1-2 : heel-toe-polka diagonal to left 3-4 : repeat to right 5 : cross front rock-step 6-7 : polka turn backward 8 : back rock-step 9 : cross front rock-step to left 10 : side polka / chacha to right 11-12 : repeat 9-10 to opposite sides 13 - 14 : double polka steps to front 15 - 16 : paddle ¾ turn to the right
I like these modifications:
changing polka steps at 6, 7, 10 and 11 into pivot turns (tighter smaller turns for faster music)
for the turn at 15 - 16, cross L foot in front of R foot and twist to the R
As you can see modification #1 creates a contrast in the crowd like this (plus extra turn + bunny hop for final turn instead of modification #2):
adapted two West Coast Swing moves to Cross-Step Waltz
came up with different handhold variation from one of those (can be reused in WCS as well!)
had potential moves based off chaining cradles
adapted Swing’s back-to-back turns
The first one starts off with Texas Tommy. As the follower’s unwind, the leader rotates around her in the same direction at half speed. Also keep left hand by the follower’s hip either to help manage her turn speed to end at the right direction. Ends with face loop with right hand while left hand stays at her left hip.
How it looks in WCS (1:30 - 1:35)
How to do it in Cross-Step Waltz:
A variation of the handhold. Just like the previous one with the addition of taking follower’s left hand by left hand as well. As she turns, bring the left hand to her left hip ending up in skater’s position. Exit to sweet heart position by outside turn and catching her left hand.
The second successfully adapted WCS move was not shown off and taped. Also have a potential move or two based on chaining cradle positions which need some more time to mature. A follower suggested back-to-back turn from Swing and managed to pull that off as well. These are to-do’s for next session.
First learned this move in Richard Powers’s Club 2 Step class in 2009 which is a chained inside turns. I stumbled upon its cross-step waltz adaptation sometime mid last year and has been a favorite for followers. It can also be done in faster (rotary) waltz but may need to be extended to 4 bars instead of 2 bars pattern.
The adaptation is not quite an inside turn but more like leader and follower changing lanes back-and-forth. Both facing the line of dance.
Turned out that someone else also had the same idea:
How do we incorporate the previous pattern (shorthand: R-to-R turns pattern) into cross step or rotary Waltz? First thing we need to figure out is how to start the pattern from known patterns.
Since it starts with R-to-R hand hold, we can get into it with patterns that ends with such handhold or the simplest ‘just switch hand’. More common patterns are those that lead into shadow or sweetheart position. From there, follower outside turn would do the job.
NOTE: the following pattern is actually hard to pull off in social dancing due to various issue. To be discussed alternates in future post.
My favorite is the pattern from East Coast Swing: double arm or shoulder slide (0:12 - 0:17 in the video) done in cross step waltz.
To do this in cross step waltz within 1 bar:
normal cross step
leader stay on inside lane and turn his shoulder to the left and turn follower so she’s backing to LOD
Follow up with the R-to-R turns pattern with the follower ends up facing LOD for the free spin (at step 4) and the leader at the outside lane (transition during step 6-7) also facing LOD.
Instead of ending at free spin, we can also lead a pivaloop by sliding leader left down to follower left hand beforehand. Depending which count we end up with after pivaloop: if ending at count 6 into count 1 then face loop exit; if ending at count 3 into count 4, then free spin exit.
I’m also thinking of exiting into windmill directly but yet to be tried. This could be tricky since the leader will need to shift his footwork. Plenty of possibilities.
How about Rotary Waltz? I didn’t think about this until I accidentally performed hand hold change to R-to-R while rotary waltzing. It’s quite simple but could be tricky and briefly stops so watch for traffic behind.
Lead Outside Free Spin on count 4-5-6. After leading it by leader right hand, trace that right hand (middle and index) finger tips from follower ribcage, shoulder then along right arm as she spins. At the end, grab her right hand and there you have R-to-R hand hold to start the pattern.
Of course, we can use shadow position patterns and other patterns from cross step waltz.
This pattern I learned from West Coast Swing opened up a number of cool extended patterns in Waltz. This was described briefly in the previous post. Here’s a much more detail:
Leader and Follower are facing each other squarely
R-to-R (cross) hand
Follower inside turn
While turning the follower, leader turn to his right (switching place)
Catch follower’s upper arm (slightly above the elbow) with left hand to stop her
Leader and Follower should be facing each other again. R-to-R hand higher since leader’s left hand is connected to follower’s left upper arm
Leader step to the right to open up the frame at least 90 degree
Leader face loop follower’s right hand to the back of his neck
Follower inside free spin led by leader left hand
Alternate exit: instead of follower inside free spin, the leader can turn himself to the right maintaining R-to-R hand hold. This replaces step 7 and after.
NOTES: for step 4-5, how much to turn the follower depends where she supposed to spin to at the end. It’s 180 degree for WCS. For traveling Waltz, make sure she’s facing line of direction for the free spin. The key to remember is that make sure she’s facing the right direction after.
Popular music usually has intro, verse, chorus and bridge. Each part has different musical patterns and we want to vary our dancing to each of them.
Let’s take Paramore’s The Only Exception for phrase changes examples:
We don’t need to dance to the intro but if it’s too long, it can be filled by basic or just walking side by side.
Skipping the intro to 0:22, the first phrase change is at 0:32. This change is detectable by silent instrumental (no vocal) at the 4th mini phrase. A simple underarm turn or outside free spin is appropriate here. Catching the follower at count 1 of the new phrase is a nice way to accent it.
This pattern goes on for few more phrases until the last major phrase before the chorus starting at 0:53. In this major phrase, the 4th mini phrase before the chorus has vocal ‘.. but darling..’ (1:02). For this change, we want to start a new pattern at the chorus not just basic turning because it’s quite different than the previous changes.
During the chorus, we want to do patterns that aren’t basic turning, such as reverse turning and side by side patterns. Then after the chorus, we can go back to basic turning. Transition pattern during phrase change is appropriate if we go for this scheme.
The next thing to watch for is the bridge at 2:55. This part is more energetic so flashy patterns are appropriate and give nice contrast here.
Different songs have different characteristics and musicality is about matching our dancing to them. Not just for the sake of it but because it’s more fun that way!