In the previous post, we looked at lowing while moving forward, both to change to backward, and to continue moving forward. Now it is time to look at lowering while moving backward.

Again, we have two fundamental actions: Moving backward to continue backward; and moving backward to change to forward. Unfortunately, the situation is slightly more complex than just direction, since we must also consider the footwork of the previous step.

In Waltz, we will generally be moving backward off a TOE. In Foxtrot, we will often be moving backward from a flat foot (footwork of TOE HEEL and No Foot Rise).

Another difference is that Leaders are more likely to encounter certain actions, and Followers others. In fact, there are certain combinations of rise, footwork and direction that are unique to Leaders and a different set that are unique to Followers. (True for forward actions too, but less significant to the discussion.)

Let’s start with something that both Leader and Follower actually DO. The general motion is backward to continue to backward. The specific step Right Foot Side & Slightly Back with the next being Left Foot Back (Partner outside), and the previous step having a foot of TOE.

For Leaders this is the 4th step of a Progressive Chasse to Right. For Followers it is the 3rd step of an Outside Change, or the 6th step of the Basic Weave or Weave From PP in Waltz, as well as the 4th step of a Chasse from PP, the 3rd step of the Closed Telemark, the 4th step of the Turning Lock. As you can see, there are many examples for the Follower than the Leader. And those are just the ones from the basic syllabus.

When you consider steps other than Side & Slightly Back there are several similar actions which the Leader has in other figures (3rd step of Open Natural, 4th step of Back Lock, etc.) as well as many others for the Follower. So in general looking at Moving Backward to Continue Backward (next step back with partner outside) is a good place to start.

  • Stand high on the balls of both feet with the legs straight but not locked, and the heels well off the floor, and FACING CENTER OF HALL.
  • Place the edge of your RIGHT hand into the crease between your hip and the top of your RIGHT thigh, little finger touching the body.
  • Point the RIGHT foot side, toes still in contact with the floor, but do NOT allow your body weight to shift (either forward or backward.)
  • Slide the toes of the RIGHT foot slightly backward (approximately 1/2 the length of your own foot, weight still on the ball of the LEFT foot.
  • Several things need to happen at once:
    • Draw the edge of your RIGHT hand UP the crease
    • Toe in slightly on the RIGHT foot so that the HEEL of the RIGHT foot is moving to point toward Diagonal Wall (DW)
    • Transfer weight from the ball of your LEFT foot to the toes of your RIGHT foot
    • Bend your RIGHT knee
    • Raise your RIGHT hip slightly with the drawing motion of your hand
    • Rotate your center RIGHTWARD toward the toes of the RIGHT foot
    • Project the head weight forward, leftward and upward
    • As the weight transfers into the front of the RIGHT foot, allow the LEFT knee to bend
  • Transfer your hip weight back and forward between the two feet several times repeating the simultaneous group above until all the elements are synchronized.

Remember, you are trying to create a position that will allow your partner to step FORWARD outside partner while you step BACK with your LEFT foot. The Outside Partner position requires that your center is 1/8 of a turn to the RIGHT of the alignment of your feet, so if the alignment of your RIGHT foot is BACKING DW, then your center needs to be FACING COH.

In addition to allow the space for both you and your partner to be able to move outside of each other your right hip needs to be higher than your left hip.

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