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Phase IV Figures Continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
February, 1990

As we go into the figures found only in quickstep, please note that most of the others have been previously covered in our descriptions of waltz and foxtrot, i.e., Back Whisk, Chair & Slip, Change of Direction, etc. We should point out that the technique of dancing quickstep is to be at extended body height when on the toes and to develop a lightness of movement where the center of gravity is suspended over the midline in all movements not calling for sway. It is often said that this rhythm is built entirely around the chasses and locks.

QUARTER TURNS: This is an eight-step figure in three measures that has two turns of 1/4 each that begins and ends with the man facing diagonal line and wall (DLW) (rarely LOD). Strictly speaking, it really ends after step seven, however, the preparation step on the man's left foot (L) is nearly always made as described below, and it could prevent a downbeat in mid-measure, which bothers some round dance leaders.

Step 1 is forward in CP (S) on the man's R toward DLW with a rise to partial body height while starting a RF turn. Ladies step backward on their L toward DLW, also with a body rise but keeping the heel on the floor. Step 2 is to the side on the man's L toe (Q) as he completes a 1/8 turn, now facing the wall with care to keep his body square with his partner. Ladies step to the side on the R toe having overturned the man slightly with the R pointing DLC. Step 3 (Q) is a closing step that is typical of all chasses, which does not literally close but has approximately the width of a foot in between. This will bring the partners to full body height (man's R toward L and lady's L toward R). As in all chasses, the technique is to get an early rise on 1 and then continue to rise on 2 but retaining a little for the ultimate height on 3. Note: the man is now facing DRW as the lady has turned her body slightly RF. Remaining on the toe, the man's next step is to the side and slightly back toward DLC (S) while the lady steps diagonally forward on her R toe. The slight difference in direction here is to make the adjustment back to a normal CP as the couple lowers to the heel at the end of step 4. Step 5 starts a reversal of direction as the man steps backward (S) on his R (T/H) to lead the lady forward on her L (H/T), both starting a LF turn. On step 6, the man continues the LF turn as he starts a heel pivot by bringing his L heel back in a dragging motion toward the R (Q) while starting a body rise. Ladies step side R on the toe with full body height, now facing COH. Step 7 is the completion of the heel pivot for the man as he continues a little body rise and brings his L along side the R (Q) and a few inches in front (weight still on the R heel with pressure on the ball of the L), now facing DLW. Ladies nearly close L to R on the toe having completed the second quarter turn ready to lower to the heel and back DLW. Step 8 is more of a positioning one to start the next figure as the man steps forward on his L heel in CP DLW (S) as the lady steps backward on her R toe. Because of this adjustment back to normal CP there is a small body turn (CBM) as the step is made.

Sway develops on steps 2 & 3 as the man lifts his left side (right sway) and ladies right side (left sway). Steps 4 & 5 are back to normal CP but the same sway is used on 6 & 7 as the man sways right again (ladies left). Note: This figure can start with the man facing LOD where the first 1/4 turn is made as usual but the next becomes a 1/8 LF turn (underturned heel pivot) so that the man once again ends facing DLW. Another Note: The Quarter Turns sometimes are referred to in the singular so that the designation is "Quarter Turn to the Right" and "Quarter Turn to the Left." In this case, the RF turn has the same four steps as described above, but the LF turn ends on step 7.

PROGRESSIVE CHASSE: This is a four-step figure normally done after the first four steps of the Quarter Turns (after the Quarter Turn to the Right), but can be taken after any figure where the man has a R foot free and is facing DRW or sometimes RLOD. Step 1 is backward on the man's R (S) toward DLC, sometimes LOD, starting to rise from the toe to the heel (no foot rise) and commencing a LF turn. Ladies step forward on their L toward DLC, also starting a LF turn and matching the man's rise with foot rise also (H/T). Note: If commenced with the man backing LOD, he will overturn LF between steps 1 & 2, then end with his body facing between wall and DLW. Ladies will again underturn the man to catch up on step 3 to being square with him once again. Step 2 is side on the L toe (Q) for the man as he points his foot DLW while his body still faces the wall. Ladies make a 1/8 LF turn as they step side R on the toe, now backing toward the wall. Both continue the body rise to nearly full height on this step. On step 3, the man nearly closes R to L (Q) with a slight body turn to catch up with the foot position. Ladies nearly close L to R on their chasse as they are now backing nearly DLW, both partners at full body height. Step 4 for the man is side and slightly forward L (S) starting on the toe and lowering to the heel at the completion of the step, still facing DLW. Ladies step side and slightly back on the R toward DLW (T/H) lowering as the man does at the completion of the step. There is no sway in this figure.

OPEN NATURAL: This figure lends itself to quickstep but is just as often used in waltz and foxtrot (not previously described). Keeping in mind that a Natural Turn can be made from a compact SCP, we will describe this figure from the normal CP with the man facing DLW. Step 1 is forward on the man's R heel (S), rising to the toe at the end of the step and starting a RF turn. Ladies step back L DLW ((T/H) using body rise only and also starting a RF turn. Step 2 is side L on the toe for the man (Q) as he faces nearly DRW accompanied by continued body and foot rise. He will use a little left-shoulder lead to indicate a start to the outside of the lady. She steps side R on the toe while pointing LOD and continues her rise also. On step 3, the man uses a right shoulder lead to step backward on his R (Q) toward DLC while bringing the lady into a contra banjo position, now at full height but lowering to the heel at the end of the step. Ladies step diagonally forward on their L toe to blend outside partner while keeping their shoulders parallel, also lowering to the heel at the end of the step.

Because of the turning action, this figure requires a right sway for the man ( left for the lady) on step 2. This sway is lost on the open finish in preparation for the next figure. Sometimes this figure needs to end with the man backing LOD. If so, the extra RF turn is divided between steps 2 & 3 and requires a little more shoulder lead in both. If used in foxtrot, the rhythm remains SQQ.

Next Time: Phase V -- Double Reverse Spin

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 2011.


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