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Phase V Figures continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
September, 1990

QUICK OPEN REVERSE: This is normally a quickstep figure in three steps but also used in waltz and foxtrot using four steps. We will describe the generic version as used in quickstep and note the other usage.

In CP facing normally DLC, the man shapes to the left to start a LF turn using a fairly long reach on his L while going from heel to toe at the end of the step (S). Ladies step backward on their R also shaping to the left (T/H) using body rise only. Step 2 is to the side on the man's R toe (Q) having turned approximately 1/4 LF, now at full body height. Ladies step side and slightly forward with their L toe pointing toward LOD but with their body held underturned to match the man's line. She is now at full body height while holding the contra position. Step 3 is backward for the man as he moves down LOD in strong contra-body on his L being careful not to pull away from his partner, still using full body height and on the toe. Ladies step forward on their R toe outside the man's right side while keeping her body well forward and maintaining the high body line. There is a little left sway on the quick steps to keep the bodies from moving past the centralized weight position.

If started from CP facing LOD, the turn is normally 1/2 instead of 3/8, however, it could end with the regular amount of turn if the choreography calls for, say, back locks progressing DLW. This progression of steps using an additional backward step on the man's R (forward on the lady's L) would still be a Quick Open Reverse as used in waltz and foxtrot. The amount of turn remains the same as described above so that the turn is more or less divided up between steps 1 and 3. Timing for foxtrot is SQ&Q, and in waltz 12&3 or rarely, 1&23. It is not correct to call any of these versions a Quick Weave because this figure requires a right-foot lead for the man.

VIENNESE TURNS: As the name suggests, this figure (or movement) is taken from the fast waltz and always turns LF. As used in the slow waltz, it still requires much of the technique used in Viennese tempo. We will, therefore, not use the same degree of shaping (CBM) while taking wider side steps to compensate for lack of sway. We will describe one pair, starting with the man facing LOD, since the number can vary up to a fairly long series.

The man's first step is forward on his L while starting a LF turn, but is more of a rotating action than the normal shaping. He goes from heel to toe but must be careful not to get much body rise. Ladies feel the same rotation as they step backward on their R (T/H = no foot rise). Step 2 is a wide one on the man's R toe as he continues his LF rotation stepping side and slightly back. Ladies overturn their foot position is relation to the body as they continue rotation on their L toe. On step 3, the man completes his body turn on his L toe as he allows the L to cross in front of the R to end facing RLOD, giving him a compact body attitude. Ladies close R to L going from toe to heel with a somewhat flattened action. There is only a slight sway on steps 1 and 2 (man left and lady right), but some teachers stress thinking of no sway to preserve the feeling of rotation. For continued action, the man and lady simply exchange footwork and technique, with a 1/2 LF turn on each sequence. For rhythms with four beats (foxtrot, quickstep) the count is almost always 1&2&3& . . . , sometimes &1&2&3 . . . . In tango, the turning action is stopped at the end of each rotation (continuous in the other rhythms) with a quick twist of the waist so that the knees, thighs and up[er body all line up with RLOD or LOD.

FALLAWAY REVERSE: Listed as "Reverse Fallaway" in the Phase V listings, this is a left-turning figure where the "fallaway" is stepping backward into a compact semi-closed position or promenade in ballroom terminology. The three steps involved follow the same general pattern as the Reverse Turn where the man turns the lady to the right between steps 2 and 3. Starting nearly always from man facing DLC, he uses a L heel lead while shaping to the left and rising to the ball of the foot. The lady steps backward (T/H) without any turn but some body rise. Step 2 leads into the fallaway action as the man uses his right shoulder moving backward on the R toe turning LF approximately 1/4. Since the lady is already moving in the right direction, she still has no turn but uses her left shoulder to head her backward on the toe of her L. Step 3 is a continuation of the LF turn for the man as he steps backward on his L toe with a strong contra-body action but being careful not to hook behind his R foot. His body turns less than his foot so that he is facing DRC from a DLC start. The lady turns approximately 1/8 to step backward on her R toe in contra body to end in compact SCP. This is the conventional way to do a Fallaway Reverse, but it is helpful if the man does a toe/heel on step 2 providing that he does not let his body fall backward by keeping the weight over the balls of the feet. The lady can also do the same -- for her it is toe/heel on her L.

Note: The Fallaway Reverse coupled with a Slip Pivot is listed under Phase VI, but we feel that it should be included at this point to avoid confusion.

SLIP PIVOT: Leading directly from the Fallaway Reverse, the man will continue backward on his R toe while keeping his L in place where he feels that his thighs are together while pivoting LF, leading the lady around to closed position. Ladies have a late lowering after pivoting LF for a 1/8 to 1/4 turn while maintaining contra body at the beginning of her pivot. Care must be taken not to fall back on the man's R so he has a toe/heel/toe action while she has just a toe action. The man must hold his L leg in place while pivoting LF. The amount of turn can vary from 1/8 to 1/2, depending upon the figure to follow.

In the combination of Fallaway Reverse to a Slip Pivot, timing for rhythms would be: foxtrot -- SQ&Q or SQQ& or QQQQ; quickstep -- QQQQ; waltz -- 12&3 or 123& (for advanced dancers), or 1&23; tango -- QQQQ or SQ&Q.

Note: in tango, a side, close is usually added to face the wall with an added turn. Timing would be QQQQQQ or SQQ&QQ.

Next Time: Hairpin

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, September 2011.


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