Monday, February 21, 2011

Slow Foxtrot - Feather Step

One of the most beautiful, and sometimes most challenging, of the Ballroom dances is the Slow Foxtrot. Although it shares part of its name with the Social Foxtrot, it should not be thought of as the same dance.

Unlike most of the other Ballroom dances, it is very rare in the Slow Foxtrot that you will bring your feet together (other than in heel turns for the lady). Throughout this dance, you should try to create a sweeping and swaying movement which covers a Lot of the floor and which uses the momentum of the couple to naturally link one move to the next.

Also unlike any of the other dances we have looked at, the Slow Foxtrot will usually start with the leader facing diagonally into the centre of the room.  This is where we are going to start with the step breakdowns, and though teachers may choose to focus on the Feather Step and Three Step together before adding the Reverse or Natural Turns into the mix, the next few posts will look at each step I have just mentioned in the order that you would typically put them together and as if you have just completed the previous.

Depending on the technique book you look at, there are "extra steps" that technically may also be included in each of these steps, however, as I am essentially stringing them together, these extra steps (which are essentially the beginning of a new step) have generally been left off.

Leaders'/Men's Footwork

The Feather step, as mentioned, starts with you facing diagonally into the centre of the room. This step is comprised of three forward steps: one in line with your partner and two slightly outside. Begin with your Right foot forward in line with your partner (Slow). Then, step forward but slightly out to the left with your Left foot - Left side leading (Quick). Lastly, step forward, outside your partner with your Right foot in CBMP.

Followers'/Lady's Footwork

For you, this step is fairly simple footwork-wise. You have three steps backwards! The tricky things are allowing your upper body to sway from the waist up without affecting your feet and making sure that you have No Foot Rise. You start with your Left foot backwards, follow with the Right foot back, and then the Left. (Slow, Quick, Quick)

Notes for both the Leader and Follower:

- Followers, your partner will be outside you to your Right for two of the steps, so you must ensure that you are not ending up in his armpit - turn your shoulders to remain parallel with his. Leaders, make sure that you actually have your Left Side Leading as mentioned above - turning your shoulders but not your hips as you step outside your partner.

- Gentlemen, you have foot rise, but the Ladies do not. Ladies, all rise must be "Body Rise" which happens within the waist and ribcage - just like taking a deep breath in and lifting from your collar bone. So gentlemen should not over do their rise.

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