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
open movements of the Foxtrot, and dancers wanted to move around the
than the Charleston permitted.
combination of the two rhythms created the
"Quicktime Foxtrot and Charleston." Later on, this was shortened to
"Quickstep." Quickstep actually is a medley of movements from many
'20s-era rhythms, including the Black Bottom, Charleston, Shimmy, and
Quickstep is characterized by
the flow of Foxtrot, with the
foot closing action of Waltz movements. Also included in the Quickstep
static types of movements, which can resemble the Jive or Charleston.
competition, the rhythm is danced at 50 mpm, though in round dancing
Quicksteps feel comfortable at around 45-47 mpm. The musical timing of
Quickstep is 4 beats per measure.
round dancing, basic Quickstep can be characterized by
slow-count walking steps (stepping every other beat) combined with
locks, runs, and chasses (stepping every beat). In many cases, steps in
with a side close or a forward (or back) lock are danced on quick
steps are danced slow. The round dance Two Step rhythm has this same
characteristic, which makes it seem in some ways similar to Quickstep.
and lock steps are generally executed with the ball
of the foot hitting the floor first. Forward steps on the slow count
generally with a heel lead. Other figures, such as the Telemark,
Spin Turn, are executed with similar footwork to Waltz. Timing on these
is generally SSS.
Quickstep figures take up 1.5 measures of music. This
can be confusing at first when trying to sort out where figures begin
since many other rhythms have most figures contained within complete
Musical Interpretation (thanks
to Richard Lamberty for his input) --
In basic Quickstep, the
underlying music has a smooth,
lyrical quality, which we want to capture in the dancing. In each
group, we can either take one step (a slow) or two steps (quicks). If
taking a slow, the movement is blended over the two beats so that it
evenly (rather than step on the first quick and basically stand still
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
first step (tends to close or lock).
visual appearance is then that slows cover the same
distance but in a more languid manner, while for the pair of quicks,
accelerates for the first step, and slows down for the second.
quicks take on a different character, which makes them very even. Such
sequences are usually ended with a slow step that allows us to slow
body speed again: Ta Ta Ta Ta TAAA.
Some Basic Quickstep
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
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
is a right-turning figure
that keeps the couple in closed dance position throughout. You can
forward turning right, and chasse to closed. The figure takes 1.5
counts). The figure ends with the man usually facing DRW. Timing is
though this figure ends in closed position, it can start in banjo,
combination move in round
dancing that combines the Quarter Turn and the Progressive Chasse.
Roundalab definition adds a step to the front of the figure, starting
forward step with the lead foot and taking a total of 3.5 measures:
figure is danced with
progression. The figure in round dancing is four counts, consisting of
in back, forward with slight side, forward, cross in back for the man.
to feel the fishtail, you have to be aware of two different types of
actions: sideward and progressive. The sideward action is recognized in
such as the vine. The progressive action is found in locks. In
Fishtail should try to use the progressive action of crossing the foot.
would describe the Fishtail as a lock, fwd, fwd, lock.
the difference in the
Fishtail is that the first crossing step is with the man's left and the
right foot, contrary to what we would normally do with a forward lock.
make the figure feel quite awkward at first, and has lead to many
how the Fishtail is danced in round dancing.
fact, if you do the common
Two Step movement, Fwd Lk Fwd, the basic foot movements of the Fishtail
contained therein. With your partner do three Fwd Lk Fwd steps in a row
steps) starting with the lead foot. The basic Fishtail is contained in
6, 7, and 8.
preparation step (normally a
slow count) before the Fishtail can have a slight left-face rotation
have a strong rise, allowing the first crossing step to feel more
forward steps (2 and 3) can have a right-face rotation, making the last
step to feel more natural.
Quickstep, we personally
dance the Fishtail as a lock left in back, forward right outside the
RF rotation, forward left, and lock right in back. This provides a
motion to the figure and creates smooth motion into the next figure.
figure combines two forward
lock forward actions with an intermediate forward step. Timing is
motion can be forward or backwards.
can be a fun dancing rhythm for all dancers. The
rhythm is a natural progression from the round dance Two Step rhythm.
Techniques from Waltz and Foxtrot combine to make an enjoyable,
clinic notes prepared for the URDC annual convention, 2006.