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Phase III—Smooth Figures continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
February, 1989 

Continuing in Phase III to pick up figures used in waltz, fox trot, and quickstep, not previously described: As they apply to tango, we will note it, however, this rhythm will require an in-depth treatment at a later time. 

CHAIR: This is a one-step figure taken from a compact semi-closed position and can be performed in any direction. Both partners step through on a fairly long step, using the heel of the inside foot with the placement diagonal toward partner. As the weight is placed on the whole foot there is a definite forward lunge in strong contra body. As the man's left and lady's right knees are flexed, the body's entire weight is centralized over them. Care must be taken that the forward elbows do not drop below the normal perpendicular alignment with the body. 

The standard front poise figure can be modified to a back poise by the partners looking toward each other and on beyond this point to nearly over the shoulders. Sometimes we use a "broken chair" which entails a change of sway from a front poise to a back poise on two separate counts. The normal timing is one count in waltz, and a slow in fox trot and quickstep (rarely used in the latter). 

CHASSE: This is a generic term which applies to many rhythms; however, those in Phase III apply to waltz and fox trot primarily. It requires quite a different treatment in jive, therefore, will be described later. 

CHASSE FROM PROMENADE = FROM SCP: We usually start this figure after a Whisk, Hover, or Open Telemark, sometimes after an Open Impetus Turn. It can go to banjo position (Chasse to banjo) which is what we will describe below — or it can remain in semi-closed position (SCP) (= Semi Chasse). 

The first step for the man is right foot forward and across to allow space for the lady to move into as he develops contra body (CBMP). Following this with a chasse movement — L to side and slightly forward (this closes the gap with the lady)/close R to L, then side L and again slightly forward without hurrying the half beat. It is important to be up on the toes (lower at the end of step 4) while keeping shoulders parallel with partner, particularly on the last step. 

The lady moves her L foot forward and across as she also develops a CBMP from the R tracking behind the L. Her second step is to the side on the R as she turns approximately 1/8 LF/closes L to R still turning a little left-face but keeping her body facing the man, then side and slightly back R to a partial banjo position. The full banjo position will follow, as the man must step outside for the next figure. The lady is also up on the toes to match the man's line and neither will feel any sway on the Chasse. To end this figure in SCP, the lady will use the same basic footwork without the turn and without stepping back on step 4 as she matches the man in a tight SCP. 

In fox trot, the timing is SQ&Q. 

PROGRESSIVE CHASSE: A term used to describe a basic quickstep figure that can be used in waltz and fox trot as well. In the latter two uses, the partners may continue to face each other throughout the figure. There is no reference to a phase rating except in quickstep, where, for some obscure reason, it is placed in Phase IV. We will describe the basic quickstep version. 

Step 1 for the man is to the side on the toe with the foot pointing farther to the left than the body (the lady's R foot and body are in alignment on her first step). Step 2 is a closing one for both, however, the man's body has now caught up with the foot placement as he turns 1/8 LF while the lady turns her L foot 1/8 LF as she closes but keeps her body toward partner. Step 3 is to the side and slightly forward for the man (opposite for the lady) as both lower from toe to heel at the end of this step. The normal direction is moving along line of dance but this can vary to DLC or DLW. Timing is QQS. In waltz, it is normal timing — 12&3; in fox trot, SQ&Q. 

PROGRESSIVE CHASSE TO THE RIGHT: Again, no phase rating but a good standard figure that we will describe in waltz time. It does require a preparation step before the chasse part, so we usually cue it as "turn left to a right chasse." It starts in closed position with the man usually facing DLC. This figure follows naturally after a Wing, Hesitation Change, or the 4,5,6 of a Reverse Turn. 

For the man, it is a forward L starting to shape and turn LF, side R continuing the turn/close L to R continuing LF to complete a total turn of 1/4 (now facing DRC in normal alignment), then side and slightly back R. The timing is 12&3 with the Chasse again on the toes and facing partner. No sway as in the Chasse from Promenade. 

The lady's part is exactly opposite to the man's except that she makes practically all her turn (up to 1/4) between steps 1 and 2. Because her body must be kept facing partner, and the man turns less at this point, she will adjust her feet and body to match on her closing step. She will then be facing DLW and end in a partial banjo position, ready to step outside the man on the next figure. 

To change the above to a "turning chasse" we can use the same footwork as described above but turn as much as 1/2 by shaping more on step 1 and then dividing up the rest of the turn in the chasse part. 

HOVER: For the man, a short step forward in closed position on his L (nearly in line with his R to approach CBMP) usually DLW or between wall and DLW, then side and slightly forward R rising to full height and leaving the left leg extended but keeping the head in closed position. The third step is a recovery to compact SCP lowering from toe to heel and opening the head to the left. The lady's foot and head work are exactly opposite except that she steps directly back on step 1. Both must get a "soft" appearance on the rise to recover by slowing down the movement. This requires a long 2-count or timing of 1, 2 ah 3. In fox trot, the timing is SQQ with a little time stealing from the slow to accomplish the longer count on 2. 

Next month we should nearly wind up Phase III, with some editing as will be explained. 

This column comes from a series published in Cue Sheet Magazine between 1987 and 1992, and is reprinted with permission. The full series is collected in an 86-pg booklet, available for $30.00 plus postage. E-mail Fran Kropf at This article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)  Newsletter, April 2010.


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