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

Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum—

Three Advanced Rumba Figures

Advanced Alemana (phase 6)

One way to describe an Advanced Alemana is that it is nothing more than a regular Alemana except that as a couple you turn it half-way around -– but therein lies the difficulty. In an Alemana the lady turns under right face and in the Advanced Alemana she must turn farther (an extra half turn). In an Alemana the man stays in place but in the Advanced Alemana he must move. The timing of the steps in the Advanced Alemana is still the normal QQS; QQS; of a regular Alemana and most rumba figures.

Start an Advanced Alemana the same as a regular Alemana. Starting with lead foot (man’s left), the man will rock forward and recover on the first two steps while the lady rocks back and recovers. In a regular Alemana the man closes on the third step while the lady steps side and forward with a slight swivel right-face. However, in an Advanced Alemana, the man will turn his body about an 1/8th turn right-face and step side left while raising lead hands to lead the lady to turn under the lead hands on the next step. The lady will take her normal third step of an Alemana but will swivel the extra 1/8th of a turn right-face to prepare to go under lead hands on the next step.

The last three steps of an Advanced Alemana for the man are similar to a “Back Circle Vine 2 and Close” -– the man crosses behind with his right while turning a little more right-face, then steps side left completing the turn (if started facing wall, he is now facing COH), and finally closes with his right. The lady finishes the Advanced Alemana the same as a regular Alemana but must turn more. Her last three steps are forward (with her left foot) swiveling RF under the joined lead hands, forward (with right foot) swiveling RF, and finally another forward (with left foot) swiveling enough RF to end facing the man who has by this time circled half way around from the starting position.

Three Threes (Phase 6)

The name of this figure, “Three Threes,” seems a bit odd because there are four measures and the couple does something different on each measure. But if you analyze what the man does, it is essentially a Forward Basic; Side Basic ; Forward Basic; and Back Basic; Thus the man simply does three of the rumba basics (with one repeated) each of which has three steps -- i.e., three threes. But what the lady does with all her spins and turns is what makes this figure one of the most difficult rumba figures. The figure begins facing partner with lead hands joined and lead foot free (man’s left and lady’s right), i.e., Left Open Facing Position.

The first measure is an “overturned open hip twist.” The man does a rock forward, recover, close in QQS timing while the lady rocks back, recovers, and steps forward swiveling RF half to a tandem position in front of the man. The man lightly places his hands on the lady’s shoulders.

The second measure starts with trail foot where the man simply rocks side & back, recovers and closes while the lady steps in place with left, then steps in place with right, and then steps onto left foot making a full LF spin all the way around back to tandem position -– all with QQS timing. Many ladies have trouble making this full spin. The secret is to keep all weight (head, shoulders, body, hips, thighs, etc.) over the left foot while spinning -- the moment you lean one way or the other is when you fall off balance. The lady should bring her hands in close to her body while spinning. She can use her arms to swing into the spin but then draw them back in while spinning. The lady must not step too far to the left or she will be out of position for the third measure. The lady should end her spin still directly in front of or even slightly to the right of the man in tandem position. One note – the man should not try to help the lady spin by shoving on her shoulders – in fact he should completely release and be hands off during her spin.

The third measure can be described as an open “Sweetheart” where the man rocks forward & side with lead foot, recovers, and then closes while the lady rocks back & side, recovers, and steps forward swiveling RF half to face partner who will be about three or four feet away with no hands touching. On the first step of this third-measure “Sweetheart” it is most common for both man and lady to point left arms forward and rights arms diagonally up and back and then to bring the arms back in on the second step..

And now for the final and most difficult measure of “Three Threes” (for the lady). The fourth measure begins with partners facing and with trail foot free (man’s right and lady’s left). The man will rock back, recover, and step forward to wherever the lady finishes. The lady will step forward with the left foot swiveling RF half to tandem and quickly drawing in right foot, then quickly stepping forward with right foot swiveling RF another half (back to face partner) and quickly drawing in left foot, and finally stepping forward with left toward partner usually into loose closed position. While these steps for the lady are straight forward, the speed that they have to be done (i.e., QQS) seems lightning fast and very difficult for many ladies. One note is that this same right face turning step/touch, step/touch, step is what the ladies should do for the last part of the phase 4 figure Alemana Turn, although yes, the turns are not half turns but are less in the Alemana. If ladies can do Alemana Turns (and most can) then just a little extra swiveling will enable them to do this part of the Three Threes.

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.

Start the “Advanced Sliding Door” in Shadow Position with lead foot free and essentially stay in Shadow all during the figure and end in Shadow. On the first step, the man will “press” forward on the ball on his lead foot and bend his left knee while maintaining a straight right leg. He will also turn his upper body about 1/8th right-face. The lady will step back, turning about 1/8th right-face as well.

On the second step, both man and lady recover turning about 1/8th left-face. On the third step, the couple continues the left face turn but the man will cross his left behind his right and take weight while the lady steps forward. Note that because of the turning movement the lady’s step is “across” where the man began the figure but that the couple is still in Shadow with the lady on 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 fourth step is the picturesque key to the figure. The man will “soften” (i.e., bend) his left knee, and point his straightened right leg/foot to his right side, and then “clone” the same body rotation and arm movement that the lady does. The lady will lunge side & forward 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. The man’s right arm will begin the sweep to match the lady’s but stop sooner (i.e., before hitting her). This body rotation and arm sweep should at least be done horizontally, but does look attractive if the couple adds a right sway (i.e., stretch left sides)  so that the sweeping motion moves up and to the left. It is unattractive if the body bends forward, the butt sticks out, and the arm movement goes downward.

On the fifth and sixth steps, the lady simply runs back two steps ending exactly in the same Shadow Position and facing direction as when the figure began. The man will draw in his right leg/foot as the lady takes her fifth step and then take weight with a closing step when the lady takes her sixth step.

The timing for the lady’s six steps are the normal rumba QQS; QQS; The man’s timing is the same except that he does not take a fourth or fifth step (he is simply pointing) and thus his timing is QQS; - -S;

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.



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