Turning Movement & CBM

  • Terminology: "Turn" is the foot direction/alignment. "Rotation" is hip relative to feet.

  • Turn is initiated by CBM. Though upper body is turning, it does mean moving foot will turn out (relative to leg/hip). Sometimes, toes is turned in.

    • CBM on a forward step: the person (either Man or Lady) that does the forward step is on the outside of the turn and travels more.

      • The step itself should be straight on the line.

      • The opposite shoulder would be turning toward the moving foot (remember to keep shoulder level, no dipping). The rotation started from leg, hip, body and then shoulders, twisting up. Aim for shoulder line to be on parallel line to the moving direction, spine keep going forward.

    • CBM on a back step: the person would be on the inside of a turn. Hip and feet are "connected" together. When foot turns, hip also turns. Foot is perpendicular to the hip.

      • Curve off track on a backward step. Give enough room in between legs for partner to step through.

  • When hips turn with body, it's not CBM anymore, so you may be doing CBM less than you think.

  • Windup: Competitive dancers often give the illusion of winding up before a turning figure, to give it more power. The way they achieve this is through underturning (or overturning) their bodies on the preceding figure.

    • For example, in the Natural Pivot Turn in Quickstep, if Man doesn't turn his frame all the way to BLOD on step 3, and instead, perhaps, between BLOD and BDC, it will have the effect of a windup, without incurring the overhead of leading and following a windup and a turn.

  • "Going through your partner" (sometimes instructors use the description "He goes, then she goes" )

    • In many turning figures, instead of thinking of going around, the technique will improve if one thinks of going through one's partner.

    • On a Natural Turn, for example, the man steps straight through, stepping toward the lady's right shoulder, while using CBM to make room to get past her.

    • Similarly, the lady steps straight at the man's right shoulder when she's moving forward, where CBM creates room for her to get past. He goes, then she goes.

  • Reverse Turn: Lady keeps left side lifted, vacate that space the last, not undo the twist too quickly, have head lead the left turn, shoulder leaves last, otherwise, it feels like shoulder is peeling off Man, pulled away.

Spin and Pivot Turns

Spin turns and pivot turns both involve pivoting on a foot bearing weight. It is important that the dancer be balanced over that foot while turning.

The partner on the outside of the turn (the person stepping forward) need to get around (actually "get through" is a better description) their partner without stepping into their space. One might try to imagine shaping away from the turn (extend nose pass left elbow) rather than leaning into the turn. Body transfer/move or rotate faster/more than the hip.

On pivot turns, the leader keeps his legs in a line so that, for example, on a Quickstep Natural Pivot Turn, he ends with his right foot on the same track as his left foot (like he was on a balance beam). This prevents the leader from essentially crashing into the follower's legs as he turns. The follower, on the other hand, always maintains two tracks for the feet on a pivot turn, so that the leader can step between her feet for the next figure.

Heel Turn

Heel Turn can be turning left (e.g. Waltz Double Reverse Spin for Lady) or turning right (e.g. Foxtrot Natural Turn - step 2 for Lady)

Example: Heel Turn to the left e.g. Double Reverse Spin

  • Step 1:

    • Start with with weight on LF, left side poised forward.

    • Lower, move center, extend R leg to step back - there is a slight curve (with toes slightly turned in)

      • Do not just reach R leg back. Instead, center moving back is making R leg to go back.

      • Start on the ball of stepping foot, then continued on the heel. Need to "roll the weight onto the heel" first before any turning.

      • Right shoulder and side connect down. Anchor right shoulder.

      • Even though, you are turning to left, upper body is rotated to the right side. This helps to stay with your partner.

      • Focus on reaching and stretching forward through the left side and arm.

      • Do not involve shoulders. Upper body should travel slower than lower body.

      • Left side will rise (distance between L shoulder and head reduces) for a quick moment. Man is raising his R side to make the side lengthen which helps to get Lady's foot underneath and close feet instead of making a step. This applies to Waltz Double Reverse Spin, Telemark, etc.

      • Head leads the turn.

    • As weight is being transferred to the back foot, pull the front leg in

      • Rise will stop momentum, especially when there are lot of turn (like in Double Reverse Spin), one should not rise much.

      • Lengthen the center, do not lock the knees, keep them soft.

    • The left foot should come straight in to the right foot, dragging the heel, and the right foot should not start turning until the left foot is even with it. The turn should be executed smoothly on the heel of the right foot using the momentum of the left foot coming in.

    • Always turns on the supporting foot.

  • Step 2:

    • The closing foot is kept parallel throughout. When turning, there is no weight on the closing foot. Both knees flexed.

    • Feet turn as a result of upper body unwind. Timing wise, it's the last thing after weight is rolled onto RF and after LF is drawn in. It also all happens seamlessly, smoothly - it's not distinct sections.

    • Weight is transferred on to the foot that has closed as turn is completed.

    • On last 1/2 beat "&": After turn is completed, weight is transferred to balls of both feet, do foot rise (using both feet which will make it more stable), both knees flexed to absorb foot rise with knee without changing overall height.

    • At this time, shoulder should not be square. Left shoulder fwd, body is rotated to right 1/8, i.e. when turning left during heel turn, do not over turn.

  • Step 3:

    • For Waltz Double Reverse Spin, body continuously turn to L, For Foxtrot Reverse Turn, left side positive, RF fwd, in wind up position for next steps.

    • Push off back foot, swing the side, the other foot push forward, big step (feet not leaving floor).

    • Lady rises as she steps forward, and lowers as she completes the step. The rise and fall should be gradual.

Man leading heel turn:

  • Some coaches recommend Man does early (or faster) rise to lead a heel turn - as Man rise early, Lady keeps the leg relatively straight and does heel turn, instead of swinging to back.

  • It is very common for the lady to feel like the man is knocking her over. This is because he is turning his body too soon. Use CBM.

  • Man has to step around (actually, "through" is more accurate) the lady, before he turns her.

A good practice is to first practice "turnless heel turn" - just roll weight to back foot, drag trailing foot in, change weight and step out on the other foot forward. Then, add 1/4 turn, then 3/8 turn.

Heel Pull

This is one type of heel turn. Heel Pull is always a right turning figure. Example: Natural Turn in Quickstep (step 5 for Man).

    • The turn to right is made on heel of supporting foot.

    • Moving foot is pulled back and to the side of supporting foot (slightly apart).

    • Heel first, then Inside Edge of foot, then Flat.