Monday, March 16, 2009

Waltz - Close Change and Combination of Turns

Having learned how to do both a turn in the Natural and Reverse directions, you now need to know how to change between them! The step that does this is called a Close Change. It is basically one half of the box step you learned originally, generally with the Man steping forward and the Lady stepping back. It can be done as many times as needed/desired in a row and can be used to travel or to negotiate a busy floor.

Once I have laid out the footwork for the Close Change I will suggest some combinations that of the turns and the close change that work nicely together. Feel free to use them when practicing or to play around with them as much as you feel. The steps are just the vehicle; it is what you do with them that means you are dancing!

Leaders'/Men's Footwork

Begin by stepping forward on your Right Foot (no turn). Step side onto your Left Foot and close your Right Foot together to your Left. (Counts 1, 2, 3)

Begin your second Close Change by stepping forward again, but this time on your Left Foot. (This is the one big change between the turns/box step and the Close Change.) Step side onto your Right Foot and close your Left Foot to your Right making sure you transfer your weight. (Counts 1, 2, 3)

You can continue moving forward in this manner alternating feet with each new forward step.

Followers'/Lady's Footwork

Start by stepping back onto your Left Foot (there is no turn in this step so keep your shoulders parallel to your partner). Step side onto your Right Foot and close your Left Foot to the Right, changing the weight. (Counts 1, 2, 3)

The second Close Change will still require you to step backwards, but this time it is on your Left Foot. Step side onto your Right and then close your Left Foot together with your Right. (Counts 1, 2, 3)

As long as you change your starting foot with each new step, you can continue in this vein indefinitely.

Combinations of Steps

Try these combinations to get more comfortable putting the various turns together with a step that also moves.

Combination 1

1 Natural Turn (should take 4 x "1, 2, 3")

4 Close Changes moving down the line of dance (also 4 x "1, 2, 3") - these will start on your Right Foot forward for Guys, Left Foot back for Ladies.

Combination 2

1 Reverse Turn (should take 4 x "1, 2, 3")

4 Close Changes moving down the line of dance (also 4 x "1, 2, 3") - these will start on your Left Foot forward for Guys and Right Foot backwards for Ladies.

Combination 3

1 Natural Turn

3 Close Changes starting on the Right for Men and Left for Ladies

1 Reverse Turn

3 Close Changes starting on the Left for Men and Right for Ladies

Notes for Both the Leader and the Follower:

- For any of the steps we have covered so far in Waltz, it may be helpful to try to think "Right, 2, 3, Left, 2, 3, Right, 2, 3, etc" instead of just counting "1, 2, 3," or thinking "Right, Left, Right".

- When you come to a corner, simply try to adjust your turn to begin dancing down the line of your nearest wall. Sometimes this will mean turning a little bit more or a little bit less than you will do when going down the straight side of the room. There is no hard and fast rule about it at this point and you should get the hang of cornering after a few attempts. Men - whichever wall you are closest to is the one that you should be diagonally facing.

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