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One-hand around-the-world variation

This is an excerpt from Social Dance by Judy Wright.


Learn how to perform the around-the-world variation with
Social Dance.

Drill 9
One-Hand Around-the-World Variation

In this variation, the leader is the world and the follower moves around him. It starts with a slow underarm turn, except the leader brings his left hand over his head as if looping a lasso to guide the follower completely around his body. The follower does forward walks in rhythm while traveling in a small circle around the leader. The one-hand around-the-world variation takes eight SQQ basic steps. The leader does the box step (the equivalent of eight half-box steps or four box steps).

From a closed position, both partners do a half-box and a slow of the second half-box when the leader lifts his left hand and arm to form an arch. The follower moves CW under the arched hands on the quick, quick. At this point, the leader keeps his right hand on the follower’s back as she goes under the arch and maintains contact as he continues to gently guide her in a small CW circle (see figure 12.2a).

To maintain the momentum, the leader keeps his left hand high and brings the follower to his right side, then guides her behind him as his left hand goes over his own head as if looping a rope (see figure 12.2b). On the seventh half-box, the leader does a left quarter turn to face his partner (see figure 12.2c) and resumes a closed position again on the eighth half-box (see figure 12.2d).

To Decrease Difficulty

  • Practice just the leader’s arm movements without any footwork.
  • The follower can take her time moving around the leader.

To Increase Difficulty

  • Randomly alternate the slow underarm turn and the around-the-world variation.
  • Vary the total number of basics used. For example, rotate to face the follower on the fifth half-box.
  • The leader may delay moving to closed position by keeping his left hand high on the seventh (or fifth) half-box to signal another underarm turn for the follower, then resume a closed position.

Success Goal

Perform the one-hand around-the-world variation to rumba music. ___

Success Check

  • Simultaneously, after the leader’s left-hand arch, his right hand guides the follower as he brings his left hand to his right side and over his own head. ___
  • The follower moves in a circular path clockwise around the leader. ___

Drill 10
Cross-Body Lead

The cross-body lead is a useful transition to smoothly connect many variations as well as to rotate 180 degrees with your partner. Start in a closed position and do a box step. The cross-body lead takes two repetitions of the rumba’s SQQ rhythm.

Both partners do the first SQQ (the leader does a forward half-box, while the follower does a backward half-box). On the second SQQ, the leader angles his right foot along his back, diagonal direction during the slow step. He may either keep his left hand firm or he can turn over his left hand CW and lower his left arm to indicate that a new lead is coming. On the quick, quick, he steps with his left foot to his left side, then he rocks back on his right foot with feet together. The leader will be facing the side wall. Thus, the leader's shoulders are perpendicular to the follower's shoulders as she will move down the slot opened by the leader. Preceding his next forward slow with his left foot, he rotates a quarter turn to face the follower (and to face the back wall) and finishes his quick, quick steps. Then, he may either repeat the cross-body lead or lead another variation.

After the follower's backward half-box (first SQQ), she uses three forward traveling steps (left, right, left) with a swivel at the end to face the leader (second SQQ). She needs to pass her feet on each step (with the toes of alternating feet in front) and maintain the rhythm as she travels down the slot. A common error is to rotate too soon to face the leader. The follower needs to keep her left shoulder perpendicular to the leader’s shoulders as she travels forward down the slot opened when the leader’s left shoulder rotates a quarter turn on the second SQQ.

To Decrease Difficulty

  • The cross-body lead takes two repetitions of the rumba’s SQQ rhythm.
  • The leader angles to rotate a quarter turn on the second SQQ.
  • Practice your part independently from your partner using the walls as references. For example, the follower faces the back wall, then the front wall, while the leader faces the front wall, his left side wall, and the back wall.

To Increase Difficulty

  • Practice with a variety of partners.
  • Combine a box step, a cross-body lead, two forward half-box progressions, then a side step into either forward parallel breaks or fifth position breaks.
  • Add an underarm turn after the cross-body lead.

Success Goal

Alternate a box step with a cross-body lead to rumba music for 2 minutes. ___

Success Check

  • Keep transitions smooth. ___
  • Maintain the rhythmic pattern.___
  • The leader faces the front wall, his left side wall, then transitions to face the back wall. ___
  • Two SQQ repetitions are used in the cross-body lead. ___
  • The follower travels forward down the slot on the second SQQ and swivels to face the leader after her second quick. ___

Read more from Social Dance by Judy Wright.



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