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Need A Reminder? General Rules for Dancing

by Sandi & Dan Finch


  • The moving foot irons the floor in smooth dances. Glide, don’t pick up your feet.

  • Foot pressure is necessary to stay in balance. The slower the move, the more foot pressure you need.

  • Turn early, turn a lot.

  • Knees are made to move forward; hips and ankles, like wrists, can move in many directions. Use those “hinges” as they are meant to be used.

  • Going forward, release weight through the knee; going back, release it through the hips.

  • Never treat lowering as the end; lower and move.

  • Turns in smooth dances occur between steps; in Latins turn over a foot.

  • Swivels, pivots and spirals occur over a foot.

  • Sometimes the body turns less (than the foot). Or vice versa.

  • Roll through the feet.

  • Man needs to “open the door (hip)” for Lady coming forward (impetus, twist turn, right turning lock).

  • Waltz mantra: Begin rise at the end of beat 1, continue thru beat 2 and 3, lower at end of 3.

  • Man’s footwork on foxtrot Three Step/Lady’s on Back Three Step: heel, heel, toe heel.

  • Hula hoop arms—open out or wrap the body to speed up or slow down turns.

  • Every rotation has an inside and outside of turn. Person going forward is usually on the outside of the turn and has further to go.

  • Keep your sternum over the standing foot.

  • Center of levitation and center of gravity (your two centers) should have equal power. To rise, compress the centers together; if you fall back doing shape or sway, center of levitation is too powerful.

  • Dance true to a rhythm’s characteristics.


From a club newsletter prepared by Dan and Sandi Finch , August 2015, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, October 2015.



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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
Sandi & Dan Finch
Richard Lamberty
Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)



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