Round Dance Tips by
Rumba Hip Twists
by Tim Eum & Shirley Ray
Open Hip Twist (phase 5) --
Start this from a close facing position with lead hands joined low.
On the first step, the man will check forward with lead foot, leading
the lady to rock back with a strong lead arm “push” at waist
level. Ladies must not let their right arm/elbow be pushed behind
their body but instead “resist” with good arm tension.
On the second step, the man will draw the lead arm back as he recovers
back onto his trail foot, and if the lady retains the arm tension she
will feel the pull back towards the man that leads her to recover with
her trail foot.
On the third beat, the man closes his lead foot and braces his lead
hand so that the lady feels all momentum being blocked as she steps
forward toward the man with her lead foot. Precisely at this
moment, the lady will swivel her hips & legs ¼ right face while
maintaining her top line (upper body & shoulders) toward
partner. This “hip twist” occurs as early as the last half of the
third beat or as late as the first half of the fourth beat, but in
either case comes after the lady has taken weight going forward with
her third step
How you move your free arms in round dancing is almost always optional
but can add to the flair of your dancing. In this case, the man need do
nothing but leave his free (right) arm out level to the floor
throughout most of the figure, but the lady can add a bit of flair by
taking her free arm (left) up above her head on step one (like an
explode apart), bend the left elbow as she recovers bringing the arm in
front of her as she does the hip twist and then laying the left arm
flat out in front just before moving forward into the next figure after
the Open Hip Twist.
Closed Hip Twist (phase 5) --
Unlike the Open Hip Twist, which can start with partners slightly apart
facing each other, the Closed Hip Twist must start with partners close
together in Closed Position (CP) or BJO. It is a one-measure
figure with QQS timing beginning with lead foot free.
As an overall description, the man does a modified forward cucaracha,
while the lady does a modified break back, quick recover to face, then
finishing with a close and quick "hip twist."
On the first step (Q for man, &Q for lady), the man rocks side to
his left and a little forward (perhaps even a "press line") while
turning his upper body frame to his right. This leads the lady to
quickly swivel right face on her trail foot and then break back onto
her lead (right) foot to an "L" position (man facing DRW, lady facing
DLW). Note: The lady should try to keep her upper body
frame turned as much toward the man as possible and primarily swivel
only her lower body.
On the second step (Q for man, Q& for lady), the man recovers back
onto his trail foot while the lady recovers forward onto her left
(trail) foot and then quickly swivels to face the man in a loose
CP. As the couple recovers, the upper body frame will also
recover going back to CP.
On the third and last step (S for man, S& for lady), the man
closes taking weight onto his left (lead) foot while the lady also
closes taking weight onto her right (lead) foot and then quickly
swivels her hips and legs ¼ right face while keeping her upper body
frame toward partner (i.e. a "hip twist"). Ends in a SCP or “L”
position with trail foot free.
Advanced Hip Twist (phase 6) --
The Advanced Hip Twist is similar to the phase 5 Closed Hip Twist which
in turn is similar to the much more familiar phase 5 Open Hip
Twist. All three figures end the same way – with the lady doing
the hip twist after she has taken weight onto her third and final step
and before taking the first step of the next figure (i.e., turning on
the & count ). The Closed Hip Twist and the Advanced Hip
Twist both begin in Closed (or Banjo) position, but the third step of
the Advanced Hip Twist is a crossing step rather than a closing step,
which enables more “twist.”
On the first step the man “presses” forward and slightly side with his
left foot (Q) while the lady swivels half-way right face to an "L"
position (man facing DRW, lady facing DLW) and rocks back on her right
foot (&Q). To help the lady do this, the man should rotate his
upper body right face and lower the lead hands. Remember that this
first step is done in one quick beat, and again keep the upper body
frame turned toward partner.
On the second step, the man recovers back onto his right foot and turns
his upper body back to facing (Q), as he began, while the lady not only
recovers forward onto her left foot but swivels left face immediately
5/8 – thus over-turning more than what was done on the first step
(Q&). If you started the figure with man facing wall, he will
end the second step facing wall while the lady will be facing DRC in a
loose CP or slight BJO. This step, too, is a one-beat, quick
The final & third step is a small cross left in back of right for
the man (S) while the lady steps forward with her right foot, and after
putting weight onto that third step, the lady will then do a snappy,
right face swivel in her hips (the hip twist, S&). Both the
man and lady should keep their upper bodies turned as much toward their
partner as they can. The ending position is a “loose” SCP facing DLW if
the figure started in CP or BJO with man facing wall.
The Roundalab definition specifies that the lady swivels ½ right face
on the first step, 5/8 left face on the second step, and ¼ right face
on the third step. In practice, it is more normal for the lady to
swivel 3/8 right face on the first step, 1/2 left face on the second
step, and 1/4 right face on the third step.
Continuous Hip Twist (Phase 6) --
In the classic dance, Perfidia in Brazil by the Hurds, there is a
Continuous Advanced Hip Twist which Roundalab standardized as
Continuous Hip Twist. Once you know the Advanced Hip Twist, the
Continuous Hip Twist becomes easy. That’s because the Continuous
Hip Twist is a two measure figure of which the first measure is an
Advanced Hip Twist. Timing for the whole figure is QQS; QQS.
The Continuous Hip Twist starts from CP and as stated above, begins
with an Advanced Hip Twist, which leaves you in a “L” position with
trail foot free. Continue with the lady going forward to an
outside swivel (man rock back) to BJO and then Wheel 2 in BJO turning
1/4 right face from starting direction.
More specifically, on the fourth step (quick with trail foot) when the
lady goes forward swiveling left face to BJO, note that the man is
rocking back opposite the way the lady is going and a momentary gap is
created (which gives room for the lady’s swivel), but don’t worry
because the last two steps have the partners quickly coming back
together with a run 2 around each other (i.e., a wheel 2 in BJO)
turning right face just one quarter turn.
In Perfidia in Brazil you do two Continuous Hip Twists in a row and
after four measures have rotated half way around. This sequence
gives you the feeling that the figure is “continuous.” Note that
the Roundalab definition only makes it a 2 measure figure.
prepared many Round Dance Tips for Calls 'n' Cues,
WASCA, for his weekly Rocket Rounds email reports, and for
publications. DRDC is
grateful for permission to collect and reprint. A Tim Eum archive.