is a stance in which the man and woman are 90 degrees to one another,
like the letter "L." He might be facing wall, and she might be facing
line of dance.
We can picture something of a continuum,
from Closed, to Semi-Closed, to L-Position, to Half Open, to Open
Position, the lead shoulders separating more and more, to a full 180
degrees. One feature that sets the L-Position apart, within this
continuum, is the facing direction. In Semi, Half Open, and Open, both
partners might be facing line of dance. These positions are symmetric
in that way. L-Position may be a little more open than Semi, but both
partners are probably not facing line. Again, he might be facing
squarely to wall, and she to line.
Hustle is a rhythm
that makes use of the L-Position maybe more than other rhythms. Closed
position is an L-shaped position, and the figure Close is a movement to
that L-shaped closed position. You might be in low butterfly facing
line of dance. To "Close," you would rock back on the lead foot a small
step and cross the right in front of the left, turning right face 1/4
(count 1/&). The woman rocks back right and steps forward left. The
man steps side left on count 2; she steps forward right and turns 1/2
right face. Finally, he closes right to left on count 3; she steps back
left. End in the L-shaped closed position, man facing wall, woman
facing line, lead hands joined, man's right arm around woman.
next figure might be "Release." In our L-shaped, closed position, the
man steps side left and recovers, releasing his right hand. The woman
rocks back right and steps forward left, turning left face. This has a
"slingshot" feel to it. He crosses left in front of right, turns left
face 1/4 to face line, and steps back. She continues turning, steps
side and back right, and steps back left to face reverse. The timing is
1/&23, and we end in butterfly line. The release is always done
from the hustle closed position, but your facing direction may vary.
Second, you may release to other ending positions than butterfly, such
as left open facing or left open position.
Another place where you'll find the L-Position is in any jive "slingshot" figure. For instance, Al and Carol Lillefield's Beale Street Blues
has a Slingshot Throwout and a Slingshot Right-To-Left, and both begin
in an L-Position. The body relations in the L-Position make it easier
for the man to lunge away from the woman and so propel or throw her
down line in a "slingshot" sort of way.
(click on any thumbnail for a larger view)