Is It A Cross Body, Turning Basic,
or Left Pass?
& Dan Finch
We have three similar figures in Bolero, all turning left-face and used
to dance the lady from facing one direction to facing the opposite
direction. They all begin with lead feet and all turn the couple
one-half; all use Bolero technique. So, what is the difference between
the cross body, the turning basic, and the left pass?
Cross body in Bolero is not the same cross body as in Rumba, the
difference being the number of measures each requires and the timing.
In Rumba, with QQS QQS timing, the cross body starts like a half basic
except Man steps forward left, recovers, then turns and steps side.
then Man steps back to start the second measure as his partner moves
across in front of him to face the opposite direction. In Bolero, it is
a one-measure figure, danced SQQ. The couple can begin in semi-closed,
butterfly or left open facing with lead feet free. He steps side and
back turning left face as Lady steps side and forward right to an “L”
position. His second step is back right with a slipping action and she
steps forward left turning one-half to face him. His third step is
forward left completing the half turn as she steps back or side right.
Left pass is a more dramatic figure, beginning from left open facing
position. According to the RAL Manual, Man steps side and forward left
turning a little right face, lowering their lead hands to lead lady to
step forward and side right turning sharply one-quarter right face to
wrap into his left arm, almost like an embrace. She can look at him, in
that loving bolero way, as he steps back on his right foot turning to
face line and center. This causes her to step side and forward turning
left face almost to closed position. He continues turning to face
center and she steps back right.
Turning basic begins in closed position and has a slipping action to
turn the couple one-half, still in closed position. It is written as a
two-measure figure; the Manual prescribes a three-step contra check-
like action in closed position as the second measure, although a
variety of one-measure endings are used in choreography. It can be
danced with more drama, with Man stepping side and forward left to
start. Because they are in closed position, she won’t “wrap” into his
lead arm like in a left pass, but she can follow his body shape and
change her head to look right over her shoulder before the slip.
Is any one of them more correct than the others? They all can be used
to create a big change of orientation, and could be interchangeable in
some choreography, but each has a styling that makes them distinctive
from the others.
From a club
newsletter, January 2018,
in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, February 2018. Find a DRDC Finch archive here.