HOW TO READ THE CHARTS

 

The diagrams will be found to be of great assistance to readers if the following points are understood:

 

The squares on which the feet are placed represent a size of 2 ft by 2 ft for each square. The feet have been drawn to the same scale.

 

The distances between the steps have been made as far as possible mathematically correct, so that the exact length of a step can be gauged. The distances shown represent an average step. When the dancer is proficient, the steps can be lengthened considerably, but only to a length that is consistent with ease of movement. 

 

The following analogy provides an easy method of remembering the meaning of the terms” step.” “figure,” and “amalgamation” . Think of a step as a “syllable” figure as a “word.” and an amalgamation as a “sentence”. A complete dance could be compared to a paragraph.

 

Each figure was drawn in the first place with both the man’s and the lady’s steps on the same chart, so that if a chart is drawn to scale on the floor it should be possible for a couple to dance together using the exact positions shown in this book.

 

The LOD is shown by an arrow on each chart. The righthand edge of the page will represent the wall of the side of the room along which the dancer is moving.

 

When using the charts always hold the book so that the toe of each step you are looking at is pointing away from you. If a turn is made, turn the book also.

 

The RF is shown in black; the LF is outlined only. They are also marked “R” and “L”.

 

When a foot is shown in dotted outline, this indicates a swivel on the ball or the heel of the foot to which it is connected, and shows the finishing position of that foot when that part of the turn has been made. Where only a slight swivel has been made this has been omitted.

 

It will be noted that in Heel Turns two dotted outlines are shown, indicating that the turn commences on the ball of the foot and continues on the heel of the same foot. No attempt should be made to commence the turn on the ball of the foot; this will occur naturally when dancing. It was necessary to include this to make the charts correspond with actual practice.

 

The lines connecting the feet give some idea of the path of the foot when moving to the next step.

 

Special Notes

 

Alignment. The keen student of dancing should note that, technically, the leading step of any turning figure should be taken either straight forward or straight backward from the body, but in practice this is not quite possible in the case of backward turning steps, which tend to move very slightly outwards. The 4th step of the man’s Natural Turn (Waltz) is an example.

 

In drawing the man’s and lady’s steps on one chart it was found necessary to show this slight loss of alignment; it was not possible to place the feet correctly without doing so.

 

The dancer should, however, take great care to keep such steps in alignment when possible.

 

Parallel Positions. Students are also warned that in the standard technique the 2nd step of some turns is described as being in a parallel position.

 

In practice, this parallel position of the feet is not possible when the feet are apart, as in the 2nd and 5th steps of the Natural and Reverse Turns in the Waltz. On most side steps the feet are turned slightly outwards, and any attempt to keep them parallel would seriously restrict the ease and flow of the turn.

 

It is also most important to remember that when taking a step to the side no attempt must be made to turn on the preceding step. To make an actual foot swivel on the first step would impede the movement.

 

The body should swing forward over the first step, and this will result in the heel leaving the floor quite naturally. It will then turn as the second step moves to the side.