Phase IV Figures Continued
by Roy &
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
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
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. This
article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, December 2010.