Friday, March 20, 2009

Jive - Change of Hands Behind Back

I thought that this week, to give the guys a little more to do than we did last week, we would look at a step that requires them to do a little more work. (You will have to forgive me a little, because as you may have noticed, the Latin steps are a bit tricky to draw sometimes and my diagrams may get a little numerous, but feel free to ask any questions you may have or get in touch if you want any clarification!)

Before jumping into footwork, I suggest you practice the hands for this one. Start with the Lady's Right hand in the Man's Left and open hold.

Leaders'/Men's Hands/Arm Placements

Holding your partner's Right hand in your Left hand, swing your Right arm in a circular motion up and over towards your clasped hands to end up taking hold of your partner's hand from the top. (That motion can be large or small depending on your style, but it is easier to remember at the beginning if you do it large.)

Let go with your Left hand as you move slightly towards your partner and take your Right hand (holding her Right hand) behind your back.

While your hands are behind your back, reach your Left hand down your back to take hold of your partner's hand - letting go with the Right when you have accomplished this - and then keep moving away from your partner slightly to allow you to bring your Left hand out in front of you. You should now be facing your partner and will have accomplished half a turn - to end facing the opposite direction to the way you started.

Repeat all of the above - no changing anything - to end up back where you were to start.

Followers'/Lady's Hands/Arm Placement

You have it slightly easier this time, Ladies. Start with your Right hand in front of you, elbow relaxed in to your waist, and in your partner's Left hand.

Leave it there!

That's it! Of course, you will need to move to facilitate your partner, but the actual arm placement is the same all the way through. Do not try to grab for your partner's hand - this actually makes it more difficult for him to do what he needs to - even if you think you are helping.

Your body movement is exactly the same as if you had your Right palm on a bollard or post of some sort and you move in a circle around it. Always keep your Right shoulder leading and your body facing your partner (or the post - if you are still imagining that) regardless of what he does. This means at one point, you will be facing his back... that is ok. That is supposed to happen!

Leaders'/Mens Footwork

Standing facing your partner, with your Left hand holding her Right, start with your Rock Step. (Back on your Left and then replace onto your Right.) This is when you swing your Right hand up and over.

Instead of doing a chasse to the side as you normally would, take your chasse moving forward, turning your shoulders to face the wall on your Left. (This is the point at which you have your partner's hand behind your back and are reaching back to take it with your Left hand again.)

Continue turning your shoulders in the same direction as you take your second chasse moving backwards - slightly - to bring your body around to face the wall that was originally behind you and your partner's hand back in front of you.

Repeat exactly as before - turning your shoulders so that your Right shoulder is moving forward and your Left is moving back - as you take your Rock Step and the two Chasses to get you back to where you started.

Followers'/Lady's Footwork

Nice and simple, to match your simple arm positioning - let him do the work on this one!

Take your Rock Step as usual. (Back on your Right foot.)

As I mentioned when talking about your arms, your Right shoulder will be leading throughout this step. That just means that you need to turn from the waist (leaving your feet straight ahead) to put your Right shoulder in front of your body. Assume this body position as you go forward on your first chasse.

Take your second chasse to get you the rest of the way around your partner to face the opposite way from where you started.

Repeat from the Rock Step at the beginning and do exactly the same thing - right side leading - to get you back around your partner to where you started.

Notes for Both the Leader and Follower:

- Ladies, let your gentleman do the work here... you are simply moving around him in a circle - always facing him. He will change your hand. He will do anything fancy. Make it easy for him!
- Gents, dont panic! You have more time than you think you do! Make sure you do all your steps (people tend to leave out some of the steps on the chasses which then puts you off time) and then you will be fine. Practice the hand movements until you can do them without needing to think too hard about them. The feet need to be consistent and just remember, the rhythm of the steps has not changed! (1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3)

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