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Turns With Right- and Left-Side Leading

In order to produce the rotation from the base instead of from the upper body, you will need to start the base rotating long before you allow the upper body to start rotating. The best way to approach this is to begin your turn by stepping sideways while rotating the moving leg and foot into a turned-out position in relationship to the body. For example: To commence a left turn, you will step sideways onto the left foot, but with the foot and leg turned out and pointing along the line of your shoulders (see diagram).

The upper body will feel this as a side step, because you are moving laterally along the line of your shoulders. But at the same time, your foot and leg will feel it as a forward step, since they are pointing toward the direction of the step. This is called leading the turn with your left (or right) side. Almost all turns should commence with a side leading. It is very rare that you will start a turn with your upper body facing squarely to the direction of the step.

Keep in mind that there are many variations upon this theme, and certainly not all turns should or even can commence in this way. But this very generic all-purpose technique is used for a majority of turns in many dance styles, and should be thought of as the basic rule, to which some exceptions may apply.


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