Resolutions and Thoughts
& Dan Finch
Every now and then, you probably come across something so simple and
obvious, you wonder why you didn’t think about it sooner. It happened
for us as we came across an old copy of the Manual for New Round Dance
Leaders, published by Roundalab, the professional round dance teachers
The book starts with teaching the five elements of round dancing: floor
directions, dance positions, figures, rhythms, and the combination of
styling and technique. Because it is written for new teachers, it
doesn’t go into the technical difference between styling and technique,
perhaps in hopes that both would be considered as one element of
teaching. Dance a bit and you learn that technique is the how-to to do
a basic figure and styling is your personal interpretation of the
technique to music.
The book then listed a page of “do” and “don’t” tips, those simple and
obvious reminders that every dancer should keep in mind. For example:
- Do keep your mind on the dance, and don’t talk. Talking
interferes with your concentration and your partner’s. That applies to
idle chatter as well as criticism. Try to keep going if one partner
believes a mistake was committed and remember where it was so you can
discuss it off the floor.
- Do stand tall, head up, eyes level, and don’t slouch,
droop, or hang your head. When either partner lets their head or
shoulders droop, extra weight is thrown onto the other partner. You
can’t keep a good frame if you slouch.
- Don’t dance flat-footed, or with stiff knees, or do a toe
prance. This may be not so obvious for the beginning dancer who is just
worried about remembering which foot is free for the next step. With a
little experience, a dancer will begin to understand “footwork,” that
gibberish of “toe,’ “heel”, “toe heel” intoned by an instructor.
Footwork is what gives foxtrot its flight, waltz its rise and fall, and
jive its bounce.
- Keep weight on one foot or the other; don’t keep weight on
both feet at the same time. How will you ever know which foot to move
for the next figure if one of them isn’t “free,” not supporting any
- Don’t be a traffic menace. This is otherwise called
“floorcraft.” Stay in your circle--not weaving from outer circle to
inner circle--and don’t run up too close on the dancers ahead of you.
Learn to work your diagonals and when to put on the brakes to slow your
- Don’t clench your fingers, especially over your partner’s
hands. No “white knuckle” holds. This is usually the female partner’s
lament. When in Latin open facing position, too often his thumb presses
unnecessarily hard into the top of her hand. Or in closed position, her
lead hand gets gripped in a vise.
- Compliment your partner; don’t criticize your partner.
Remember, part of the problem might be you.
- Do have fun and smile. In other words, don’t let the
inevitable mistakes spoil your fun. You will make mistakes; we all do.
Laugh together and keep dancing.
From a club
newsletter, January, 2022,
in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, February, 2022. Find a DRDC Finch archive here.