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BANJO AND SIDECAR DANCE POSITIONS

Banjo and Sidecar are considered to be forms of Closed position, in that hips are together, bodies are facing, and each is looking out his or her respecitve window, but the bodies are turned just a little so that the man steps outside his partner's feet and not between her feet. In Banjo, he steps outside to her right, and in Sidecar, he steps outside to her left.

In the photo above left, notice how the woman's head is closed. The man has clear left side lead, and his next step will clearly be outside his partner's right foot. His thighs will be crossed in a good contra position when he takes that step.

Their bodies are not progressing squarely in the direction of movement but are "slicing," bodies oriented diagonally to the line of progression. Swing the left side down line, and the man will cross his thighs and step outside into Banjo. Swing the right side down line, and he will step between her feet, back into Closed again.

If the man leads still more strongly with his right side, then he will cross his left thigh in front of the right and step outside his partner to her left, in Sidecar position. In the second photo at right, notice how the bodies are facing, and she is still positioned to his right (in Closed position). She is looking strongly left (closed head), and he is looking a bit to her right, out his window, but his right-side lead is strong, his left leg is crossed in front of his right, and he is stepping forward with his left foot to the outside of her left foot.

Banjo position is used more often than Sidecar, and the following photos are all of Banjo.

Contra-Banjo—

Banjo Position

Contra-Sidecar—

Sidecar Position

In a side view, we can see just how square each is to the other, right hip to right, just as in closed position. We can't see his right foot, but we can see that it is not between her feet; he is stepping outside to her right. Banjo Position

(click on any thumbnail for a larger view)

An initial mistake that dancers will make is to shift their bodies to the side, so that the two bodies are side-by-side, squarely facing line or reverse. Instead, keep the woman in front of the man (in closed position) and turn into the "slicing" position that lets you step outside in a contra position while still facing your partner. In this photo, she is in front of him, not over on his right side. Banjo Position
From the front, the "slicing" of the bodies is conspicuous. Banjo Position
Again, good slice. Banjo Position
Good slice as in the photo above, but here, he has stepped forward with his right and strongly crossed thighs: Contra Banjo. Banjo Position
Here is a photo taken from Gotta Ballroom by Christine Zona & Chris George, 2008, showing banjo on the left and sidecar on the right. Note the shoulder lead, the crossed thighs, and the "overlap" in their bodies. They are not hip-to-hip but in an only slightly modified closed position. Particularly in sidecar, the man is still looking out his "window." He may be ready to step outside partner on her left, but he is still thinking about his proper dance position on her right.

Outside Partner

Look for some of the features I've described above, in these photos. Banjo Position
Banjo PositionBanjo PositionBanjo PositionBanjo Position
Banjo PositionBanjo PositionBanjo Position
Banjo PositionBanjo Position


Color Photos © A. Miller; D. Drury; E.Allen; J. Lee; P. Sosabowski; P. Suba; V. Kanonikov; from Dancesport UK photo gallery.



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