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Phase IV Figures Continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
September, 1989

NATURAL WEAVE: In order to keep a regular sequence of figures together, we will include the Natural Weave, a Phase V figure, with the previous descriptions. We start with a right-face (RF) turn as the name "natural" suggests and note that this figure is used only in foxtrot. Once again, as is the case in the weave family, it consists of one slow and six quicks. Round dances often use the CP LOD starting alignment, but facing DLW for the man is normal, and the compact SCP is a possible configuration also. We will describe the usual version from facing DLW.

The man shapes to the right (in ballroom -- contra-body movement or CBM) on his R heel (S) rising to the toe as he brings the lady to CP, if not already there. The turn should be under 3/8 and normally ends facing DRW for the man (most charts specify a little under 1/4). The lady steps back on her L while matching the man's shape with some body rise but no foot rise so that she can lower to the heel at the end of this step. Step 2 is L to the side for the man on the toe (Q) turning RF and adjusting the body to start backing up while leading the lady to close her feet as she goes backward on her R for a heel turn (she has body rise at the end). Although there is a right sway (lady left) at this point, it is easy for the man to use too much and force an overturn for the lady. On the third step, the man goes backward toward DLC on his R toe (Q) with his right shoulder leading and only a little RF turn -- no body sway. For the lady, it is a forward step on her L with no turn or sway but getting set to step into contra BJO. Step 4 is directly back DLC on the toe (Q) while leading the lady into contra body and lifting the right side to develop a left sway as the lady sways to the right. Again, it is good practice for the man to lower to the heel at the end of this step to allow the lady more freedom of movement. The locking of the thighs, etc. remains the same as in the other weaves. Steps 5,6,7 are the same also, ending as before in feather position with the man facing DLW.

REVERSE WEAVE: Not a figure listed in the phase ratings but is sometimes referred to. Very simply, it is a strong lead, often toward RLOD, on the man's R bringing the lady to CP (if not already in this configuration) with a slow step, then a forward step on his L to start the six quicks of the weave, following the pattern of the Check & Weave (fwd L, side R . . .).

OVERSWAY: This figure is usually taken after an Open Telemark where the third step is modified to lead into the lateral motion desired, normally with the man facing the wall. It could be taken from any figure which ends in compact SCP where the man must lead the preparation for the Oversway. The name is derived from the extra right sway (lady left) involved with a matching leg line -- it is a very controlled step. Some modifications have been made when the partners want to develop a particular personalized look.

For a standard Oversway, the man will lower his L heel and flex the left knee with a right sway (stretching the left side) while starting a slow head roll to end looking strongly to the right. The body weight should be centralized over the left heel. This is strictly a lateral motion, although the appearance is that the body is turned inward. Both partners concentrate on keeping the shoulders parallel with each other as the man extends his right leg with only the toes touching the floor. The lady extends her L in the same manner while looking strongly over her left shoulder. There should be a definite upper body separation between the partners to give the display look that the figure requires. Some dancers prefer to get a little LF turn at the end but if the figure is done correctly the allusion of this is sufficient. The normal timing is on a slow in foxtrot, where it goes into the second measure for two counts. In waltz, the count is normally three, and the recovery started on the last count of the second measure.

A variation of the Oversway is the Hi-Line. It is again entirely a lateral motion with more body rise (on the toes) and with an open head (lady to right). This is often followed by a change of sway to a compact SCP to LOD. The Hi-Line is not listed in the phase ratings. The other variation called the Challenge Line is found in Phase VI, although it is only slightly more difficult than the standard Oversway. It is taken flat footed, but the body is raised to its limit, while the man places himself slightly ahead of the lady. This was once used exclusively in tango but is now found sometimes in foxtrot and waltz. When used in these rhythms, the choreographer often specifies a rise to the toes.

RONDE: Listed in all rhythms in Phase IV as a motion using the moving leg. Heretofore, round dancers used the terms "flare" and "fan" to describe the two basic types of ronde. The former, which is now called the Aerial Ronde, is where the foot describes an arc in the air, and it can be rudimentary and sometimes hurried to the other extreme, where the lady does a very high lift, as in the Rudolph Ronde. Incidentally, in this figure, the term "Rudolph" refers to the addition of the ronde action. Since the word "fan" is now understood to mean a position in rumba, an action in tango, and other connotations in latins, we did well to eliminate it as that ronde action where the foot is kept in contact with the floor. Unfortunately the cue as used to activate the ronde action does not normally specify which type to use and places the burden on the dancer to know the choreography.

CHAIR: This is a one-step movement from the normal compact SCP usually facing LOD or nearly so. It is really a soft lunging action where the partners' feet are pointed diagonally together (man's R and lady's L). There is a definite left-shoulder lead for the man and a matching right-shoulder lead for the lady where both keep a strong contra-body shape while using a front poise. Nearly always there is a recovery step for both on the outside foot. If bringing the lady back to CP, he will place his R slightly behind his L while lowering strongly onto the R.

Sometimes a backward poise is indicated. If so, the couple will start their heads turning inward after placing the feet and initiate a right sway for the man and left for the lady. A Broken Chair requires two definite actions; first the normal front poise and then the change to the back poise, usually on two slow counts. For waltz, it may require two full measures for the precedes and follows.

Next: Diamond Turn.

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, December 2010.


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