DEVELOPMENT OF LINE FIGURES
Figures such as the Oversway, Contra Check, and Lunge have been with us for many years. The introduction of figures like the Same Foot Lunge gave a new dimension to Line Figures, and also the ability to exit with a faster movement than that normally used to follow the original Lines. Other figures, such as Opposition Points, evolved over the years.
Some of the more recent developments seem to go against the traditions our dance form has accepted over the years, so these shapes have not been included in this book. An accepted requirement is that the positioning of the couple must have the Lady’s centre directed to the Man at all times, otherwise the contact that is so important to the quality of movement is lost.
The development of Line figures has been in the creation of a longer, lower, stronger and wider construction, whilst maintaining the artistry and musicality. Once again the wider and higher hold has enabled the Lady to enhance the Line with a greater volume, of hold through the extension of her Head Weight.
The balance in all the lines requires the Man to maintain his constant forward poise of body, with a line from his supporting knee, up through his body to the top of his head. A positive eye line, which may be used to look towards the Lady’s head, is also essential. The Lady must maintain her constant backward poise extending her head weight by flexing the supporting knee strongly forward. In this way the line from her knee up through her body is constant and she is able to maintain contact with the Man from her pelvic bone to breastbone. The Lady’s Head Weight is then allowed to extend in a soft curved effect to enhance her femininity and the volume of the hold.
There is no Sway as such, as Sway is the result of Swing; however the Man’s body and therefore head weight is inclined by the positioning of the strongly flexed supporting knee to the inside or outside of the supporting foot, There is no break at the waist. The concept of line must be studied and felt through the complete body. The Lady will respond by rotating her body from the supporting leg – on some figures also from the foot- and by extending her head weight. A strong inclination of the Lady’s bodyline will cause her to break at the waist and create heaviness for the Man to hold.
For both the Man and Lady the extended leg in the Line figure must be straight but not hard, allowing the pelvis to rotate to the completion of the line. The ankle and instep must be toned to create a shape of beauty.
The majority of Line figures are danced with a strongly flexed supporting knee. The depth depending on the dancers physique, leg strength and most importantly the artistry, musicality and the ease of creating the following figure.
Line figures must be danced with the musicality and character of the dance concerned. The Champion has developed the ability to create a rhythm and quality into, within and out of the Line that is equal to that shown in the moving figures.
Teaching Tip. “All Lines are High Lines, the majority with the supporting knees flexed”