Ballroom Dance > Basic International Style Foxtrot Timing Issues

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by davef, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. davef

    davef New Member

    Hi, We've been attending group dancing classes for a number of years and don't have any problems following their routines - which is where my issues start! I tried explaining that I didn't feel much attention was given to technique and that I wanted to know the proper way to do each step. After explaining what we wanted we did a number of private lessons which just went over the same old routines that we did in class. I then invested in a couple of syllabus reference aids instead:- ISTD "The Ballroom Technique" Book and the International Style Standard Syllabus DVDs by Victor Veyrasset and Heather Smith which have generally been quite useful.

    We are planning (imminently) on taking some more private lessons with another school who has a reputation for being strict on technique however there are a couple of basic items I'd like to understand first.

    In Foxtrot there seems to be a rather basic difference between the ISTD Book and the DVDs which is causing me all sorts problems. If I take the Feather Step and the Three Step as examples:-

    The ISTD Book describes the Feather Step as SQQS (RF, LF, RF, LF) whilst the DVD shows the Feather Step as SQQ (RF, LF, RF).

    The ISTD Book describes the Three Step as QQS (RF, LF, RF) whilst the DVDs shows the Three Step as SQQ (LF, RF, LF).

    Looking at the two steps danced together (Feather + Three step) then the overall timing is identical except for the final extra step in the book (or the missing last step in the DVDs)

    Book (Feather + Three Step): SQQS QQS (RF, LF, RF, LF, RF, LF, RF)
    DVD (Feather + Three Step): SQQ SQQ (RF, LF, RF, LF, RF, LF)

    I'm struggling to understand why there is a difference. This is making it hard to decide which steps can be done immediately after a particular step (since the Book and DVD conflict on which is the last step).

    On a similar issue if I look at how the Book describes a Three Step and then follow it by a Natural Turn - the Three Step seems to end on the right foot but the first step of a Natural Turn is also shown as the right foot (Two right foots together :confused:, is the last step of the three step also being used as the first step of the natural turn?). The DVD seems more logical because its three step ends on a left foot which fits nicely with the first step of the natural.

  2. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    there are a lot of threads with discussions on this topic... i'm not good at finding them, but maybe our beloved TC will come round with some links. :D
  3. btfgus

    btfgus Member

    So the DVD is just finishing its description at a different time to the book. Straining to remember, I believe the last step of the 3 step in the book is also the first step of the natural turn. Like wise the feather being finished on the first step of, say a reverse turn.
  4. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    This is my recollection too. The way the ISTD book presents foxtrot, for almost every step, this is the case -- where step 1 of any figure is also usually the last step of what will precede it, and vice versa.
  5. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Short answer: the difference is to make things a little easier for beginners.

    The main reason (that I know of) is that most beginners find the QQS of the 3step hard to start (with RF) because of the foot technique (HT then TH).

    As a compromise, some teachers add a "prep" step (which seems to have been adopted "officially", but required a global-syllabus change--e.g. the Feather--in order in order for the "SQQ" of the 3 step to be pluggable into various figure endings).

  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Lets first establish the Rhythm of F.T. as agreed upon many yrs ago... SQQ..

    ISTD "took over" the Rev. Techn. and retained pretty much all of the then written word..

    When" tying " 2 variations together, like a chain link fence , the Slow is invariably that link between two variations.. the 3 step written as SQQ is using the last step of a feather finish for e.g. to COMMENCE the figure, altho. it is not really a part of same, what should have been added is a Slow to finish ( the QQS is the accepted book rhythm ) When I examine, I do accept both answers, providing there is a clear understanding of the concept

    There are only 3 figures that commence with a Q in the syllabus and many times, teachers will "prep " them with a slow.
  7. amiko

    amiko New Member

    Going by the book's timing is going to be different than going by Heather and Victor's video timing. Heather Smith is one of my two coaches, and she teaches competition timing. Timing is determined by what level and goal you are dancing for (to be vague). =)
  8. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    It should make it easier. At the risk of sounding what you's all technically, if not literally, correct.

    As for the extra step, note that many of the figures in the int'l end w/ a step that overlaps the first step of the suceeding figure, and as some have pointed out, a "prep" step simply and often makes a figure smoother to start/finish. My only contention, though he is correct instating that it the agreed upon norm, I believe it to be ridiculous to dance these figures SQQ. I have always, even in comp, danced SSQ (noting that 1- the third step is the longest in Fox, and 2- when we speak of slows/quicks we are speaking of the body movement --not foot speed as many misconstrue).
  9. amiko

    amiko New Member

    My aerospace engineering partner says that in the book of syllabus figures, they incorporate the last step of the previous figure into each step, concurring with what all the other men are saying.
  10. waltzguy

    waltzguy Active Member

    Allow me to do the honors, for once.
  11. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Thanks WG. Merged these b/c there is much good and relevant info in the initial one.
  12. VTDancer

    VTDancer Member

    As others have pointed out often the last step of a figure, expecially in foxtrot, is often used as the first step of the succeeding figure. This can seem confusing, but in practice does not seem to cause problems as long as you understand that this is what is normally done. It would not be a good idea, for example to dance 2 Feather Steps in a row (SQQSSQQS) because you thought your right foot was free to start another.

    The explanation I have heard for why the figures are described this way is that there should always be are return to a "neutral" position. From my own experience I think the better explanation is that in the "swinging" dances (Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep) the end of the step that we might think of as the last step of the figure (e.g. the second Q in the Feather) is actually where the power is generated for the following S. So if you think of ending a figure like the Feather on the second Q you will probably kill the power into the following slow and consequently the swing into the Q that will follow the S. And "Swing" is what these dances are all about.

    For the same reason you will see that the technique books describe the Chasse from Prominade in Waltz as having 5 steps, 12&31. Most dancers will give more time to the 2& and "steal" some time from the 3, in effect quickening the 3. This acceleration then allows for a powerful movement into 1 which then swings into 2, etc.
  13. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

  14. White Chacha

    White Chacha Active Member

    Your moment of Zen ;-) Love that clip. She has amazing feet.
  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yep...those feet are just amazing to watch in that clip...
  16. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    So it's not just me. I could not stop looking at her feet. And as someone who has just recently learned to do a heel turn, this was eye candy.

  17. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member


    And I won her shoes from the MIT comp show :banana:. Unfortunately they don't fit, so all I can do is rub them and hope some of the "magic" is transferred to me :rolleyes:. If I tried to dance SlowFox *that* slow, all you'd probably hear is *scrape*scrape*clunk*thud* and definitely "dangit, get out of my way!" (CNP and I have recurring synchronicity issues in SF)
  18. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    This may be off-topic, but the heel turns looked odd to me -- I think it was at 23 seconds and 40 seconds. Her toes seemed higher off the ground than I ever recall seeing, but maybe I haven't watched enough videos. Did anyone else have this impression?
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

  20. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    Whimper. Don't forget Whimper.

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