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Unclassified Quickstep Figures I

by Roy & Phyllis Stier
November, 1991

For this issue, we will feature the steps which constitute what may be called partial figures or movements.

FLICKER: Basically, this is a turning of the feet out and in while leaving the feet in place. The normal entry is outside on the lady's right side placing the R in front of the L in CBMP. Using the ball of the foot with matching toes, the quick movements are usually between basic figures and are often taken after a Change of Direction or a slide and stop. If used as a figure, the timing is normally Q&QQQ or QQQQ where the partners end with the weight on whichever foot is desired, ladies opposite, of course.

TIPSY: This short figure is used to stop an action or go to another direction. The technique is to stay on the toes and keep the weight over the knees while making short steps in either direction usually starting on the man's R and the lady's L. The actual movement can best be characterized as side step, half step, side step, using the timing Q&Q. A sway can be used and it could be to either side, sometimes toward the dance direction, hence "tipsy." If a Double Tipsy is used, the timing is Q&Q&S where the last step stops the action. Very often , the Tipsy is turned where the rule is to turn right on the L foot and left on the R foot (lady opposite). A good way to develop the Tipsy is to lead with a side, close.

STUTTER: The Stutter is really a flat Tipsy where it can replace the Six Quick Twinkle. The best entry is from a slide and stop using a hesitation before starting the movement. The weight is kept on the balls of the feet, actually using the inside edge where the appearance is that you are using a flat foot. The side movement is a typical Chasse, then side and nearly close. Timing is always Q&QQQ.

POLKA RUNS: Using a soft knee action, the dancers must get a bounce feeling while using a very positive forward action. All steps are on the toes where the typical lightness of the quickstep is most important. Quite often it follows counts 2 to 5 of the V-6 where 6 to 10 would be the actual runs. This particular amalgamation has its own name -- the Ten Quick Run. Timing is all quicks (4) as the couple remains in SCP.

SCOOP: Nearly always, this movement is to the man's left because of the free arm and is a sideward step for both. The action is a bent knee of the lead foot using the inside edge of the foot on the sideward and rising movement. Momentum must be created first and quite often comes from a pivot (timing SSQQ). Also a modification of the Chasse will give us the scooping action on the lead foot (S&S&S . . . ). A different sort of scooping action is the Scoop Lock where the man leads with a backward and downward/sideward step on his R where the L is drawn backward in a locking action -- ladies opposite, of course.

CHARLESTON CROSS: The entry is normally from a lock and typically is a reverse action danced LOD or DLW. From a compact SCP, the inside foot is placed forward (man's R and lady's L) and then the L and R respectively are crossed in front using a swiveling action as in the primary Charleston. The movement is out with the R, in with the L, . . . where the cross is not created with both feet. As the man crosses in front (L) the lady crosses in back (R) so that as the man turns in the lady turns out. Some dancers elect to subdue the swiveling action and get more movement -- it then becomes a Charleston Chasse. The Charleston Cross can be taken after a Natural Telemark, but the classic entry is to follow a figure called Change of Sway which we will describe below.

CHANGE OF SWAY: This developed as a true figure from a series of steps designed to make fairly rapid changes of sways. We will describe this figure from CP man facing LOD. The first step for the man is forward R in line with his L (CBMP) while starting a RF turn, then backward on the L while pointing the R between the lady's feet and developing a left sway (ladies forward L continuing the RF turn and using a right sway). Step 3 is side R for the man, now having turned enough so that this step is nearly LOD (ladies opposite as she now sways to the left to match the man's sway to the right). Step 4 is a crossing of the L over R for the man, now facing nearly DLC as the lady crosses R behind L as he changes sway once more to the left and she to the right. This leaves the couple in the correct position to start the Charleston Cross with only very limited options to do another type of figure. Timing on the Change of Sway is SQQS.

Note: Some of these figures have been standardized since this article was written.

Next Time: Back Fishtail

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, June 2013.


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