CDC Revision Notes

Basic Rock'n'Roll

This is a fast dance (approx. 42 bars per minute or 168 beats per minute) of 4/4 time. RnR does not travel around the room. It can vary in energy intensity from social steps & figures to the high-kicking continental version and optionally incorporate acrobatic moves too. No steps are taken on the heel first - always the ball of the foot.

Unlike some other dances, RnR figures do not match up with whole bars of music. A typical figure occupies one and a half conventional bars and has 4 "steps": 2 slows and 2 quicks (ie 6 beats) but there are a lot of different types of those slow and quick steps which then make up the many styles of basic figure.

The even number of steps means each figure starts with the same foot - and that foot is different for leader (left) and follower (right). So it's less easy to swap roles for RnR than for some other dances. However, it also means the figures are mostly independent, interchangeable building blocks rather than having to flow together as much as the other dances.

Basic Figure

The simplest basic of all is the toe-heel press step or tap-step. Put the toe/ball of the foot down first, followed by the heel. Do the same with the other foot (reasonably close to the side). Then the 2 quick steps are a step backwards and a replacement step forwards (the rock step or link rock component).

More advanced basics can include flick-steps or heel pumps for the slow steps and flick/kick full-changes for the quick steps.

Basics are usually danced in fairly close hold and facing partner. Whereas the couple may be a little further apart (open hold) or facing the same way (side by side or front and back) for other figures.

slow1, 2left foot toe then heelright foot toe then heel
slow3, 4right foot toe then heelleft foot toe then heel
quick5step backwards on left footstep backwards on right foot
quick6replace weight fwd onto right footreplace weight fwd onto left foot

Change Of Places (L to R)

In preparation for this figure, the couple need to move into an open hold on the preceding rock step - with just the left-to-right handhold retained. The leader raises the left-to-right handhold across in front of their face to direct the follower to move in that direction (ie their right side).

The leader steps forward on the left foot while turning a quarter to the right. The follower steps forward on the right foot while turning a quarter to the left. So they are facing the same way when they pass each other, with the follower turning their back on the leader. The linked hands go over the followers head.

The leader turns another quarter to the right before taking their right foot slow step. The follower turns another quarter to the left before taking their left foot slow step. They should be facing each other again having crossed over to the other person's position in time for the next rock-step (and possibly regaining close hold).

Change Of Places Behind the Back

This is the role reversal form of the preceding change of places. The preparation is a move to open hold on the preceding rock step. There are some choices over how to deal with the linked hands. One option is for the leader to use a low left-to-right handhold to pull the follower towards their right side, placing the follower's right hand on their waist and letting go of it while bringing their free right arm over the top of this link.

The leader steps forward on the left foot and turns a quarter to the left so they have their back to the follower while passing each other. The follower steps forward on the right foot and turns a quarter to the right to stick closely behind the leader, facing the same way.

It's another quarter turn left for the leader and quarter turn right for the follower on the second slow step (leader's right and follower's left) to finish exchanging positions on the floor and be facing each other again for the rock-step. Meanwhile, the follower slides their right hand across the leader's back and down the leader's left forearm to regain the handhold by the end of the figure.

Assisted Underarm Spin

The leader dances the basic footwork but raises the left-to-right handhold after the previous rock-step to lead the follower to turn to the right under the joined arms. The follower responds to the lead by not lowering their right heel on the first step and instead spinning around to the right on the ball of the right foot. The follower should be facing the leader again in time for the second slow step (even if only the latter part of it).

The leader can assist the spin with a gentle push of the right arm on the waist but the follower needs to let go with their left arm anyway and avoid hitting the leader in the face on the way round (or kicking them with the free left foot). So timing is crucial.

Use the rock-step to regain hold (or a different hold for the next figure).

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