A friend of mine recently asked me about a move he had just been taught. His instructor called it an "Advanced Box". Steps 1,2,3 are that of a left turn, but on 3, the feet are together and the couple are in Promenade facing BLOD. There is a weight change on all 3 steps. During steps 4,5,6 the man steps as he would in a left turning box, but on step 4 the lady has to swivel her left foot in between the man's feet and then steps 5 and 6 are like that of a left turning box. My question: is there another name for this step? Thank you.
I don't think this is Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot because you say the feet are together on step 3; that's not the way we were taught the figure by at least two professional instructors. It sounds more like steps 1-6 of a Bronze Fred Astaire figure called "Fallaway and Rock" (I'm not sure if it's still in the FA syllabus).
As we were taught the figure, years ago: Steps 1-3 Bronze Twinkle Steps 4-6 Step 4 is a Slip Pivot (though the instructor may not mention it at that level), steps 5 & 6 essentially finish the box, though we were not taught to close the feet on 6. We learned to end this part ready for the next 3 steps. Steps 7-9 Left turning rock turn (about 1/2 L) with the feet held in CBMP Steps 10-12 Steps 4-6 of a left box turning 1/4 L
You can find the details of a Slip Pivot in a lot of reference works.
Fred Astaire Fallaway and Rock was my guess too, although my interpretation of the figure is slightly different:
Steps 1-3 are very simply the first 3 steps of a closed bronze box, taking 1/4 turn to left to end with man backing diagonal wall. The way Sageon and nloftofan1 describe it, step 3 is already turned to fallaway position (feet nonetheless closed), but I feel it's stronger not to open up quite that early. It's also much easier to describe.
Step 4 is not actually the slip pivot action itself; It is a step side & slightly back for both man and lady, turning to fallaway position (if they're not already in fallaway). 5-6 is the slip pivot, man LF back & across in fallaway, then RF slipping back in CBMP and pivoting to the left on the foot with LF held in CBMP. Lady meanwhile steps RF back & across in fallaway, slipping the LF forward in CBMP to transition back to closed position, and pivoting on the LF with RF held in CBMP. It ends with man facing LOD, the couple having turned a total of 5/8 over the 3 steps.
In our syllabus, the slip pivot consists of just those 3 steps, giving you some flexibility to mix and match whatever you like as precedes and follows. For example, you could precede with 1-3 of a Left Box Turn (bronze), 4-6 of a Right Box Turn, or a LF Side Hesitation or Side Whisk. You could follow with just about any reverse figure such as a Left Box, Left Cross Turn, etc, or a progressive figure such as a Closed Change, Passing Change, just about any kind of Twinkle, etc.
The old Fred Astaire pattern was, as nloftofan1 mentioned, followed by a Left-Turning Rock, a sort of undercooked Reverse Pivot taken to a straight count of 1,2,3, which leaves the man backing LOD with his RF free to finish a Box. One of our Waltz variations of the week (link here: http://www.ballroomdancers.com/Dances/info.asp?sid=1060) is a spin-off of this figure, but instead of completing all 3 counts of the Left-Turning Rock, you dance 1-2, then the man turns away and finishes the third step in promenade position -- almost like an Open Telemark without the lady's heel turn. This variation is about as close to the full Fred Astaire pattern as you're going to see online. As you might imagine, we chose to wait until step 4 to turn to fallaway.
Regards, Jonathan Atkinson www.ballroomdancers.com
The slip pivot as I described it is one step. From the USISTD American Style Ballroom Silver Syllabus (described the same way in at least one other book I have): "Slip Pivot: Is taken from Fallaway Position and consists of one step which turns left. The Man steps 'RF back in CBMP LF held in CBMP', slipping Lady to step 'LF forward in CBMP RF held in CBMP' to end in Closed Position. This is when the actual Pivot occurs. The moving leg is in CBMP and the free leg is always held in CBMP."
I'm really not trying to get into a debate with experts about technical stuff. This definition meshes with another part of the figure, as I was taught it. When I was first introduced to the figure during the Neolithic era, and wrote down my understanding of what the instructor said (I was pretty much a beginner then), steps 1-3 are just the first half of a box. [I just checked my old notes: "1/2 box turning 1/4 L into Promenade (Fallaway)"]
Much more recently, another professional instructor started off the figure with a Bronze Twinkle. Since (according to the USISTD definition of Slip Pivot) step 4 starts in PP (Fallaway), step 3 needs to end in PP (Fallaway). Whether you call steps 1-3 a twinkle or not is unimportant. The simple (possibly incorrect) view I have of a Bronze Twinkle is that it's 1-3 of a box turning the lady into PP at the end.
I also know (from experience) that different instructors sometimes teach a particular element or figure differently. Conclusion: There's no single "right" way to do something in dancing.
After looking at my old notes (descriptions of dance figures) more carefully, I agree with Jonathan about steps 4-6 of Fallaway and Rock. (It's been a long time since I actually danced the figure.) My instructor didn't actually call it a slip pivot, but the description puts the slip pivot (one step, according to the definition I got from the USISTD book) on step 6, not step 4: steps 4-6 for the man are side, back, back, turning 1/4 L on step 6 with L foot held in CBMP. However, our instructor did have us go into fallaway on step 3.
My instructor didn't actually call it a slip pivot, but the description puts the slip pivot (one step, according to the definition I got from the USISTD book) on step 6, not step 4: steps 4-6 for the man are side, back, back, turning 1/4 L on step 6 with L foot held in CBMP. However, our instructor did have us go into fallaway on step 3.
The slip pivot as a component could be thought of as consisting of one or two steps, depending on whether you include the initial step into fallaway position. There is no single, correct answer in this regard. I can see why ISTD might define it as 1 step: The Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot figure consists of a fallaway reverse, which most would think of as 3 steps. That leaves you with 1 step, the slip pivot. But if you think of a Chair entry, the answer is more ambiguous: Is a Chair a single checking action, or does it include the return to the original foot? That, too can be thought of either way.
It is expected that whole figures will often (but not always) contain more steps than the raw components that comprise them. Some figures consist only of one single step or component (e.g. Reverse Pivot). Some consist of combinations of two or more (e.g. Spin Turn = 1-3 Natural + Spin Turn component), while others consist of a component with a step or two before and/or after, in order to provide context. The name of the figure and the component may be identical, so where there is question, one must clarify, e.g. "dance just the 3-step Twinkle itself, not the whole 6-step figure". In fact, the same is true of components themselves, as is the case with a chasse, or a chair, or a slip pivot.
Our slip pivot as a figure in American style consists of 3 steps. The first step (or two steps, depending on your point of view) are the context, and the last part is the raw component. As a figure, it's still much more granular than the old Fred Astaire Fallaway and Rock, being only 1 measure rather than 4.
There are pros and cons to mincing up your syllabus into smaller bits. The best argument in favor of more granularity is that it affords the student more options for composition. To follow the Fred Astaire version, you would need to dance the same 4 measure sequence in exactly the same way every time. With the figure narrowed down from whole combination to simple component with minimal necessary context included (i.e. 3 steps total), it opens you up to a world of possibilities.
Now that's not to say that the more we break things down the better. A syllabus would start to look pretty silly and pointless if figures were broken down into all single-step actions. But it's my belief that the majority of American style syllabi, especially in higher levels, err on the side of ridiculously long combinations of choreography. So we've made the smaller figure approach a staple of our syllabus.
To that end, it makes sense for us to start the figure in closed rather than fallaway; If we'd felt it necessary to begin in fallaway, it would have been more correct to make it a 2-measure figure and include the preceding box that ends in fallaway position. That would in turn rob it of much of its flexibility with regards to precedes. So as far as syllabus construction, it was a better choice to use the version beginning in closed and turning immediately to fallaway on step 1, even though in a vacuum either choice could have been correct.
However, when I said previously that I felt a closed entry is "stronger", I wasn't referring to syllabus construction. I actually think it produces better results from the standpoint of the dancing. Fallaways of all kinds can be danced with the lady's head either open or closed, but those culminating in slip pivots (e.g. Fallaway Reverse & Slip Pivot) are typically danced with the lady's head closed, and for good reason: The pull of the lady's head weight to the left assists with the action of the pivot.
Entering the slip pivot with heads turned to promenade doesn't have to diminish the pull of head weight and "fullness" of the pivot; It just tends to -- even on some high level competitors to a lesser degree, but especially on students.
As I mentioned, neither version is incorrect, and everybody is entitled to his preferences. If I were coaching a couple who danced the Fallaway & Rock with the heads turned to PP on step 3, I wouldn't "correct" them for choosing an interpretation that isn't my own preference. However, if they were struggling with the slip pivot, the lady's head weight would be pretty high on my list of culprits.