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
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
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.
prepared many Round Dance Tips for Calls 'n' Cues,
WASCA, for his weekly Rocket Rounds email reports, and for
publications. This one was prepared for the RAL Convention, June 2019.
grateful for permission to collect and reprint. A Tim Eum archive.