Feather Step

Foxtrot Feather Step

This is a Newcomer figure. This online reference gives a detailed description of the dance steps, including timing, footwork, alignment, and movement; steps diagram; a list of figures that may precede or follow the pattern; and videos providing instruction and demonstration of the figure, techniques and practice routines that include it.


  1. S: RF fwd | LOD (*) | HT | Sway(S) | CBM | rise at e/o 1

    • There is CBM, so frame turns to R.

    • Step in between lady's legs.

    • Keep straight line through the whole Feather Step, no zig-zag motion.

  2. Q: LF fwd, prepare to step OP L side leading | LOD | T | Sway(R) | Up

  3. Q: RF fwd in CBMP, OP | LOD | TH | Sway(R) | Up, lower e/o 3

    • OP: RF is on same track as LF for Man.

    • When it's outside partner, it sometimes feels like Man's left side is tilting when in fact it actually is straight.

    • Note the footwork is TH, don't do heel lead. The excruciatingly correct footwork is: point right toe forward, touching floor with outside edge of toe, and sliding that toe forward as you push off your left foot.

    • at the end, start unwinding as body lowers.

  4. S: LF fwd | LOD | H | Sway(S) | CBM


  1. S: LF back | BLOD (*) | TH | Sway(S) | CBM | rise at end of 1, NFR

    • Keep moving straight line through the whole Feather Step, no zig-zag motion. Lady only has body rise, no foot rise. LF steps back, slightly to left to give Man room.

    • Because of CBM, frame turns to R (body and shoulder), focus on upper body rotating to R with vertical rotation to L (R side stretch longer)

    • Connect L shoulder to LF, as upper body rotates, hips will open up (rotate to R) in a 'passive way', take L hip toward Man

    • Gradual smooth movement, don't transfer weight too quickly to LF, which will gap with Man.

    • Finish the step onto standing foot (LF). Left ribcage forward, head extends to left. Head is on the outside of the LF.

    • Connect smoothly with next step, important to keep extension/shape when moving RF back (do not stick butt out which changes pitch of the spine and reduces volume with Man). It might help to think creating even more shape and in fact the result would be keeping shape and not reducing space.

  2. Q: RF back, R side leading | BLOD | TH | Sway(L) | up, NFR.

    • Body and hip already turned at end of previous step. Dancing the body through a diagonal. Side leading, R shoulder and hip swing and stretch diagonally back. L shoulder forward. Body is very stretched diagonally.

    • Make sure connect middle left side of body to Man, stretch (really both sides are stretching). which will give bigger upper body shape as well (head left and forward).

    • Keep the volume and space with Man. do not change the pitch of the spine (spine keeps moving backward).

    • While the spine is continuously moving, do not take upper body weight back too quickly with the foot.

    • No foot rise on RF. Release toe of front foot as it starts to move back towards supporting foot. RF Drag L heel close to RF. Balance on RF with L toe on side of RF until Man places the next step, do not fall back.

    • This is a side leading back step (not a side step), hip is not turned more on this step, Do not turn out RF, RF is straight back step. Pay attention to foot position.

  3. Q: LF back CBMP, OP | BLOD | TH | Sway(L) | up, NFR, lower e/o 3

    • Lady needs to be perfectly balanced on RF and wait till Man places her LF. Lady does not step LF back on her own.

    • Do not step short, do not step before Man put his step down. Use stomach muscle to draw RF.

    • Finish outside partner. Lady's left side should be extending quite forward, may feel twisted to R.

    • Controlled lowering into L knee, extend more, (not straighten up body, think about keeping skin in front of tummy stretched and not shortened/relaxed), absorb (do not rush into next step), release R leg faster, to prepare and give Man space to finish his leg (he will have space to bend his knee.)

    • Continue the movement (do not stop, smooth transition between figures), spine continues to move, keep the shape (do not straighten up upper body which reduces volume and space with Man), tummy stretched open. Arms breathe, give the arms from the back to Man.

    • Use the L leg/foot to push (into next step).

  4. S: RF back | BLOD | T | Sway(S) | CBM

    • Body recovering from the twist to start squaring up with Man again.

    • Very easy to lose volume when stepping back. Keep shape.

    • Continuing into next step (e.g. Three Step) - make sure knee is top of right toe, straight knee, should not be turned out.

Technique Notes

    • (*) Feather step can also be danced DW or DC.

    • Feather step: balance between 3&4 (or 7&8), L heel on the floor, not up too long, no foot rise, slide the R toe back.

    • The feet are always passing, so there is less rise and fall than in waltz.

    • Practice Feather Step and Three Step continuously:

      • Other than step 3 of Feather Step which is CBMP, all other steps are back in one straight tracks (leave room for Man). The CBMP step makes the movement veering toward mans' left (lady's right), but the movement should be straight. Don't make waves (either to left or to right).

      • Pay attention to the coordination of shoulder/body horizontal and vertical rotation.

    • On the feather step, there is CBM on the first step, so the frame turns to the right. On the Three Step, CBM happens gradually across the three steps, so the frame is wound to the left by the end of the figure. The motion is like swinging like a monkey from vine to vine.

    • The feet stay in contact with the ground all the time. When stepping back, the leg needs to swing back like a pendulum. The tip of the toe touches first, and then one rolls back onto the foot. The heel does not touch the ground until the feet are even.

    • Feather finishes usually have a note "body turns less", but there is no note "body completes turn". Although there is slight turn to L on the second to last step of a Feather Finish, the body does not really complete turn until the last step.

Types of Feather

    1. Bronze: Feather Step

    2. Bronze: Feather Finish -- first step taken back -- see also Reverse Turn

    3. Silver: Feather Finish started with Partner OP on L side

    4. Silver: Feather Ending -- first step taken in PP

      • 1st Q: Lady really swings her R hip/ribcage to close up with Man, R side ribs, extend head, keep arms forward (from the back shoulder), arm breathes fwd, Step RF under the shoulder.

      • 2nd Q: Same as end of Feather Step, controlled lowering and release R leg to prepare. Push on LF (Lady)

    5. Silver: Hover Feather

    6. Silver: Feather Step started OP

    7. Gold: Curved Feather

    8. Gold: Back Feather

Preceding Figures

  1. Change Of Direction

  2. Closed Telemark

  3. Hover Telemark

  4. Hover Telemark to PP

  5. Natural Turn

  6. Open Impetus

  7. Reverse Wave

Following Figures

  1. Three Step

  2. Reverse Turn (just Reverse Turn with Feather finish, or 1-4 Reverse Turn check and Basic Weave)

  3. Change Of Direction

  4. Closed Telemark

  5. Open Telemark and Feather Ending

  6. Open Telemark, Natural Turn, Outside Swivel and Feather Ending

  7. Hover Telemark

  8. Reverse Wave

  9. Top Spin (check back after step 3 of feather finish)

  10. Outside Swivel (check back after step 3 of Feather Step)

  11. Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot

  12. Bounce Fallaway with Weave Ending