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Phase VI Figures continued

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
February, 1991

NATURAL TWIST TURN: Listed as a foxtrot figure, it could be adapted to waltz. Coming up later when we get to the tango, the Natural Twist Turn will have a different motion and alignment; however, we will describe the usage in foxtrot below.

The count would be SQ&QS (1 1/2 measures), as the books give the Natural Turn entry into the actual twist part, so that it is the third step that really sets up the changed movement. As in the Natural Turn, I.D.T.A. starts facing DLW while I.S.T.D. starts facing LOD. The former is a more realistic alignment and the one we will use.

Steps 1 & 2, then, are forward R (S) for the man and L to the side (Q) so that in each case the man will be facing DRW and the lady DLC. At this point, the man crosses his R behind L while turning on his L to face RLOD using the "&" count for the crossing movement. He should feel a plie action in the knees to develop the power needed to start the twist on the remainder of the quick count. Unwinding of the feet is completed on the R where the man will get a body rise as in a preparation for a hover.

The lady's second step is a heel turn as in the regular Natural Turn, but she will step forward L nearly DLW as she continues her right-face (RF) turn on the "&" count while using her left shoulder as a lead to start outside the man. As the man starts his twist (Q) she will continue to turn RF on her R to end in contra banjo facing DLW, then step to the side on her L (S) allowing her R to brush to L and continuing her body turn so that she will end facing nearly RLOD.

This completes the figure as far as we are normally concerned, but the books give a Hover Feather ending, ready for a left-turning figure to follow. For round dancing, we would probably use this ending quite a bit because of the higher body position and forward poise. If, however, we do a little checking motion on step 5, we could go into something like an Outside Swivel.

RUDOLPH RONDE: Although many people believe that this figure was inspired by Rudolph Valentino, it really was named after the famed dancer Rudolph Nureyev. It is created after a Natural Pivot with the weight on the ball of the man's L foot (ladies on the ball of the R) where the man transfers to the R and lowers onto his R knee (foot flat on the floor). This step is placed between the lady's feet as he keeps his head to the left and leads the lady back on her L into an Aerial Ronde with a RF pivoting action. The lady could almost do a Floor Ronde if the man turns his body more to the right but most Rudolphs are now done with a higher leg line. In any event, the lady must keep her head to the right, and we would suggest about six inches above the floor with the toe pointed somewhat downward. Both will end this figure in a strong contra body position -- man's L leg back and the lady's R leg poised momentarily. The lady must be careful not to push or pull the man as she is performing the ronde, while he can help by keeping the body erect and not bent forward.

The exit from the Rudolph, a one-step figure, is usually a Fallaway Slip Pivot where the man must maintain a leg line with his L. There is no other lead into the Rudolph other than a Natural Pivot, but it is often used from an Open Natural Turn to an Outside Spin. Timing is always slow in every rhythm.

RUMBA CROSS: Primarily a quickstep figure, it is now used extensively in the waltz also. We will describe the former rhythm and then note changes as used in the waltz. Timing for quickstep is QQSS.

Starting in a compact semi-closed position (SCP) or modified closed position (CP) with heads turned to LOD and using a left sway, the man softens his R knee and swings the body forward with a fairly long step on the L heel directly down LOD. He uses the ball of the R to place the L and keeps the upper part of his body well forward while turning a little to the right. Ladies take a backward step on their R toe nearly as long as the man with a little RF turn to blend to a modified CP and using body rise. On step 2, the man crosses R behind L after rising from heel to ball of L and untwisting approximately 1/4 RF (now facing wall). He is at full body height where the weight is taken on the ball of the R, now crossed behind the L. Ladies keep a closed head and cross L in front of R, also turning 1/4 RF to face COH. Note: There is a difference of opinion for sway on this step. Both I.S.T.D. and I.D.T.A. call for a little right sway (ladies left) but competition dancers usually elect to use no sway. On step 3 (S) the man lowers to the R heel and then steps side and slightly back on the L using a pivoting action to turn approximately 5/8 RF with most of the turn coming after placement of the foot (footwork = ball-heel-ball). Ladies uncross their feet and step diagonally forward on their R somewhat between the man's feet (footwork = ball-heel). On step 4, there is a continuation of turn approximately 1/8 RF as the man sways left and leaves the inside edge of his R to the side. Ladies turn on the ball of the R and leave their L to the side and slightly back with the head well to the left.

In waltz, the timing is 1&23, again with a little extra time on count 2. The rise is a little more pronounced so that we refer to the toe rather than the ball of the foot. In waltz, the lady steps side on her R while pointing DLC to end the figure where the normal blending back to compact SCP is called for.

Note: To get away from too much sway, the man should feel that he is using an action much like a Turning Lock on steps 2 and 3.

Next Time: Traveling Contra Check

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, February 2012.


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