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Left Turn With Inside Roll

by Tim Eum

The Left Turn with Inside Roll is one of the most frequent figures encountered when dancing slow two step. It is one of the first figures done in the classic dance Rachel’s Song, which is one of the first slow two step dances that many round dancers learned. There is one bit of awkwardness that most dancers feel doing this figure, but there is a little “trick” that you can do to fix it that is basic to many other round dance figures as well.

A typical sequence (such as in Rachel’s Song) is “Underarm Turn; to a Basic Ending; Left Turn with Inside Roll; Basic Ending; to another Left Turn with Inside Roll; with Basic Ending;” Note that you begin and end a normal Underarm Turn to a Basic Ending facing wall or COH. To those who do not know the “trick”, doing the Left Turn with Inside Roll from here (facing wall or COH) becomes awkward because the Left Turn tends to go towards LOD (or RLOD) and not wall and it seems difficult for the lady to adjust since she not only has to pickup but also set up for an inside roll all on the first step. Indeed, Roundalab specifies that you should modify any figure prior to a Left Turn with Inside Roll by picking up on the last step of the previous figure (i.e. the Basic Ending). Note that Roundalab thus changes the first step of the Left Turn with Inside Roll from the normal side step in slow two step to a forward (for man) and back (for lady). But this is unnecessary if you know and do the trick.

Here’s the trick: Turn your body before taking your first step. If you are in BFLY facing wall with lead foot free, begin a Left Turn with Inside Roll by turning your body left face, and only then step side & forward (lady side & back) with lead foot and continue to turn (i.e., swiveling) left after taking weight on that lead foot. Because of the body turn the side & forward first step does not go toward LOD but toward DLC, which leaves only about another 1/4 turn to swivel before taking the second step. This first step, i.e., the Left Turn, is thus done easily ending in BFLY facing approximately DLC.

To finish the figure, the man steps side with his right (turning another 1/8 LF) and then crosses left in front to face COH and partner while the lady steps side & forward with her left foot turning left face for her inside turn and finishing by stepping forward & side turning left face on her right foot..

The timing for the figure is of course the characteristic slow two step rhythm of SQQ.

Throughout round dancing, turning the body prior to taking the step occurs often in turns. Indeed, one primary use of Contra Body Movement is to initiate turns in the step prior to the turn by turning the hips & upper body before turning on the foot in the next step. But CBM is another lesson.

Tim Eum has prepared many Round Dance Tips for Calls 'n' Cues, WASCA, for his weekly Rocket Rounds email reports, and for other publications. This article was prepared for the RAL Virtual Convention, 2021. DRDC is grateful for permission to collect and reprint. A Tim Eum archive.



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