Monday, November 16, 2009

Lesson on Foxtrot

A Foxtrot practice routine:
  1. Preparation step, facing DC
  2. Feather Step  (SQQS)  
  3. Reverse Turn  (SQQ SQQS)  
  4. Three Step  (QQS)  
  5. Natural Turn  (SQQ SSS)  
  6. Repeat
The way we maintain connection is that our bodies never stop moving, at most they change speed and direction. If I carry through smoothly without stopping my body, it is easier for my partner to stay with me. From the followers side, the followers body should be moving out beyond her feet before she steps forward on her heel turns.

Regarding Foxtrot, waltz, and American versus International Styles: In International style foxtrot, the feet always pass each other, at least at the newcomer and bronze level, whereas waltz is characterized by the feet coming together and the weight settling. Because of that, foxtrot is characterized by a metronomic swing, and waltz by a pendulum swing. In other words, waltz has sway, while foxtrot emphasizes more leg swing. Contrasting American and International, our coach characterized American Slow Foxtrot as American Slow Waltz with Foxtrot timing. She also talked about a fundamental difference being that American Foxtrot allows for open holds. This came up in the context of Wrong Side Outside Partner Position, where my left foot is to the right of the lady's left foot. In American Foxtrot, in two-hand hold, it is possible to go directly from Outside Partner Position to Wrong Side Outside Partner Position. In closed hold, some intermediate positions are required.

The three step was described as feeling like tango in the first two steps. The footwork the coach gave me on the three step is H, HT, TH. This is different from the official syllabus, which says HT, TH, H. We stay flat through the beginning of the second step. The reason for this is that we need a right side lead to bring the lady back in line after a feather finish, which in turn prevents the leg swing that would naturally result in a rise. As we come out of that second step, with CBM for the third step. This understanding will probably have to evolve a bit. But needing to stay flat to bring the lady in line seems to make sense. My instructor says she hasn't yet gotten a satisfactory explanation from her coaches, but will keep asking.

Natural turn: the heel turn and the heel pull - just like on the heel turn, Man needs to turn on his left heel, and then step side with his right foot and settle weight on that foot.

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