Kath McGuire's Wednesday 6pm Ballroom Beginners for Easter 2021


Wed. 28 April 2021

Quickstep

Quickstep is a ballroom dance that travels anti-clockwise around the room. We just started going straight, but in a wider space you could curve. Generally, the leader is facing the outside of the room and the follower is facing the inside.

The forward basic for the leader is called the Quarter Turn. The backward basic for the leader is the Progressive Chasse. We alternated these. 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).

There are usually four beats in a bar in Quickstep. Each quick is one beat, each slow is two beats. The two basic figures have 6 beats each (1.5 bars); so three bars for forward and backward.

Stand up straight, open your arms wide, without scrunching up your shoulders. Bend your arms at the elbows to take up hold. Try to keep this wide, expansive frame throughout. Leaders, keep your follower in your frame. Don't let your right arm collapse and your follower get away from you. Followers, don't let your right arm get extended to be fully straight (or you'll end up in your partner's armpit) and don't let your right elbow get pushed behind you (or you'll get trodden on).

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).

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 Chassé

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

Cha Cha

Stand up nice and tall with your heels together and toes turned slightly out. When you step forward (or backward) the leg with the weight on it is straight, the other leg is bent. On the forward and backward steps remember to change your weight (don't just tap your foot). All the steps are nice and small.

When a figure name has a direction in it it is from the point of view of the leader. So in the Left Forward Basic the leader steps forward with their left foot and the follower goes back with their right.

When the leader wants to do a New York, they will let go of one hand and keep hold of the other, so the follower will know a New York is coming. When changing back to basics, keep hold with both hands and the leader will move forward.

When you take your forward step - especially in New Yorks, your front leg has your weight on it and it is straight. Make sure your shoulders are over your hips which are over your toes. Don't lean back and shove your foot out in front of you.

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. Remember that your hands are at about waist height.

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


Wed. 5 May 2021

Tango

We started Ballroom Tango. We started with walks. Keep your knees slightly flexed and tilt your pelvis up.

On the Progressive Link when moving in to promenade, leaders should lift their right elbow by a couple of centimetres and move your head from looking left to looking slightly more left. Followers will move your head from the left to the right as your partner moves you into promenade, don't pull away from your partner (your shoulders don't open up very much).

On the Closed Promenade the follower has to step around the leader. Followers, your side step needs to be bigger than your partner's (you are on the outside of the circle and have further to travel). Leaders, you need to take a small side step and you need to lead your follower to take a bigger step. Your follower is in your right arm, so if you want them to move, you'll need to move them.

The sequence can be repeated and you can do 4, 6, 8 (any even number) of walks instead of the 2 that we started with.

Walks

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1SLF forward, HFRF back, BH
2SRF forward, HFLF back, BH

Progressive Link

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1QLF forward, HRF back, BF
2QRF side, PP, IE footLF side, PP, IE foot

Closed Promenade

StepTimingLeaderFollower
1SLF side, PP, HRF side, PP, H
2QRF across, HLF across, H
3QLF side, IE footRF side, IE BH
4SRF closes, whole footLF closes, whole foot

Cha Cha

We did the Underarm Turn to the Right (so the leader does a forward basic first and does a backward basic while the follower turns). Leaders raise their left arm on the chassé so the follower knows to turn. The leaders made sure there was some space between them and the followers so that the next figure could be the Open Hip Twist.

Followers, when you've finished the turn have your left arm hovering so that you can take hold if that's what your partner wants, but don't automatically grab them as they might want you in an open position.

For both, keep the joined hands loose (don't grip your partner) but keep some pressure towards your partner, your hands will roll around each other quite easily.

We then did the Open Hip Twist to end up in Fan Position. Leaders have quite a bit to think about. For the moment, keep your feet beating out the right rhythm, don't worry too much about whether you are going forward or backwards or on the spot. Be aware of where your partner is and try not to lose them. As you bring your partner forward on steps 3-5 try to keep them slightly to your right to give them a bit more space.

Followers will need to take small steps when they head off to fan so as not to lose their partner (or dislocate their shoulder).

Left Forward Basic

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

Underarm Turn to Right (Alemana)

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12RF back, left arm raisedturn ¼ right, LF forward under arm
23transfer to LF, lower arm after turnturn ½ right, transfer to RF
3-54 & 1RLR chasse to rightturn ¼ right to face partner then LRL chasse to left

Open Hip Twist to Fan

StepTimingLeaderFollower
12LF forwardRF back
23transfer to RFtransfer to LF
3-54 & 1LRL chasse on spot (or slip chasse), lead follower to turnforward lock RLR then turn ¼ right
62RF backLF forward
73transfer to LFRF forward then turn ½ left (into RF back)
8-104 & 11/8 turn left, RLR chasse on spot (slightly right), end in fan positionback lock LRL, end in fan position


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