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American Style Rumba
Fifth Position Breaks
10. Fifth Position Breaks
Fifth Position is a term derived from the five foot positions in classical ballet technique, whereby one foot is placed behind the other, toe to heel. Fifth position in Rumba is only generally reminiscent of a ballet fifth, partly because the desired amount of foot turnout is much more extreme in ballet than it is in the Latin American partner dances, but also because Fifth Position Beaks in Rumba are taken with the feet slightly apart.

Another name to describe Fifth Position Breaks is Fallaway and Counter Fallaway rocks, since they are a sequence of rock steps taken in alternating fallaway and counter fallaway positions. The Fifth Position Break to Right consists of a side step to (man's) right, followed by a LF back rock in fallaway position, with lady dancing the natural opposite. Similarly, the Fifth Position Break to Left consists of a side step to (man's) left, followed by a RF back rock in counter-fallaway position (lady natural opposite).

Dance Holds

A series of Fifth Position Breaks taken in succession are most commonly danced in an arm-to-arm position, whereby the man's hand is placed on the lady's back at her shoulder blade, with the lady's hand on the man's shoulder, similar to dance position but with the opposite side completely disconnected. In promenade position, the man's right and lady's left arms are connected, whereas in counter-promenade, the man's left and lady's right arms are connected. To transition from one position to the other, both arms are connected as the man and lady pass briefly through closed facing position.

Alternative holds are possible:

The couple can remain in a closed hold when taking the Fifth Position Break to Right in promenade position, which is normal when dancing only a single isolated Fifth Position Break, or when dancing it as an ending to another figure, e.g. Open Break and Underarm Turn.

Another popular interpretation of the figure is to dance the promenade break in closed hold, then lower the joined hands (man's left to lady's right hand) to waist level, to take the counter-promenade break in left side-by-side position. When danced this way, a more accurate description of the combination would be one measure of Fifth Position Break followed by one measure of Crossover Back Break. Nonetheless, this combination is often simply (if not accurately) labeled Fifth Position Breaks.
10b. Fifth Position Break to Box
The transition from Fifth Position Break to Box Step is a unique movement to American style Rumba, where the man leads the lady to pivot from promenade to end facing him, similar to the action of a Cross-Body Lead. The pivot results in a forward step for the man (back step for the lady) on the slow count, which becomes the first step of the Box.

Fifth Position Slip

In a simple variation of the man's footwork, he may choose to slip his right foot back to either partially or completely close to the left foot on step 2. This variation, particularly common with social dancers, gives the man an easy way to provide ample space for the lady to move in front of him.

 

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