Most turns are given as occurring BETWEEN the step currently being described and the previous step. In order to properly execute the turn, it is important to understand exactly what is meant by the term ‘between’.

In some ways, the term can be taken literally. The turn occurs as you step from one foot to the other, so it is happening between steps. The turn is not happening because the foot you are standing on moves on the floor, but because the body, specifically the hip joints, move so that when you step on to the next foot it is pointing a different direction on the floor then the foot you are standing on when you started this (part of the) turn.

As a result of this difference in where the feet are pointing, the amount of turn is measured by looking at the where the toes of the first foot were pointing in comparison to where the toes of the next foot are pointing. More formally, amount of turn is determined by looking at the alignment of the previous step and the alignment of the current step and taking the ‘difference’. Since there are only eight (8) alignments, turn generally occurs in increments of eights.

There are two (and only two) fundamental ways in which turn Between manifests in the standard technique. Either you step so that the toes are pointing outward from you own center, in which case you are on the inside of turn; or you step so that the toes are pointing inward toward your own center, in which case you are on the outside of turn. (Go back and read that again, really.)

Lets figure this out. Go get a rope, long string, dog leash, anything you can use to make a circle on the floor. (I have a big hula hoop I use, as well as what I call my portable circle, made from a segment of garden hose.)

Put your circle on the floor and stand inside of the circle. From anywhere inside of the circle, your toes are pointing somewhere toward outside of the circle. You are literally inside of the circle.

Now stand outside of the circle but facing the circle. As long as you are facing the circle, your toes are pointing toward the inside of the circle. You are literally outside of the circle.

Stand inside the circle with your feet together and so that the toes of both feet touch the inside edge of the circle. Now do the following:

  • Put your weight on your RIGHT foot.
  • Keeping your LEFT foot in contact with the circle, move it leftwards around the circle for 1/4 of a turn. (If your circle is too big, this will be difficult. Get a smaller circle.)
  • Now stand with your weight BETWEEN both feet, equally distributed.

What do you notice?

  1. Your toes are pointing away from your own center.
  2. Your center is pointing in a direction that is 1/8 to the left of where your right foot is pointing, AND 1/8 to the right of where your left foot is pointing, i.e., half way between your two feet.
  3. If you drew lines straight back from the heel of each foot, they would intersect in the middle of the circle.

You are demonstrating turn BETWEEN, ON THE INSIDE OF TURN (for a Side step turning 1/4.)

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