Ballroom, week 10

The Right Turning Box is the first figure that I think is actually beautiful from a perspective of theory and time; I love the way we have two feet whose graceful movement depends upon our shifting the weight back and forth between them, yet we’re dealing with bars of 3/4, a gorgeous crisis, and furthermore treating the Rise and Fall in terms of 6/8. In this figure one opens a door between bars, steps out, and then steps back in–it’s breathtaking, really, and it’s the sort of thing I’ve always loved in music, simultaneously dominating and being carried away by structure.

Today things got a little exciting, and a lot more difficult. An exercise he gave me two weeks ago on arching my foot–as close to ballet as I’ll be getting in ballroom, perhaps?–and my new flexible shoes began to make sense.

1. A simple heel-toe step as described in prior lessons and by Alex Moore is fairly uninteresting, though it gets the job done. The gracefulness and beauty of this improved by changing it to a toe-ball-heel step.

In an example of commencing a Progressive: the heels are both raised, knees bent, and during the lowering action the R heel lowers more quickly so that weight is transferred there immediately, but even during this lowering action the body must already be commencing the next step. The R knee bends to a 46 degree angle, and L foot arches so that the toe is to the floor, sliding forward before the point of contact moves to the ball of the foot and then with a flick of the toe the point of contact is moved to the heel. Key here is not waiting too long to change contact point to ball of foot, as delaying leads to a flat foot and ruins everything. Weight is held on the R foot with the whole foot on the floor for as long as possible before it begins transferring to the L ball. As soon as weight is transferred to L, that knee should be bent immediately to the 46 degree angle to preserve the rise and fall.

The movement of the toe-heel flick, etc. can be practiced while holding on to a bar. The body must continue to move always–always–always–there is not pausing with weight transfer or lowering action.

2. The Right Turning Box: we enter into this as an infix to a Progressive, which makes it into an 18 beat figure. The Progressive is six beats; after the first half of the Progressive, at which point one is now dead center of a two bar phrase and will remain between phrases until the end of the figure, which will lead back to the normal flow.
1-3: progressive, beginning on L
4-9: first half of Right Turning Box
10-15: second half.
16-18: progressive, beginning on R.

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