Meredith & Harold



MAJOR SECTIONS: Figures | Articles | Links | Alph. Index | Search | Home

Figures in the Smooth Rhythms
Viennese Waltz
International Tango
American Tango
Two Step
Five Count
One Step
Figures in the Latin Rhythms
Cha Cha
Single Swing
West Coast Swing
Slow Two Step
Argentine Tango
Paso Doble
Dance Articles
Articles Home

Dance Figures

Dance Rhythms
Lead and Follow
Dance Styling
Fred Astaire Album
Other Sections
Dance Links
Music Clips For Each Rhythm
Search Site/Web
Contact Me

A Few Advanced Figures in Rumba

by Tim Eum & Shirley Ray

Advanced Alemana (Phase 6) --

The Advanced Alemana is one of the easiest of the Phase 6 figures – it is simply a regular (phase 4) Alemana where a little extra right turn is applied throughout the figure to turn it half way around from where you started facing.  The timing of the figure is the familiar QQS; QQS; of many other rumba figures.  Begin in facing position with lead hands joined and lead foot free. 

The first two steps (timing QQ) of the Advanced Alemana are the same as the regular Alemana in that the man rocks forward and recovers while the lady rocks back and recovers.  During these first two steps the man raises the lead hands above the lady’s head.

The third step (slow with lead foot) is sideways, but while taking this step the man begins rotating his body right-face and actually takes this step a little forward & side “slightly around” the lady while moving the lead hand a little “above & behind the lady’s head” thus leading the lady to turn right-face.  The lady follows the man by stepping side (short) with her lead foot and turning her body right-face.

The fourth step (quick with trail foot) for the man is a cross behind, and for the lady is forward crossing in front where the lady continues the turn begun on the third step, passing under the joined lead hands.  Upon taking weight on the fourth step, the lady continues to “swivel” or turn right-face.

The man’s fifth step (quick with lead foot) is a side (or recover) step completing his right-face turn to face opposite from starting position.  The lady’s fifth step is a forward step with her lead foot brushing by trail foot and the continuing her right-face turn after taking weight.

The sixth and final step (slow with trail foot) for the man is a small side or closing step and for the lady is a small forward step to end facing partner.

Note that the man’s 4th, 5th, and 6th steps are like a right-turning Sailor Shuffle, and the lady’s final steps are still like a normal Alemana but with a little more turn on each step.

Rope Spin (Phase 6) --

A Rope Spin is nothing more than a lady's Spiral right-face using the left foot and then Lariat 6 around the man who does nothing more than 2 cucarachas left & right.  Usually the lady’s spiral is done as part of the last step of the previous figure and is not an “extra” step.  The Spiral comes in the last half of the last beat in the figure before the Lariat portion of the Rope Spin. 

To do a left-foot spiral, the lady will step forward with her left, and rising to her left toe, immediately use her hips to sharply rotate right-face a full spin (or at least 7/8ths) while leaving the right foot in place during the spin.  This will cause the right foot to wrap and end crossed in front of the left leg. 

After the Spiral, the lady does a Lariat 6, i.e., (QQS) forward, forward, forward, - ; (QQS) forward, forward, forward, - ;  around the man ending in BFLY, CP, or other specified position.

Usually the man does nothing more to lead a Rope Spin than to raise the lead hands high, but there is a more active alternative.  At the beginning of the last beat of the previous measure, circle the lead hands down just before the Spiral action of the Rope Spin and then swiftly circle the lead hands up to assist the Spiral action of the Rope Spin.  The timing must be perfect or this “lead” hinders instead of helps the lady to do her Spiral for the Rope Spin.

Advanced Sliding Door (Phase 6) --

In the phase 3 figure “Sliding Door,” each dancer slides past the other, with lady in front. In the Phase 6 figure “Advanced Sliding Door,” the man stays in place while the lady slides past momentarily, only to come right back to where she started. It takes two measures to do this. There are some other differences as well.

The Advanced Sliding Door begins in Skater’s or Shadow Position with lead foot free, and we essentially stay in Shadow throughout the two measures.  The timing for the man is QQS; - - S;. The timing for the lady is QQS; QQS;.

The man begins the Advanced Sliding Door by quickly rocking/checking forward with his lead foot in a “Press Line” while turning his upper body frame slightly right-face. This leads the lady to rock or check back on her lead foot (right). Both then quickly recover.

On the slow third step, the couple continues the left-face turn about 1/8, but the man crosses his left behind his right and takes weight, while the lady steps forward. Because of the turning movement, the lady’s step is across where the man began the figure facing, but the couple is still in Shadow. with the lady on the man’s right front side. The man’s back crossing step can help the couple rotate left-face just a little bit more than if he simply does a closing step.

The "picture" in this figure occurs during the fourth and fifth steps – both should move synchronously together. The man softens (i.e., bends) his left knee and points his straightened right leg/foot to his right side, then matches the same body rotation and arm movement as the lady. The lady rocks side and forward on her left foot and with a leading left hip, allowing her upper body to continue rotating about 1/8th-turn more left-face. Her right arm should sweep just a little more forward and then sweep back as she recovers R, her fifth step. The man’s right arm begins the sweep to match the lady’s but stops sooner (i.e., before hitting her). This body rotation and arm sweep should at least be done horizontally but is attractive if the couple adds a right sway (i.e., stretch left sides) so the sweeping motion moves up and to the left. It’s unattractive if the body bends forward, the butt sticks out, and the arm movement goes downward. As the lady takes her fifth step, the man rises and draws his right leg/foot in without taking weight.

On the sixth step of the figure, both step back with the trail foot in Skater’s/Shadow Position to the same position and facing direction as at the start of the 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. This one was prepared for the RAL Convention, June 2019. DRDC is grateful for permission to collect and reprint. A Tim Eum archive.



Alphabetical Index to
and Technique
Online since 2001 İHarold and Meredith Sears, Boulder, CO, All rights reserved.