ROUND DANCING — CHOREOGRAPHED BALLROOM
FIGURE DESCRIPTIONSFoxtrot Quickstep Waltz Viennese Waltz International Tango American Tango Two Step Five Count One Step Polka Rhythm Figures in the Latin Rhythms Cha Cha Rumba Jive Single Swing West Coast Swing Lindy Hustle Bolero Slow Two Step Mambo Salsa Samba Argentine Tango Merengue Paso Doble Dance Articles Articles Home Dance Rhythms Lead and Follow Dance Styling Fred Astaire Album Other Sections Dance Links Music Clips For Each Rhythm Instructional Books and Videos from Amazon Search Site/Web Sources Contact Me Page Contents History & Technique Specific Figures Quote
4 beats/measure; 26 - 34 meas/min
Along with Rumba and Mambo, Cha developed in Haiti and in Cuba and migrated to the United States in the 1950s. These rhythms are closely related — we can think of Mambo as a fast Rumba and Cha as a triple Mambo. These three rhythms have many figures in common.
Cha is danced with a loose hold and with sharper, more staccato movements than in Rumba. The tempo of Cha is about the same as that of Rumba, but we are fitting five steps into a measure instead of only three in Rumba, so Cha feels a good bit faster, too. Where Rumba is danced quick, quick, slow; Cha is danced quick, quick, quick/and, quick; or 1, 2, cha/cha, cha; In Latin music, you can hear the "cha-cha-cha." That is, you can hear some instrument being played on the "and" count (in other rhythms, the "and" can just be silence between two sounds).
Most Cha steps are taken ball-flat, although the quickest steps might be taken ball only. Step with the left, press into that step without weight, straighten the left knee and roll your weight onto the left leg, and bend the right knee. This will move the left hip to the side and back. More specifically, step foreward with a ball/flat/straighten/hip, and back ball/flat/straighten/hip to get a rhythmic and rolling Cuban or Latin hip action. Use the inside edge of the ball of your foot and big toe, and this will move the non-supporting knee in front of the supporting knee and add even more to the Cuban hip, but don't exagerate. Don't "wiggle your hips." The hip movement is not independent but comes from the feet and knees. The whole body is flowing with the music.Round dancers dance almost all of their Chas beginning on beat 1 of the measure, the strong downbeat — 123&4 — but ballroom dancers (and a few round dances, such as Wheels Cha by Jim & Bonnie Bahr) begin on beat 2 — 234&1. In round dancing, we call this 4&1 Cha, to distinguish it from the more common 3&4 Cha.
If you'd like to try 4&1, any round-dance Cha can be danced that way. Just hold the first beat, step on beat 2, and continue to the cues. Or start with the trail foot free, step side on beat 1, begin the first figure on beat 2, and continue to the cues.
One advantage to dancing the 4&1 timing lies in the fact that Latin music often emphasizes that part of the phrase. You end up dancing your "cha-cha-cha" where the music says "bum-ba-bum." Another advantage is that 4&1 timing lets you put the last "hip" — of a Half Basic, for instance — prominently on the downbeat. You would dance: 234&1/hip., This might feel good to the music, really Latin, sensual. I don't know. Try it. Let "the music tell you what to do."
Figure Name, Roundalab Phase Level, & Timingq=quick, 1 beat
s=slow, 2 beats
&=1/2 beat; a=1/4 beat
Steps and Actions That Make Up the Figure
Each description focuses on the man, with the woman's footwork in parenthesis. If a woman's step is not given, it is the natural opposite or follow of the man's. Help: basic dance positions and steps, actions, directions, and abbreviations. Non-standard punctuation: a comma separates two beats of music, a semi-colon marks the end of a measure, and a slash (/) indicates a split beat, two things occurring in a single beat.
Here are some sequences to help you visualize the figure in context.Basic (or Closed Basic)
123&4; 123&4;In closed position, step forward L (woman back R), recover, side/close, side; back R (W fwd L), recover, side/close, side; Don't take big steps. On forward steps, keep your body upright, and don't overwhelm your partner. Sometimes, she can feel like an ocean swimmer suddenly tumbled over by a big breaker. Similarly, on back steps, maintain forward poise.
The first measure of a basic can be cued "Half Basic" or "Forward Half Basic," and the second measure can be cued "Back Half Basic," the "forward" and "back" referring to the man's first step.In the Moores' Cha Cha Torrero, there is a basic;; half basic to a fan; alemana;; to an open break and hold;;
123&4; 123&4;With its side chasses (side/close, side), the closed basic is a tighter figure than the open basic, which is done forward and back, rather than side to side. Usually in left open facing position, lead hands joined, the man steps fwd L (woman bk R), recover R, back/lock, back; back R, recover, fwd/lk, fwd;
The forward cha or back cha shows up in other figures and can always be done with a locking step, rather that a closing step, but that lock should not be tight, with the instep of one foot against the heel of the other. Instead, lock with toes of the locking foot turned out and the ball of the locking foot against the heel of the other, forming a "T." Generally, in waltz and foxtrot we want parallel feet, but in cha and rumba we want angled feet.
In a facing position, step fwd L (W bk R), rec R, bk L/cl R, bk L;
This is essentially the same as the first half of the open basic above. If partners are both facing the same direction, as in OP or LOP, then the steps for both are fwd, rec, bk/cl, bk; and may begin with either foot and with opposite or same footwork.
In a facing position, step back R (W fwd L), rec L, fwd R/cl L, fwd R;
This is essentially the same as the second half of the open basic described above. If partners are both facing the same direction, as in OP or LOP, then the steps for both are fwd, rec, bk/cl, bk; and may begin with either foot and with opposite or same footwork.
Alternate or Alternative Basic
1&23&4; 1&23&4;In a facing position, lead feet free, close L (woman cl R)/cl R, side L/draw R to L, cl R/cl L, side R/draw L to R; repeat;
The timing here is quicker than in a regular basic, so make it a small side step with a straight leg, and stick that step — kind of stab it, keeping your body weight over the foot or even back a bit so it will be easy to check your body motion.
This is not a standard figure. We have also seen it danced fwd, rec, cl/cl, sd; bk, rec, cl/cl, sd;
123&4; 123&4;This is a Basic in which the forward and back steps are crossing, and you turn as a couple 1/2 LF over the two measures.
In closed or butterfly position, perhaps facing wall, XLIF of R (woman XRIB of L) turning 1/4 LF, recover R, sd L/cl R, sd L; XRIB of L (W XLIF of R) turning 1/4 LF, recover L, sd R/cl L, sd R;
There and Back
123&4; 123&4;In closed position, close left to right (woman cl R to L), in place R, small back L/R, L (woman bk R/L, R); rock back R ( W rk apt L), recover L, small fwd R/L, R (woman fwd L/R, L) to CP again;
123&4;In almost any position and with either foot, step forward, fwd, fwd/close, fwd;
May be done with swiveling action. Closing step may be replaced with a locking step.In the Rumbles' Bahama Mama, we are in left open position both facing line (woman on inside of circle) trail feet free, and we walk to line; new yorker to line; underarm turn man face center; to an open hip twist; and fan; man still facing center. Progressive or Kiki Walks
123&4; 123&4;Step fwd, fwd, fwd/cl, fwd with little swiveling of hips; The chasse could be done as a fwd/lock, fwd.
In the plain walk (above), we walk on two parallel tracks, feet side by side. A kiki walk is done on one track, as if you are walking on a rail, one foot in front of the other.In Lefeavers' Hippies's Cha (sic) there is a half basic; whip to low butterfly man facing line; progressive walks to line twice;; One could then walk four curving to face the wall; and go into a strolling vine;; Monkey Walks
In shadow or side-by-side, R ft free for both, both bring the R fwd with a small CW circle action and step sd & fwd with the M's R ending crossed in front of the lady's L, -, bothbring the L fwd with a small CCW circle action and step sd & fwd with the W's L ending crossed in front of the M's R, -; In Down In Mexico by Finch, we are in side-by-side position COH with L feet free. We dance single cubans with a tap end (R ft free); monkey walks; continuous chasse 1&2&3 (W 1&2&3&4); cross check
123&4;In almost any position and with either foot, step back, bk, bk/close, bk;
Back Walk 4
1234;In almost any position and with either foot, step back, bk, bk, bk;
So far, there is no "forward" moonwalk, so the woman, facing the man, will simply walk 4 or perhaps cross swivel 4 (lead hnd fwd palm-palm swvl LF on L fwd & acrss R, swvl RF on R fwd & acrss L, swvl LF on L fwd & acrss R, swvl RF on R fwd & acrss L;)In Brent & Mickey Moore's Somewhere My Cha, there is a half basic facing LOD; cross body to 3 chas;; jump close body wave; man moonwalk to RLOD woman cross swivel; open break transition to LOP COH L foot free; side recover cuban break; Circle Away and Together
123&4; 123&4;In any position, turn away from partner, man LF and woman RF, and step fwd with the lead feet, fwd, fwd/cl, fwd; turning 1/2. In the second measure, return to partner: fwd with the trail feet, fwd, fwd/cl, fwd; completing a full circle.
We can separate the two halves of the circle, maybe circling away and then doing something else, or separating in some other manner and then "circling together" to return to partner.In Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Rumbles, the dance begins in open position LOD with a sliding door over and back;; circle away and together;; basic;; reverse underarm turn; crab walks to LOD;
123&4;From almost any position, step away from partner on the lead foot. If you begin in closed position facing wall or semi-closed position facing LOD, the man turns LF and steps L toward line and center (woman turns RF and steps R toward line and wall. Then step R toward COH (woman L toward wall), fwd L/fwd R, fwd L beginning to turn LF (woman RF); The next figure is usually some kind of dance back together again. You might circle together (giving you your lead feet free again); or you could strut 4 back together (giving you your trail feet); so you could do a cucaracha; and then alemana;; Circle Together
123&4;Usually, you have just Circled Away (see above) and so are back-to-back and apart from each other, with trail feet free. Step forward R turning LF (woman fwd L turning RF), fwd L turning to face partner, fwd R/fwd L, fwd R back to closed or other designated position; In Moments Of Magic by Croft & de Zordo, we start with apart pt tog tch; circle away; circle tog BFLY; basic;; new yorker RLOD;
123&4; 123&4; 123&4; 123&4;This is a Circle Away & Together (see above);; Notice that the "circle" is CCW for the man and CW for the woman. You then pass right shoulders as the man crosses to the other side of the circle, and you Circle Away & Together again;; This time the man will circle CW and the woman CCW (to make a real "figure 8" shape). In the Rumbles' I Can See Clearly Now, they have a sequence that puts you in open position facing RLOD, man on outside of circle. Do a sliding door twice;; figure 8;;;; for a merengue basic M facing wall; and cucaracha twice;; Cha Cha Wheel
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;In a right-hand star position, step forward L (woman fwd R), fwd R, fwd L/lock R in back of L, fwd L circling RF 1/2; fwd R, fwd L, fwd R/lock L in back of R, fwd R again circling RF 1/2; making a complete circle. In the Shibatas' La Cuca Cha Cha Mixer, we begin in a right-hand star with the man facing the wall. We dance a cha cha wheel; continue, woman spin RF to face partner and COH; basic;; cross body;; to a new yorker; Ballerina Wheel
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;In varsouvienne or shadow skaters, walk clockwise around the woman, L, R, L/R, L; R, L, R/L, R;
She brings her right foot up to her left knee, toes pointing down, rises onto left toes, and allows man to turn her up to one full turn. The man must not take simple forward steps but must turn the foot to the right on each step and stay exactly on the circumference of the circle, at the center of which rotates the woman.
Since it is actually impossible to walk a perfect circle, maybe the real key to succes is for the woman to relax. If she maintains her usual tone, she will feel every deviation from that perfect circle. She will wobble and waver. If she can relax, she can give and take with shock-absorber arms. She can stay comfortably on that center point even if he does shift a bit from one side to the other. It takes two to dance a smooth Wheel.
123&4;In a facing position, step sd, cl, sd/cl, sd; In the Schmidts' I Need To Know, there is a hand to hand; aida; switch cross; side walks;; and a cucaracha; Crab Walks
123&4; 123&4;In butterfly position, cross in front, side, XIF/sd, XIF; sd, XIF, sd/cl, sd;
May be done with either foot.The Prows' Like I Love You begins part A with a sliding door to face center; crab walks toward line; fence line; spot turn to open; sliding door to face wall; crab walks toward reverse; fence line; to a whip to triple chas;; La Suiza
1&2&3&4;In a facing position, step side L/lift and flick R across in front of L (W sd R/lift & flk L in front), cross R in front/lift and flick L side and back(W cross L in front/lift & flick R sd & bk), sd L/cl R, sd L;
May be done in any position, with opposite or same footwork, and on diagonal or forward & back (without crossing steps).In Bailamos by Ito, in R/R handshake, we dance a shadow new yorker; underarm turn; shadow back break to face LOD; lady underarm roll M in 4 to escort position R foot free; la suiza 2X;; single cuban break; cross unwind transition to BFLY wall;
123&4; 123&4;In butterfly position, step fwd L, sd R, XLIF/sd R, XLIF; bk r, sd L, XRIF/sd l, XRIF; In Scotts' Then What, part A begins with a cha box;; vine two, face-to-face; vine two, back-to-back; Do-Si-Do
In open facing position, M fcg wall, W offset to his right, no hands joined, and R feet free, step fwd R, fwd L passing right shoulders, sd R/close L, sd R passing partner back-to-back; bk L, bk R passing left shoulders, sd L/cl R, sd L to open facing position again;
In Chilly Chilly Cha by the Shibatas, the dance begins with a do-si-do;; pat-a-cake with right hands M transition to face; aida to line; flick kick fwd cha; cross unwind to face; turkish towel;;;;
Box the Crab
123&4; 123&4;123&4; 123&4;This is an interesting combination of a crab walk to reverse, a backing cha measure, a crab walk to line, and a forward cha measure.
In butterfly position with lead feet free, XLIF of right, sd R, XLIF of right/sd R, XLIF of right (W XRIF of left, sd L, XRIF of left/sd L, XRIF of left); bk R, bk L, bk R/lock L in front of right, bk R (W fwd L, fwd R, fwd L/lock R in back of left, fwd L); sd L, XRIF of left, sd L/XRIF of left, sd L (W sd R, XLIF of right, sd R/XLIF of right, sd R); fwd R, fwd L, fwd R/lock L in back of right, fwd R (W bk L, bk R, bk L/lock R in front of left, bk L);In Maria Bonita by the Hoffmans, the dance has an alemana:: box the crab;;;; to a full basic;; New Yorker
123&4;In butterfly position, both swivel on the trail foot to left open position and step through to RLOD, recover to face again, side/close, side toward LOD;
May begin with the trail foot free, in which case we would swivel to open position LOD and step thru to line. May be done in other dance positions and other facing directions.
In Oren's He Ain't Worth Missin', there are crab walks toward reverse;; new yorker to end in open position facing line; walk 2 and cha; circle away and together;; alemana;; Quick New Yorker
1&2 or 3&4The New Yorker is a leisurely figure. In comparison, Quick New Yorkers move. In butterfly, both step through to a side-by-side position. Recover quickly, and step side to butterfly again. Begin with either foot.
It is helpful to prepare for this little burst of activity in the previous measure. Maybe you are finishing a Basic, and you hear the cue Quick New Yorker. Don't let yourself flow freely from the Back Basic into the Quick New Yorker, but pause briefly. Catch or stop your partner. Cancel whatever flow or momentum has built up. Now, with small and controlled movements, step through. Stick that step and keep your body weight back. Recover. Small step side. You're under control. Turn and step through the other way. It will feel much better than lunging one way and desperately lurching the other.Of course, two quick new yorkers, one to reverse and one to line will put some excitement into your routine, and Bill and Carol Goss have created a great sequence that begins that way, in their "disco" cha, You Should Be Dancing: quick new yorkers; new yorker ronde transition; ronde chasse; hip twist chasse; solo fence line with arms; spot turn arms up; solo fence line with arms; spot turn arms up transition; ending in facing position wall.
If you want to try this sequence, you'd be wise to get the cue sheet, but we enjoyed it so much on the ballroom floor, that I'll give you a few notes. The new yorker ronde transition is a regular new yorker to reverse for the woman, and the man takes four steps only to end in open position, line of dance, left foot free for both. Now, release hands and do the ronde chasse and hip twist chasse facing line with same footwork. These two figures are described at the bottom of this page. Finally, the solo work begins in open, no hands joined, facing line, left feet free. Man and woman do the same thing: lunge left foot in front of right, and at the same time move your right hand in a CCW circle, wrist leading, and ending with a sharp pointing of the index finger diagonally downward, about 45 º. Time this sharp pointing to occur at just the moment that you lunge occurs. All this happens during beat 1. Then recover and side cha. The spot turn is LF, so cross right in front of left, turning 1/2 and at that moment point your right index finger diagonally upward, toward center of hall and ceiling. To get just the flavor of this pointing, rent Saturday Night Fever and watch John Travolta. On beat 2, recover to face line and side cha. Repeat.Travolta
&1&2&3&4;Speaking of John Travolta (just above right), we now have a figure named after him. It is done in a "press" position—weight is on the trail foot, trail leg locked at the knee, lead foot a bit forward with just a little pressure into the ball of that foot, heel off the floor. The right hip (woman's left) is thrust to the side (the locked knee should do that automatically). Your lead arm is diagonally across your body, the index finger of the lead hand pointed diagonally down in front of that outthrust hip. Now, look at the pointed finger. This is the Travolta position.
Now, lift the left hip (woman right) and bring the right hip in. On the "1" count, point that lead index finger diagonally up to the left (woman right), look at it, and pop the right hip back out again. On the "&", bring the trail hip in, and on the "2" bring the index finger back to the hip and pop it out again. Repeat on counts 3 & 4.In the Ashendens' Disco Cha, part B begins with a vine 2 sd/cls press to the "Travolta" position; Travolta; vine 3 to line & clap; vine 3 to reverse & clop; repeat;;;; New Yorker in 4
1234;In facing position, step thru, recover to face partner, step side, recover; In the Woodruffs' Sergeant Preston, part A begins with a basic;; new yorker in 4; new yorker; thru vine 8;; Shadow New Yorker
In R/R handshake position, both swivel on the trail foot to left shadow position and step through to RLOD, recover to face again, side/close, side toward LOD;
May be danced with trail feet free toward LOD. Could be danced with a L/L handshake.
In Rolling In the Deep by Hilton we have trail feet free and dance 2 qk new yorkers; spot trn to handshake; shadow new yorker RLOD; whip w/ rev twirl both face LOD;
Hand to Hand
123&4;In butterfly position, both swivel 1/4 and step back to open position (if lead feet were free) or to left open pos. (if trail feet were free), recover to face partner, side/ close, side; Again, single measure figures are often repeated; or you could dance a hand to hand with the lead feet and follow that with an alemana turn beginning with the trail feet. Cuddle
123&4;In closed position wall, step side L with a little left side stretch and leading woman to turn 1/2 RF and step back R with right side stretch and right arm to side. At the end of this first step, both face wall swayed a little toward each other, the woman on the man's right side. On the second step, recover R (W rec L). On 3, close L leading woman to step forward R and turn 1/2 back to face man. She puts her right hand on the man's left shoulder in a "cuddle" position. Finish the "cha" stepping in place R, L (W cl L, sd R) and blend to closed position.
This figure may be done with the trail foot, opening her out to the man's left side, and it can be done in any facing direction.In You're the One Cha by A&L Nelson, part B starts with an alemana; to CP; cuddle 2X;; closed hip twist; fan; hockey stick;;
Shoulder to Shoulder
123&4;In bfly he rocks forward and she back on diagonal, rec, sd/cl, sd; In the Warners' A New Day Has Come, part B starts with half a basic; lady to fan; alemana to face, no hands;; shoulder to shoulder twice;; time step twice;; Fence Line or "Fencing" Line
123&4;In butterfly position, both dancers cross in front and lunge with a soft knee, recover, and cha with a sd/cl, sd to face; As you lunge, extend your arms on that side as in a thrust with a fencing foil and raise the other arms for balance. That is, if you are facing wall and doing the fence line to reverse with the lead feet, you would thrust with your trail arms, also to reverse, and raise the lead arms for balance. In the LaBaus' Forever In Blue Jeans, the introduction begins in butterfly with tow fence lines;; to a chase;;;; Part A then goes into a traveling door twice;; to a full basic;; Fence Line Four
1234;In butterfly, cross in front with a bent knee, recover, step side, and close; May be done with either foot. Do a new yorker; spot turn; fence in 4; to a half basic; and crab walk to line; Break
123&4;From a facing position and with either foot, step behind to a designated position, recover forward, and forward/close, forward; You might be in butterfly wall, lead feet free. The cue might be, break back to open. In Two For Tea by the Gosses, there is a new yorker toward reverse; whip with a hop on the last "cha" to face center; tew yorker toward line; whip to face reverse; spot turn; alemana turn to face wall; break back to face line; break back to face reverse; pretzel turn;;; Open Break
123&4;Hold lead hands both rock apart on lead feet trail arms up, recover, sd/cl, sd;
Some dancers like a softer, less explosive, look to the "break," given by extending the trail arms horizontally to the side or just a bit diagonally upward.In the Prows' Like I Love You, the dance begins with an open break; spot turn; back break to open; swivel and cha; sliding door to face center; crab walks toward line; fence line; Sit Line
123&4;This is an Open Break that is smaller, more gentle, and includes a "sitting" or lowering action.
In left open facing position, step small back L relaxing the left knee, leaving the right leg extended, with forward body poise, and raising the right arm. The woman mirrors the man with a back R and sit. Recover R rising (woman recovers L). Step sd L/cl R, sd L. This chasse may also be danced forward or together.
123&4;In a facing position, the man turns a little RF and steps back R (W swivel 1/4 RF and steps fwd L trng 1/2 RF). On beat two, the man recovers L to face, and the woman recovers R, completing the turn to face her partner. On the cha, both step side/close, side. In the Worlocks' Hola Chica, the dance begins with an open break; to an underarm turn; back break to 2 chas down line; ,, Reverse Underarm Turn
123&4;In butterfly position, man facing wall, cross in front with lead foot (W swivel 1/4 LF step fwd R and turn 1/2 LF), recover R (W fwd L turning 1/4 LF to face ptnr), and both step side/close, side;
The lady makes a full turn LF under lead hands. There is no turn for the couple as a whole. Usually begins in left open facing position or BFLY. May begin in any facing direction.
In Disco Cha by the Ashendens, there are crab walks toward LOD;; new yorker; reverse underarm turn; underarm turn; to a chase with peek-a-boo;;;; Alemana
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;In facing position, step forward (W bk R), recover, bk/close, small back. During the chasse (the bk/cl, bk) the man raises his lead arm, thus leading the woman to think about turning RF under that arm, and the lady dances fwd R/cl L, fwd R beginning her turn. During the second measure, the man rocks back and recovers while she walks L, R in a RF circle under lead hands, back to face. Then both chasse sd/cl, sd; Sometimes the underarm turn part of this figure is referred to as an alemana turn, as in "half basic to an alemana turn."
You can differentiate the alemana and underarm turn by making the lady's first two steps of the second measure less rounded and more sharp. Step forward left toward the man's left side and turn 1/2 in a spiral-like action, fwd R away from the man and turn almost 1/2 in a hip-twist-like action—you are tracing a triangle on the floor rather than a circle—and then dance your chasse.In the Lawsons' Gazpacho Cha, part A begins with an alemana;; hand to hand twice;; back break to open; swivel two and cha; circle away and cha; circle together and cha; Alemana From Fan
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;Often, an alemana is done from a fan position. The woman closes her right foot, steps forward L, forward R/fwd L, and fwd R beginning to turn RF. Meanwhile, the man has raised his lead arm, leading the alemana turn as usual (see just above). In I Like It by the Imamuras, in skaters, there is a forward recover back cha; back recover cha to fan; alemana;; advanced hip twist;
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;This is an Alemana in which you turn as a couple 1/2 RF. If you begin the Advanced Alemana facing the wall, you end in facing position man facing COH.
In a facing position, step forward L (W bk R), recover R comm trng RF (W rec L), and then step side L/cl R, step L completing 1/8 RF turn and raising lead hands to indicate to the woman that she will turn RF under lead hands (W fwd R/cl L in Latin cross, fwd R swiveling RF to begin alemana turn). In the second measure, cross R in back of L turning as she steps fwd L and turns under your lead hand, side L as she steps fwd R and continues to turn, and then cha in place completing 3/8 turn (W fwd L to face/cl R, sd L).
The man turns 1/2 and the woman a total of 1 1/2 RF.
123&4;Begin in left-open-facing position and step forward L (woman back R), recover R, bk L/close R, step L and lead woman to step fwd R and start a LF turn under lead hands (woman fwd R turning LF 1/2 to 5/8, -; End in tandem or shadow or wrapped position both facing wall.
The Curl is really a rumba figure, and you can read more there.
123&4;Step side with partial weight and twist on ball of foot (forgive me: as though you are crushing a cockroach), recover, cl/step, step; In Hello Mary Lou by the Crapos, the dance begins with an apart point together touch; cucaracha twice;; rock apart recover wrap 2, 3; wheel 2 unwrap 2, 3; basic;; to a new yorker; Quick Cucaracha
1&2Step side L (W sd R)/rec R, close L,
May be done with trail feet.In Come On A My House by Lamberty & Halbert, part B starts in butterfly position facing COH with cucaracha hip roll with twisty hitch; quick cucaracha twice; repeat;; to an alemana;; and natual opening out in 4; Turning Cucarachas
qqs; qqs; qqs; qqs;This is not a standard figure. Of course, the footwork is some number of cucarachas, but we turn either LF or RF, usually 1/4 or 1/2, on either the first or second step of each cucaracha.
So, we might begin facing partner and wall with lead feet free. Turn 1/4 LF (W RF) and step fwd L (W R) toward LOD, sd R, Cl L/R, L; step bk R and turn 1/4 LF (W bk L trn 1/4 RF) to bk-to-bk position M fcg COH, sd L, cl R/L, R; turn 1/4 LF (W RF) and step fwd L (W R) toward RLOD, sd R, Cl L/R, L; step bk R and turn 1/4 LF (W bk L trn 1/4 RF) to facing position again M fcg wall, sd L, cl R/L, R;In Beautiful Noise by Van Lockeren & Bolton, the dance begins in butterfly wall with side walks to RLOD;; turning cucarachas;;;; time steps;; Spot Turn
123&4;In butterfly position, both swivel 1/4 and step fwd turning 1/2. Starting with lead feet, the man would turn right face, and the woman would turn left. Recover and turn 1/4 to face partner. Then both step side/close, side.
You may begin with either foot.In Seurer's Stayin' Alive, part A begins with a new yorker to open position facing line; walk 2 and cha; slide the door;; circle away 2 and cha; together 2 and cha; new yorker; spot turn; sand steps;;;; Continuous Spot Turn
1234; 123&4;You might begin facing each other with trail feet free. XRIF of L (woman XLIF of R) and turn 3/4 LF (woman RF) to face RLOD, fwd L, fwd R turning 1/2 LF (woman fwd L turning 1/2 RF), fwd L to face LOD; fwd R turning 1/2 LF, fwd L turning to face partner, sd R/cl L, sd R;
The middle part has a little of the feel of a basketball turn. You may begin with either foot.In the Goss' Peter Gunn, there is a cross body with inside underarm turn that puts the man facing COH with lead feet free. We then do quick new yorkers; a regular new yorker; continuous spot turn;; to an advanced alemana to shadow position facing wall;; Lariat
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;This figure needs to start with the lady at least a little on the man's right side. Holding lead hands high, he steps in place two measures (LRL/RL; RLR/LR;), and she walks clockwise around him to face. She walks fwd R, fwd L, fwd R/cl L, fwd R; fwd L, fwd R, fwd L/cl R, fwd L; The man can put his right hand on her back and so lead her around and behind. Joined hands will pass over his head.
I like to change my steps just a little into a small cucaracha: sm sd L, rec R, stp L/stp R, stp L; and then again with the trail foot -- I feel a little more latin. On the other hand, I must not pull away from partner, as she circles behind me. In the Kammerers' C'est Si Bon III, part B starts with an alemana;; lariat;; to a new yorker to reverse; crab walks to line;; and a new yorker to line; Rope Spin
&; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;This is a strange figure. The two measures concerned are really just a lariat, but the cue "rope spin" also tells you to modify the last step of the previous figure by leading the woman to spiral RF. You can think that the rope spin is a lariat that begins with a woman's spiral, as if the cowboy had given his "lariat" an extra twirl, but just realize that the spiral occurs at the end of the previous measure.
So, the previous figure might have been an alemana. On the last beat, the man should raise lead hands and shape to the lady with a little Left-side stretch and slight RF body turn. She will take that last step L and spiral RF. If the man will take care to put his lead hand directly over her head with a little right sway, he will not pull her off the spot of that last step, and she will be able to spiral in place with better balance.
At the beginning of the next measure, you will be in a left-open-facing position with the woman on the man's right side ready for the lariat part of the rope spin. He may step sd L, rec R, step/stp, stp in place (W fwd R, fwd L, fwd R/cl L in latin cross, fwd R clock-wise around behind man); For the man, this is a small cucaracha as the lady starts her circle. Perhaps a better alternative is for the man to step side & back L into more of a diagonal back cucaracha. If he has placed his R hand on her back, or even if he doesn't, the backward component provides a lead for her first forward step, and it doesn't move the man away from the lady as much as a straight side step does.
In the second measure of the rope spin, the man can do a side cucaracha shaping to the W with a little LF body rotation (standard) or he can do another back diagonal cucaracha: sd & bk R, rec L, in place R/L, R (W continues CW fwd L, fwd R, fwd L/cl R in latin cross, fwd & sd L to face man); Again, the diagonal cucaracha doesn't move the man away from the lady, and the back component actually gets him out of her way, as she circles around in front of him. She gets around more easily.
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;In butterfly position, step fwd turn half release hands, recover forward on right woman follows, fwd/cl, fwd; fwd on right both turn half, rec, fwd/cl,fwd; fwd she turn half, rec,bk/cl,bk she chase; bk, rec, fwd/cl, fwd; (man turns in first measure, both turn in second, woman in third, and neither in fourth) In the Bodes' Come a Little Bit Closer, part A has a fence line to reverse; crab walks to line;; underarm turn; to a chase;;;; time step; spot turn twice;; and another time step; Chase Peek A Boo
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;Do the first measure of a chase; cucaracha right & look at your partner over your left shoulder (peek); cucarcha left & look over your right (a-boo); finish with second measure of chase;
Note that the man turns 1/2 twice during the figure, but the woman does not turn.Glenn's Three Times Cha begins part A with a chase 1/2 to tandem wall;; women peekaboos;; and then finish the chase to butterfly;; Chase Peek A Boo Double
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;Do the first measure of a chase; measures 2 & 3 of a chase peek a boo (the peek-a-boo part with both facing COH and both starting with trail feet);; step fwd R turning 1/2 LF (woman fwd L turning 1/2 RF) so both face wall, fwd L (woman fwd R), fwd/cl, fwd; do a two-measure peek a boo both starting with lead feet;; step fwd L (woman fwd R turning 1/2 LF to face man), recover R (woman fwd L), bk/cl, bk; bk R (woman fwd L), rec L, fwd/cl, fwd; In Nothing On But the Radio by the Patrick & Eileen Krause, there are 2 new yorkers;; chase peek a boo double;;;;;;;; half basic; underarm turn; to a lariat;; Chase With Underarm Pass
In left open facing position step fwd L comm 1/2 RF turn (W bk R), recover fwd R keeping lead hands joined, fwd/cl, fwd; back R raising lead hands (W fwd L), recover L (W fwd R turning 1/2 LF under joined lead hands to face partner), small side R/cl L, sd R;
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;In left or right shadow, skaters, or varsouvienne position and with same footwork, step side L turning RF, recover forward R turning RF, fwd L/close R, fwd L; side R turning LF, recover forward L turning LF, fwd R/close L, fwd R; In Corazon, by the Rumbles, the dance begins in open position facing LOD with a parallel chase; and then a lunge turn in 4 to face RLOD; parallel chase; fan man transition and face wall; Challenge Chase
123&4; 123&4; 123&4; 123&4;Like a chase, we dance 4 measures, but during the triples, first the man spins 1 1/2 times around to face, then the lady, then the man, and then the lady. Indeed, it is a challenge.
In a facing position, step fwd L turning 1/2 RF (W bk R), fwd R, then during the triple step L/R, L completing 1 1/2 further RF rotation to face partner (W fwd R/lk L, fwd R no turn). During the second measure, rock bk R (W fwd L turning 1/2 RF), rec L, fwd R/lk L, fwd R (W keep turning and step L/R, L completing 1 1/2 further RF rotation to face partner); repeat;;
In Something Stupid Cha Cha by Doi, the dance begins with a challenge chase;;;; natural opening out lady spiral to a fan;; hockey stick to fwd triple chas;;;
123&4; 123&4; 123&4; 123&4; 123&4;In left open facing position wall, walk fwd R raising lead hands, L, R/L, R circling 5/8 RF (W fwd L beginning to turn under lead hands, R, L/R, L circling 1 1/8 RF to follow man into tandem position drop hands both facing DLC); fwd L, R, L/R, L turning 3/4 LF to follow woman into tandem position both facing DLW (W fwd R, L, R/L, R turning 3/4 LF); fwd R, L, R/L, R circling 3/4 RF (W fwd L, R, L/R, L circling 3/4 RF to follow man into tandem position both facing DLC); fwd L, R, L/R, L turning 5/8 LF to follow woman into almost tandem position facing wall (W fwd R, L, R/L, R turning 3/4 LF); bk R, rec L, step R/L, R in place with no turn (W fwd L, R, L/R, L turning 5/8 RF to face M) to left open facing position wall;
Sometimes this figure will be cued Alemana To Follow My Leader. Such a cue does two things: it allows us to start with the lead foot, and it gets us started into the figure-8 patterns with the underarm turn. Essentially, we do a half basic, begin an alemana turn, and then the man releases lead hands and turns right into the follow-my-leader actions. The alemana turn becomes the first measure of the follow my leader for a total of 6 measures.
or this is a good figure for guapa timing: -/&, 2,3/&,4;
May be done with either foot.In I Want You Back by Hurd, we dance a single cuban knee point w/ arms; time steps lady shimmy 2X to hndshk;; turkish towel;; w/ one turkish break; both spin to face; new yorker;
123&4;Begin in left shadow position (woman on man's left side and in front) and end in right or normal shadow position.
Step forward L with right side lead (woman bk R with left side lead) in a contra check like action and checking your motion, recover R removing your contra "twist," side L/cl R, sd L (woman sd R/cl L, sd R) each crossing to the other side of partner;
This figure is often repeated with opposite foot, body lead, and body turn.
123&4; 123&4; 123&4; 123&4;This is a long figure that flows especially well. Essentially, it is an Alemana that is considerably overturned to put the woman behind the man into a man's varsouvienne position, R/R and L/L hands joined (2 measures). Then you do sweetheart rocks to move the woman from one side to the other (2 measures (or more)). It is as though the man is drying his back with a big, fluffy towel.
So, in open facing position with R/R hands joined in a handshake, step fwd L (woman bk R), rec R, cl L/cl R, cl L raising right hands (W fwd R /cl L, fwd & sd Rbeginning to turn RF); bk R (woman fwd R turning under raised R hands), rec L turning 1/4 LF (W fwd R turning), sd R/cl L, sd R (W fwd L/R, L CW around behind man to his left side and joining left hands) -; At this point, you are in a man's varsouvienne position, woman behind and to the left, man in front and to the right, all hands joined.
Now the "towel" part—check back L and look at partner (woman check fwd R), rec R, sd L/cl R, sd L moving to the woman's left side; check back R and again look at partner (W fwd L), rec L, sd R/cl L, sd R moving back to woman's right side;
The second two measures might be repeated (if your back isn't quite dry) for a total of six measures.In Chilly Chilly Cha by the Shibatas, we step thru to an aida down line; flick & kick fwd lk cha to reverse; cross in front & unwind to face; turkish towel with guapacha timing M transition to skaters W behind and to the left R feet free;;;; both facing wall W across to shadow wall; single cubans;
1,2,3&4;In bfly back on right foot turn quarter left lead woman forward across man's left side, recover woman completes turn, sd/cl, sd; (man and woman change places) Do a half basic to a whip, two cucarachas, another half basic and whip back.
In Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Rumbles, there is a new yorker to RLOD; whip; 4 fwd chas down LOD;; new yorker to LOD; spot turn twice;; whip back to wall;
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;You can think: half basic and whip, but this figure is done in closed position. Step forward L (woman back R), recover R man beginning to turn LF and so loosening the closed position. He does a side chasse, and she steps forward R/close L, fwd R to an L-position. During the second measure, the man steps back R continuing to turn and she steps forward L beginning to turn LF. He recovers L and she steps forward R completing a 1/2 turn. Both then do a side chasse in closed position, man facing center. Of course, you can begin in closed position center and end in closed wall. In the Shibatas' Sunny Cha, part B begins with a cross body to a right-handshake facing center;; shadow new yorker; cross body ending to face wall; shadow new yorker; right hand underarm turn to man's skater; Circular Cross Body
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;Where a half basic to a whip often begins in butterfly position, and a cross body begins in closed, and both turn 1/2 over two measures, the circular cross body begins in R/R handshake and turns 1 1/4 over five measures. Very briefly, it is something like a half basic, whip to varsouvienne, half basic woman twist, whip to vars, half basic woman twist.
So, we begin in R/R handshake man facing wall. He rocks fwd L (W bk R), rec R turning 1/4 LF to face LOD (W rec L), sd toward COH L/cl R, sd L (W fwd R/L, R twd COH); This is essentially a half basic with the man turning a little left to prepare for a whipping action.
In the second measure, the man rocks bk R (W fwd L), rec L beginning to turn LF and leading the W across in front of the man with low R hands (W fwd R beginning to turn 1 1/8 LF), continue turning LF to face DRC stepping in place R/L, R while turning W LF and bringing R hands up behind W (W complete turn L/R, L) to end in varsouvienne position both facing DRC;
In varsouvienne, rock fwd L (W fwd R), rec R releasing L hands (W fwd L turning sharply 1/2 RF to fc DLW), turning 1/8 LF to face RLOD step side L/cl R, sd L (W turn another 1/8 RF and step sd R/cl L, sd & fwd R) to end M fcg RLOD (W fcg wall) with R hands joined across in front of W;
In the fourth measure, the man rocks bk R (W fwd L to the wall), rec L beginning to turn LF and leading the W across in front of the man with low R hands (W fwd R beginning to turn 1 1/8 LF), continue turning LF to face DLW stepping in place R/L, R while turning W LF and bringing R hands up behind W (W complete turn L/R, L) to end in varsouvienne position both facing DLW;
In varsouvienne, rock fwd L (W fwd R), rec R releasing L hands (W fwd L turning sharply 1/2 RF to fc DRC), turning slightly LF to face LOD step side L/cl R, sd L (W turn another 3/8 RF and step sd R/cl L, sd & fwd R) to end both fcg LOD with W to right of M and R hands joined across in front of W;
This figure seems to me fundamentally similar to the Full Moon that we have in Rumba and in Bolero.In You Drive Me Crazy by the Rumbles, we are in open position, both facing LOD with L feet free. We do traveling knee, ball/crosses toward COH;; chase to the wall; woman roll out 4 to face and handshake, lead feet free; circular cross body;;;;; W spin ahead to face; to a facing hockey stick; Develope
1234:In butterfly position, the man steps forward L checking outside partner, and holds; The woman steps back R, -, raises the L knee drawing the L foot up the side of the R leg, and then extends the L foot forward in a controlled kick as high as is comfortable;
The develope is actually the woman's "knee, kick," and it can be done from almost any position, with either foot, with a variety of different entry actions, and occasionally even the man will attempt to do one.
Open Hip Twist
123&4;In left open facing position or in right handshake facing the wall, check forward L (W bk R) and recover R. On beats 3&4, step small back L/close R, bk L with a toned left arm. On beats 3&4, the woman steps forward R, locks her left foot in back of the right, and steps forward, meeting the wall of the man's lead arm and so swiveling 1/4 RF at the end of beat 4.
When doing a locking cha, turn the toes out and touch the big toe of the locking foot to the heel of the forward foot.
Another little refinement has the man reaching a little farther back on 3, pulling the right toward but not up to the left on the &, and then closing with the left. In this way, you hold your arm firm, and the body movement gives a little push to lead her hip twist.
Remembering the Latin hip, the timing then becomes for the man: fwd/hip rec/hip, reach bk/pull step, close; and for the woman: bk/hip, rec/hip, fwd/lk, fwd/twist;In the Goss' Todo Todo Todo, part A begins with an open hip twist; fan; hockey stick to triple chas toward reverse;;; Closed Hip Twist
123&4;In closed position, step side and forward L with left side lead to cause woman to open out (woman swivel RF up to 1/2 and step back R). In this first step, there is some of the feel of lunging apart. If you began facing wall, both are now facing wallish — probably man reverse and wall and woman line and wall. On the second beat, recover R with right side lead (woman recover L and swivel LF to face man). Step small sd L/cl R (W sd R/cl L). On beat 4, step sd L with slight left side lead and right side stretch (woman side R and then sharp 1/4 RF swivel on that right foot drawing L to R and touch).
Some women like a delicate, demure look at the end of a hip twist, drawing the left knee across the right thigh in a sort of Marilyn Monroe pose, but others like more strength with the left knee forward in a press and the right hip back, like a drawn bowstring ready to launch into the fan or whatever comes next.
Advanced Hip Twist
123&4;In closed position, step forward L on ball of foot, pressing into floor and turning a little RF (woman turn 1/2 RF and step back R), recover R (woman recover L and turn 1/2 LF to face partner), back L under body but keep body weight forward/cl R, small bk L (woman fwd R outside partner on his right side/cl L, fwd R and swivel 1/4 RF);
Of course, the final 1/4 turn for the woman is the "hip twist." In doing any hip twist, her hips should turn fully, but her upper body should turn less, maybe drawn by the man's charisma and animal magnetism, maintaining "connection" between partners.In I Need To Know by Schmidt, part A begins with an advanced hip twist; fan; stop & go hockey stick;; hockey stick;;
Continuous Hip Twist
This is a two-measure figure. The first measure is an advanced hip twist, and the second measure is a left hip twist that turns as a couple 1/2 RF.
In closed position wall, step forward L on ball of foot, pressing into floor and turning a little RF (woman turn 1/2 RF and step back R), recover R (woman recover L and turn 1/2 LF to face partner), back L under body but keep body weight forward (woman fwd R outside partner on his right side and turn 1/4 RF)/cl R (W cl L), sd L (W fwd R);
If you begin with the man facing the wall, at the end of the first measure, you will be in a tight L-position but with good upper-body connection, the man still facing wall. Now, the man steps side and back R with just a little left-face turn to lead the woman to step forward L down LOD. On the “and” count, she swivels left-face to face M's R side. The man recovers L and the woman steps forward R curving to the right to BJO. On the 3&4, both wheel forward three steps CW turning 1/2 to BJO COH.
As of this writing, this is not a RAL standard. In practice (and mostly in rumba) the amount of turn as a couple can vary from none to 1/2.In Havana by Goss, we dance a half basic to natural top;; continuous advanced hip twist to COH;; continuous advanced hip twist to wall;; adv hip twist to fan;; alemana;;
Notice that the figure is cued "cont adv hip twist." The word "advanced" might be a helper cue to tell us to begin the figure with an adv hip twist. Again, this figure is not yet a standard. Natural Opening Out
123&4;In closed position, step fwd L on the ball of the foot. Use left side lead to open woman (woman turn 1/2 RF and step back R with right side stretch). On 2, recover R using right side lead (woman rec L turning LF back to closed position). Step sd L/cl R, sd L (W sd R/cl L, sd R).
123&4;In facing position, trail foot free, step back, and the woman steps forward. Recover on 2; the woman steps side and back, turning 1/4 left face. On the cha, the man does a small chasse to the right: side/close, side; and the woman does a back chasse: back/lock, back; (end in Fan Position, an "L" position man facing wall woman reverse, lead hands joined). From hip twist position (see figures just above), the man's footwork doesn't change, but the woman steps forward L on 1 and turns slightly left, steps forward R on 2 and turns sharply left face 1/2, and then does the back chasse.
Sometimes, we are a little too enthusiastic about moving the lady out to fan position. We throw her out there or whip her away, and she gets too far, out at an uncomfortable arm's length. To maintain a closer, more cozy position, the man can consciously bring lead hands to his left front pocket on step 2. This small feature adds control to any fan in any rhythm.
Another little refinement for the man replaces the side chasse with a hip twist chasse, like a single cuban break: cross right in front of left/close left, side right; The crossing step moves the man's body a bit down line and so leads the woman's back chasse. Furthermore, the crossing step cancels out the progression to reverse of the side step, so he can stay a little closer to his partner.Do a half basic to the fan;; then hockey stick;;
In Chilly Chilly Cha by the Shibatas, there is an open hip twist; fan; alemana;;
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;From fan position, step forward and lead woman to close. Recover as woman steps forward. On beat 3 and 4, step/step, step in place as the woman steps fwd/fwd, fwd up to the man's shirt buttons, and raise lead hands allowing man to look through that window. In the second measure, the man rocks back and recovers, leading the woman to step forward and then forward with a sharp turn LF. Finally, the cha is a fwd/cl, fwd; for the man and a bk/lk, bk for the woman (woman's path traces an angled hockey stick, moving to reverse and then diagonally to reverse and wall during the turn; end in facing position, diag rev and wall).
Often the cue will be "hockey stick to butterfly," in which case the reverse underarm turn is overturned, and the last cha is sd/cl, sd; end butterfly wall.From fan position, do a hockey stick overturning to face partner;; new yorker to butterfly; spot turn; Stop and Go Hockey Stick
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;Start in a fan position. Check forward L (woman close R), recover R raising lead hand to lead woman to begin a LF turn (woman fwd L), step L/R, L (woman fwd R/L, R turning 1/2 LF under lead hands to end at man's right side) man places right hand at her left shoulder; fwd R checking woman's movement with right hand and shaping toward her (woman bk L), recover L raising lead hands (woman recover R), step R/L, R (woman fwd L/R, L turning 1/2 RF under lead hands) ending in fan position again; In Movin' On Up Cha by the Scherrers, there is an open hip twist; fan; stop & go hockey stick;; hockey stick to face;; new yorker; spot turn; Hockey Stick with Runaway Continuous Locks
123&4; 123&4&; 1&2From fan position, step forward and lead woman to close her right foot. Recover as woman steps forward L. On beats 3 and 4, XLIB of R/cl R, sd L (woman steps fwd R/lock LIB of R, fwd R up to the man's shirt buttons), and raise lead hands allowing man to look through that window. In the second measure, the man steps back R and recovers L, leading the woman to step forward L and then forward R with a sharp turn LF. Here, the man turns her palm down to cause her to overturn and face reverse and wall. In this "runaway" position both dance three "forward/locks" with the trail feet (3&4&; 1&). On the last beat of the figure, the man steps forward R (woman fwd L), so the first half of measure three is danced like a "fwd/lk, fwd." You are still in your "runaway" position, both facing reverse and wall, lead feet free. In the Goss' Peter Gunn, part A begins with an open hip twist; fan; hockey stick with runaway continuous locks - and a hitch for the man and turning cha for the woman to face;;; to two back chas; and a back basic to three forward chas;; Flirt
1,2,3&4; 1,2,3&4;This one is sort of a half basic to varsouvienne position and then a back basic and slide over to left varsouvienne. Begin in facing position with a right-right handshake. Step forward L (woman back R), recover and woman turn LF to varsouvienne, and both do a side chasse; step back R (woman back L), recover, and side chasse during which the woman moves left to the man's left side;
123&4;In open or left open rock apart, rec, XIF/sd passing eachother woman in front,XIF end left open or open facing same direction as before; In the Cunninghams' Cha Cha Dinero, part B begins with a sliking door both ways;; rock back, recover, roll 3 tripples to face reverse;; then rock, recover, and roll 3 triples back to open again;; sliding doors twice;; Traveling Door
123&4;In butterfly position, both rock side on the lead foot, recover, XIF/sd, XIF remain facing; In Grealy's Wonderful World, part A begins with a traveling door twice to open position facing line;; sliding door; cucaracha to face center; repeat to face wall;;;; Advanced Sliding Door
123&4; 123&4;In shadow position wall, left hands joined and man's right hand on woman's right shoulder blade, perhaps facing wall, step fwd L on the ball of the foot with pressure into the floor and 1/8 body turn RF (woman bk R turning RF), rec R with 1/8 body turn LF (woman rec L turning LF), cha in place small bk L/slip R to L, in place L (woman fwd and across R trng 1/8 LF/cl L in Latin cross, sm fwd R); At the end of the first measure, we are still in shadow position facing DLW.
During the second measure, lower into the L knee with 1;8 LF body rotation allowing the R foot to slide to the side to a point without weight (W sd L and flex knee to a lunge line w/ left-side stretch), rise w/ no weight change turning body 1/8 RF (W rec R), cha in place RL, R (W bk and cross in back L/cl R in Latin cross, bk L); End in original shadow position.
Notice that the lady takes all 10 weight changes. The man only lowers and rises on the 1, 2 of the second measure, for a total of 8 weight changes. I even have the feeling that I sometimes omit the weight changes on the 3& of the second measure. I lower and rise and shape to partner as she slides in front of me, and then quietly take weight on my R as she back chas into place, for a total of only 6 weight changes for the figure. But that might just be a reversion from cha to rumba and shouldn't be promoted. Never mind.
In left open position both facing LOD, step sd R (W sd L) releasing hands, recover L turning LF in front of W (W rec R trng RF), sd R/cl L, sd R to left open position both facing RLOD;
May be done in other facing directions and with lead feet free.
In Great Balls Of Fire by the Woodruffs, there is a sliding door to LOP LOD; single cubans; revolving door; aida to reverse;
123&4; 123&4; 123&4; 123&4;In left hand star position, man facing reverse, woman facing line, step forward L (woman back R), recover, bk/cl, bk; In the second measure, the man rocks back R and the woman steps fwd L and turns 1/2 RF under joined hands. Both are facing reverse, now, and both recover on the lead feet and step fwd/cl, fwd; For the third measure, both rock fwd on the lead and the woman turns 1/2 LF to left hand star position again. Both recover and step bk/cl, bk (woman fwd/cl, fwd) moving down line of dance. Finally, the man rocks back R (woman fwd L turning 1/2 RF under joined hands, the man recovers L turning LF 1/4 to face partner, and she recovers R continuing to turn to face partner, and both step sd/cl, sd. End facing partner and wall, lead feet free.
There are two "official" ways to do the Umbrella Turn. The original figure was created by Jerry Packman in 1982 for his dance, Domingo. It is a neat figure, but for some reason, it didn't catch on at the time. In 1990, Curt & Tammy Worlock put a modified umbrella turn into their dance, Sugar Sugar, and this dance became popular (and still is), and their modified figure is widely used. It also starts in a left hand star position, and it goes like this: rock fwd L, rec R, bk L/cl R, bk L (woman rk bk R, rec L, fwd R turning 1/2 LF to face reverse/cl L, bk R and momentarily join R hands in front of man's chest); rock back R, rec L, fwd R/cl L, fwd R (woman rk bk L, rec R, release R hand hold fwd L trng 1/2 RF to face line/cl R, bk L); repeat measure 1; rock bk R, rec L trng LF to face wall & butterfly, sd R/cl L, sd R (W rk bk L, rec R trng RF to face ptr sd L/cl R, sd L);
The two versions are the same in their beginning and ending positions, but the woman's turning is done very differently. In the Packman figure, she does her 1/2 turns on the rock-recover part of measures 2, 3, and 4, and she turns right, left, and then right. In the Worlock version, she does her 1/2 turns on the cha-cha-cha part of measures 1, 2, and 3, and she turns left, right, and then left. In both there is the smaller turn to face in measure 4.Here is some context from Sugar Sugar. The Worlocks have us do two shoulder to shoulders to a left hand star;; umbrella turns;;;; to a chase peek-a-boo;;;;
And, just so you definitely have more choices than you really want, let me describe a third way to do the umbrella turn. The man still does his forward and back footwork, but the woman turns sharply on the last step of the cha (instead of on the rock, recover, or on the first step of the cha). So during the first measure, she would rock back R, recover L, step fwd/lock, fwd and turn sharply 1/2 LF;
Both Roundalab and choreographers have shown us that we can make our turns just about wherever we like and still call it an umbrella turn.Single Cuban Break
1&,2,3&,4;In a facing position, cross in front, recover, and step side. Repeat with the other foot. May be done with opposite footwork, both partners crossing lead in front of trail, for instance, or with same footwork, with both crossing left in front of right. In the Childers' You're the Top Cha Cha, part B begins in open position, facing line, trail feet free, with single cuban breaks;; spot turn to closed position wall; half basic; fan; alemana;; hand to hand; new yorker; quick new yorkers; new yorker; double cuban breaks;; spot turn; back basic;
The Andersons' Love Potion #9 has a neat "box with cuban breaks" in it. The dance begins with three threes;;;; and box with cuban breaks twice;;;; Do a forward, side, single cuban with lead foot; back, side, single cuban with trail foot; repeat;;Double Cuban Breaks
1&,2&,3&,4; 1&,2&,3&,4;Like the Single Cuban Break, but pick up the pace: XIF/rec, sd/rec, XIF/rec, sd; repeat with other foot; Again, may be done with opposite or same footwork. In DeFore's Bailamos, there is this interrupted sequence: start Double Cubans; Spot Turn in Four; finish Double Cubans; Spont Turn in Four: Continuous Double Cubans
1&2&3&4&; 1&2&3&4;This is Double Cuban Breaks with the pause taken out of the middle. In a double cuban, notice that each step is half a beat except beat 4, where the step uses a full beat. At the end of the first measure of a double cuban, it feels like there is a pause or maybe a "slow," because the step does take a full beat, whereas the six previous steps took only a half beat each.
In the continuous double cuban, all the steps are "quick" or half-beat until the very last at the end of the second measure: XRIF/REC, SD/REC, XRIF/REC, SD/XLIF; REC/SD, REC/XLIF, REC/SD, CL;
In a double cuban, you end with the same foot you started with. In the continuous double cuban, you start with the trail foot and end with the lead foot free.In Goss' La Pura, we do a half basic; continuous double cubans;; to an alemana;; closed hip twist; and a fan; Sailor Shuffle
1&,2,3&,4;In any position and with either foot, cross behind, step to the side, and step side. Repeat. This is an "up" sort of figure. The body should stay as stationary and upright as possible, while the feet push to each side under it. Certainly, there should be no rocking. The legs might be something like a clapper swaying beneath a stationary bell. I remember Fred Astaire adding hand movements that helped give the body lift. Starting with the left foot, he placed his right hand, palm toward belt buckle, and his left at the small of his back, fingers pointing down, and as he crossed behind, he slid his hands up, as if pulling up his pants. When crossing right behind left, the right hand went in front. Think: lift/push, push, lift/push, push;
This is really a jive figure, but it has the triple timing, and it inserts a bit of calm into an otherwise latin sequence.In Tucker's Won't You Be My Girl, there is a fence line twice;; two sailor shuffles;; to a chase;;;;
Goss' La Pura does a lot with sailor shuffles, too. In part B, we have just done a chasse to reverse and have lead foot free, facing wall. Then, we point the lead to line for 3 beats, do 3 sailor shuffles, point trail foot to reverse, and 3 more sailor shuffles;;;; point lead, 3 sailors, point trail, 2 sailors, point lead;;;; to an open hip twist;Murphy Special
In left open facing position rock fwd L (W fwd R) pressing into lead palms, rec R, XLIB of R/sd R, close L (W XRIB of L/sd L, cl R);
It's an affectionate pushing together, apart, and sailor shuffle. We can be facing any direction, and we can do it with either foot.
In Bandito Cha by Goss, we dance an alemana;; murphy special 2X;; curl; fan;
1, 2,In a Rock, move the foot forward or back, but don't lunge with the body. Press forward with the lead foot, and the hip will go forward in a nice Latin way, but the torso stays put. Rock back with a press, but keep your "up" poise. The recover becomes much easier, since you don't have to stop the momentum of whole body movement; it is quicker, more responsive. It's a press/hip, recover/hip, cha/cha, cha; Many cha figures are a rock, recover, and then some kind of chasse; Don't make it a lunge, struggle to recover, and then late for your chasse. Chasse
3&4Small step to side, almost close, small side; This is almost a step/step, step, in place and makes a figure such as the alemana more smooth.
3&4Back L, slip R almost to L and take weight, close L. Since the slip ends a bit forward, the final closing action becomes a tiny forward step. If the man stands tall with good tone, the slip chasse will lead a hip twist well (see above). As you dance more and more cha-chas, the man will get bored with repeated "sd/cl, sd" while the woman gets to do all the hip-twists, spirals, and turns. These chasse variations can add interest to a lot of different figures. Ronde Chasse
3&4Ronde L to the side and back, XLIB of R. Take small step to side R, side L. Incorporate this into your forward basic, and it is a rock forward, recover, and a little sailor shuffle. Use as the first measure of a basic, alemana, or hockey stick. Hip-Twist Chasse
3&4XRIF of L turning hips LF. Close L to R turning hips RF, and step side R. Incorporate this into your back basic, and it is a rock back, recover, and a little cross/close, side. The footwork automatically produces a little hip twist. Where the slip chasse in the man leads a hip-twist well in the woman, the hip-twist chasse leads her fan well (see above). Use as the second measure of a basic or half-basic to a fan.
In the Dois' Lover's Concerto, part A begins with an alemana, woman overturned and man transition to end side by side facing the wall both with R foot free;; hip twist chasse; ronde chasse; hip twist chasse; and a hockey stick ending man transition again to end in left open facing position wall;Break Back to Triple Cha
123&4; 1&23&4;In butterfly, rock back on lead to a butterfly semi, recover on trail, fwd/lk, fwd; for first triple. Now trail feet are free. Turn away from partner, swinging trail hand thru and fwd/lk, fwd. Finally, turn back toward partner, swinging trail hands back to butterfly position and fwd/lk, fwd; ending with trail feet free. The movement of the trail hands is pendulum-like. At the same time, pat the lead hands as you face partner. So, on first triple, pat lead hands and extend trail hands back. On second triple, swing trail hands thru and turn away. On third triple, turn back and pat, trail hands extended back again. Follow this with a rock fwd, rec, back triple cha, again patting lead hands and extending trail arms back on the first and third triples. End total of four measures with lead feet free. Natural Top
123&4;As in rumba, the complete figure is called the full natural top (3 measures), so this one measure figure is sometimes cued, "natural top 3," but not always. It usually begins in closed position, diagonal reverse and wall, trail foot free. Turning RF, the man crosses his right in back of left, and the woman steps side L. On 2, the man steps side L, and the woman crossed R in front of L, continuing to turn. Finally, the cha is XRIB of L/sdL, cl R for the man and sd L/XRIF of L, sd L for the woman to closed position facing wall lead feet free. In the Worlocks' Hola Chica, part A begins with a basic to a natural top;; In this combination, the initial half basic turns 1/4 RF to set up a comfortable position for the top. Follow it with a break back to triple cha;; Full Natural Top
123&4; 123&4; 123&4;The one measure natural top is simply continued for two more measures, completing up to 3 full RF turns, again to end facing partner & wall, lead feet free: XIB trn, sd trn, XIB trn/sd trn, XIB trn; sd trn, XIB trn, sd trn/XIB trn, sd trn; XIB trn, sd trn, XIB trn/sd trn, close; while the woman alternates side steps and crossing in front and a final close to face wall in closed position;
If you begin man facing DRW a subdued natural top will turn 1 7/8. A more vigorous top can turn 2 7/8.
In Cha Cha Corrida by Nelson, there is a spot turn to CP wall; fwd basic to a full nat top;;;; nat opening out; aida to LOD;
Continuous Natural Top
123&4; 123&4; 123&4;This one is a full natural top with a woman's reverse underarm turn inserted into both measures 2 and 3: The first measure is like the full: the man steps bhd, sd, bhd/sd, bhd; and the woman steps sd, XIF, sd/XIF, sd; turning RF. In the second measure, the man continues his sd, bhd, sd/bhd, sd; On that first step, he raises his lead hand and moves it to his right to signal the reverse underarm turn, and the woman steps forward R making a full left face turn under joinded lead hands and then steps fwd L to closed, and fwd R/L, R; continuing the RF couple motion. In the third measure, the man steps bhd, sd, bhd/sd, cl; again raising the lead hand to signal the second reverse underarm turn, and the woman steps forward left, forward right making a full LF turn to face partner, and fwd L/R, side left; End in closed facing wall. This one usually makes almost 3 full turns.
Full Reverse Top
123&4; 123&4; 123&4;In a facing position with trail feet free, the man steps forward and side R turning LF, and the woman crosses L in back of R also turning LF. He swivels on his left foot, continuing to turn, and she steps back R turning. During the first cha, he steps R/swivels on L, and steps R; and she crosses L in back/steps back R, and croses L in back; This is the first measure: step R, swivel L, step R/swivel L, step R for the man; and XLIB, back R, XLIB/back R, XLIB for the woman;
The second and third measures continue this stepping pattern. The man will begin the second measure with a swivel on the L and then step R. The woman matches him on these two beats with a back R and then XLIB. You continue to turn as a couple about two full turns. The choreographer will designate a destination or a subsequent figure.In the Andersons' Banana Boat Cha, part A begins with a half basic to a natural top;; natural opening out with woman's spiral; to a reverse top but only two measures yielding a little more than one complete turn to face reverse;; and then plaits, a samba figure that is essentially a styalized back walk six;;
In the Goss' Bandido Cha, there is a natural opening out; to a two-measure reverse top;; to an aida; rock and cha to face; spot turn; single cubans; double cuban; spot turn;Aida
123&4;In open facing, trail feet free, step thru and begin to turn RF (woman LF), step side continuing to turn to a back-to-back V-position facing reverse, and finally do a back/lock, back; May be done from other positions. May be done to reverse, beginning with lead feet. In the Scotts' Hello Mary Lou, part A goes like this: half basic; aida; back basic; walk two to reverse and cha; aida; switch cross; crab walk; and spot turn to end facing partner and wall; Aida with Continuous Locks
123&4&; 1&2In open facing, trail feet free, step thru and begin to turn RF (woman LF), step side continuing to turn to a back-to-back V-position facing reverse, and finally do a back/lock, back/lock; back/lock, back,
May be done from other positions. May be done to reverse, beginning with lead feet.In the Goss' Peter Gunn, this figure is done from an unusual starting position. In shadow position facing wall, we do an advanced sliding door with woman's head loop;; an advanced sliding door woith woman's head loop in 4 to skaters position facing LOD;; and then our aida with continuous locks - face/point, close/point;; to alternate basics;; and guapa time steps;; Switch
123&4;In a V-back-to-back or Aida position, lead feet free, and lead hands joined and extended to reverse, turn sharply LF to face partner and step side L (woman turn RF and step side R) drawing lead hands thru to open facing position, recover side R, cross L in front of R (woman R in front of L)/side, XIF moving to reverse;
This figure is also cued "Switch Cross." See the switch rock below.In the Lillefields' In These Shoes?, there is an aida toward LOD; switch cross; side walk to RLOD; and a hand to hand;
In the McGees' Intako Cha, part B begins with an alemana to a lariet;;;; hand to hand three times;; back into the aida; switch to a single cuban break; spot turn; and shoulder to shoulder twice;;
This sequence emphasizes that the "switch" is really that first side step to face, and then a variety of things can follow.Switch Rock
123&4;In a V-back-to-back or Aida position, lead feet free, and lead hands joined and extended to reverse, turn sharply LF to face partner and step side L (woman turn RF and step side R) drawing lead hands thru to open facing position, recover side R, and both do a side chasse toward line;
1A ballet term signifying a dramatic lifting of the heel and rising to the ball of the supporting foot; no weight change. In ballet, a woman's Releve puts her onto the tips of her toes, and a man's releve puts him onto the ball of his foot, but of course, in round dancing, no one dances on pointe. The French school describes the releve as a steady rolling and rising from flat to ball. The Italian school recommends that the move be sharp and with a slight spring. (Stepping to full pointe with no roll up at all is a piqué.) In Just My Luck by the Rumbles, the introduction begins in open position both facing wall R feet free for both, with two single cubans; continuous single cubans and close; chug and back vine 3 toward RLOD; W releve and roll LF into M's left arm to a leg lift facing RLOD;; hockey stick ending to the wall and to left open facing position;
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