by Roy &
FISHTAIL: The starting position for this figure is with the man's L
back and the lady's R forward in strong contra body (having made a LF
turn for this position from the previous figure). Using forward
poise, on step 1 the man crosses R in front of L as the lady crosses
L behind R, both on the toes as the forward poise is maintained. Step
2 is man's L moving backward and somewhat left as the lady steps
forward diagonally on her R, again both on the toes. On 3, the man
takes a diagonal step backward on his R as the lady steps forward and
slightly left on her L with both on the toes and still maintaining
forward poise (man).
the man there is a slight LF turn on step 1 which is compensated for
on steps 2 and 3 so that he ends up facing nearly the same as his
starting direction, lady opposite.
4 is a
crossing of L over R (T) for the man as he moves somewhat forward
with a left shoulder lead while the lady crosses R behind L (T). Then
on 5, the man steps diagonally back on his R toe and lowers to the
heel, ladies opposite. Timing is SQQQQ and normally starts with the
man facing DRC for his first step and ending RLOD. If the first step
for the man is taken backward toward LOD, he would end up facing DRW.
FISHTAILS: Actually an amalgamation with a lead to end with a normal
Fishtail. This figure starts with a Back Fishtail as described above
where the man steps diagonally back down LOD on his R toe (using the
normal starting position) as he brings the lady back in line (CP) as
she steps forward on her L toe (S). We now follow with and Open
Finish, which is a lead back on the man's L (full foot) down LOD
where he starts to bring the lady back to contra banjo. This is a
preparation step (S) and not part of the actual Open Finish. The lady
has a heel lead as she rises to the R toe while blending to contra
banjo facing LOD and a little toward DLC. The two quicks that follow
are the actual Open Finish on the man's R, L, as he turns LF, first
bringing the lady into line (on the ball of the foot), then side and
slightly forward (toe) to end facing the wall still in CP but
preparing to step outside on the lady's right side. Ladies turn LF on
the R, L, toes, then lower to the heel at the end to face COH.
the figure, the man turns an additional 1/8 LF as he uses a R heel,
rising to the toe to start the normal Fishtail. Ladies step backward
in contra body DLW on the L toe starting to turn a little RF. The
four quicks that follow to complete the figure have been described
previously. This one, however, has only a slight RF turn which is
compensated for on the third and fourth quicks to end once more with
the man facing DLW, still outside partner.
recap the timing for this amalgamation in order to sort out the
problems of the lengthy sequence: Back Fishtail SQQQQ, Preparation S,
Open Finish QQ, Fishtail SQQQQ.
This usually follows a Tipsy Point with the couple remaining in place
and using four quick beats of music. The weight is first centralized
and then as the flicking foot is taken to the side with a controlled
vertical bouncing action, the supporting foot is replaced in the same
space on the floor. Normally, the lead is with the man's L and the
lady's R, however, it can be done with the opposite feet. Note that
this action is quite different from the Flea Flicks as used in jive
because there is no lateral movement before replacing the weight.
When a Tipsy is taken with a hop and tap in place, it is called a
Woodpecker if the tapping foot is held toe down in a nearly vertical
position. It can follow a Tipsy or Side Flicks and consists of two
This is a name given to a Woodpecker type of figure where it is
accompanied by a RF turn. Again, the hop and tap are simultaneous as
it follows a QQS entry. Two taps are made as the couple turns RF
followed by a 1&2-count Tipsy. A good entry is to use a Tipsy
Point followed by two Side Flicks (QQS) where the man uses a slight
An older style movement that is seldom used any more (see Lazy
Quickstep by Gordon Moss). The entry most used is a Tipsy Point
followed by a step, thru hop = spring thru. The basic movement is for
the man to pull the L back while extending the R, then pull the R
back while extending the L (lady uses opposite footwork). More
particularly, it is the inside edge of the L and outside edge of the
R, then opposite footwork . . . The couple maintains a fairly compact
SCP as the feet are extended on the diagonal. If the spring thru is
used for the entry, timing is normally &S, Q&QQQ.
of the above figures have been standardized since this article was
concludes nearly all the quickstep figures and actions that do not
normally appear in print. We will continue next time with some
considerations of the original waltz type, the fast or Viennese
column comes from a series published in Cue Sheet Magazine between
1987 and 1992, and is reprinted with permission. The full series is
collected in an 86-pg booklet, available for $30.00 plus postage.
E-mail Fran Kropf at email@example.com. This
article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, September 2013.