Technique Notes Ballroom (Modern/Standard).
The following pages are a work in progress. They are meant to assist those studying for Accreditation or Qualifications in the detailed study of the chart figures and technical terminology. The first section is in the form of notes with the second section in the form of questions and answers. Because the questions and answers are intended as a learning tool (particularly the general section) some provide more detail than what would reasonably be expected in an examination.
Instructor Coach, Competition Adjudicator, (Previously Level 1) is in black printing, Additional figures for Coach and Elite Coach, plus Championship Adjudicator (Previously Levels 2 & 3) are colour coded in blue & yellow as per the syllabus listings in the DSA Accreditation Program. These Levels generally align with Society Accreditation requirements but there may be some figures which fall inside or outside of the various society syllabi.
The ISTD “The Ballroom Technique” and the ISTD “Viennese Waltz Technique” are the only reference books involved in these notes and questions.
The notes and Questions & Answers cover all levels of examination and all figures in these ISTD Ballroom Technique Books.
The Candidate need only refer to the figures relative to his/her study.
I would appreciate any input as to errors, omissions, or how the presentation could be improved. Jon.
Technique Notes Ballroom (Modern/Standard).
Foot Positions as per charts: It should be noted that the charts generally describe the foot positions, alignments, etc at the end of a step and/or timing. It does not describe how to actually get to that position, e.g. A forward swing ending in a side step position.
Foot positions are generally from where the feet are closed (with our without weight) or passing to where the feet are again closed (with our without weight) or passing. Sidesteps followed by a close are a notable exception (It takes 2 steps to go from closed or passing to side then close), also pivots and spins are further exceptions among others.
Outside of Turns: The forward half of a turn involving the larger movement to step around partner. The turn normally is divided with the greater part of the turn made between 1 & 2 and the lesser part between 2 & 3. There are exceptions.
Inside of Turns: The backward half of a turn involving the smaller movement allowing partner to step around. The turn is normally completed between 1 & 2 with the feet and body turning less, and then the body completes the turn between 2 & 3. There are a number of exceptions.
Heel Pull: The Man’s turn is completed between 1 & 2. The Ladies opposite part is also completed between 1 & 2 except for Natural Turn in Quickstep.
Heel Pull: The first step of a Heel Pull is a step that is straight back. (Exception is 2 of the Natural Hover Telemark which is a side step).
A Heel Turn can always only be danced from a step that is straight back. It may be in CBMP with PO (the backward step when partner is stepping forward outside).
CBM: will only occur on steps that are straight forward or back. It may be OP or PO. The only exceptions are in Viennese Waltz. Not all straight forward or back steps will have CBM.
CBM: initiates turn.
CBM: will only occur on the RF forward or LF back on turns to the right..
CBM: will only occur on the LF forward or RF back on turns to the left.
CBM: Two CBM steps would not normally occur consecutively but this can occur. 6 of Foxtrot Natural Turn followed by 1 of the Feather Step or a back step followed by a forward step as per, 1 & 2 of Man’s Outside Spin, 3 & 4 Man & Lady Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot (NB. No CBM Lady on 1).
Slight CBM: Slight CBM occurs on:-
1 Closed Change, 1 Man in Whisk, 1 Man in Chasse from PP, 1 Man in Back Whisk without turn, 1 Lady’s Natural Zig Zag from PP, 6 Natural Turn in Quickstep, 1 Forward or Back Lock, 3 Zig Zag Back Lock and Running Finish, 1 Rock Turn.
No CBM: 1 Lady Whisk, 1 Outside Change, 3 Turning Lock (Man RF back and slightly rightwards ,Lady LF forward and slightly leftward), 1 Closed Wing, 1 & 2 Three Step, 5 & 6 Reverse Wave.
CBMP: CBMP is a foot position where the stepping foot is positioned in line with or across the stationery foot. (NB. Often – except maybe in Tango - actually obtained in practice through a body turn.)
CBMP will only occur on steps that are straight forward or straight back. It may be outside partner or partner outside (the backward step when partner is stepping forward outside).
CBMP does not occur on all forward or backward steps.
CBMP, except in Tango, rarely occurs when in line with partner (ie. when not OP or PO). Exceptions are step 3 Foxtrot and step 4 of Quickstep Change of Direction. 5 Man’s Natural Spin Turn, Reverse Pivots and Slip Pivots.
Forward ‘and Across’ in CBMP only occurs in some Promenade Positions but never in Closed Position.
Steps that are Forward ‘and Across’ in PP & CBMP:
Will always be on Man’s RF & Lady’s LF.
Both Man & Lady:
Step 1 Chasse from PP
Step 4 Outside Change ended in PP.
Steps 4 & 8 Open Telemark, Natural Turn to Outside Swivel and Feather Ending.
Step 1 Natural Zig Zag from PP.
Step 2 Closed Promenade.
Step 2 Natural Twist Turn Tango.
Step 2 Promenade Link.
Step 2 Outside Swivel.
Step 4 Reverse Outside Swivel.
Step 2 Fallaway Promenade.
Step 1 Left Whisk.
Step 2 Chase.
Man only: (Lady would be Forward in PP & CBMP).
Step 1 Weave from PP in Waltz commenced FDC.
Step 4 Open Telemark and Wing.
(NB. Not in Open Impetus to Wing.)
Lady only: (Man would be Forward in PP & CBMP).
Step 1 Weave from PP in Waltz commenced Man FLOD.
Step 4 Open Telemark and Cross Hesitation.
Step 4 Open Impetus and Cross Hesitation.
Step 4 Open Telemark and Feather Ending.
Step 4 Hover Telemark to PP.
Step 1 Weave from PP in Foxtrot.
Step 2 Natural Promenade Turn.
Step 7 Natural Twist Turn with Open Impetus Ending.
(NB. The only instance where both Man & Lady use Forward in PP & CBMP ie. Where neither uses ‘across’, is Step 4 Open Impetus to Wing).
Sway: normal sway will be to the right after a RF CBM step and to the Left after a LF CBM step. Sway: does not go from R to L or L to R on consecutive steps. There would be a Straight in between.
Sway: there is no sway on Chasses, Locks, Pivots, or Spins. Some exceptions e.g. Turning Lock & Turning Lock to Right and sway may be used in the Under turned Tipple Chasse to Right.
Sway: Can be towards the moving foot e.g. 1 of Hover Feather. Broken sway is from the waist only e.g. Checked Tipple Chasse to the Right.
Footwork on Forward Steps: For a Heel the preceding step will be a H or a TH.
For a Toe the preceding step will be a T or a HT.
Closes without weight & Brushes.
I am not aware of the differences in the terms Closes & Brushes in relation to the without weight concept.
Closes without weight indicates the foot has moved from an open position to a closed position without transference of weight.
Closes towards indicates the foot has moved from one open position to a lesser open position without transference of weight.
Brushes to indicates the foot has moved from an open position to a closed position without transference of weight.
Brushes towards indicates the foot has moved from one open position to a lesser open position without transference of weight.
Having brushed to indicates the foot has moved from one open position to another open position brushing to the supporting foot on the way.
Various foot positions may include either:
closes to, (sometimes slightly forward or back) without weight, * Refer to Figures as listed below:
closes towards, only 2 Man heel pivot.
commences to close, only 2 Man Wing & Closed Wing.
brushes to, only Lady
as a step in its own right – 5 of 2 bar Hover Corte, 4 Natural Hover Telemark.
as part of step that includes the brush – 5 Natural Twist Turn Foxtrot.
brushes towards, as a step in its own right – 3 - 4 Lady2 bar Hover Corte,
as part of the step preceding the brush - 2 Lady Hover Corte Waltz & Quickstep,
2 Man & Lady Hover Telemark & Hover Telemark to PP, 3 Lady Natural Telemark.
having brushed to, only Lady and is included as part of the step following the brush.
6 Natural Spin Turn, 3 Closed Impetus,
3 Open Impetus, 4 Turning Lock to Right, 6 Natural Turn Foxtrot, 9 Reverse Wave.
moves towards, only Man 3 – 5 of 2 bar Hover Corte.
*Figures using ‘closes to without weight’ (sometimes slightly forward or back):
as a step in its own right – 6 Man & Lady Hesitation Change. 2 Man Reverse Corte, 3 Man
Double Reverse Spin, 2 Man Cross Hesitation, 3 Man Wing and Closed Wing, 6 Man &
Lady Natural Turn with Hesitation, 2 Man & Lady Cross Swivel, 3 Man & Lady Change
of Direction Quickstep, 5 Man & Lady Drag Hesitation.
as part of a step including the closes without weight – 2 Man & Lady Change of Direction
Foxtrot. 7 Lady Open Telemark Natural Turn to Outside Swivel and Feather Ending,
1 Lady Outside Swivel Tango, 3 Lady Reverse Outside Swivel.
Side steps on the Heel only occur in the Tango and then only when in PP.
Quicks: The total of consecutive Quicks must always be an even number, however the number of steps may be an odd number if a syncopation is used.
No Foot Rise: There are two types of NFR.
NFR from a down position refers to the foot stepping back.
NFR from an up position refers to the front foot.
e.g. Lady’s Feather Step – NFR from down position on 1 Left Foot, NFR from an up position on
2 Left Foot.
When the alternative footwork of TH is used in Foxtrot on 4 of Natural Weave, 3 of Basic Weave, and 4 of Weave from PP the following step will be ‘up no foot rise” but the footwork will remain as a toe.
Step 5 of lady’s Reverse turn in Foxtrot is ‘Up, but is TH, the ‘Up NFR’ does not occur till step 6. And similarly for other feather finish type movements for lady in Foxtrot.
Sideways: When this term is used in the Technique it indicates that the leg has not passed under the body. Only 3 Man Open Telemark Natural Turn to Outside Swivel and Feather Ending, NB. 3 Oversway is Man Left Foot Back then Sideways Lady Right Foot Forward then Sideways..
The Quickstep Standard Chart Figures do not involve PP, but PP can be achieved in many instances.
The Tango Chart Figures: It is worth noting that so many of the Tango chart figures end with the man FDW, lady normal opposite in closed or promenade position. Whilst there are many exception this thought can be handy in selecting precedes and follows.
Promenade Positon: Promenade Position is given in the charts as the man’s body and the lady’s body forming an angle of 90 degrees (although for better dance performance we might decide to reduce this angle) like the head of an arrow. The following direction of travel will dissect that angle e.g. like the shaft of the arrow.