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20. Continuity Runs

Silver level introduces a whole new style of movement to the American style of Waltz and Foxtrot, with figures that travel and take up more space than their bronze counterparts. This is due largely to the foot passing actions known as Continuity movements. Where bronze level dancers close their feet typically every third or fourth step, silver level dancers continually pass their feet, often weaving quickly between in-line and outside partner positions.

Many figures in the silver level, especialy in the first half of the syllabus, are simply Continuity versions of bronze figures. Such is the case with Continuity Runs, which are the silver version of the basic Forward Closed Changes. Each consists of three steps, with the notable distinction that the third step is not closed as it is in bronze, but passed (i.e. taken forward for man, back for lady). As with the Closed Changes, the Continuity Runs' primary purpose is to transition between Natural and Reverse Turns, but they can also be used as a teaching aid and taken consecutively straight down the line of dance.

There are two Continuity Runs: One that begins with the man's right foot forward, also known as a Feather Step, and one that begins with his left foot forward, also known as a Three Step. They are not simply the mirror image of each other, but very unique and distinctive movements, each requiring separate study. The Feather Step typically moves toward diagonal center and has a fuller swing that results in the third step being taken outside partner, while the Three Step moves toward diagonal wall and has more of a walking feel, with a later and slightly subtler rise.

The turn and change combination introduced in the bronze level can be done entirely with silver continuity figures, using the Feather and Three Step as the change steps that connect the turns, as in the following combination:

  • Begin with man facing diagonal center.
  • Dance 1-6 Open Reverse Turn to end with man facing diagonal wall.
  • Dance 1-3 Three Step
  • Dance 1-6 of Open Natural Turn, beginning with man and lady in-line, and end with man facing diagonal center.
  • Dance 1-3 Feather Step, with man stepping outside partner on the first step.

This combination can be repeated as long as space allows.

20a. Feather Step

The Feather Step is a series of three consecutive forward steps, the third step being taken with the man outside partner. Although there is not turn of the feet, the bodies do turn slightly to the right over the course of the three steps. This facilitates the outside partner step and creates a look of a fuller swing.

Note that the lady does not use foot rise at all throughout the figure, and as each step is taken, the toe of the departing foot is released.

20b. Three Step

The Three Step is a series of three consecutive forward steps taken with man and lady remaining in-line throughout. Although there is not turn of the feet, the bodies do turn very slightly to the left over the course of the three steps. The rise & fall used on the Three Step is slightly unusual in that it is more subtle and slightly delayed, with no rise on the first step.

Note that the lady does not use foot rise at all throughout the figure, and as each step is taken, the toe of the departing foot is released.

 

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