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Ballroom Dance

J M (Mike) Nelson
Phone: 612-810-0157

Linear Variations

I avoid excessive taxonomy during the basic lessons, for doing so would "use" some of the limited items of potential recall, and we only have a few to "spend" each lesson. Furthermore, several dance terms can be used interchangeably, further adding to the confusion. Therefore, rather than attempt to define labels for each variation, I will attempt to provide some terminology for components of variations. "Twinkle," in particular, is often used in different ways in different dances. I try to use the following terms consistently and in a way that is more descriptive, thus more meaningful and more applicable.

Stop or Stand. Weight is distributed between both feet.

Stationary Foot. Foot that accepts weight, freeing the other foot to move.

Free Foot or Moving Foot. Non weight bearing foot.

Step. Free foot accepts weight and becomes stationary, and the other foot becomes free.

Close. Moving foot travels to a position beside the stationary foot. Note: some also include a weight shift with the close.

Basic Step. The foundation step sequence and the associated cadence for in a pafticular dance style.

Box Step. SSS or SQQ cadence executed in sets of two and in a rectangular pattern.

Basic Progressive Box. A series of box steps done along the line of dance.

Basic Non-Progressive Box. A Box Step wherein the sets are done in opposite directions, thus circumscribing a stationary rectangle.

Twinkle. One step in promenade followed by a return to closed position.

Weave or Serpentine. A series of box steps wherein each forward/backward step is outside partner and characterized by an "X" made by the inside legs. In some slyllabi, this terminology has been called "Progressive Twinkles," adding yet another variation called "twinkle."

Break. A non-progressive pair of steps wherein the moving foot remains in place and accepts weight back in its original position. Breaks can occur on essentially and pair of steps in a basicpattern, and they can be forward, backward, or to the side. They can also be in extended sequences for expressive, aesthetic, sensual, or navigational purposes, and each step can subsume more than its usual number of beats/counts.

Learn the above individually, string them together in different combinations, express them in different ways and with different steps sizes, and with ease and simplicity you will soon acquire an appearance of elegance and complexity. Don't try to tell anyone how easy it is; they won't believe you. Add a few underarm turns, and you will be considered a "pro." Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Copyright (c) 2006, J. M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction of contents prohibited without prior permission from the author.