Body Sways in ballroom dancing are used chiefly for effect, although in a few turns even the novice may find them of practical value. The following notes regarding Sways should be helpful:
Sways should be made by inclining the body to the left or Right
Sways can be used on nearly all turns. Exceptions are all Spins, where the turn is too quick to permit Sway to be used with comfort. Sway is also used on figures that curve or wave and in some side figures such as the Cross Chassé.
All turns are initiated by a Contrary Body Movement step, and Sway is taken directly following this step. If the Contrary Body Movement step is with the Right foot, the inclination of the Sway will be to the Right; if with the Left foot, then the Sway will be to the left, whether this step has been taken forward or backward. The Sway is usually held for the following two steps and will be corrected at the next Contrary Body Movement step. Sways sometimes occur on one step only. Details of the correct steps on which the body should sway are given with the descriptions of each figure.
The main principle of swaying is to incline the body towards the centre of the turn. Thus the practical value of swaying would be found in its assistance in preventing the dancer from overbalancing or overturning. This is most marked in the Waltz, and even the beginner may find that a slight inclination of the body against the direction he is moving will prove helpful and assist in preserving balance.
The greatest value of swaying, however, is purely decorative, and the keen dancer will find that a careful study of the correct Sways in the descriptions of the various figures will make the resultant dance much more attractive. To oversway, however, is a much worse fault than not swaying at all.