Alemana is a two-measure latin figure. Sometimes it is cued Half Basic
to an Alemana Turn. In the photo, he is at the end of the first measure
of the figure and is beginning to invite her to turn. Note the use of
body sway and the potential here for a pretty mini-picture.
closed or in some other facing position, the man steps forward on his
lead foot (woman back). In Rumba, we recover, and then the man closes
his left foot and initiates the woman's right-face turn by raising his
lead hand. He doesn't push her under—this is just an invitation, a
suggestion. The woman takes her third step as a small side, toeing out
a little and begining her right-face turn. This first measure is
essentially a Half Basic, although note the third closing step for the
man rather than a side step and the initiation of the turn for the
In the second measure, he steps back on his
trail foot as she steps forward and turns under his lead arm. He
recovers left as she steps forward and continues to turn to face him
again, and then both step side with the trail feet in left open facing
The Alemana Turn is not a twirl; she doesn't spin but walks forward turning, forward turning, and side.
One can't help wondering why there is an Underarm Turn and
an Alemana Turn in Rumba. Annette Woodruff once pointed out that the
Underarm Turn is simpler and has less emotional content. In an Alemana
Turn, the woman steps forward, toward her man's left side. She does not
cross in front and so take that first step of the turn away from him.
Briefly, she is nose to nose and gazing deeply into his eyes. Then at
the last moment she turns away in a sharp spiraling sort of movement.
It is flirtatious. She is toying with him. For her second step of the
turn, she steps forward and away on her right foot, and her man comes
after her with his recover step. Again, at the last moment during the
second "quick," she turns sharply with a hip-twist motion to face him
again, and they step side together. As Annette says—Boy meets girl. Boy
loses girl. Boy gets girl again.
Often, an Alemana is
done from a fan position. Here, the woman closes her right foot, steps
forward L, forward R/L, R beginning to turn to the right. Meanwhile,
the man has raised his lead arm, leading the Alemana Turn as usual.
Alemana Surprise Check
look at two, more advanced figures that feature the Alemana Turn. The
Alemana Surprise Check is an Alemana done in handshake position and
with two sharp swivels inserted in the second measure.
a right-right-handshake facing position, the man perhaps facing the
wall, he steps forward L (woman back R), recovers R, and closes L to R
raising right hands. The woman's third step is forward R turning toe
toward line and center. So far, this is a normal preparation for an
Alemana Turn, although the handshake feels different.
second measure begins normally, too. The man steps back R (woman fwd L
DLC turning 1/2 RF under joined hands). On the second beat, he recovers
L (woman fwd R turning), and on the "and" count he draws his R to L and
swivels 1/8 to the left bringing joined right hands thru at chest level
(woman draws L to R and swivels 1/8 to the right). He is facing
diagonal wall, and she is facing diagonal center. On the third beat, he
swivels 3/8 to the right and closes R to L (woman swivels 3/8 LF and
closes L to R). Both hold the fourth beat facing reverse line of dance
with left arms extended toward wall, man's behind woman's back. Lead
feet are free.
I think the amount of swivel varies. The
idea is to complete the Alemana Turn and then rather sharply bring the
joined hands thru to line leading a swivel toward line and then quickly
bring the joined hands back thru to reverse leading a swivel toward
reverse. I also think that we dance this a little more gently on the
beat, rather than on the half beat. I step back, recover, swivel left,
and swivel right closing with an even tempo, qqqq; (but it's still a
surprise for her).
Alemanas is phased VI and does take some practice to do comfortably.
This figure can begin in closed position, butterfly, left open facing,
or from a fan position, just as the Alemana can. The first measure is
the same as that of an Alemana. It is our Half Basic with a closing
step and raised lead hand for him and the commenced turn for her.
the second measure, the man steps back R and with the raised lead hand
invites her to step forward L toward line and center for a sharp spiral
1/2. She steps forward R toward reverse and wall and turns to face the
man, and he steps forward and a bit to the left, so that when she steps
forward L on her third step of this measure and the man closes, she
will be on the man's right side. On the last beat of this measure, the
man rather sharply lowers his lead hand and so leads a spiral of up to
1/2 turn so that both he and she are facing the wall, and she is in a
partially wrapped position with her lead arm across in front of her
body. Her total turn is about 1 1/2. Note that these steps are straight
forward steps, tracing a triangle on the floor. Don't round this part
of the figure into a circle—make the turns sharp.
beat 9, the man steps side L and guides the woman to step forward and
across toward line and wall. This moves her from his right side to a
position in front of him again. He raises the lead arm to lead her to
spiral LF about 7/8 so she is facing wall. He then recovers R and leads
her forward L and turn 1/2 to face him. He closes, and she steps
forward to the man, toeing out, ready to begin the third Alemana Turn.
The man has his lead hand up, providing a firm backboard to lead her
turn. Her total turn is again about 1 1/2.
measure is a standard Alemana Turn. He steps back on his right,
recovers on his left, and closes on the "slow" count; and she turns
under his lead hand RF fwd L/turn, fwd R/turn, and fwd L on the "slow."
This third turn is only one full turn.
There are two
features that make this a truly phase VI figure. First is the
"overturning" of the first two Alemana Turns. She dances her first
Alemana Turn and then sharply overturns it another 1/2 turn to face
wall. Having made this extra turn, she must begin the third measure
with a sharp 7/8 LF spiral to face wall, then forward to the wall and
turn 1/2 LF to face the man, and finally forward to the man. The second
sophisticated feature is that the three alemana turns are danced
directly in front of the man, with very little movement either to line
or to reverse. She dances the first turn to the man's left side, but
then steps to the wall and then back to the man. The second turn begins
with a strong spiral in front of the man, a step away from the man, and
then a step back toward him. The third turn is similarly danced between
the man and the wall with no progression.
soften this figure considerably by dancing it as a Half Basic, Underarm
Turn, Reverse Underarm Turn, and Underarm Turn. These are phase III
figures (and so not Three Alemanas).