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Rumba—

4 beats/measure, 26-36 measures/minute

Rumba originated among the African slaves in Cuba more than four hundred years ago as a fast and erotic dance that left little to the imagination. Shirley Aymé has said that it arose "from the walk of the cock, and his pursuit of the hen bird," and that even today, it incorporates some of this earthy action. Steps are slow and close to the floor, and the hips move from side to side. "When walking in the sugar cane fields the bare-footed slaves took steps slowly and without weight at first, until they felt the ground was free of sharp pieces of cane." Steps are deliberate, "from squashing the cockroaches in dance clubs." The shoulders and head are still, again a "vestige of slavery, when heavy weights were carried on perfectly balanced heads."

The rumba came to the U.S. around 1913. In the 1920s, it was slowed down and greatly "civilized" by the big dance studios of the time, Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire. The dance was wildly popular in New York in 1931. It received a further boost from the publicity given to the carioca, a specialty dance to rumba music, featured in the very first Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film, Flying Down to Rio, 1933.

Today, the rumba is a slow latin rhythm that is danced with smooth, flowing movements. Keep your feet close to the floor as though you are sliding or gliding. Don't march. Rumba is a level dance, with little rise and fall.

Each step is taken ball-flat. For instance, step with the left, press into that step without weight, straighten the left knee and smoothly roll your weight onto the left leg, and bend the right knee. This will move the left hip to the side and back. Again, step forward with a ball/flat/straighten/hip, and back ball/flat/straighten/hip to get the rhythmic and rolling Cuban or Latin hip action. Use the inside edge of the ball of your foot and big toe, and this will move the non-supporting knee in front of the supporting knee and add even more to the Cuban hip, but don't exaggerate. Don't "wiggle your hips." The hip movement is not independent but comes from the feet and knees. The whole body is flowing with the music.

The straightening of the leg helps to produce the Latin hip action, and it produces a picture of power and strength, so dance with straight legs as much as you can. You have to soften a knee to pass that foot by the supporting foot, but then straighten the leg and leave it straight as long as you can. Rumba is a picture of strength; relax only to move. Make your steps small. Keep your upper body still, shoulders straight.

In the early days in the United States, the rumba was danced "quick, quick, slow." The International Ballroom community and Round Dancing still use this beat rhythm. However, American studios gradually changed to a "slow, quick, quick" rhythm, and you will find this altered rhythm at some freestyle ballroom events. It has always seemed strange to us. We end up dancing a rumba like a foxtrot and lose the Latin flavor. Stick to qqs, and have fun. In Spanish, "rumbear" is "to party." In Bantu-Congolese, it means to "get down."

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

qqs; qqs;

In closed position or in butterfly, lead feet free, step forward (woman back), recover on trail foot, and step side. Second measure: bk, rec, sd, -;

The first measure can be cued a Half Basic.

In the McCues' More Than Ever Rumba 3, part A begins with a basic;; new yorker; crabwalks;; new yorker;
Forward Basic

phase III

qqs;

In closed position or in butterfly, lead feet free, step forward (W bk), recover on trail foot, and step back.

If partners are both facing the same direction, as in OP or LOP, then the steps for both are fwd, rec, bk, -; and may begin with either foot and with opposite or same footwork.

In Dance With Me by the Nelsons, there is a hockey stick;; forward basic; natural top 3 to face wall; to a flirt.
Back Basic

phase III

qqs;

In closed position or in butterfly, trail feet free, step back (W fwd), recover on lead foot, and step forward.

If partners are both facing the same direction, as in OP or LOP, then the steps for both are bk, rec, fwd, -; and may begin with either foot and with opposite or same footwork.

In Johnny Guitar by the McGees, there is an opening out to lady's spiral; fan; alemana to a ropespin overturned to shadow LOD;;;; back basic to kiki walks with spiral ending;;; fan;
Alternative (or Alternate) Basic

qqs; qqs;

In a facing position, lead feet free, close L (woman cl R), step R, side L, -; close R, step L, side R, -;

An interesting "alternative" is touch with the inside edge of the big toe, touch ball flat (no weight), step side, -; repeat with trail foot. Note that all the work in each measure is being done with one foot only and one weight change only. The trick is to get your hips to do their latin thing without taking weight. Touch with the L toe (W R) and let the hips shift L (W R). Ball/Flat L without weight and now emphasize a straight R leg to shift the hips R. Finally, step side S taking weight on a straight L leg, and the hips naturally slide L. (Lady mirror)
In Kiss Me Mucho by the Cantrells, there is are hip rocks; hand to hand; alternative basic;; hand to hand; to a spot turn;
Side Basic

qqs; qqs;

In a facing position, lead feet free, step side L (woman side R), close R, side L, -; sd R, cl L, sd R, -;
Cross Basic

phase V

qqs; qqs;

This is a Basic in which the forward and back steps are crossing, and you turn as a couple 1/2 LF.

In closed or butterfly position, perhaps facing wall, XLIF of R (woman XRIB of L) beginning to turn LF, recover R turning, and step side L completing a 1/4 LF turn, -; XRIB of L woman XLIF of R) turning, recover L turning, side R completing 1/2 LF turn over the two measures, -;

In Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White by the Rosses, there is an advanced alemana to butterfly center;; cross basic to bfly wall;; basic;;
Here and There

qqs; qqs;

In a facing position with no hands joined, close left to right (woman cl R to L), close R, back L (woman bk R), -; cl R, cl L, fwd R (woman fwd L), -; In Kiss Me Mucho by the Cantrells, part A begins with a full basic;; new yorker; spot turn; here and there;; to hip rocks; and a hand to hand;
Sunburst

ss; ss;

This is a "picture figure" that involves no steps. Begin in tandem position, man behind woman, all four arms in front of woman, man's arms on top, and man holding woman's wrists. Raise arms straight up as you slowly look upward, -, continue raising arms, -; move arms outward and down, -, lower arms to woman's sides, -;

You are jointly describing a circle with your arms. The initial movement is sharper than the recovery, to give a "bursting" feeling to the figure.

In the Worlocks' Anastasia, the dance begins with a Sunburst;; the woman turns sharply to face and points trail foot; hockey stick ending; open hip twist; to a fan;
Underarm Turn

phase III

qqs;

In facing position, the man turns a little RF and steps back R (W swivel 1/4 RF and steps fwd L trng 1/2 RF). On beat two, the man recovers L to face, and the woman recovers R, completing the turn to face her partner. On the slow, both step side. In I'll Never Love Again by the Nobles, there is a new yorker; underarm turn; new yorker; thru face close; cross body to COH;;
Reverse Underarm Turn

phase III

qqs;

In butterfly position, man facing wall, cross in front with lead foot (W swivel 1/4 LF step fwd R and turn 1/2 LF), recover R (W fwd L turning 1/4 LF to face ptnr), and both step side, -;

The lady makes a full turn LF under lead hands. There is no turn for the couple as a whole. Usually begins in left open facing position or BFLY. May begin in any facing direction.
In Lefeavers' Corinna Corinna, the interlude begins in left open position, both facing line, man on outside of circle, with a kiki walk 3 and ronde of trail foot to butterfly center; fence line to reverse; reverse underarm turn toward line; to a hand to hand;
Curl

phase VI

qqs;

The curl might better be considered an action, rather than a figure, but the term is used to designate a one-measure figure.

Begin in left-open-facing position and step forward L (woman back R), recover R, close L and lead woman to step fwd R and start a LF turn under lead hands (woman fwd R turning LF 1/2 to 5/8, -; End in tandem or shadow or wrapped position both facing wall.

The LF turn is the Curl action. It is like a spiral in that she is stepping fwd R and turning LF, but the Curl is not as tight and the turn is not as great. At the end of a Curl, the left leg will be crossed loosely in front of the right and extended somewhat forward. At the end of a spiral, the left is in front of the right, but the legs are more tightly wound up, and the ankles are together. Again, a true spiral turns 3/4 or even one full turn, though one can underturn a spiral.

The curl can also be danced from closed or from a fan position.

In Promise Me by the Scherrers, part A begins in tandem facing wall with right foot free for both: lady roll to a fan man transition; curl; aida; switch rock; to a fence line;

In Crying by the Sechrists, the dance begins with both facing LOD trail feet free. We cucaracha; cucaracha lady curl to face RLOD; walk 6 (lady back walk);;
Alemana

Sometimes cued, Half Basic to an Alemana Turn

phase IV

qqs; qqs;

In closed or butterfly, step forward, recover, and close, leading woman to turn right face by raising the lead hand and turning the upper body a little LF. In the second measure, step back as she turns under your lead arm, recover as she continues to turn and steps toward the man, and then both step side. The Alemana Turn is not a twirl; she walks forward turning, forward turning, and side.

Think a little about the lead for the Alemana Turn. The man is raising his left hand, and he is turning slightly that way. Both these actions direct the woman's attention toward her right and suggest that she go that way.

One can't help wondering why there is an underarm turn and an alemana turn. A teacher once pointed out that the underarm turn is simpler and has less emotional content. In an alemana turn, the woman steps forward, toward her man, not across in front of him. She is nose to nose and gazing deep into his eyes. Then at the last moment she turns away in a sharp spiraling sort of movement. It is flirtatious. She is toying with him. She steps away on her right, and her man comes after her. Again, at the last moment during the second quick, she turns sharply with a hip-twist to face him again, and they step side together. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl again.

In In the Misty Moonlight by Skillett, the dance begins with an alemana;; lariat;; cucaracha twice;; basic;; to a new yorker;

In La Mentira by the Collipis, there is a new yorker; spot turn;

hip twist;;; alemana ending; open break; crab walk;

Alemana from a Fan

phase IV

qqs; qqs;

In fan position, man facing wall, step forward L, and woman closes R. Recover R, and woman steps forward L. Close L leading woman to turn RF 1/4 to face man, and begin to raise lead hand to lead alemana turn. In the second measure, the man steps back, recovers, and steps side, -; and the woman does her turn: fwd trn, fwd trn, sd, -; End facing. In More Than You'll Ever Know by the Matthews, part A begins with a half basic; fan; alemana;; crab walks to reverse;; into a fence line;
Advanced Alemana

phase VI

qqs; qqs;

This is an Alemana in which you turn as a couple 1/2 RF. If you begin the advanced alemana facing the wall, you end in facing position man facing center.

In closed or butterfly position, step forward, recover, and then step side L turning 1/8 RF. Raise the lead hands to indicate to the woman that she will do an underarm turn. In the second measure, cross R in back of L turning as she steps fwd L and turns under your lead arm, side L as she continues to turn and steps toward the man, and then close R as the woman steps fwd L completing her turn.

The man turns 1/2 and the woman a total of 1 & 1/2 RF.

In Novio by the Sheridans there is a turkish towel to face center [one "towel"];;; W out to face; advanced alemana to face wall;; cuddle twice;; to an open break to a natural top 3 to face line;;
Alemana Surprise Check

qqs;
q,q/&, &/s, -;

This is an alemana done in handshake position and with two sharp swivels inserted in the second measure.

In a right-right handshake facing position, man perhaps facing wall, step forward L (woman back R), recover R, close L to R (woman fwd R turning toe toward line and center) raising right hands. So far, this is a normal preparation for an alemana turn, although the handshake may feel different.

The second measure begins normally. The man steps back R (woman fwd L DLC turning 1/2 RF under joined hands). On the second beat, he recovers L (woman fwd R turning), and on the "and" count he draws the R to L and swivels 1/8 LF bringing joined right hands thru at chest level (woman draws L to R and swivels 1/8 RF). He is facing diagonal wall, and she is facing diagonal center. On the third beat, he swivels 3/8 RF and closes R to L (woman swivels 3/8 LF and closes L to R). Both hold the fourth beat facing RLOD with left arms extended toward wall, man's behind woman's back. Lead feet are free.

I think the amount of swivel varies. The idea is to complete the Alemana Turn and then rather sharply bring the joined hands thru to line leading a swivel toward line and then quickly bring the joined hands back thru to reverse leading a swivel toward reverse. I also think that we dance this a little more gently on the beat, rather than on the half beat. I step back, recover, swivel left, and swivel right closing; with an even tempo, qqqq; (but it's still a surprise for her).

In the Rumbles' If Tomorrow Never Comes, part B starts with an alemana surprise check;; facing RLOD in a modified left half open we do a sweetheart to shadow position; and wheel to face wall; for an advanced sliding door variation;;

Three Alemanas

phase VI

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;

This figure can begin in closed position, butterfly, left open facing, or from a fan position. The first measure is the same as that of an alemana: the man steps forward L (woman back R), both recover, man close and raise lead hand to lead woman fwd and begin to turn RF, -; Her forward step brings her close to her partner, as she begins the first alemana turn.

In the second measure, the man steps back R and with the raised lead hand leads her to step forward L toward line and center for a sharp spiral 1/2. She steps forward R toward reverse and wall and turns to face the man, and he steps forward and a bit to the left, so that when she steps forward L on her third step of this measure and the man closes, she will be on the man's right side. On the last beat of this measure, the man rather sharply lowers his lead hand and so leads a spiral of up to 1/2 turn so that both he and she are facing the wall, and she is in a partially wrapped position with her lead arm across in front of her body. Her total turn is about 1 1/2. Note that these steps are straight forward steps, tracing a triangle on the floor. Don't round this part of the figure into a circle—make the turns sharp.

On beat 9, the man steps side L and guides the woman to step forward and across toward line and wall. This moves her from his right side to a position in front of him again. He raises the lead arm to lead her to spiral LF about 7/8 so she is facing wall. He then recovers R and leads her forward L and turn 1/2 to face man. He closes, and she steps forward to the man, toeing out, ready to begin the third alemana turn. The man has his lead hand up, providing a firm backboard to lead her turn. Her total turn is again about 1 1/2.

The fourth measure is a standard alemana turn. He steps back R, recover, close, -; and she turns under his lead hand RF fwd L/turn, fwd/turn, and fwd, -; This third turn is only one full turn.

There are two features that make this a truly phase VI figure. First is the "overturning" of the first two alemana turns. She dances her first alemana turn and then sharply overturns it another 1/2 turn to face wall. Having made this extra turn, she must begin the third measure with a sharp 7/8 LF spiral to face wall, then forward to the wall and turn 1/2 LF to face the man, and finally forward to the man. The second sophisticated feature is that the three alemana turns are danced directly in front of the man, with very little movement either to line or to reverse. She dances the first turn to the man's left side, but then steps to the wall and then back to the man. The second turn begins with a strong spiral in front of the man, a step away from the man, and then a step back toward him. The third turn is similarly danced between the man and the wall with no progression.

You can soften this figure considerably by dancing it as a Half Basic, Underarm Turn, Reverse Underarm Turn, and Underarm Turn. These are phase III figures (and not Three Alemanas).

The Worlocks' Jurame has a closed hip twist; fan man face line; half basic and wrap to face line; thru face close to left open facing position; three alemanas to butterfly wall;;;; back break & spiral; aida checking; roll to reverse to butterfly; side walk and cha;
Circular Three Alemanas

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs
In left op fcg pos wall fwd L (W bk R), rec R, comm RF trn sd & fwd L raising lead hnds high (W fwd R DLC toeing out), -; XRIB of L (W fwd L LOD trng 1/2 RF under joined ld hnds to fc RLOD), sd L (W fwd R trng 1/2 RF), XRIF of L (W fwd L trng 1/4 RF) to end left op fcg pos COH, -; sd & fwd L (W fwd R crossing in front toward LOD trng 3/4 LF under joined ld hnds), XRIB of L (W fwd R RLOD trng 3/4 LF), sd & slightly bk L (W fwd R) to end left op fcg pos wall, -; bk R (W fwd L DLC trng 1/2 RF under joined ld hnds), Rec L (W fwd R DRW trng 3/8 RF to fc M), small fwd & across R (W fwd L) to loose CP wall, -;
In Only Time by Worlock we are in BFLY wall with L feet free for both. We dance thru to circular serpiente;; opp fence line & point; spot trn M point; circular three alemanas;;;; corcular hip twist;;; hip rock 3 lady cross swivels;
Four Alemanas

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;
Four alemanas is a modification of three alemanas (above) in which each of the three alemana turns are overturned. In three alemanas, the first alemana turn is as much as 1 1/2, the second is as much as 1 1/2, and the third is 1 full turn, for a total turn for the woman of up to 4. In four alemanas, there are still only three turns, but the first is 1 3/4, the second is 1 3/4, and the third is 1 1/2, for a total of 5. It's a lot of spinning.

The first measure is the same as that of a phase IV alemana: the man steps forward L (woman back R), both recover, man step side & back and raise lead hand to lead woman fwd and begin to turn RF, -; Her forward step brings her close to her partner, as she begins the first alemana turn.

In the second measure, the man steps back R and with the raised lead hand leads her to step forward L toward line and center for a sharp spiral 1/2. She steps forward R toward reverse and wall and turns to face the man, and he steps forward and a bit to the left, so that when she steps forward L on her third step of this measure and the man closes, she will be on the man's right side. Here, we come to the first important difference between three alemanas and four alemanas. The man does not lower his lead hand but leaves it up and centered directly over the woman's head. On the last beat of the measure, the woman spirals 3/4. The man is facing wall and the woman RLOD. Her total turn is 1 3/4. Note that the woman's steps are straight forward steps, tracing a triangle on the floor. Don't round this part of the figure into a circle—make the turns sharp.

On the first beat of measure three, the man steps side L and guides the woman to step forward and across toward DRW spiraling a full turn LF. He recovers R and she steps forward L turning. He closes, and she steps forward R to face the man, toeing out, ready to begin the third alemana turn. The man has his lead hand up, providing a firm backboard to lead her turn. Her total turn is again 1 3/4.

The fourth measure is the same as measure two in three alemanas. He steps back R, recover, close, -; and she steps fwd L turning under his lead hand RF, fwd/turn, and fwd/turn, -; This third turn is 1 1/2 and we end in a partially wrapped position with her lead arm across in front of her body, both facing wall.

In Sea In Autumn by DeChenne we dance a spot turn to face partner and wall; four alemanas;;;; sync hockey stick end;
Underarm Roll

qqs;
In shadow position, both facing LOD, both with R feet free, step fwd R beginning an individual RF roll and raising joined left hands. Step fwd & sd L turning under raised left hands. Step fwd & sd R to end in M's shadow or in tandem position, M in front, both facing COH.

This is a non-standard figure and has been choreographed to begin with the L feet. In shadow LOD, step fwd L trng strongly, sd & fwd R trng to face COH, cross L in front of R to tandem COH, -;
In Los Rayos del Sol by Moore, there is an open hip twist to shadow man touch; cucaracha cross; crab walk 3 to reverse; shadow fence line recover forward to face LOD; underarm roll to face COH; shadow fence line;

Carnival by Rumble has the same figure.

In Jurame by Worlock, there is an open break; underarm turn lady in 4 to shadow LOD L ft free; back break; walk 3; L foot underarm roll right to a cross-lunge;
Turkish Towel

phase VI

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;

This is a long figure that flows especially well. Essentially, it is an Alemana that is considerably overturned to put the woman behind the man into a man's varsouvienne position (M in front & to lady's R side), R/R and L/L hands joined (2 measures). Then you do sweetheart rocks to move the lady from one side to the other (2 measures (or more). It is as though the man is drying his back with a big, fluffy towel.

So, in open facing position with R/R hands joined, step fwd L (woman bk R), rec R, cl L raising right hands (W sd & fwd R beginning to turn RF), -; bk R (woman XLIF of R turning under raised R hands), rec L trng 1/4 LF (W fwd R turning), sd R (W fwd L CW around behind man to his left side and joining left hands) -; At this point, you are in M's varsouvienne position, lady behind and to the left, man in front and to the right, all hands joined.

Now the "towel" part (measures 3 & 4)—check back L and look at partner (woman check fwd R), rec R, sd L moving to the woman's left side, -; check back R and again look at partner (W fwd L), rec L, sd R moving back to woman's right side, -;

Our hand position varies considerably. At one extreme, they are above the man's head, and as we check back (W fwd) the W's inside arm passes over his head, and we get a good look at partner. At the other extreme, arms are low, at waist level, and our look at partner is a more subtle glance. It is important that the arm position be comfortable. The number of "towel" actions may vary from only 1 to 4, or even more, I suppose.


Cucaracha

phase III

qqs; qqs;

Step sd, rec, cl, -; sd, rec, cl, -; These side steps are pressing steps; full weight is not taken. So in the first measure, you step to the side with your lead foot, press with the ball of the foot, but don't lower the heel and don't raise the heel of the trail foot. A little rotation of the ball of the lead foot would be appropriate. Then recover full weight to the trail foot, and close the lead foot to the trail foot.

Cucaracha is Spanish for "cockroach." It's not an entirely attractive image, but in an earthy sort of way, I kind of like the idea of squishing a roach to the left and then to the right??

In the Rothers' Years May Come, there is a hand to hand; crab walks to line;; aida; roll three to RLOD; cucaracha; half basic; fan;

In Enchanted Boy IV by the Andersons, the dance begins with Turning Cucarachas, first to face LOD and back to partner; then to RLOD and back to face partner; new yorker to partial wrapped position LOD (lead hnds joined); progressive walks to LOD;;
Turning Cucarachas

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;

This is not a standard figure. Of course, the footwork is some number of cucarachas, but we turn either LF or RF, usually 1/4 or 1/2, on either the first or second step of each cucaracha.

So, we might begin facing partner and wall with lead feet free. Step sd L (W sd R), rec R turning 1/4 RF (W rec L turning 1/4 LF) to LOP facing RLOD, close L, -; sd R, rec L turning 1/2 LF (W 1/2 RF), cl R to OP facing LOD, -; sd L (W sd R), rec R turning 1/2 RF (W rec L turning 1/2 LF) to LOP facing RLOD, close L, -; sd R, rec L turning 1/4 LF (W 1/4 RF), cl R to facing partner and wall again, -;

In Hundred Pounds Rumba by the Tuckers, there is a new yorker to RLOD; crabwalks to LOD; spot turn; turning cucarachas to CP wall;;;; half basic; underarm turn;
Cucaracha Cross

phase III

qqs;
In any position and with either foot step side w/ partial weight, recover, cross in front, -;

Latin Whisk

phase IV

qqs;
In CP, cross L in back of R (W XRIB of L), recover R, side L, -;
In Half Heaven, Half Heartache by Oren, we dance a cross body to face wall;; cucaracha in 4; latin whisk; thru to serpiente;; aida;
Spot Turn

phase III

qqs;

In butterfly position, both swivel 1/4 and step fwd turning 1/2. Starting with lead feet, the man would turn right face, and the woman would turn left. Recover and turn 1/4 to face partner. Then both step side.

In My Home Town by the Hichmans, part A begins with a half basic; underarm turn; lariat half to LOP LOD; kiki walk 3; spot turn; time step

Lariat

phase III

qqs; qqs;

This figure needs to start with the lady at least a little on the man's right side. Holding lead hands high, he steps in place two measures (LRL; RLR;), and she walks clockwise around him to face. She walks fwd R, fwd L, fwd R, -; fwd L, fwd R, fwd L, -; The man can put his right hand on her back and so lead her around and behind. Joined hands will pass over his head.

Rather than stepping in place, the man can dance a small cucaracha action: press sd L, rec R, cl L, -; press sd R, rec L, cl R, -; This can feel a little more latin than stepping in place, but make it small -- you don't want to pull away from your partner. Even better, men, dance two diagonal cucarachas, the first toward DLC and the second toward DRC. During the first measure, the lady is curving around behind the man, heading toward DLC, so a diagonal cucaracha leads her along this path, and the result is an entirely appropriate togetherness -- rumba is a "dance of love." During the second measure, the lady is moving around the man's left shoulder. A diagonal cucaracha DRC here will move the man out of her way and make her path a little shorter -- she will more easily get around. At the same time, lower joined lead hands to lead her to face partner and COH (if you have started facing partner and wall). Stepping in place does not actively help her. Diagonal cucarachas do help, and the man's role in dancing is all about helping.
In Love Grows by the Matthews, part A begins with an alemana; lady adjusting to man's R side; lariat;; fence line; spot turn to butterfly position; to a shoulder to shoulder twice;;
Rope Spin

phase VI

&; qqs; qqs;

This is a strange figure. The two measures concerned are really just a lariat, but the cue "rope spin" also tells you to modify the last step of the previous figure by leading the woman to spiral RF. You can think that the rope spin is a lariat that begins with a woman's spiral, as if the cowboy had given his "lariat" an extra twirl, but just realize that the spiral occurs at the end of the previous measure.

So, the previous figure might have been an alemana. On the last beat of that figure, the man should raise lead hands and turn his upper body a little to the right and sway a little right, shaping toward partner. She will take that last step L and spiral RF. If the man will take care to put his lead hand directly over her head with a little right sway, he will not pull her off the spot of that last step, and she will be able to spiral in place with better balance.

At the beginning of the next measure, you will be in a left-open-facing position with the woman on the man's right side. He will step sd L, rec R, step L, -; (woman fwd R, fwd L, fwd R, -; clock-wise around and behind the man). For the man, this is a small cucaracha as the lady starts her circle. Perhaps a better alternative is for the man to step side & back L into more of a diagonal back cucaracha. The backward component provides a lead for her first forward step, and it doesn't move the man away from the lady as much as a straight side step does.

In the second measure, he does a cucaracha right while she continues to walk around to face. Again, using a diagonal back cucaracha doesn't move the man away from the lady as much as a side cucaracha, and the back component actually gets him out of her way, as she circles around in front of him. She gets around more easily.

In Brent & Judy Moore's Somos, there is a hockey stick;; alemana to rope spin 3 and blend to left open position;;; walk 3; aida; [Note that this sequence contains only half of the rope spin figure.]
Door

phase III

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Also cued Traveling Door, in a facing position, rock to the side, recover, and cross in front,-; Often done in pairs, one to reverse and then one to line;;

Rumbles' Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, part A (actually a cha, but it would be a nice rumba sequence, too): basic;; reverse underarm turn; crab walk; traveling door to reverse; side walk; to a hand to hand twice;;

Sliding Door

phase III

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In open position, line of dance, rock apart, recover releasing hands, and cross lead in front of trail, changing sides to left open, line. In Travelin' Man by Rumble, part C starts with a fwd basic; whip to LOP LOD; prog walk 3; sliding door; circle away & tog;; cucaracha 2X;;

Often done twice: slide the door over and back;;
Advanced Sliding Door

phase VI

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In shadow position, left hands joined and man's right hand on woman's right shoulder blade, perhaps facing wall, step fwd L on the ball of the foot with pressure into the floor and 1/8 body turn RF (W bk R turning RF), rec R turning 1/8 LF (W rec L turning LF), XLIB of R turning 1/4 LF (woman fwd and cross in front R trng 1/8 LF), -; lower into L knee and slide R to side and point R turning 1/8 LF (W sd L and flex knee w/ R sway to a lunge line), rise trng 1/8 RF (W rec R), close R (W bk and cross in back L trng 1/8 RF), -; End in original shadow position. In Promise Me by Scherrer, part B starts with open hip twist; to fan; hockey stick to shadow wall;; adv sliding door w/ arms;; adv sliding door lady out to fan;; hockey stick;;
Trade Places

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In a R/R handshake position, man perhaps facing wall, step apart L (W apart R), recover R passing W on her R or LOD side releasing R hnds, fwd L trng RF 1/2 to face W and COH (W fwd R trng LF) , -;

Note that the third step is a little half-spiral.

May be done in other facing directions. Often done in pairs, in which case you would take a L/L handshake at the end of the first measure and repeat the figure with the trail feet, M passing W on her L & LOD side, and trng LF (W RF).
In I Don't Know by Shibata, we dance a new yorker; spot turn to handshake; trade places 2X;; trade places w/ M's head loop to L-half-open LOD; walk 3;
Chase

phase III

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Beginning in butterfly or in left open facing, step forward and turn right face 1/2. She steps back. Recover on trail foot, she is looking at the man's back. Both step forward. In the second measure, both step forward and turn, man left face and woman RF. Always turn in a direction opposite to the stepping foot. Recover on beat two and step forward. He is looking at her back. Measure 3 and 4: fwd she trn LF, rec, bk, -; bk, rec, fwd, -; End in original facing position. In Love Grows by the Matthews, the dance begins with a chase;;;; alemana;; lariat;; to a fence line; and a spot turn to butterfly;
Full Turn Chase

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In a facing position, step forward L turning 1/2 RF (woman back R), recover fwd R continuing to turn another 1/2, back L, -; back R (woman fwd L turning 1/2 RF), recover L (woman rec fwd R continuing to turn another 1/2), fwd R, -;

End as you began.
In the Dois' Besame Mucho 3, the dance begins with this full turn chase;; fwd woman develope; and a back half box;
Chase Peek-a-Boo

phase III

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;

In a facing position, step fwd L trng 1/2 RF (W bk R), rec, fwd, -; sd R, rec, cl, -; sd L, rec, cl, -; fwd R trng 1/2 LF (W fwd L), rec, fwd, -;

For the man, this is the first two measures of a chase separated by two Cucarachas. The woman doesn't turn.

In the Libertis' Yellow Bird, part B begins with an open break; crab walks;; spot turn; peek-a-boo chase;;;; basic to a fan;; alemana;;

In Only You by Rotscheid, there is a half basic; spot trn to bolero banjo; wheel 6 to BFLY wall;; chase peek-a-boo with optional spins for the lady;;;;  Here, instead of cucarachas, the lady steps side, recover with full spin, close, -;
Chase Peek-a-Boo Double

Phase III

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Do the first measure of a chase to tandem facing center and then the two measures of a peek-a-boo. Do the second measure of a chase to tandem both facing wall and again two measures of a peek-a-boo. Finish the chase.

Details: Step fwd L turning 1/2 RF (W bk R) to tandem (M in front), recover R, fwd L, -; sd R looking over left shoulder (W sd L), rec L, close R, -; sd L looking over right shoulder, rec R, cl L, -; fwd R turning 1/2 LF (W fwd L trng 1/2 RF) to tandem (W in front), rec L, fwd R, -; sd L (W sd R looking over left shoulder), rec R, cl L, -; sd R, rec L, cl R, -; fwd L (W fwd R trng 1/2 LF to face partner), rec R, bk L, -; bk R (W fwd L), rec L, fwd R, -;
In the Szabos' Calienta IV, part A begins with a hockey stick;; alemana;; break back to open position line; aida; switch rock; spot turn; and double chase peek-a-boo;;;;;;;; to an alemana;; and lariat;;
Chase With Underarm Pass

phase III

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In left open facing position step fwd L comm 1/2 RF turn (W bk R), recover fwd R keeping lead hands joined, fwd L, -; back R raising lead hands (W fwd L), recover L (W fwd R turning 1/2 LF under joined lead hands to face partner), small side R, -;

Figure might begin in BFLY wall and end BFLY COH. May be done in any facing direction -- turns 1/2.

Circle Away and Together

phase III

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In any position, turn away from partner, man LF and woman RF, and step fwd with the lead feet, fwd, fwd, -; turning 1/2. In the second measure, return to partner: fwd with the trail feet, fwd, fwd, -; completing a full circle.

We can separate the two halves of the circle, maybe circling away and then doing something else, or separating in some other manner and then "circling together" to return to partner.


Crab Walks

phase III

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In butterfly position, facing wall, both cross trail foot in front, sd, cross in front, -; sd, cross, sd, -; (may travel to reverse starting with lead feet) In Venus by the del Sols, there are cucarachas L & R;; open break; crab walks;; spot turn; to a basic fwd & bk;;

In Erotica by the Moores, there is a hip twist; fan; three of an alemana; thru to slow crab walk; crab walk; hip rocks with arms; slow crab walk; thru to a fan;

In Sinti by Slater we are facing COH. We crab walk LOD; lady unwind 2 & ronde; to crab walks LOD;;
Fence Line or "Fencing" Line

phase III

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In butterfly position, both dancers cross in front and lunge with a soft knee, recover, and step side to face; As you lunge, extend your arms on that side as in a thrust with a fencing foil and raise the other arms for balance. That is, if you are facing wall and doing the fence line to reverse with the lead feet, you would thrust with your trail arms, also to reverse, and raise the lead arms for balance. In Traces by the Nobles, there is a spot turn with the trail feet; fence line; spot turn; side walks in 6;; open hip twist;

In the Slaters' Morning of the Carnival, part A begins with a fence line recover point; Since the third step is a point, instead of a side, the lead foot is free for a reverse underarm turn; to crab walks to line;;

Hand to Hand

phase III

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In butterfly position, both swivel 1/4 and step back to open position (if lead feet were free) or to left open pos. (if trail feet were free), recover to face partner, step side, -; Fence lines and hand to hands are often done in pairs, but you could do a fence line one way and then a crab walk the other direction, or a hand to hand to a fence line.
Cuddle

phase V

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In closed position wall, lead feet free, step side L with toe pressure and a little left side stretch leading the woman to turn about 1/2 RF and step back R with right side stretch and right arm to side. At the end of this first step, both face wall swayed a little toward each other, in approximately half open position. On the second step, recover R (woman rec L and begin to turn LF). Then close L (W step forward R completing 1/2 turn to face. She puts her right hand on the man's left shoulder in a "cuddle" position and blends to closed position.

Notice a couple of features that make this figure different from a hand to hand (above) and perhaps justify its phase V rating. The first step for the man is a pressure step, not a true side step. He is not stepping away from his partner but is remaining centered on her with left side stretch and left side lead. On her part, she does not lunge away but she opens out, remaining centered on the man. We don't end that step apart from each other in open position, but still cuddly in half open.

This figure may be done with the trail foot, opening her out to the man's left side, and it may be done in any facing direction.

In Fernando by the Prows, part A begins with a reverse underarm turn; natural top 3; 2 cuddles;; slow hip rocks; cross body;;
Progressive or Kiki Walks

phase III

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fwd, fwd, fwd, -; fwd, fwd, fwd, -;

Progressive Walks are done on two tracks and Kiki Walks are done on one, as though you are walking on a rail. Actually, Progressive Walks may be done backwards: bk, bk, bk, -; "progressing" to reverse.

In the Shibatas' Best Of My Love, Part A begins with an open hip twist to fan;; overturned alemana to shadow with both facing line;; back break; and kiki walks 6 to line;; left hand underarm turn to a left-hand star (man facing reverse and wall, woman facing line and center); to three open shoulder to shoulders;;;

In Can You Feel the Love Tonight by the McGees, part A starts with a curl; progressive walks to face; man turn left lady walk around to closed; natural top 3 with lady's spiral; 3 back progressive walks and swivel 1/2;
Side Walks

phase III

q,q,s; q,q,s;

Facing partner and wall, step side, close, sd, -; cl, sd, cl, -;

May begin with lead feet and move toward LOD or trail feet and move toward RLOD.

In the Armstrongs' Besame Mucho, part C begins with one side walk to semi; aida; switch rock; spot turn to a handshake; and a turkish towel;;;;

In Daria Cualquier Cosa by the Gloodts, there are open in and out runs;; thru face close to butterfly; side walks;; basic;;
New Yorker

phase III

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In butterfly position, both swivel on the trail foot to left open position and step through to RLOD, recover to face again, side toward LOD, -;

May begin with the trail foot free, in which case we would swivel to open position LOD and step thru to line. May be done in other dance positions and other facing directions.
In the Heinys' Cause Angels Don't Lie, part A begins with a full basic;; new yorker; aida; switch cross; crab walk; fence line twice;; half basic; fan; hockey stick;;
New Yorker In Four

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In a facing position, both partners turn and step through, turning to a side-by-side position, and extending joined arms in front. Free arms may be extended to side. Recover and turn back to face, step side, and finally close free foot to supporting foot.

May begin with lead feet turning to RLOD or with trail feet turning first to LOD.

In Looking Through Your Eyes by the Reads, part A begins with a hockey stick to left open position facing RLOD;; new yorker 4; new yorker to RLOD; to open crab walk 3 toward LOD;
Shadow New Yorker

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In a facing position with R/R handshake, turn 1/4 RF (W LF) and step thru with the lead foot. Left arms may be extended to the side, the M's arm behind the W's back. Recover R (W rec L), turn to face partner and step side L, -;

If you begin with the man facing wall, the turn will be toward RLOD for both. May be done with the trail feet, in which case both would turn toward LOD.

In The Party's Over by Woodruff, the dance begins in a handshake position with an alemana;; shadow break; progressive walks; shadow new yorker twice;; underarm turn; to three more shadow breaks;;;

In The Party's Over by Shibata we dance a shadow new yorker chg hnds; to an u/arm trn;
Shoulder to Shoulder

phase III

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In butterfly, he rocks forward and she rocks back on a diagonal. Beginning with the lead feet, this puts you left shoulder to left shoulder. Recover to face, and step side. In Chico's Besame Mucho IV, we have a shoulder to shoulder in 4; shoulder to shoulder; crab walk;

In Trankel & Gilder's Stormy, part B contains a shoulder to shoulder; whip to center; shoulder to shoulder; whip back to wall;

Time Step

phase III

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Release hands. Both cross in back, open bodies a little, and move arms down and back. Recover to face and step side. In My Home Town by the Hichmans, part A begins with a half basic; underarm turn; half lariat to end in left open position facing LOD; kiki walk 3; spot turn; time step; new yorker; whip back to face wall; fence line to reverse; and crab walks toward line;
Sweetheart

phase V

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Begin in left shadow position (woman on man's left side) and end in right or normal shadow position.

Step forward L with right side lead (woman bk R with left side lead) in a contra check like action and checking your motion, recover R removing your contra "twist," side L (woman sd R) each crossing to the other side of partner, -;

This figure is often repeated with opposite foot, body lead, and body turn.

In I'll Never Love Again by the Nobles, we do a half basic to a full natural top, ending in handshake position;;;; for a flirt to left varsouvienne position;; sweetheart twice;; sweetheart lady swivel to face partner; fan; and hockey stick;;
Open Hip Twist

phase V

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In left open facing position or in handshake, step forward L (woman back R), recover R (woman recover L), close L with tension in joined arms (woman fwd R toward man and then sharp RF swivel on the "&" of the slow count), -;

Of course the "hip twist" action is the RF swivel at the end of the figure. The hips twist in a right-face turn, but the upper body turns less, remaining centered on partner -- the turning of the hips puts a spiral "twist" into the torso.

n Rumba Beguine by Cantrell, there is a basic;; spot turn; hand to hand; open hip twist; fan; alemana;;
Closed Hip Twist

phase V

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In closed position, step side and forward L with left side lead to cause woman to open out (woman swivel RF up to 1/2 and step back R). In this first step, there is some of the feel of lunging apart. If you began facing wall, both are now facing wallish — probably man reverse and wall and woman line and wall. On the second beat, recover R with right side lead (woman recover L and swivel LF to face man). On the slow count (better, a slow/& count), close L with slight left side lead and right side stretch (woman side R and then sharp RF swivel on that right foot drawing L to R and touch), -; In Te Quiero "I Love You" by the Matthews, there is an open break to a full natural top;;;; basic;; closed hip twist; fan; hockey stick;;
Advanced Hip Twist

phase VI

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In closed position, step forward L on ball of foot, pressing into floor and turning a little RF (woman turn 1/2 RF and step back R), recover R (woman recover L and turn 1/2 LF to face partner), back L under body but keep body weight forward, - (woman fwd R outside partner on his right side, and turn 1/4 RF);

Of course, the final 1/4 turn for the woman is the "hip twist." One refinement the man might think about is taking that back step but not fully committing his weight change. Bring her forward, and then use the step to signal her hip twist. The woman's hip twist can occur at any time after her third step is taken but it usually happens at the end of beat 4.

Second, her hips should turn fully, but her upper body should turn less, maybe drawn by the man's charisma and animal magnetism, maintaining "connection" between partners.

In The Summer Knows by Lamberty, there is a slow dip and recover; advanced hip twist; fan; hockey stick;;
Continuous Hip Twist

phase VI

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This is a two-measure figure.  The first measure is an advanced hip twist, and the second measure is a left hip twist that turns as a couple 1/4 RF.

In closed position wall, step forward L on ball of foot, pressing into floor and turning a little RF (woman turn 1/2 RF and step back R), recover R (woman recover L and turn 1/2 LF to face partner), back L under body but keep body weight forward, - (woman fwd R outside partner on his right side, and turn 1/4 RF);

If you begin with the man facing the wall, at the end of the first measure, you will be in a tight L-position but with good upper-body connection, the man still facing wall. Now, the man steps side and back R with just a little left-face turn to lead the woman to step forward L down line.  On the “and” count, she swivels 1/2 to the left to face reverse. The man recovers L and the woman steps forward R curving to the right. On the slow count, the man steps forward right turning 1/4 to the right, and the woman continues forward left turning to face man and line of dance and dancing into his right side (BJO), ready for another opening-out figure (e.g., natural opening out or another advanced hip twist).

May be danced in other facing directions. May be continued over additional measures.

This is a recently standardized figure, and it has been danced in other forms in the past. For instance, the option exists not to turn as a couple but to end the figure facing as you began.  The Rumbles do this in If Tomorrow Never Comes. Another option is to include one more twist in the second measure of the figure.  You might step side and back right (woman forward left and twist 3/8 left), recover left and turn right (woman forward right and twist 3/8 right), and then forward right to face reverse (woman forward left to man’s right side and facing line).  This is the form of the figure used by the Gosses in their Rumba Concerto, and it does feel more “continuously twisty.” There is the hip twist in the first measure, and then it feels like a left hip twist and then a right hip twist in the second measure.

In Rumba Concerto by the Gosses, there is an advanced alemana to fact the wall;; continuous hip twist;; opening out she spiral; hockey stick end to shake hands;
Circular Hip Twist

aka Continuous Circular Hip Twist

phase VI

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This figure is one measure of advanced hip twist and then two more measures of the the man sort of vining in a left-turning circle and the woman walking, swiveling, and doing three more hip twists.

In closed position, step forward L toeing out a little and lower lead hands to lead her to open out (woman swivels 1/2 RF and steps back R—try to separate these two components and count "&1"), recover R (woman recover L and swivel 5/8 LF—again, make the swivels sharp), cross L in back of R turning LF (woman fwd R outside partner and to his right side and do your first hip twist swiveling sharply 1/4 RF), -;

This first measure is simply an advanced hip twist. I have exaggerated the second and third swivels, compared to the advanced hip twist description above, as is often done. Notice that the woman's part is busier than the man's. She is really doing at least six things: swivel/step, step/swivel, and again step/swivel. You might like to count to yourself, "&/quick, quick/&, slow/&;" Actually, if you'd like to get even more anal about this measure, I think she might prefer to dance, "&/1, 2/&, 3/&, hold;" The "3/&" is the first hip twist, forward on the right foot and a sharp RF twist. She raises her left knee and crosses it a little in front of her right in a demure, sort-of Marilyn Monroe pose. This is a little picture figure and deserves to be displayed briefly. So do the hip twist at the beginning of the "slow" and then hold it briefly before beginning to circle. At this point, we are in a tight L-position; he might be facing line and wall, and she might be facing line and center.

During the second measure, the man steps side R, behind L, side R, -; His sequence is vine-like, but he should try to think, "7-11." Each time he crosses behind, he should try to place his left toe to his right heel, forming a "figure 7" with his feet, and each time he steps to the side, he should place his right foot parallel to his left to form a "figure 11."

Again, the woman's part is busier, with her swivels. She steps forward L and swivels as much as 1/2 LF, closes R and hip twists 1/4 RF, and steps fwd L, -; Notice that her LF swivels are larger than her RF twists. This is part of what causes the figure as a whole to turn to the left. The man is also turning LF with each of his behind steps and so is leading her to follow a circular track. At the end of the second measure, we are in the "hip-twist L-position," man facing about center.

The third measure continues the man's 7-11 vine and the woman's stepping and swiveling. He steps behind L, side R, close L, -; She swivels up to 1/2 LF and closes R, swivels 1/4 RF (this is the third hip twist) and steps fwd L, swivels 1/2 LF closes R and ends with a 1/4 RF hip twist, -; This is certainly the busiest measure for the woman, with a count of "&/quick, &/quick, &/slow/&;" End in the "hip-twist L-position," having made one full turn.

In I Love Him by the Herrs, there is an alemana;; rope spin;; circular hip twist to face wall;;; cucaracha;

In Many Kisses by the Browns, we unwrap to an explosion; spot turn to a handshake; circular three alemanas;;;; side by side natural opening out; continuous circular hip twists to varsou;;; advanced hip twist to a fan;;

In Only Time by Worlock we dance circular three alemanas to CP wall;;;; circular hip twist to an L-position M fcg wall;;; hip rock 3 W cross swivels to BJO DLW;
Natural Opening Out

phase V

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In closed position, step side L to the inside edge of the toe. It has a cucaracha feel. Use left side lead to open woman (woman turn 1/2 RF and step back R with right side stretch), recover R using right side lead (woman rec L turning LF back to closed position), close L, -;

It is a closed hip twist without the hip twist.

In Tres Palabres by the Filardos, there is a forward basic to a full natural top;;;; natural opening out lady spiral to a fan;; stop & go hockey stick with cross lunge and back to fan;; hockey stick;;
Reverse Opening Out

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In closed position, step side R to the inside edge of the toe. It has a cucaracha feel. Use right side lead to open woman (woman turn 1/2 LF and step back L with left side stretch), recover L using left side lead (woman rec R turning RF back to closed position), close R, -;

The natural and reverse opening out can be cued "open out right and left." They are like two cuddles, without the cuddly arm-work.


Serpiente

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The Serpiente is really a tango figure that begins with the lead foot, but it can be used nicely in rumba if you begin with the trail foot (see Thru Serpiente below).

You can also do a rumba serpiente beginning with the lead feet. Step side L (woman side R), XRIB of L (woman XLIB of R), flare L CCW (woman flare R CW), -; XLIB of R, sd R, thru L and flare R CCW no weight, -; Note that this sequence has only five weight changes and so leaves the trail feet free.

In the Crapos' South of the Border, they use a serpiente beginning with a side step with the lead feet;; crab walks to line;; and a thru, -, fan point, -; leaving the lead feet free again.
Thru Serpiente

phase III

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In a facing position, step through R (W thru L), side L, behind R (W behind L), fan L counter-clockwise (W fan R CW); behind L (W behind R), side R, thru L (W thru R), fan R counter-clockwise (W fan L CW);

May start with either foot and travel in either direction.

In Il Mio Cuore Va by Ito we dance a new yorker in 4; new yorker; thru serpiente;; fence line;
Circular Serpiente

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This one is not a standard Roundalab figure, but it feels very good. You begin in butterfly, just as you do in a regular serpiente, but you both have the left foot free. The steps are the same as those in a serpiente, but the same footwork causes you to rotate as a couple left-face. Again, with left foot free for both, step thru L, side R, cross left in back of right and fan R CW; now with the right foot and circling RF, XRIB, sd L, XRIF and fan L CW;

You may begin with the right feet free, in which case you will circle right-face in the first measure and left face in the second.

The Fishers wrote a really nice rumba called No Matter What III, using both of these serpientes. In part B, we start with a spot turn man in two and point. This is the figure that gets the left foot free for both, because the woman takes three steps and the man only two. Then we dance a circular serpiente;; a left foot fence line; circular serpiente;; right foot fence line; and a spot turn again man in two and point returning us to lead feet free;
Develope

phase IV

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In closed position, diagonal line and wall, turn to sidecar and step forward L outside woman and hold. She steps back R and brings the left foot up the right leg to the outside of the right knee, and then extends the left leg forward. Essentially, she raises her knee and then smoothly kicks. Her body is stretched up and back, and the man must release or extend his right arm to allow her to do that. One weight change for each.

The height of the develope is your choice. There are those who can aim at the ceiling, and one of the secrets of such a performance (besides strength, flexibility, and maybe regular yoga workouts) is relaxing the supporting knee. The woman leans back and extends her free leg. Now, the more she bends her supporting leg, the more her back goes down and her develope goes up. Men—let her go but give her firm support.

In the Shibatas' Beyond, we are positioned a little differently. The dance begins in tandem position with the man behind the woman and both facing the wall, right feet free. We shift weight to the right with some arm work to the side; shadow fence line; and then step back R and hold as woman does a develope with her L; then a hockey stick ending man transition to facing position; ready for a hip twist;
Break

phase III

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In a facing position, cross behind, recover, and step forward to whatever position is specified.

Often, the cuer will specify Break Back to differentiate this figure from the open break (below).

In butterfly, you might break back to semi; underarm turn; basic;;

In Daria Cualquier Cosa by the Gloodts, the dance begins with 2 cuddles;; break back to 1/2 open; to open in and out runs;;

Open Break

phase III

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In a facing position, both rock apart on the lead foot and shoot the trail arm up, rec, step side, -;

Some dancers like a softer, less explosive, look to the "break," given by extending the trail arms horizontally to the side or just a bit diagonally upward.

In Sing For the Glory by the Matthews, in butterfly we do a cucaracha twice;; open break; whip to COH; fence line; and spot turn;
Shadow Break

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In facing position with R/R handshake, swivel 1/4 LF (W RF) and step back onto the lead foot. Left arms may be extended to the side, W's L arm behind the M's back. Recover R (W rec L), step fwd L;

If you begin with the man facing wall, you will end both facing LOD. May be done with trail feet, in which case both will turn to face RLOD.

In The Party's Over by the Woodruffs, the dance begins in a handshake position with an alemana;; shadow break; progressive walks; shadow new yorker twice;;
Whip

phase III

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In closed or butterfly position facing wall, step back on the trail foot, turning LF. Woman steps forward around the man's left side. Recover on the lead foot continuing to turn, and lead woman across the line of dance. Step side to butterfly position facing center. Do a half basic to a whip to an open break, and then whip her back to the wall.
Parallel Breaks

phase V

qqs; qqs;

Begin in an L-position with man facing wall and woman facing LOD, right-right hands joined in front of woman and woman's left arm extended over the right and pointing down line. Step back R leading woman across in front of the man (woman fwd L across line of dance), recover L beginning to turn LF (woman fwd R turning), side and forward R (woman sd and bk L) turning to a woman's L-position with woman facing wall and man facing LOD on her right side, -; step fwd L (woman bk R), fwd R turning (woman rec L), sd & bk L (woman sd & fwd R) turning to starting L-position, -;

This feels much like two whips, woman across and then man across, but there is more progression. The man draws the woman down line of progression rather than simply across to COH, for instance. The woman should take the lead in the second measure and pull the man across and down line.

The figure is often repeated for a total of 4 or even 6 measures.

In Caballero by Dierickx we dance an open break; underarm turn to handshake; shadow back break; parallel breaks;; fwd fc close; chase with full turns;;
Cross Body

phase IV

qqs; qqs;

You can think of this figure as a half basic and a whip, but the cross body is done in closed position. Step forward L (woman back R), recover R, and side L, man beginning to turn LF and so loosening the closed hold (woman fwd R toward man's right side, no turn) and ending the first measure in an L-position, man facing LOD and woman facing COH.

During the second measure, the man steps back R continuing to turn and she steps forward L beginning to turn LF. He takes a small step forward L, and she steps forward R completing a 1/2 turn. He then steps side and forward R (woman side and back L) to end in closed position facing COH.

Of course, you can begin in closed position center and end in closed wall.

In Sign Your Name by the Scherrers, part A begins with a new yorker; underarm turn to CP; cuddle twice with pivot ending to face COH;; side walks to RLOD;; cross body;; half basic to a facing fan;; progressive walk 6;;
Full Moon

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;

The half moon is a bolero figure that contains a lunging action and a whipping action. The full moon is not simply two half moons, but it does alternate a whip, a lunge, a whip, and a lunge. I have not seen the half moon in rumba, but the full moon has been used a few times.

In a R-R handshake position facing partner and perhaps wall, step back R turning LF (W fwd L twd DLC on M's L sd), rec L (W small step R trng LF), fwd R (W fwd L) to varsouvienne position both facing COH, -; Of course, this is the "whipping" measure. The woman has moved from the outside of the circle to the inside and has turned to varsouvienne.

Now, a "lunging" measure, although it has more of a lunge feel in bolero. Here, we essentially do a forward basic with a woman's hip twist. In varsouvienne with lead feet free, we rock fwd L (W fwd R), recover R releasing L hands and beginning to turn LF to face DRC, bk L (W sd R turning RF to M's right side and slightly behind him facing RLOD), -;

Ready for the second "whip"? The man steps bk R (W stps fwd L in front of M toward DRW), rec L trng LF (W fwd R trng LF), fwd R (W fwd L) to varsouvienne position both facing wall, -;

Finally, the man steps fwd L (W fwd R), rec R releasing L hands, bk L (W sd R trng RF to M's R side) to end in a handshake position with M facing wall and W fc LOD, -;

In Just Called by the Bartons, part A begins with a new yorker to reverse; full moon;;;; fan; to a hockey stick;;

In You're Really Mine by Ivins, there is a slow hip rock; new yorker to reverse; full moon;;;; back basic to face wall; slow lunge and lady sit line;

In Something Stupid by Dierickx, the full moon begins in varsouvienne with the lunge action. We do two cuddles lady overturn to vars wall. With the lead feet, we dance the fwd basic lady swivel to a cross body COH;; and repeat;; fwd basic lady hip twist to a fan;; hockey stick;;

Sit Line

phase V

qqs;

This is an Open Break that is smaller, more gentle, and includes a "sitting" or lowering action.

In left open facing position, step small back L relaxing the left knee, leaving the right leg extended, with forward body poise, and raising the right arm. The woman mirrors the man with a back R and sit. Recover R rising (woman recovers L), and close L, -;


Fan

phase IV

qqs;

In closed position, perhaps facing the wall, step back with trail foot (woman forward), recover (woman turns 1/4 LF and steps bk R), side R (W bk L) to an L-position M wall & W RLOD, -;

Sometimes, we are a little too enthusiastic about moving the lady out to fan position. We throw her out there or whip her away, and she gets too far, out at an uncomfortable arm's length. To maintain a closer, more cozy position, the man can consciously bring lead hands to his left front pocket on step 2. This small feature adds control to any fan in any rhythm.

A Facing Fan is done as above, but on the third step, the man steps forward R and turns 1/4 LF to face partner.

May be done from other positions and facing directions.

In the Guenthners' Love Walked In IV, part A begins with a fan; hockey stick;; open hip twist; fan; alemana;; shoulder to shoulder; fence line; and a half basic; to a whip;
Double Fan

qqs (q&q&s); qqs (q&q&s);

Begin in Fan Position with lead feet free. The man is facing wall, and the woman is facing RLOD. He steps side L and leads her to step forward R spinning RF and then close L. He closes R and she steps fwd R spinning and closes L. He steps side L on the slow count, and she steps back R facing LOD and having turned 1 & 1/2 over the measure. Trail hands are joined in a sort of reverse? fan position.

During the second measure, he again steps sd, cl, sd, -; leading her to roll LF in front of him back to the original fan position. The woman's turns are like Riff Turns in bolero.

The figure can be softened (maybe to phase V) by making the woman's turn only 1/2 per measure. She would step fwd R, fwd L spinning 1/2 RF, and back R, -; fwd L, fwd R spinning 1/2 LF, bk R, -;

May be done from other facing directions.

In the Bahrs' You've Got A Friend, there is a half basic; fan; double fan;; alemana;; and time step twice;;

Since the Double Fan starts from fan position, it will usually be preceded by a single Fan. This typical combination gives us Three Fans. If we can have Three Threes, Three Alemanas, and Three Aidas, then why not Three Fans? Let's think about it — "Half Basic; Three Fans;;; Alemana;; …

Hockey Stick

phase IV

qqs; qqs;

In fan position, lead hands joined, step forward L and lead woman to close R with a little pressure through the lead arms held low. Let me mention that leads directed toward the body's center of gravity are always more effective and can be more subtle than those attempted high in the air, and a high lead may pull her topline over. She needs to dance from her center. You'll eventually want to raise that lead hand to lead the Hockey Stick Ending, but don't jump the gun. A little nudge along her right arm leads her first step well. Next, the man will recover R, and she steps forward L. Close L and she steps forward R to a position in front of the man; she facing reverse, he shaping toward the woman and so facing DLW. Now begin to raise lead hands, rock back R, she forward L. Recover L, she forward R with a sharp LF turn under lead arms to face man. She steps side and back toward diagonal reverse and wall, and he steps forward to follow her. Her progression toward reverse and then backing toward diagonal reverse and wall traces out the shape of an ice hockey stick.

One thing the man does to lead her Hockey Stick Ending (the second measure) is to move the lead hands between the partnership and in the direction of DRW. The second lead comes from his body shaping. The line of his upper body along the diagonal directs her progression along that diagonal.

Notice that when doing a hockey stick from fan or an alemana from fan (well above on this page), the woman's first step is a closing one. These are two very common sequences, and it is easy to get the mistaken idea that, from fan position, a woman will always next take a closing step. In the standard fan position, the man will lead her closing step with pressure through the lead hands, but from a facing fan position, his first step will be forward, and she will step back. In executing a Double Fan (just above on this page), he will lead her into an initial forward step. So, ladies, in fan position, don't assume that you will next close your lead foot. Take the step that your man leads you to take.

In the Steinkes' Speak Low III, part A begins in closed position wall with side walks;; full basic;; new orker; fan; hockey stick;; half basic; and underarm turn;

In The Summer Knows by Lamberty, we have a hockey stick ending by itself. The dance begins with a lead-foot lariat; hockey stick ending to the wall; curl; to a fan;

Stop and Go Hockey Stick

phase V

qqs; qqs;

Start in a fan position, lead feet free. Step forward L (woman close R), recover R raising lead hand to lead woman to begin a LF turn (woman fwd L), close L (woman fwd R turning 1/2 LF under lead hands to end at man's right side) man places right hand at her left shoulder, -; fwd R checking woman's movement with right hand and shaping toward her (woman bk L), recover L raising lead hands (woman recover R), close R (woman fwd L turning 1/2 RF under lead hands) ending in fan position again, -;
Advanced Hockey Stick

qqs; qqs;

In left open facing position DRW, step fwd L (W bk R), rec R turning 1/4 RF (W rec L), cl L (W fwd R), -; bk R turning (W fwd L), rec L (W fwd R turning LF to face M), fwd R (W bk & sd L) to end in left open facing position COH; In Te Quiero "I Love You" by the Matthews, there is a closed hip twist; fan; hockey stick;; advanced hockey stick;; curl; and lady out to fan M facing COH;
Checked Hockey Stick

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;
To "check" a hockey stick is to stop the figure after the first measure, insert something, and then finish the hockey stick. That "something" is sometimes hip rocks, and it will be separately cued.

In fan position, lead hands joined, step forward L and lead woman to close R with a little pressure through the lead arms held low. Next, the man will recover R, and she steps forward L. Close L and she steps forward R to a position in front of the man; she facing reverse, he shaping toward the woman and so facing DLW. Raise lead hands and gaze at partner through the "window" formed by lead arms.

Here, we insert the hip rocks. The man places his right hand on the front of her left hip and rocks sd R (W sd L), rec L, rec R, -; rk sd L, rec R, rec L, -;

Now finish the hockey stick. Rock back R, she forward L. Recover L, she forward R with a sharp LF turn under lead arms to face man. She steps side and back toward diagonal reverse and wall, and he steps forward to follow her.
In Saying Something Stupid by the Raybucks, the dance begins with 3 cuddles lady spiral to a fan;;;; checked hockey stick; hip rocks;; finish the hockey stick; alemana;; overturned to an advanced sliding door;;
Aida

phase IV

qqs;

In butterfly position facing wall, trail feet free, step thru to line, and begin to turn RF (woman LF). Step side and continue to turn. Step back to a V-position, back-to-back, looking reverse, lead hands joined. May begin with the lead feet, moving to RLOD. May be done from other facing positions.

A little different look is produced by taking two forward steps and then sharply turning in on the second step and stepping back into the aida position. Instead of a rounded look, we have a crisper, more proud, more deliberate look.

In My Reflection by Lillefield, there is a new yorker to reverse; aida w/ arms; switch cross; roll to reverse;
Three Aidas

qqs; qqs; qqs;

In butterfly position facing wall, trail feet free, step thru to line, and begin to turn RF (woman LF), step side and continue to turn, step back to a V-position back-to-back looking reverse lead hands joined, -; step thru L (woman thru R), fwd R turning LF (woman fwd L turning RF) and joining trail hands, bk & sd L to a V-position back-to-back looking LOD, -; and again thru with the trail feet beginning to turn in, step side and continue to turn, step back to a V-position back-to-back looking reverse lead hands joined, -; In the Moores' Beautiful Maria, part C begins with 2 of Three Alemanas;;; Three Aidas;;; hip rock and swivel to face; fan; to a hockey stick;;
Switch or Switch Cross

phase IV

qqs;

In an aida or V-back-to-back position, lead hands joined, turn to face partner and step side, checking. This first step can also feel like a sharp back step, turning. Recover on trail feet, and then cross lead in front of trail. May also be done with trail feet from an aida position facing LOD.

The use of the cue term "switch" is not well standardized. Sometimes it is used to designate a figure composed of three steps. But relatively often, it refers to only the one, turning step. The newer cues switch cross and switch rock (below) reflect this tendency. We also sometimes hear a cue like, "switch, recover, and step forward" or even simply, "slow switch," meaning take one step and turn in some way.

Do a half basic; aida; switch; to crab walks to reverse;; cucaracha;

In Don't Know Why by Lamberty, we have a one-step "switch." The dance starts in aida position facing RLOD with trail feet free. We do a slow switch to face, -, recover, -; cucaracha cross; spot turn; to a half basic;

In Crying by the Sechrists, in skaters LOD L feet free, we walk 3 & switch to left skaters RLOD; walk 3 & switch to skaters DLC; hold & arm sweep to SCP;

Switch Rock

phase IV

qqs;

In an aida or V-back-to-back position, lead hands joined, turn to face partner and step side, checking. This first step can also feel like a sharp back step, turning. Recover on trail feet, and then step side on lead feet. May also be done with trail feet from an aida position facing line. You'll have a little of the feel of a "rock three" turning to face partner. In Enchanted Boy IV by the Andersons, there are hip rocks with the lead feet; aida to line; switch rock; spot turn to line;
Flirt

phase IV

qqs; qqs;

In a facing, handshake position (right-right hands joined), step forward L (woman back R), recover R, and side L leading woman to step forward R and turn LF to varsouvienne. In the second measure, both rock back, then recover, and the man steps side R and the woman steps side L, crossing in front of the man to end in Left Varsouvienne. In the Preskitts' I Wish You Love Rumba, there is a hockey stick from fan;; flirt;; sweethearts woman face;;; to a spot turn;
Tornillo Wheel

phase V

qqs; qqs;

In banjo position, walk clockwise around the woman, R, L, R, -; L, R, L, -; She brings her left foot up to her right knee, toes pointing down, rises onto right toes, looks well left, as man turns her one full turn.

One key to success here is for the man to walk a true circle, not a square, not wandering a little farther from her and then back closer. Take each step with the foot turned to the right, as though you are walking on the rim of a 55 gallon drum, and you neither want to fall in or off . I hope I'm not belaboring this, but she can't move, and if you don't stay on the circle, she'll tip over; it'll look awkward.

Since it is impossible to walk a perfect circle, maybe the real key to succes is for the woman to relax. If she maintains her usual tone, she will feel every deviation from that perfect circle. She will wobble and waver. If she will relax, she can give and take with shock-absorber arms. She can stay comfortably on that center point even if he does shift a bit from one side to the other. It takes two to dance a smooth Wheel.

In the Hartungs' Romantic Interlude, there is a half basic to a tornillo wheel;;; cucaracha; fwd basic & check; hip rocks 3;
Ballerina Wheel

phase VI

qqs; qqs;

In varsouvienne or shadow skaters, walk clockwise around the woman, L, R, L, -; R, L, R, -; She brings her right foot up to her left knee, toes pointing down, rises onto left toes, and allows man to turn her one full turn. Similar to Tornillo Wheel, but starts with lead foot instead of trail, and done in varsouvienne instead of banjo. Again, the man must not take simple forward steps but must turn the foot to the right on each step and stay exactly on the circumference of the circle, at the center of which rotates the woman. And the woman must relax so that her arms can absorb any lateral movements that would otherwise tip her off of the vertical. In Many Kisses by the Browns, there is an open hip twist; underarm turn to varsou; ballerina wheel;; natural opening out to left varsou; reverse wheel 6;; hockey stick ending to face;
Natural Top

qqs;

The complete figure is called the full natural top (3 measures), so this one measure figure is sometimes cued, "natural top 3" meaning three steps. It usually begins in closed position, diagonal reverse and wall, trail foot free. Turning RF, the man crosses his right in back of left, and the woman steps side L. On the first quick, the man steps side L, and the woman crossed R in front of L, continuing to turn. Finally, the man crosses RIB of L, and the woman steps side L to closed position facing wall. In the Bucks' Happy Ever After, part A begins with an open hip twist; fan; hockey stick;; fwd basic; back walks 6;; natural top 3; From there, one could go back to new yorkers, time steps, or many others.
Full Natural Top

phase V

qqs; qqs; qqs;

The one measure natural top is simply continued for two more measures, completing two full RF turns, again to end CP facing wall, lead feet free: XRIB trn (W sd L), sd trn (W XRIF of L), XIB trn, -; sd trn, XIB trn, sd trn, -; XIB trn, sd trn, close, -; while the woman alternates side steps and XIF. In the Rumbles' If Tomorrow Never Comes, part A begins with a forward basic to a full natural top;;;; to an opening out to continuous hip twists;;
Continuous Natural Top

phase VI

qqs; qqs; qqs;

This one is a full natural top with a woman's left-face spiral inserted into both measures 2 and 3: The first measure is like the full natural top. The man crosses behind R, sd L, bhd R, -; and the woman steps sd L, fwd R, sd L, -; turning RF. In the second measure, the man continues turning and steps sd, bhd, sd. On that first step, he raises his lead hand and moves it slightly to his right to signal the W's spiral. Don't "whip" her around. The most important feature of this lead is to center your lead hand over her axis of rotation, directly over her head. The woman steps forward R spiraling left face to banjo and then steps fwd L, fwd R continuing the RF couple motion. In the third measure, the man steps behind, sd, cl, -; again raising the lead hand to signal the second spiral. The woman steps forward L, forward R making her LF turn to face partner, and side L. End in closed position facing wall.

Again, the woman's turns are full spirals, and she does each spiral on her right foot. She does not turn in the first measure. She turns on the first step of the second measure, and she turns on the second step of the third measure. Think: "0, 1, 2."

Couple rotation is up to two turns RF.

One of my all time favorites was Just Another Woman in Love by the Andersons. Part A begins in fan position with a hockey stick;; fwd basic; back walks;; to a continuous natural top;;;
Horse and Cart

phase VI

qqq,-; ,,,;

(qqq&q&; q&q&q&q;)

This figure is done in skaters position. In brief, the woman is the horse and the man is the cart. She moves him in a left-face circle up to two revolutions using up to 11 small running steps. Obviously, the connection between the horse and cart must be firm. The man places his right hand on the front of the woman's right hip bone—she can pull at this point. He also maintains a toned left arm, and she can push him around at this left-left connection (this is the more important of the two).

So, in skaters position, step fwd L (woman bk R) with slight RF turn, recover R beginning to turn LF, XLIB of R toe out (woman begins her "run" fwd R/fwd L), continue to turn LF swiveling left (woman fwd L/fwd R); extend right leg to the side in a ronde action and continue to swivel LF with the left knee flexed and the right leg straight and the inside edge of the right toe skimming the floor making up to two complete revolutions, -, -, - (woman fwd L/fwd R, fwd L/fwd R, fwd L/fwd R, fwd L);

Usually only one revolution is made. The figure is also done in banjo or in closed position (so the "horse" is backing around the circle).


Corte

phase III

s

This is really a tango figure but is used in rumba.

In closed position step back & sd L (woman fwd R) lowering, -,

In I Don't Know by Shibata, we walk 3 in L Half OP (M RLR); PU sync cuddle pivot fc COH; sync cuddle hip rocks; basic to corte; W roll out to hndshk fc COH;  At the end of the dance, we are in skaters COH; W roll to cuddle wall; qk corte twist & slo leg crawl;
Double Corte

ss; ss; (ss; qqs;)

This is not a standard figure but a corte in front of the man and then a same foot corte behind the man.

In closed position, step back and a bit to the side L (woman fwd R) lowering, -, recover R (woman recovers L and rondes R behind L, no weight), -; hold (woman XRIB of L), back L (woman fwd L behind man's right leg), -, -;

In the Goss' Rumba Concerto, there is a maneuver pivot 2; pivot 2 to lady knee lift; double corte which they step cue as a rolling corte recover she ronde; lady behind side same foot outside lunge; to a transition pivot to a rudolph ronde;
Same Foot Lunge

phase VI

s

Begin in closed position with trail feet free. Since this is a "same foot" figure, we have to do a transition. Often, the cue is "prep for a same foot lunge." The "prep" is a slight rise and right face rotation causing the woman to rise to her toes and change weight to her left foot. She has rotated a little RF but not as far as to semi-closed position—you are still closed. Her right knee is tucked just behind her left knee. Her left hipbone needs to settle into the hollow of his right hipbone (inside his right hip). Both now have right feet free. Now we can do the figure.

Lower in the left leg with slight left sway, push, and step side and forward R, looking right. Change to right sway and give her your right side—that will close her head (woman steps straight back R turning LF and looking well left—very like a contra check step for the woman). The man's left leg will be extended to the side, straight and strong. Because of her body turn, the woman's left leg will be crossed in front of her right and extended on the same diagonal as the man's. Keep your hips well in to your partner. Again, you are in closed position (not an L-position).

If you have a full measure, it is common to change the sway a third time. Use right-side stretch and right-face upper body rotation to sway left and open her head to a tight semi-closed position. This change puts you in a good position for the exit, which might involve a rise, LF rotation to lead a step forward L for the woman. Now you have lead feet free to complete a Telespin ending or other exit.

The position that you have assumed as a result of a same foot lunge is called a Same Foot Lunge Line. One "steps" into a same foot lunge, and one simply "lowers" into a same foot lunge line. More specifically, a prep to a same foot lunge involves one weight change for the man and two for the woman. Lowering into a same foot lunge line involves no step for the man. He is on his R foot already, and he simply lowers into position. The woman transitions by closing her R to L (one weight change), and then she lowers into position.

In Beautiful Maria by the Moores, part B contains a Same Foot Lunge done in cuddle position, rather than in closed. The section begins with an Advanced Alemana to face COH;; Cuddle; Cuddle Preparation; Samefoot Lunge; and then lady syncopated underarm spin; and alemana to face the wall;;
Three Threes

phase VI

qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;

I don't know where this name came from. Each measure contains three steps, but there are four measures. Why isn't it called "four threes?" The first measure is just an overturned open hip twist, so maybe the figure name refers to the fancy stuff—measures 2, 3, and 4?

So, we begin in left open facing position, probably facing wall. The man steps forward L, recover R, and close L leading the woman to hip twist on her R 1/2 turn RF. Now both face wall in tandem. During the second measure, he steps back R, recover L, close R, while she steps in place L, R, L, spinning LF a full turn on the last beat. The man might have his hands on her shoulders during this measure and lead the spin with slight pressure during the third step of the measure. Don't actually spin your partner. Just hint or "invite" her to spin at the proper moment.

In the third measure, the man steps side and forward L, and the woman steps side and back R. This step has a sort of Sweetheart feel or diagonal Cucaracha. Then the man recovers and closes. The woman recovers L and steps forward R and swivels 1/2 RF to face the man.

In the fourth measure, the man steps back R, recover L, and small forward R. The woman is facing her man, a little distance away. She steps forward L toward him and swivels 1/2 RF, forward R toward wall and swivels 1/2 RF, and finally forward L back to a standard facing position. This last measure is very like an Alemana turn for the woman. At phase IV, the Alemana turn is normally done on a triangular path on the floor. In Three Threes, dance an Alemana turn on a straight line toward the man, away, and then back to him again (don't do a basketball turn). The count for the woman is really "q/&, q/&, s; with the step occurring on the "quick" and a sharp turn of the hips on the "&." Always step and then turn or you will be off balance.

Notice that all of the woman's half spins are RF. Only her full spin in the second measure is LF.

The Bucks' La Novia Rumba, ends with two shadow breaks in handshake;; three threes;;;; to an open contra check and hold;
Three Threes Ending

qqs;

Sometimes, the last measure of Three Threes is cued as a stand-alone figure. The man steps back R, recover L, and forward R. The woman is facing her man, a little distance away. She steps forward L toward him and spirals 1/2 RF, forward R toward wall and does a hip twist 1/2 RF, and finally forward L back to a standard facing position.

Again, notice the woman's step spiral, step hip twist, and step forward. One teacher once suggested that this part had a kind of skating action: step/skate, step/skate, and forward.

In the Rumbles' Amapola, we find ourselves in shadow position facing line of dance, and the cue is Opposition Break to Three Threes Ending. The man rocks forward L, recover, close, opening the woman out a bit. She steps back and side R, recover, and then forward R stepping away from the man and then doing a hip twist 1/2 to face reverse. Then she does her Three Threes Ending to a handshake; Advanced Hip Twist; woman across to center of hall; to an Aida;




dingbat




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