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Quote

Bolero—

4 beats/measure; 22 - 28 meas/min

Bolero was a Spanish dance in 3/4 time during the 1700s, but it was danced to 2/4 music and then to 4/4 music in Cuba during the 1800s, and it became popular in the United States in the 1930s. Round dancing picked up this rhythm in the 1990s. The classic example is Sleeping Beauty by Brent and Mickey Moore, released in 1993. Bolero is smooth, powerful, romantic, full of love and yearning. It has been called the "Cuban Dance of Love."

Bolero is characterized by a closer hold, almost a waltz closed position, by the side step that begins most figures, by body rise during that first step, and by one of the slowest tempos in round dancing.

The rise and fall constitute one crucial feature of bolero. Begin each measure in a lowered position with soft knees. Rise to a height at the end of the long first step (the slow), lower a little for a small second step (the first quick), and then lower more for a medium third step (the second quick). You are now low and ready for the next side step. The rise and fall is in the body, not in the feet and ankles. Again, step well to the side on the slow in a lowered position. Don't rise as you step, but step and then rise to two straight legs. The two quicks are not just a rock and recover, but take a small step, really just placing the foot in preparation for a substantial third step. It might feel like "step, rise, push, crash."A second key feature of bolero is a heaviness, an inertia, and a connectedness between the partners, from one body, through the arms, to the other body. So you don't just take the steps described above. You have tone that connects you to your partner, and each helps the other take each step. There is a dragging kind of feel and a consequent smooth flow. Especially during the "quick, quick," he pulls and then she pulls. Maybe it's like swinging on a double playground swing: he pumps and then she pumps.Bolero is certainly a Latin rhythm, but there is not much use of the Latin or Cuban hip motion that is more noticeable in rumba and in mambo. We would use Cuban hip motion in Bolero Walks, but in other common figures, body rotation would be more important. As you step to the side on the left foot, rotate a little left face. As you step back with the right, keep that rotation—we are using contra-body movement. In rumba, you tend to dance square to your partner, but in bolero, you dance at an angle, always rotating. Bob Powers, an accomplished ballroom instructor, says that we don't use a lot of body sway. We don't shape to our partners. We maintain an erect posture and turn on the long axis of the body—always moving, always at an angle, always turning. He also emphasizes "fast feet/slow body." During the slow count, get your foot out there, but let the body lag behind and slowly flow over the whole two beats. You will see below that Roundalab does emphasize body stretch and shape, but bolero is slinky. The body never stops; it stays in motion.

The steps are not taken with a heel lead but are taken ball-flat. Slide the inside edge of the ball of the foot across the floor, take weight, then lower the heel.

Figure Name, Roundalab Phase Level, & Timing

q=quick, 1 beat
s=slow, 2 beats
&=1/2 beat; a=1/4 beat

Steps and Actions That Make Up the Figure

Each description focuses on the man, with the woman's footwork in parenthesis. If a woman's step is not given, it is the natural opposite or follow of the man's. Help: basic dance positions and steps, actions, directions, and abbreviations. Non-standard punctuation: a comma separates two beats of music, a semi-colon marks the end of a measure, and a slash (/) indicates a split beat, two things occurring in a single beat.

Here are some sequences to help you visualize the figure in context.

Basic

phase III

sqq; sqq;

In closed or butterfly position, step side with body rise. Step back with a slipping action (woman slips forward). On third step and fourth beat, man steps forward and woman steps back. The second measure: sd, -, slp fwd (W slp bk), bk (W fwd); Especially on the fifth step, I like a little contra action, a little left face rotation, as I slip forward.

Each measure may be used alone and cued Half Basic. If your lead feet are free, a half basic is the first measure described above. If your trail feet are free it is the second measure. The second measure of this figure can also be referred to as a Forward Basic.

In Seurer's Christmas Bolero, part A begins with a basic;; shoulder to shoulder;; fence line; open break;
Turning Basic

phase IV

sqq; sqq;

In a facing position, step side and forward L, rising, and with right side stretch turning to semi-closed position facing line and wall. Step back R turning 1/4 LF with a slip pivot action as she steps forward L slipping to closed position. On the second quick, step side and forward L turning 1/4 LF, and she steps side and back R to closed position, man facing center. The second measure is the same as the second measure of a basic: side R, -, fwd L with contra check like action, back R; In the Tullochs' Crying, part C has a left pass to butterfly center; shoulder to shoulder; time step twice;; half basic; opening out 3 times to closed position facing center;;; turning basic to face wall;; fence line;
Syncopated Turning Basic

sq&q;

In a facing position, step side and forward, rising, and with right side stretch turning to semi-closed position facing line and wall. On the "q&" step back R turning 1/4 LF with a slip pivot action as she steps forward L slipping to closed position and step fwd L toward line and center. On the second quick, step fwd and side R (woman bk and side L) to closed position line and center, but lead feet are free. The Fishers' Bolero Sin Ti has an open break facing wall; syncopated turning basic to center; slow contra check and recover (fwd, -, -, -/rec); turning basic 1/2 back to wall; forward break;
Bolero Walks

phase III

sqq; sqq;

In open position walk forward with body rise, -, fwd lowering, fwd; fwd rising, -, fwd lowering, fwd, -; In the Palenchars' Maria Elena Bolero III, part A begins with a basic;; new yorker; spot turn; hand to hand twice to open position facing line;; bolero walk twice to closed position wall;; half basic; hip lift; turning basic;;
Hip Rocks

phase IV

sqq;

In any position and with either foot, step side rolling that hip side and back, -, recover with hip roll, recover again with hip roll; In the Kincaids' I Hope You Dance Bolero, the dance starts with a bolero wheel;; hip rocks; spot turn; time step twice;; spot turn to face reverse; bolero walds in left open;; and hip rocks to face;
Romantic Sways

sqq; sqq; sqq; sqq;

In a loose closed position facing wall, step side L (W sd R) with body rise and gentle sway, -, hip rock R, hip rock L; move lead hands thru like a new yorker to RLOD and step fwd R (W fwd L) to an aida position, -, hip rock L with sway, rk R; swivel LF (W RF) to butterfly position and step fwd L (W fwd R) with body rise and sway, -, rk R, L; move lead hands thru like a new yorker to RLOD and step fwd R (W fwd L) to an aida position, -, hip rock L with sway, rk R;

The figure can also be done in tandem position with same footwork. Sway L, -, R, L; bring joined L hands over W's head fwd R turning RF to W's tandem, -, rock L, R; bring joined L hands over W's head fwd L turning LF to tandem again, -, rock R, L; bring joined L hands over W's head fwd R turning RF to W's tandem, -, rock L, R;

In I Finally Found Someone by the Fishers, we begin in low butterfly with trail feet free and do 2 opening outs;; hip lift; romantic sways;;;; swivel to a fence line; to a reverse underarm turn;
Contra Rocks

sqq;

In any position and with either foot, step side and forward (woman sd & bk), -, check forward with opposite shoulder lead, step back;

Any step in which you have opposite shoulder lead puts a "contrary" twist into your body. You might step forward L with right side lead — you have a little right turn in your hips but left turn in your upper body. You could step back L with your right shoulder back.

In the Vogts' Another Love Like Mine, the dance begins with hip rocks; contra rocks; back contra rocks to shake hands; to an open contra check; into a half basic;
Fence Line

phase III

sqq;

In butterfly position, step side with body rise and turn out slightly. Then cross the free foot through, and lunge on a flexed knee, looking in the direction of your movement and perhaps giving a little flick with the leading arms. This figure came from the sport of fencing, so the lunge can look a little like a thrust with a sword or foil. On the last beat, step back and turn to face partner. As in rumba, single measure figures are often done in pairs, but you could do a half basic to a fence line or a fence line to a reverse underarm turn.
Hand to Hand

phase III

sqq;

In left open facing position, facing wall, lead feet free, step to the side with body rise and trail arms extended. Swivel 1/4 RF (W LF) and step back lowering (you are in left open position facing reverse). Step forward and turn back to face partner. May be done with trail feet, turning to face line. In Only Time by the Matthews, there is an underarm turn; hand to hand to half open position LOD; bolero walk 3; face side close; to a turning basic;;
New Yorker

phase III

sqq;

In open facing position, facing wall, lead feet free, step to the side with body rise and lead arms extended. Cross in front lowering and turning to a side-by-side position facing line and extending joined trail hands through. Step back and turn back to a facing position. In Our Perfect Year by the Kincaids, there is a new yorker to line; new yorker to reverse; hip lift; lunge break; right pass to face reverse; spot turn to a hand shake; to back bolero walks with arms moving down line;;
Spot Turn

phase III

sqq;

In butterfly position, facing wall, lead feet free, step to the side with body rise. Release hands and step through, turning away, man left face and woman right face. Step forward and turn back to face partner. In the Dois' Can't Help Falling in Love, there is a half basic; hand to hand to open position; bolero walks down line;; new yorker; open break; spot turn; and a lunge break;
Shoulder to Shoulder

phase III

sqq;

In butterfly position, facing wall, lead feet free, step to the side with body rise. Cross in front lowering. Woman crosses behind lowering to a butterfly banjo position. Step back, woman forward to face partner. You may do this figure with the trail foot free, in which case you would turn to butterfly sidecar position. Almost any sequence works. How about a half basic; spot turn; shoulder to shoulder; time step;
Time Step

phase III

sqq;

In butterfly position, facing wall, lead feet free, step to the side with body rise. Release hands and cross in back lowering and keeping bodies facing partner. You may extend arms a little out and back. Step forward. In the Collipis' Almost Bolero, we have double hand hold opening outs four times;;;; fence line with arm sweep twice;; time step twice;; to a full basic;;
Sweetheart

phase V

sqq;

In shadow position, step side R with right side stretch (woman side L sliding across man to left shadow), -, slip fwd L with right side lead in a contra body position (woman bk R with left side lead), recover R (woman recover L); In Endless Love by the Nelsons, there is a lunge break; wrap to tandem position; sweetheart three times lady turn to face and half open position;;; bolero walk;
Underarm Turn

phase III

sqq;

Begin in facing position, lead hands joined, and lead feet free. Step side rising, raise lead hands, woman begins to turn under lead arm. Man crosses in back, woman in front. Woman turns 1/2 right face. Step forward. Woman steps forward and turns to face partner. In You Stepped Out of a Dream by Blackford, facing wall, we open out 2X;; underarm turn; rev underarm trn;  slo cross swivel 3X & cross body to LOD;;
Reverse Underarm Turn

phase III

sqq;

Begin in facing position, lead hands joined, trail arms extended to side, and trail feet free. Step side rising raise lead hands and begin to move hands through to reverse. Both cross in front, and woman turns left face 1/2 under lead arm. She steps forward and continues to turn to face partner. He steps back to face. In Don't Cry for Me Bolero by Sheridan, there is an aida ; aida line & hip rocks ; face & fence line ; rev underarm trn ; trng basic ; lunge break ;
Circular Three Spirals

sqq; sqq; sqq;

In a right handshake position perhaps facing wall, turn RF and step forward & side L to face RLOD while leading woman fwd then raising right hands to lead W's spiral (W fwd R & spirl LF), -, XRIB of L (W fwd R), sd L turning to face DLC (W fwd L); XRIF of L turning (W fwd L & spiral RF), -, sd L (W fwd R), XRIB of L to face RLOD (W fwd L); sd L turning (W fwd R & spiral LF), -, XRIF of L (W fwd R), fwd L (W fwd R) bringing R hands down to W's R hip and joining L hands to shadow position facing DLW;

Starting and ending positions may vary.

In My Confession by the Rumbles, there is a shadow new yorker to reverse; underarm turn; open contra check; circular three spirals to shadow;;; to an advanced sliding door;;
Riff Turns

phase V

qqqq;

Begin in facing position, lead hands joined. Step side L and raise lead hands to lead woman to step side and forward R spinning RF full turn, close R (woman cl L), step side L with lead hands raised (woman side and forward R spinning RF full turn), close R (woman cl L); End in facing position. In The Story Of My Life by the Prows, there is a syncopated turning basic; slow contra check recover; riff turns moving toward reverse; to an underarm turn;
Reverse Riff Turns

qqqq;

Begin in facing position, lead hands joined. Step side R, raise lead hands, and bring them between bodies to lead woman to step side and fwd L spinning LF full turn. Close L (woman close R), sd R (woman sd & fwd L spinning LF full turn), cl L (woman cl R); In the Vogts' Another Love Like Mine, there is a hinge; she recovers to hip rocks; reverse riff turns; to an open break;
Underarm Roll

sqq;
In shadow or skaters LOD with L ft free for both, step fwd L, -, fwd R turning RF, fwd & sd L trng to end in M's shadow or in tandem M in front COH;
In La Distancia by Moore, we are in shadow LOD R feet free. We dance samefoot walks; underarm roll to M's shadow COH; lunge R rec swivel point R RLOD; cross point twice;

In La Barca by Goss, part B begins with a syncopated underarm turn lady in 4; break back to skaters L feet; sync prog walk; underarm roll;
Forward Break

phase III

sqq;

Begin in facing position, lead hands joined, trail arms extended to side, and trail feet free. Step side and forward, rising. Man steps forward and woman back with contra action, turning a little left face. On the fourth beat, step back, woman forward. In Last Night of the World by the Reads, the woman does 2 slow cross swivels; she slow cross swivels to a cross body; forward break; right pass; to a double lunge break;;
Lunge Break

phase III

sqq;

Begin in facing position, lead hands joined, trail arms extended to side, and trail feet free. Step side and forward, rising. Man lowers on that trail leg and extends the lead leg to the side, and the woman steps back with contra action, turning a little left face. On the fourth beat, the man rises, and the woman steps forward. In this figure, there is one weight change for the man and three for the woman. In the Pierces' Love Changes Everything, there is a turning basic;; underarm turn; lunge break; to four opening outs;;;;
Open Break

phase III

sqq;

Begin in facing position, lead hands joined, trail arms extended to side, and trail feet free. Step side and forward, rising. Both then step apart, lowering, and then step together. The trail arms can be extended on the second step, instead of at the beginning, to give the "break" a little more emphasis. The Kincaids' And I Love Him has an open break; left pass; to a new yorker; and underarm turn;
Contra Break

phase V

sqq;

Begin in facing, handshake position, trail feet free, and left arms extended somewhat. Step side and forward with right side stretch for the man and left side stretch for the woman. Slip forward on left with right side lead, woman back on right with left side lead to a contra check position. Recover on trail foot.

Sometimes cued Bolero Contra Check or simply Contra Check.

The Kincaids did something a little different in their Beauty and the Beast. In the introduction, we lunge apart on lead feet and recover to face; Then part A begins with a syncopated contra break (close L/side R, -, fwd L in contra action, recover); cross body; to a half moon;;
Double Contra Break or Double Contra Check

sqq; sqq;

In a facing position, step side & fwd R (W sd & bk L), -, lower and contra check fwd L with R shoulder lead, recover R; point side L and look L (W look R), -, lower and contra check fwd L again, recover R; In My Confession by the Rumbles, part A begins with a lunge break; turning basic into; double contra check;; and a syncopated telemark to; corte with hip rocks;
Three Contra Breaks

sqq; sqq; sqq;
Begin in facing, handshake position, trail feet free, and left arms extended somewhat. Step side and forward with right side stretch for the man and left side stretch for the woman. Slip forward on left with right side lead, woman back on right with left side lead to a contra check position. Recover on trail foot.

The second break begins with a sd L (W sd R), -, check fwd R w/ left-side lead, recover;

The third break is like the first.
In No More Boleros by Prestridge, there is a turning basic half to face wall; sync hip rocks; open contra check 3X;;; cross body to face COH; open contra check 3X;;; cross body to wall; bolero walk 3 LOD;
Opening Out

phase IV

sqq;

In butterfly position, the man steps to the side with body rise and begins to turn the body in that same direction. The woman steps side and back and rotates to match her partner. On the first quick, the man lowers on his supporting leg, completing his turn of about 1/8, and extends the free foot to the side. The woman crosses in back and lowers to a sit position. On the second quick, the man rises, and the woman rises and steps forward to butterfly again. There is one weight change for the man and three for the woman. Often, choreography will call for four opening outs in a row;;;; Beginning in butterfly wall, the first would be to the man's left, and he would turn to face diagonal wall. The second would be to his right, and he would turn to diagonal reverse, and so on.
Cuddle

phase V

sqq;

In closed position facing the wall, step side R with right side stretch and a little RF rotation to open the woman out. She steps side L with left side stretch and turns 1/2 RF to a half-open position, both facing wall. During the first "quick" the man steps side L with left side stretch, and the woman steps back R with right side stretch and the right arm extended out to the side. On the second "quick" the man recovers R, changing back to right side stretch, and leading the woman with his right hand on her back to recover L changing back to left side stretch and turning 1/2 LF back to closed position.

May be repeated to the man's left with the woman's right hand on his left shoulder and his left hand on her back.


Hip Lift

phase III

sqq;

In closed position, step to the side on the slow, rising and drawing the free foot to the weighted foot with no weight. On the quicks, use toe pressure to lift the unweighted hip and drop it again. May begin with either foot. Often done in pairs: a hip lift to the left and then to the right. It is a slow, understated, yet saucy action. More than one teacher has suggested that, hidden in the two quicks, is the phrase, "take that."
Cross Body

phase IV

sqq;

Facing partner and wall, step side and back L turning LF beginning to lead woman across in front of man. She steps side and forward R. Step back R with a slipping action, and she steps forward L slipping to face partner. End with a small forward step, she side. End in facing position, center; 1/2 turn. Do a cross body to face center; a lunge break; and then cross body back to wall;
Continuous Cross Bodies

sqq; sqq;

This figure is simply two cross bodies: woman across and then man across; one full turn.

In a facing position, step side and back L turning LF beginning to lead woman across in front of man. She steps side and forward R. Step back R with a slipping action, and she steps forward L slipping to face partner. End with a small forward step, she side. In the second measure, she steps side and back L turning LF and leading the man across. He steps side and forward R. She steps back R with a slipping action, and he steps forward L slipping to face partner. End with a small side step, she forward.


Aida

phase IV

sqq; s

A rumba aida might begin in a sort of butterfly V position, with the lead shoulders a bit apart and the trail shoulders together, trail feet free, facing line. Then the figure steps thru, side turning in (man RF, woman LF), and back to an "aida line" which is back to back, again in a V position but with the lead shoulders together and the trail shoulders apart, lead feet free, facing reverse.

The bolero aida is similar, but it starts with a slow, side preparatory step. Often the cuer will say, "Prepare the aida." And then he or she will cue, "Aida Line," for the final "slow." The bolero aida is 1 1/2 measures long.

You can begin in almost any position, such as butterfly, semi, open facing, or even open position. Lead foot is free. Step side down line blending to a facing V position, -, step thru with the trail foot turning in (man RF, woman LF), step side and back; At this point, you will be in left open position, facing reverse. Finally, step back with the lead foot continuing to turn to the aida line position, a back to back V looking reverse.

You may also perform this figure beginning with the trail foot, in which case the aida will progress to RLOD.

The aida is a measure and a half figure, so choreographers often step cue two more quick steps to get back on the measure.

In the Reads' Todo Bolero, there is an aida prep; aida line and two hip rocks in place; face & fence line (sqq); point and fence line (sqq); and riff turns to line (qqqq);

Switch

phase IV

sqq;

In a V-back-to-back position, inside feet free, turn to face partner and step side, bringing joined inside hands through and checking the movement. On the first quick, recover, and then both cross in front. Often, this figure is cued "switch cross" to differentiate it from the switch rock below.

Note that the standard figure consists of three steps, but in practice, the cue "switch" is often used to mean only one step and the turning to face, as in the examples at right.

In Because I'm Accustomed To You by the Gosses, The dance starts in a R-R handshake DRW trail feet free with a fwd break; neck wrap transition and walk in; switch and cross walk out; switch to a wheel;

Notice that in this sequence, the "switch" is a single step side L turning RF.

Later in the same dance, we are facing COH. We do a turning basic one half; aida; aida line and switch; swivel and wrap to SCAR; to a cross body to face wall;

In this sequence, the head cue "switch" refers to the turn and side step on the trail feet. The subsequent recover step is implied. The "swivel and wrap" begins with the trail feet.

In My Heart Will Go On by the Vogts, part A begins with a basic outside partner;; spot turn; hip rocks with caress; aida; aida line switch & recover to left open position facing reverse; bolero walk to reverse lady spiral; spot turn to butterfly position facing wall; to a fence line toward line;

Switch Rock

phase IV

sqq;

In a V-back-to-back position, inside feet free, turn to face partner and step side, bringing joined inside hands through and checking the movement. On the first quick, recover, and then both step side and forward. Where the switch changes the direction of movement (eg from line to reverse), the switch rock does not (if one is moving down line, one continues to move down line). In the Collipis' Volonta' Qua, there is a basic;; fence line with arm sweep twice;; aida preparation; aida line with hip rocks; switch rock; to a lunge break;
Right Pass

phase IV

sqq;

In left open facing position, step forward and side L beginning a RF turn and raise lead hand. She will step forward R, and you will look through the window created by the raised lead arms. Look under his lead arm and over her lead arm. On the first quick, cross R in back of L continuing the turn; she steps forward L and begins a LF turn. Finally, step forward L. She continues turn and steps back R to face, having turned up to 1/2. In Como Tue Quieres by Buck we dance turning basic 1/2 BFLY; lunge break; R pass LOD; fwd break to hndshk; back walks w/ arm circles;;
Checked Right Pass

phase VI

sqq;
In left open facing position, step forward and side L beginning a RF turn, raise lead hands, and place right hand on the front of her right hip. She will step forward R, and you will look through the window created by the raised lead arms. With your right hand you are telling her she will not turn during this figure. On the first quick, cross R in back of L continuing the turn, checking W's forward movement. She steps forward L checking. Lead hands are now wrapped in front of W. Finally, step side & forward L (W bk R) to a partially wrapped position. If you begin facing wall, you will end both facing COH.

A common exit figure, which will allow the man finally to pass the lady, might be a modified forward break. The cue might be "checked right pass; man around to a forward break." Other exits are possible.
In Halfway to Heaven by the Robinsons, there is a fence line twice;; checked right pass;; left side pass; side lunge to line and roll 2 to reverse;

Note, in this choreography, the checked right pass is cued as a two-measure figure, with the forward break "exit" implied.
Left Pass

phase IV

sqq;

In left open facing position, step forward L to contra sidecar leading woman to step forward R turning 1/4 RF, back to partner. On the first quick, step back R with a slipping action to face line; the woman steps side and forward with a strong LF turn to face reverse and wall. Finally, step forward L turning LF to face partner as she steps back R. In the Whymans' Scotch & Soda, part B begins with a left side pass; forward break; fence line twice;; left side pass; contra break; and shadow breaks twice;;

In Song From A Secret Garden by the Sechrists there is a new yorker to RLOD; left pass; shoulder to shoulder twice;;

Half Moon

phase V

sqq; sqq;

This is a two-measure figure that turns LF 1/2 over those two measures. Very briefly, the Half Moon consists of something like a New Yorker, followed by something like a Whip.

So, in a facing position with a R-R handshake, step side R beginning to turn RF with right side stretch (woman steps side L beginning to turn LF with left side stretch). At the end of the first "slow" count, you are in a slight "V" position with lead shoulders close. Continue turning RF (woman LF) and step forward L like a New Yorker in handshake, and recover R (woman recover L) turning to face partner. In the second measure, turn 1/4 LF and step side and fwd L with left side stretch (woman turns 1/4 RF, steps side and fwd R, and raises left arm, turning slightly away from partner but looking at and shaping toward partner). On the fifth step, the man slips back R shaping to partner and leading her to step forward L in front of him turning LF 1/2. Partners have traded sides. On the last step, he steps fwd L turning 1/4 LF to face partner (woman steps back R and turns 1/4 LF to face partner).

This figure might begin facing wall and end facing center. It could then be repeated to face wall again.

In I'm Amazed By You by the Matthews, there is a lunge break; right pass to a handshake; half moon;; to a forward break;
Full Moon

phase VI

sqq; sqq; sqq; sqq;

You might imagine that the full moon would consist of two half moons, but that is not really the case. Where a half moon is something like a handshake new yorker to a whip (2 meas, 1/2 turn), the full moon is sort of a handshake whip to a varsouvienne chair and repeat (4 meas, full turn).

You might begin in handshake position (and R hnds will remain joined throughout), man facing line and wall, lead feet free. Step sd & fwd L (W trns RF and steps sd & fwd R) both twd LOD, -, trng LF stp bk R (W fwd L beginning to cross in frnt of M twd COH), cont LF trn fwd L (W fwd R twd COH) bringing R hands up behind W to lead her to spiral 7/8 LF; In this first measure, the man has whipped her across and she has spiraled to a shadow position facing COH.

In the second measure, the man steps fwd R joining left hands in varsouvienne position COH (W continues to turn LF and steps fwd L facing COH), -, fwd L checking and lowering with a little bit of a "chair" feeling (W fwd R), he releases left hands and steps bk R (W bk L beginning to turn RF); At this point, the man is facing COH and the woman is in the process of turning and maybe facing LOD or even DLW.

In the third measure, the man steps bk L beginning to turn 1/8 LF and preparing for another whip-like action. The woman countinues to turn and steps small fwd R toward DLW at the man's right side, and continues to turn in a hip-twist-like way, brushing her L foot to her R until she is facing RLOD. This is tricky. Notice that her third step of the second measure was back L toward the wall, and her first step of the third measure was fwd R, almost twd wall again. Over these two steps, she has turned 3/4 RF. Now, the man continues his LF trn and steps bk R twd LOD (W fwd L twd wall). He cont LF trn and stps fwd L bringing R hands up behind W to lead spiral (W fwd R twd wall and spirals 7/8 LF); In this third measure, the man has whipped her across and she has spiraled to a shadow position facing wall.

In the fourth measure, the man steps fwd R twd the wall joining left hands in varsouvienne position again (W continues her LF turn and steps fwd L twd the wall), -, fwd L checking (W fwd R), bk R releasing left hands (W bk L beginning to turn RF);

As in many bolero figures, we do not end this figure at any kind of stopping point but are flowing into another hip-twist-like figure.

In Feel My Love by the Worlocks, we have just done an open break to handshake, man facing partner and wall. Part B then begins with a side ronde lady spiral and syncopated twisty vine to DLW, again with lead feet free. We do a full moon around to wall again;;;; hip twist overturned to a facing fan LOD; to a forward break;
Horseshoe Turn

phase V

sqq; sqq;

Like the Half Moon, this one takes two measures and turn 1/2. It begins with a New Yorker action and ends with a sort of Underarm Turn that changes sides.

In a facing position with lead hands joined, step side and forward R with right side stretch (woman side and fwd L) to a "V" position with lead shoulders close. Slip thru L with a checking action, like a New Yorker, shaping toward partner. Some dancers bring the lead hands thru as in a New Yorker, but we prefer to leave them extended horizontally back. On the second "quick" recover R (woman recover L) and raise lead hands, leading woman to turn under. In the second measure, both step forward, the man beginning a tight LF turn and the woman beginning a tighter RF underarm turn. The man finishes with a fwd R turning, and fwd L turning to face partner (woman fwd L turning under joined lead hands, fwd R to face).

We used to have trouble distinguishing between the Half Moon and the Horseshoe Turn. They both begin with a New Yorker action and they both turn 1/2. We'd hear one of those cues and wonder for a moment which figure we should do. Finally, we thought that "half moon" implies a curve that describes a large arc (the woman's path as she whips across the line of dance), and "horseshoe" implies a tighter turn or a sharper arc (the paths taken by the man and woman as they tightly curve to change sides together). Of course, the Half Moon is done in a handshake, and the Horseshoe Turn is usually done with lead hands joined—maybe that will be enough for you.

In Moon River Bolero by the Dois, part B starts with a lunge break; left pass; horseshoe turn;; to a spot turn;


Some material from this page was reprinted as
“Bolero—the Rhythm,” Roundalab Journal, 31:1, p.18–19, summer 2007.




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