Very often the specification of Turn starts with a description COMMENCE TO TURN. It is important to understand exactly what is meant when this term is used so that turns can be executed properly.
First and foremost, COMMENCE is a body action. When commencing to turn, there is NO change in (foot) alignment, and therefore no actual turn. This is because TURN is defined as a change of (foot) alignment (either from one foot to the next, or as a starting alignment and different ending alignment on one foot.)
The action COMMENCE TO TURN occurs in the hip joint. You might think of it as a folding of the hip. In most instances, the action of commence is in the ‘easy’ direction:
- if stepping forward on the right foot, commence turning to the right by closing the right hip joint, i.e. your center turns to your right;
- if stepping forward on the left foot, commence turning to the left by closing the left hip joint, i.e your center turns to your left;
- if stepping backward on the right foot, commence turning to the LEFT by opening the right hip joint, i.e. your center turns to your left;
- if stepping backward on the left foot, commence turning to the RIGHT by opening the left hip joint, i.e. your center turns to your right.
Forward = CLOSE the hip joint
Backward = OPEN the hip joint
One important question is HOW MUCH do you open or close the hip joint?
The answer in part depends on the amount of the turn that follows (and not the nature of the turn, since COMMENCE TO TURN is always followed by a specification of turn BETWEEN.)
The greater the amount of turn, the greater the folding in the hip joint that should take place for the action ‘commence’.
Another important thing to notice is that for a forward step that also is specified as commencing to turn, the footwork is always HEEL TOE, and never just HEEL.
(For backward steps which commence to turn the footwork is always TOE HEEL, but this is also true for any backward step taken as a (logical) ’1′, i.e. the first step after a lowering.)
A forward step with COMMENCE TO TURN is where people get into the most trouble.
You should NOT alter the (foot) alignment of that forward step, either as you take it, or once you are ON it. Remember, COMMENCE TO TURN is a BODY action, not a foot action. And no actual turn is occurring. You are just getting ready to turn BETWEEN.
This means no ‘pre-turning’, and no foot swivel.
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