Archive for February 23rd, 2008

A reader recently wrote and asked me if I would write about PIVOTS. Happy to oblige.

First, lets start with the formal definitions.

Alex Moore defines Pivot as:

A turn on the ball of one foot , the other foot being kept in front or behind in C.B.M.P.

The DVIDA manual defines Pivot as:

  1. A turn on the ball of the standing foot without changing weight. The free leg is held forward or backward in Contra Body Movement Position (CBMP).
  2. More generally used to describe a turn on the ball of one foot.

In addition, DVIDA defines a Pivot Action as:

The movement that occurs on a right foot forward pivot. Pivoting action is different than a pivot in that the left foot is not held in Contra Body Movement Position (CBMP).

It is possible to pivot turning either Right Face (Natural) or Left Face (Reverse), however, the technique of a natural pivot is significantly different from that of a reverse pivot. I will only be addressing the Right Face or Natural Pivot in this posting.

With the exception of footwork, the Leader and the Follower having identical technique when executing a pivot, however, from the point of view of following, once the Leader has initiated pivoting the Follower should continue to execute the pivot until clearly led to stop. If the Leader can rely on the Follower to continue to provide rotational energy he can focus on timing, amount of turn, and of course, floor craft.

It is best to learn the technique of Pivoting in isolation. Once you have drilled the fundamental actions into the body, taking a partner and attempting the movement as a couple is more likely to produce a meaningful result.

As an individual practice the following until you are secure in your ability to reliable produce the actions described:

  • Stand on the Left foot facing Diagonal Center (DC) with the Right leg held in front of you, knee high and the toes of the Right foot just touching the floor.
  • Swinging the Right leg to the side step Forward Right so that your Right foot points directly down the Line of Dance (LOD). The step would be ‘wide’ so that there is plenty of room between the tops of your thighs.
  • There is 1/8 of a turn to the right between where you were standing on the Left foot, and the placement of the Right foot. Body will have turned less at this point.
  • Make sure you transfer 100% of your weight to the Right foot, and at the moment of transfer, you should feel a slight Ride Side Lead.
  • Now, holding the Left leg behind you, ‘close’ your right hip, i.e. turn your center rightwards so that your belly button is pointing approximately Diagonal Wall (DW).
  • Take care that you do not pull backward with your right arm as you turn the body.
  • Spin 3/8 to the right on the ball of the Right foot to end backing DC. Remember that when you spin, the body is held stable in its current position. This will cause the Left leg to be carried along with the rotation and retain it same position relative to the body and the Right foot when you spin.
  • Releasing the Left leg from its held position, step Back and Slightly Side Left ACROSS THE LINE OF DANCE.
  • There is 1/8 of a turn to the right between where you ended the spin on the Right foot and where you place the Left foot. The body will have turned less at this point.
  • As you transfer weight onto the Left foot the toes of the Left foot should face directly Against the Line of Dance.
    • Imagine a clock face with 12 o’clock being facing LOD.
    • The Right foot step is taken exactly at 12 o’clock.
    • The Left foot step is taken backward at 1 o’clock.
  • The position of the Right leg relative to the Left leg at this moment is to the side and in front of the Left leg with plenty of room between your feet for your partner’s Right foot.
  • Now, holding the Right leg in front of you, ‘open’ your left hip, i.e. turn your center rightward to face approximately toward DC against the LOD.
  • Again, take care that you do not pull the right arm backward as you turn the body.
  • Spin 3/8 right on the ball of the Left foot to end facing DC with the Right leg held in the same position as when you started.
  • Repeat from the beginning.

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