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Phase IV Figures Continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
December, 1989

We will complete the Phase IV figures under waltz and foxtrot, together with those that apply to quickstep, and then go on to those that apply to quickstep alone and the few tango figures listed. The treatment of jive will be given later under the latins (as in ballroom).

BACK WHISK: This is a basic waltz figure that is sometimes used in foxtrot but rarely applied in quickstep. We will describe it as applied to waltz.

For the precedes, the couple must already be ready to blend to contra banjo with the man prepared to step backward on his L. He uses a toe/heel movement normally backing DRC or RLOD with no body rise and leading the lady to make a RF turn. She steps forward on her R starting to turn RF (H/T) while blending to contra banjo. On step 2, the man steps diagonally back on his R with no body turn but rising to the toe and starting a left sway (ladies right sway). The lady steps L to the side, also on the toe, having turned 1/8 RF away from the man. Step 3 is really a fallaway movement, however, the man would normally not turn but allow the lady to make the additional 1/8 RF turn to blend to compact SCP. He crosses his L in back of R with both toes pointed diagonally away while bringing the right shoulder back with a rising to full body height and still maintaining the left sway. Ladies make their additional turn to the fallaway position and cross R in back of L with a left-shoulder lead, also at full body height (right sway). [Note: As we cover the Fallaway Whisk in Phase V, you will see that the basic difference is that both partners turn and the sway is changed.]

When used in foxtrot, the movement is the same except that when a Natural Turn is the precedes, the man's R foot is back and he must make a small RF turn to compensate for the lady's overturn, normally 1/4 more than the man. Timing is also SQQ. This figure can be adapted to quickstep using three slow counts.

LEFT WHISK: This is sometimes called the flat-footed whisk because it has no rise and fall, but it is very versatile because of its variations. We will describe the generic version in waltz and then note some other choices. Starting from a compact SCP, the man steps forward on his R heel directly in front of his L, i.e., with body facing DLW, the movement along LOD. Ladies will step forward and across on their L as they start to turn LF (H/T). Step 2 is side and slightly forward for the man as he starts to turn LF to lead the lady into her turn. Footwork is very close to the ball/flat of rumba. Ladies will turn up to 1/4 LF as they step sideward and slightly backward on the R (T/H) keeping their body down. On step 3, the man feels like he is leading the lady into a Wing except that he crosses R in back of L while turning his body LF (T/H = ball/flat) and looking at the lady. She steps back on her L to strong contra body with an additional 1/8 turn (T/H also) as she opens her head well to the left.

When started in CP, the man can step backward on his R, second step to side starting a LF turn, and then twist LF as he brings the lady around on her LF turn (she must turn more than he). A Left Whisk "line" can be used when the precedes ends with the man stepping side L. He can then cross R in back of L to lead the lady forward on her LF turn. Other variations used by advanced dancers do not apply directly to round dancers. In foxtrot, this figure is normally SQQ but has been done on rare occasions in three slows to dramatize the movement.

IN AND OUT RUNS: This is an American waltz derivative that has been adapted to International waltz where the dancers remain in closer contact. We will describe this version and then note the original use of the figure. Starting in compact SCP (normally facing LOD or nearly so) the man steps forward on the R heel going to toe and starting a RF turn around the lady in contra-body motion. She steps forward LOD on the L (H/T) to nearly touch the man's R foot. Step 2 for the man is side and slightly back on the L (T/H) using a slight pivoting action to face RLOD with body rise and developing a right sway. The lady again steps forward on her R (H/T) between the man's feet blending to nearly CP with a left sway. Step 3 is backward and slightly right on the man's R with the right shoulder leading while leading the lady into contra banjo. This is a toe step with body rise maintained until lowering for step 4. Ladies step forward outside the man (H/T) blending to contra banjo and losing the left sway. On step 4, the man goes back on his L for a heel turn but keeps his R in front as in a pivoting action. Ladies will step forward R starting a RF turn while rising to the toe for a pivoting preparation (as in an Impetus Turn - no sway). On the fifth step, the man steps diagonally forward on his R continuing the turn to face approximately COH (H/T) and developing a left sway. Ladies step side and somewhat backward for a toe pivot but use no brushing action. Her momentum will carry her into a wide SCP as she develops a little right sway. Step 6 brings the couple back to the compact SCP as the man steps side and slightly forward L (T/H) while continuing his RF turn with left shoulder leading but no sway. Ladies step side R to SCP with her foot pointing to LOD but moving nearly DLW (T/H).

In foxtrot, the timing is SQQ; SQQ; and this figure could be done in two step with QQS timing. The original version used in both waltz and foxtrot has the man rolling across in front of the lady and vice versa. His first two steps are very much like that described above, but on step 3, his R is placed to side pulling away from the lady to face between COH and DLC while changing to a left half open position. Ladies will again step forward on the first three steps (LRL) down LOD or nearly so and end by placing her right hand on the man's left upper arm. Step 4 is a small step for the man as he crosses L in front of R to lead the lady to cross in front. Step 5 is forward on the R LOD and then ends by continuing his RF turn by stepping side L with the toe pointing DLW, now in half open position or back to SCP. For all practical purposes, the lady has a repeat of her action in the International version except that she changes hands by placing her left hand on the man's upper right arm in the middle of step 5.

In and Out Runs have been used extensively in American foxtrot and in waltz for many years. We also see some use of this figure in the rumba and bolero (QQS).

Note: For additional styling, the ladies close their head as they go from SCP to CP but the man will find that starting a head roll to the right on step 3 and then well to the right on 4 will enhance the partnership. He should return his head to the left on 5 and 6.

Next: Quickstep Quarter Turns.

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, March 2011.


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