More Advanced Ballroom

02 Oct 2019 - Richard Horridge

2019-10-02 Wed 11:10

Having danced for (coming up to) only one year, it sometimes surprises me how much I have learnt in such a short time. Being able to apply my experience to more technically demanding routines, while keeping the fundamentals, is key to succeeding in this sport.

Yesterday our Ballroom coach, Kevin Allcott, gave us a new Waltz routine in both Novice and Higher class. It involved lots of steps I'd never seen before, such as the Running Spin Turn and the Open Impetus. Fortunately, lots of lovely people were there to give me support!

Running Spin Turn, followed by an Outside Change as in our Novice routine

Having focused mainly on technique in lessons over the summer I was pleased with how I coped with the new level of difficulty.

For the Running Spin Turn in particular, it is very important as a lead to get out of the way of my partner and make sure they are able to step Outside Partner (OP) for the Outside Change. We noticed that it was much easier when the follower drives as much as possible during the Running Spin Turn, providing the power, while the lead focuses on making the full turn, ending backing Diagonal Centre (DC). The figure involves a lot of turning, with 7/8ths of a full turn to the right!

Other than the Running Spin Turn, the rest of the routine went okay!

The routine as a whole starts with a LF Closed Change into the aforementioned Running Spin Turn, followed by an Outside Change. Next, we do a lock step into a Weave from Promenade Position, ending it slightly early with a Back Lock into an Open Impetus. From here we do a chassé across the room into the opposite corner to where we started.

I have by no means perfected the routine yet but it is really fun and hopefully I will be able to do it justice soon.

Higher class continued this routine adding in some open choreography. Instead of going from a Back Lock into an Open Impetus, we instead have an Outside Change into a Natural Spin Turn, followed by a Turning Lock to the left.

The Turning Lock was a new figure for me, although I am frequently told that it is a nice figure, particularly in corners out of an overturned Spin Turn. It needs a lot of practice on my part - I think my problem may be in not getting my right foot to the side on the third step and not commencing the turn early enough.

The Turning Lock leads nicely into a Throwaway Oversway, which is a very nice figure. While I was hesitant at first before learning Open choreography, the steps are actually not that difficult and are quite fun to know. After this, we go into a Contra Check, another fun step which involves a lot of showing off for the follower in particular.

Throwaway Oversway with a similar start as in our Higher routine

The Contra Check is followed by a Hover Corté and then an Outside Spin, a step which I actually knew! This section was quite difficult, particularly for keeping my balance! After going through another Natural Spin Turn, we did another Open Impetus and then a Chassé from Promenade Position towards DC. Apart from the usual problems with new steps, this section went okay (mainly due to my partner having a much better idea of what she was doing than I did!)

Following this was the most difficult section for me - a Quick Open Reverse followed by a step to the right into (I think) a Double Reverse Spin. I had only ever done this step before in a Quickstep routine and it was quite difficult to do, especially coming out of the Quick Open Reverse! It involved four steps in quick succession and then a big turn on the right foot to begin the Double Reverse Spin.

Finally, a Reverse Turn leads into another Throwaway Oversway and the routine ends there.

So, my thoughts - it was a big step up in terms of choreography but I think my base technique is reasonably solid at the moment. I'd like to get another lesson with Jackie before too long, hopefully with a partner, and I'll probably get a lesson with Kevin too to look at the more difficult steps in the routine he gave us.

There are still important things for me to work on, and it will be interesting to see how Novice and Higher Latin goes next week!

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