Kath McGuire's Wednesday 8pm Ballroom Beginners for Spring 2020


Week 1: 15 Jan.2020

Waltz

We did the Natural Turn (but we didn't turn). Don't forget to change your weight on steps 3 and 6. The pattern will be right, side, close or left, side, close (depending on which half of the figure you are doing).

We did this in practice hold (holding each other's elbows with a wide frame). We tried not to look down at our feet.

Don't get too wedded to the idea that the right foot goes forward and the left foot goes backwards, because in waltz it is possible for the left to go forward and for the right to go back too. But if you want to practise anything, please practise the Natural Turn box step that we looked at. If you want to try something new, try going forward with the left (then side, close) and then go back with the right (then side, close).

Natural Turn

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 RF forward, Diag Wall, HT, start turn right LF back, backing Diag Wall, TH, start turn right
22LF side, TRF side, T
33RF closes, THLF closes, TH
41LF back, THRF forward, HT
52RF side, TLF side, T
63 LF closes, Diag Centre, TH RF closes, backing Diag Centre, TH

Cha Cha

We started with pairs of the Left Forward Basic and the Right Back Basic. We also did pairs of New Yorks. We did everything in two hand open hold.

We talked a bit about footwork and arm styling:
* Take small steps.
* The steps on beats 2 and 3 are steps, not taps; so change your weight when you take the step.
* Stand up straight, heels together but toes turned out slightly.
* Try to keep the inside edge of the ball of your foot on the floor all the time.
* In the New Yorks, there are choices for what to do with your free arm, but the movement starts from the shoulder then elbow then wrist then fingers. It'll feel a bit like you're moving your arm through water (don't just throw your hand away from your body).

There are lots of things to think about while dancing and you won't be able to think of all of them all the time. That's OK. Pick 2, forget 1 and do the other one about half the time. Remember that the most important thing is to have fun!

Left Forward Basic

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12LF forwardRF back
23transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-54 & 1LRL chasse to leftRLR chasse to right

Right Back Basic

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12RF backLF forward
23transfer to LFtransfer to RF
3-54 & 1RLR chasse to rightLRL chasse to left

New York to Right (in Counter Promenade Position)

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12 ¼ turn right, LF forward in open CPP ¼ turn left, RF forward in open CPP
23transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-54 & 1 turn to face partner, then LRL chasse to left turn to face partner, then RLR chasse to right

New York to Left (in Promenade Position)

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12 ¼ turn left, RF forward in open PP ¼ turn right, LF forward in open PP
23transfer to LFtransfer to RF
3-54 & 1 turn to face partner, then RLR chasse to right turn to face partner, then LRL chasse to left


Week 2: 22 Jan.2020

Waltz

We started with the Reverse Turn - we did this without turning to start with. We then turned half a turn over the six steps. Remember that whoever is doing the backwards half has to do a smaller side step because they are on the inside of the turn. We increased the amount of turn so that we could do 3/4 of a turn over the six steps.

since that was going so well, I talked about alignment. This is really helpful for the leaders and becomes very important later on in your dancing; but it's also useful for followers to know.

When the leader is facing diagonal to centre with their left leg free, they can do the turn to the left (the reverse turn). At the end, the leader will be facing diagonal to wall. You can't do a right turn (natural turn) here because you're on the wrong leg; so do a change step (left, right, left) going straight forward. You can now do the right turn. This will finish facing diagonal to centre. Do another change step (right, left, right) and you're ready to start again.

If this is too much for the moment, then just practise the two turns.

Reverse Turn

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 LF forward, Diag Centre, HT, start turn left RF back, backing Diag Centre, TH, start turn left
22RF side, TLF side, T
33LF closes, THRF closes, TH
41RF back, THLF forward, HT
52LF side, TRF side, T
63 RF closes, Diag Wall, TH LF closes, backing Diag Wall, TH

Left Foot Closed Change

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11LF forward, HTRF back, TH
22RF side, TLF side, T
33LF closes, THRF closes, TH

Natural Turn

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 RF forward, Diag Wall, HT, start turn right LF back, backing Diag Wall, TH, start turn right
22LF side, TRF side, T
33RF closes, THLF closes, TH
41LF back, THRF forward, HT
52RF side, TLF side, T
63 LF closes, Diag Centre, TH RF closes, backing Diag Centre, TH

Right Foot Closed Change

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11RF forward, HTLF back, TH
22LF side, TRF side, T
33RF closes, THLF closes, TH


Week 3: 29 Jan.2020

Quickstep

We did the forward and backward basics and curved them round the room. The basic where the leader goes forward is the Quarter Turn. The basic where the leader goes backward is the Progressive Chasse.

Leaders: whe curving round the room, think of turning sooner rather than later. On your backward step, start to turn to your left as you chasse.

Leaders: your first step from a standing start is probably inline with your partner, but after that your forward step with your right leg is probably outside your partner (on their right side).

The first step when going forward is a heel lead. The two quick steps are up on your toes.

Quarter Turn

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1S RF forward, facing Diag Wall, HT, start turn right LF back, backing Diag Wall, TH, start turn right
2QLF side, TRF side, T
3QRF closes, TLF closes, T
4S LF side, backing Diag Centre, TH RF forward, facing Diag Centre, TH

Progressive Chasse

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1S RF back, backing Diag Centre, TH, start turn left LF forward, facing Diag Centre, HT, start turn left
2QLF side, TRF side, T
3QRF closes, TLF closes, T
4S LF side, facing Diag Wall, TH RF side, backing Diag Wall, TH

Jive

We basic jive figure is called the Fallaway Rock. Take really, really small steps.

The turn where the follower goes under the joined arms is the Change of Places from Right to Left. The return is the Change of Places from Left to Right.

Fallaway Rock

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 (Q)LF back rockRF back rock
22 (Q)transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-53a4 (QaQ)LRL triple to leftRLR triple to right
6-85a6 (QaQ)RLR triple to rightLRL triple to left

Change of Place from Right to Left

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 (Q)LF back rockRF back rock
22 (Q)transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-53a4 (QaQ) LRL triple diag forward
(raise left arm and release right)
RLR triple to right
(then turn right under right arm)
6-85a6 (QaQ) RLR triple forward
(lower arm after follower has turned)
LRL triple back and left,
end open

Change of Place from Left to Right

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 (Q)LF back rockRF back rock
22 (Q)transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-53a4 (QaQ) LRL triple to left
(raise left arm)
RLR triple to right (turning your back
on partner to turn left under your arm)
6-85a6 (QaQ) RLR triple to right
(lower arm after follower has turned)
LRL triple to left
(may or may not join up with partner)


Week 4: 5 Feb.2020

Waltz

We did right and left foot changes. We went round the room along line of dance. The leaders went forward and the followers went backward.

Right Foot Closed Change

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11RF forward, HTLF back, TH
22LF side, TRF side, T
33RF closes, THLF closes, TH

Left Foot Closed Change

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11LF forward, HTRF back, TH
22RF side, TLF side, T
33LF closes, THRF closes, TH

Cha Cha

We did the basics in Cha Cha. We did these in closed hold. We then did them in open hold and added in some New Yorks. It is possible to start with either New York, but at this stage, it's easier for the leader to change when they are about to step forward with their left foot, so the New York will be to the leader's right. We also did the solo spot turn to the leader's left.

We combined things together with an even number of basics, then an odd number of New Yorks, then the spot turn. It is then possible to go back into open hold and do some more basics.

Leaders: when leading the spot turn, don't take your partner's left hand in your right hand on the chasses, instead put the palm of your hand flat against the side of your partner's hand so that they know you're not taking hold and that you want them to turn.

If one partner turns and the other does a New York then this is perfectly fine. Just pretend it was deliberate!

Left Forward Basic

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12LF forwardRF back
23transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-54 & 1LRL chasse to leftRLR chasse to right

Right Back Basic

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12RF backLF forward
23transfer to LFtransfer to RF
3-54 & 1RLR chasse to rightLRL chasse to left

New York to Right (in Counter Promenade Position)

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12 ¼ turn right, LF forward in open CPP ¼ turn left, RF forward in open CPP
23transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-54 & 1 turn to face partner, then LRL chasse to left turn to face partner, then RLR chasse to right

New York to Left (in Promenade Position)

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12 ¼ turn left, RF forward in open PP ¼ turn right, LF forward in open PP
23transfer to LFtransfer to RF
3-54 & 1 turn to face partner, then RLR chasse to right turn to face partner, then LRL chasse to left

Solo Spot Turn to Left

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12 ¼ turn left, RF forward in open PP ¼ turn right, LF forward in open PP
23 ½ turn left, transfer to LF ½ turn right, transfer to RF
3-54 & 1 turn to face partner, then RLR chasse to right turn to face partner, then LRL chasse to left


Week 5: 12 Feb.2020

Waltz

We did right and left foot changes (as per last week). We went round the room along line of dance. The leaders went forward and the followers went backward.

In each corner, when the leader was about to step forward with their right foot, they led the Natural Turn to turn the corner and then continued with the closed changes along the new line of dance.

In order to help the turn, leaders used their frame and turned their shoulders just before they took the first step.

Natural Turn

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 RF forward, Diag Wall, HT, start turn right LF back, backing Diag Wall, TH, start turn right
22LF side, TRF side, T
33RF closes, THLF closes, TH
41LF back, THRF forward, HT
52RF side, TLF side, T
63 LF closes, Diag Centre, TH RF closes, backing Diag Centre, TH

Jive

Recapping from week 3, we did the basic (Fallaway Rock) and the turns for the follower (Change of Places Right to Left and the Change of Places Left to Right to turn back again). We then did the Change of Hands Behind the Back.

It's possible to then do the basic in open hold for a while and then close up again, or from the end of the Change of Hands Behind the Back you can do the Change of Places Left to Right.

Change of Hands Behind the Back

StepTimingLeaderFollower
11 (Q)LF back rockRF back rock
22 (Q) transfer to RF, take your partner's right hand in your right transfer to LF
3-53a4 (QaQ) LRL triple forward whilst turning slightly left,
change your partner's right hand back to your left
RLR triple forward whilst turning slightly right,
facing your partner's back
6-85a6 (QaQ) RLR triple right whilst continuing to turn left LRL triple left whilst continuing to turn right


Week 6: 19 Feb.2020

Tango

We did some walking, which sounds really easy but does take a bit of practice. Leaders should lead with their chest and frame. Followers should take steps backwards that are as big as they can comfortably do.

We did the Progressive Link which is two quick steps. These should be smaller than the walks. For the leaders, the first step should be forward, almost trying to step on your partner's foot (they will have moved it out of the way). Followers: your step backwards is almost behind your left leg. The side step is really quite small. You're now in promenade position. The leader leads this by lifting their right elbow about a centimetre, which will turn the follower's body.

From here we did the Closed Promenade (which is slow, quick, quick, slow). The first step is forward with the front leg. The second is bringing the back leg forward between the two of you. The third step is a sideways step - this is small for the leaders and a bit bigger for the followers. The leader will close the follower and bring them in front. On the fourth step both dancers close their feet.

We can repeat this whole sequence and curve around the room as we go. The leader can do as many walks as they want to (though make it an even number so that the next step is with the leader's left).

Left Foot Forward Walk

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1SLF forward (HF)RF back (BH)

Right Foot Forward Walk

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1SRF forward (HF)LF back (BH)

Progressive Link

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1QLF forward (H)RF back (BF)
2QRF side to PP (IE)LF side to PP (IE)

Closed Promenade

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1SLF side in PP (H)RF side in PP (H)
2QRF across (H)LF across (H)
3QLF side (IE)RF side (IE BH)
4SRF close (whole foot)LF close (whole foot)

Jive

We recapped the basic (Fallaway Rock) and the turn (Change of Place Right to Left and then Change of Place Left to Right). We did it to some slower music and to some faster music. Leaders need to remember to keep their footwork going throughout the turns. Followers need to turn between their triple steps. For everyone: make your triple steps really small.

See the figures from week 3.


Week 7: 4 March 2020

Quickstep

We did the forward and backward basics and curved them round the room. The basic where the leader goes forward is the Quarter Turn. The basic where the leader goes backward is the Progressive Chasse. The step diagrams are in week 3.

Each basic is a slow step (forward or backwards). We then do side-close-side, these are counted quick, quick, slow. The sideways steps are what we called the theatre step, you're up on your toes for the two quicks moving sideways (like getting to your seat in a crowded theatre), you then lower gently on the slow step.

Leaders: when curving round the room, think of turning sooner rather than later. On your backward step start to turn to your left as you chasse and take small steps - your follower will take bigger steps to get around you.

Leaders: your first step is probably in line with your partner but, after that, your forward step with your right leg is probably outside your partner (on their right side).

Leaders: remember that your follower is in your right arm - and it is YOUR right arm. If you don't want your partner to drift behind you, then don't put them there. This sounds really easy, is a little harder in practice but, if you are aware of it, you'll probably find you start to do it automatically.

♫ The music we did this to was Crazy Swing (Rejazzed) by Deladap from ULTIMATE BALLROOM VOL. 22 - DISC ONE.

Rumba

We did the basics and the New Yorks. We talked about waiting on beat 1 (you can allow your weight to settle into the hip, but your feet don't move). We did pairs of figures before changing to the next figure because it is easier to change when the leader is about to step forward with their left foot.

Leaders will take double hand hold on the side step and the waiting step. If they are leading a New York, they will let go of one hand and use the other to lead the turn. If the leader is going to lead a basic, they will keep the double hand hold and then move forward with their frame.

♫ The music we danced to was Always Remember Us This Way by DJ Ice (from A Star Is Born) from VERY LATIN 5 - DISC TWO; Don't Be So Shy by Mandinga (orig. Imany) from VERY LATIN 5 - DISC TWO; Hotel California by DJ Ice (orig. Eagles) from VERY LATIN 5 - DISC TWO.

Left Forward Basic

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12LF forwardRF back
23transfer to RFtransfer to LF
34, 1LF to sideRF to side

Right Back Basic

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12RF backLF forward
23transfer to LFtransfer to RF
34, 1RF to sideLF to side

New York to Right (in Counter Promenade Position)

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12 ¼ turn right, LF forward in open CPP ¼ turn left, RF forward in open CPP
23transfer to RFtransfer to LF
34, 1 turn to face partner, then LF to side turn to face partner, then RF to side

New York to Left (in Promenade Position)

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12 ¼ turn left, RF forward in open PP ¼ turn right, LF forward in open PP
23transfer to LFtransfer to RF
34, 1 turn to face partner, then RF to side turn to face partner, then LF to side


Kath McGuire - Associate UKA Ballroom - dance@kathmcguire.co.uk