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Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum—

Rumba Hip Twists

by Tim Eum & Shirley Ray

Open Hip Twist (phase 5) --

Start this from a close facing position with lead hands joined low.
On the first step, the man will check forward with lead foot, leading the lady to rock back with a strong lead arm “push” at waist level.  Ladies must not let their right arm/elbow be pushed behind their body but instead “resist” with good arm tension. 

On the second step, the man will draw the lead arm back as he recovers back onto his trail foot, and if the lady retains the arm tension she will feel the pull back towards the man that leads her to recover with her trail foot. 

On the third beat, the man closes his lead foot and braces his lead hand so that the lady feels all momentum being blocked as she steps forward toward the man with her lead foot.  Precisely at this moment, the lady will swivel her hips & legs ¼ right face while maintaining her top line (upper body & shoulders) toward partner.  This “hip twist” occurs as early as the last half of the third beat or as late as the first half of the fourth beat, but in either case comes after the lady has taken weight going forward with her third step

How you move your free arms in round dancing is almost always optional but can add to the flair of your dancing. In this case, the man need do nothing but leave his free (right) arm out level to the floor throughout most of the figure, but the lady can add a bit of flair by taking her free arm (left) up above her head on step one (like an explode apart), bend the left elbow as she recovers bringing the arm in front of her as she does the hip twist and then laying the left arm flat out in front just before moving forward into the next figure after the Open Hip Twist. 

Closed Hip Twist (phase 5) --

Unlike the Open Hip Twist, which can start with partners slightly apart facing each other, the Closed Hip Twist must start with partners close together in Closed Position (CP) or BJO. It is a one-measure figure with QQS timing beginning with lead foot free.

As an overall description, the man does a modified forward cucaracha, while the lady does a modified break back, quick recover to face, then finishing with a close and quick "hip twist."

On the first step (Q for man, &Q for lady), the man rocks side to his left and a little forward (perhaps even a "press line") while turning his upper body frame to his right.  This leads the lady to quickly swivel right face on her trail foot and then break back onto her lead (right) foot to an "L" position (man facing DRW, lady facing DLW).  Note:  The lady should try to keep her upper body frame turned as much toward the man as possible and primarily swivel only her lower body.

On the second step (Q for man, Q& for lady), the man recovers back onto his trail foot while the lady recovers forward onto her left (trail) foot and then quickly swivels to face the man in a loose CP.  As the couple recovers, the upper body frame will also recover going back to CP.

On the third and last step (S for man, S& for lady),  the man closes taking weight onto his left (lead) foot while the lady also closes taking weight onto her right (lead) foot and then quickly swivels her hips and legs ¼ right face while keeping her upper body frame toward partner (i.e. a "hip twist"). Ends in a SCP or “L” position with trail foot free.

Advanced Hip Twist (phase 6) --

The Advanced Hip Twist is similar to the phase 5 Closed Hip Twist which in turn is similar to the much more familiar phase 5 Open Hip Twist.  All three figures end the same way – with the lady doing the hip twist after she has taken weight onto her third and final step and before taking the first step of the next figure (i.e., turning on the & count ).  The Closed Hip Twist and the Advanced Hip Twist both begin in Closed (or Banjo) position, but the third step of the Advanced Hip Twist is a crossing step rather than a closing step, which enables more “twist.”

On the first step the man “presses” forward and slightly side with his left foot (Q) while the lady swivels half-way right face to an "L" position (man facing DRW, lady facing DLW) and rocks back on her right foot (&Q). To help the lady do this, the man should rotate his upper body right face and lower the lead hands. Remember that this first step is done in one quick beat, and again keep the upper body frame turned toward partner. 

On the second step, the man recovers back onto his right foot and turns his upper body back to facing (Q), as he began, while the lady not only recovers forward onto her left foot but swivels left face immediately 5/8 – thus over-turning more than what was done on the first step (Q&).  If you started the figure with man facing wall, he will end the second step facing wall while the lady will be facing DRC in a loose CP or slight BJO. This step, too, is a one-beat, quick step. 

The final & third step is a small cross left in back of right for the man (S) while the lady steps forward with her right foot, and after putting weight onto that third step, the lady will then do a snappy, right face swivel in her hips (the hip twist, S&).  Both the man and lady should keep their upper bodies turned as much toward their partner as they can. The ending position is a “loose” SCP facing DLW if the figure started in CP or BJO with man facing wall.

The Roundalab definition specifies that the lady swivels ½ right face on the first step, 5/8 left face on the second step, and ¼ right face on the third step.  In practice, it is more normal for the lady to swivel 3/8 right face on the first step, 1/2 left face on the second step, and 1/4 right face on the third step.

Continuous Hip Twist (Phase 6) --

In the classic dance, Perfidia in Brazil by the Hurds, there is a Continuous Advanced Hip Twist which Roundalab standardized as Continuous Hip Twist.  Once you know the Advanced Hip Twist, the Continuous Hip Twist becomes easy.  That’s because the Continuous Hip Twist is a two measure figure of which the first measure is an Advanced Hip Twist.  Timing for the whole figure is QQS; QQS.

The Continuous Hip Twist starts from CP and as stated above, begins with an Advanced Hip Twist, which leaves you in a “L” position with trail foot free.  Continue with the lady going forward to an outside swivel (man rock back) to BJO and then Wheel 2 in BJO turning 1/4 right face from starting direction.  

More specifically, on the fourth step (quick with trail foot) when the lady goes forward swiveling left face to BJO, note that the man is rocking back opposite the way the lady is going and a momentary gap is created (which gives room for the lady’s swivel), but don’t worry because the last two steps have the partners quickly coming back together with a run 2 around each other (i.e., a wheel 2 in BJO) turning right face just one quarter turn. 
In Perfidia in Brazil you do two Continuous Hip Twists in a row and after four measures have rotated half way around.  This sequence gives you the feeling that the figure is “continuous.”  Note that the Roundalab definition only makes it a 2 measure figure.

Tim Eum has prepared many Round Dance Tips for Calls 'n' Cues, WASCA, for his weekly Rocket Rounds email reports, and for other publications. DRDC is grateful for permission to collect and reprint. A Tim Eum archive.



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