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First 3 of a Natural Turn
Posted by O.K.
8/16/2014  8:56:00 PM
I have a question. In the original technique book on the Waltz it says 3/8 of a turn over the three steps. This has always been debatable. The new book says 1/2 a turn followed by 1/8 which is still 3/8. My question is. Are the feet together at the beginning of beat 3 high on the toes having completed the 1/2 turn. And then to lower on an and count to complete the 1/8 of a turn releasing the mans left and ladies right keeping the heel off the floor.. If this is so it means that the second step is not taken to face against the L.O.D.
Re: First 3 of a Natural Turn
Posted by Telemark
8/17/2014  12:45:00 AM
1/2 a turn followed by 1/8 is 5/8, unless the direction of turn switches between the steps. What 'new' technique book, and for that matter, whose are you counting as the 'original'? There are lots of technique books, although none that I know of suggest anything quite so strange...

1-3 of a natural turn is usually described as commencing to turn on 1 (with body turn beginning through the use of CBM, but no significant turn in the feet), so RF moves fwd; followed by LF swinging fwd, then swivelling to complete 1/4 to R, the feet ending LF to side and with feet parallel; and then RF closes to LF as the turn is completed (1/8), making 3/8 overall, to end backing LOD. The rise pattern varies slightly, between dance styles (the natural turn being common to several), but you are 'up' on toes as the feet close, before lowering into the next step.
Re: First 3 of a Natural Turn
Posted by O.K.
8/17/2014  8:00:00 PM
Now I am confused. I have the original official Technique Book by Alex Moore which He compiled for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in 1936 and for many years was considered the Bible of Modern Ballroom Dancing. I am reading from it now.
The first three steps of a Natural Turn in the Waltz. Quote. " Amount of turn. Make three eighths of a turn on each three steps ". End of Quote. How can that be. Tell me if I am wrong. Thats nine eighths of a turn. Surely it should have read 3/8 on the first 3/8 on the second and the third step is not a step but a drawing together of the feet. No wonder it has been altered. As suggested I have been looking on
You Tube I can see that they are not all the way around on step two. I will quote again from the old book. Quote Step 2. Long step to the side with the Left foot across the L.O.D. End of Quote.That probably means the foot and not the body which is still arriving Dancing is not a Science. It is an Art. Some things cant be written. We must realize that the body keeps moving and would not come to a dead step at the end of every alignment which is given. So lets look and see how the Champions do it.
Re: First 3 of a Natural Turn
Posted by Telemark
8/19/2014  11:53:00 PM
Natural turns consist of man & lady dancing alternate outside and inside turn actions over three steps. The turn is 3/8 over each group of three steps: simple.

Later texts (the earliest I have is a battered copy of The Revised Technique, first published in 1948) gave the amount of turn step by step, and all the leading teaching society's basic techniques agree that the outside turn commences on 1, continues with 1/4 between 1-2 and 1/8 between 2-3.

That the last 1/8 of turn occurs between steps 2 & 3 answers the point you mentioned in your first post.
Re: First 3 of a Natural Turn
Posted by Waltz123
8/20/2014  12:46:00 AM
Wow, that does all sound very confusing. Let me see if I can help clear it up.

I'll start by correcting what appears to be a very simple typographical error: You referred a couple of times to amount of turn being "1/2 + 1/8", when I believe what you really meant was 1/4 + 1/8, which is quite a bit different. 1/4 + 1/8, of course, equals 3/8, so assuming I'm right about the typo, that clears a lot of it up right there.

The first three steps of a Natural Turn in the Waltz. Quote. " Amount of turn. Make three eighths of a turn on each three steps ". End of Quote. How can that be. Tell me if I am wrong. Thats nine eighths of a turn

3/8 of a turn twice is 6/8, otherwise known as 3/4, and that is correct. To get 9/8 of a turn you would have to have a Natural Turn consisting of 9 steps, which of course it doesn't. If you include the subsequent Forward Change, you get an amalgamation of 9 steps, but Mr. Moore is clearly referring only to the Natural Turn of 6 steps, not the entire 9-step amalgamation. Forward Changes, as we all know, have no turn (At least, not in the feet, but that's a discussion for another day).

The next point is that you seem to be confusing competitive technique, where rules are often bent for the sake of performance, with book technique, which serves as a very general guide to execute figures in a way that is simple, clean, and "correct". You can't fault someone who follows the book to the letter -- everything he does would be considered correct. It's just not going to win any competitions these days. So when you look at a video of a world champion dancing a figure, and try to reconcile it with what the book says is correct, don't be surprised if you find quite a few discrepancies.

One of the major aspects of dance technique that is simply not addressed in the book (and understandably so, as it severely complicates things) is the notion that we very rarely truly move straight forward or back; Steps described as such are actually taken (or commenced, if CBM is involved) somewhat diagonally with respect to the body alignment. This is where, when watching a pro, you might be tricked into thinking they're using a different alignment. In extreme cases, they might actually be (more on that in a minute). But if careful attention is paid to the feet, one can dance a Natural Turn with exacting foot alignments, and still make it appear as though he is quite under/over rotated, especially if you as an observer are watching the whole body and not paying close attention to the feet.

That's not to say that you necessarily misinterpreted what you were seeing. The whole idea of "using diagonals" is sometimes taken to such an extreme that dancers indeed move along a diagonal not just in relation to the body position, but also with respect to the feet. In other words, that under-rotation of the upper body toward the end of 3 that you normally see -- the action that should leave the man pointing against LOD with his feet but with body turned to almost back diagonal center -- might carry all the way down to the feet, so that the man is indeed backing diagonal center top to bottom.

As to whether you yourself should attempt this degree of rule bending, well, it's your own personal decision. I certainly can't recommend it. A dancer of the calibre of the one you mentioned has a tremendous amount of skill, and can commit any manner of sins without paying a heavy toll. (At that level, rules are normally bent or broken as a "trade-off", typically a sacrifice of something small in the interest of making greater gains somewhere else). The average student will likely suffer much greater losses by breaking the rule, which is of course why the rules exist in the first place.

At any rate, you can decide those things for yourself. My goal here is not to advise you on your dancing. I'm simply hoping to clarify what you're seeing when you watch top pros, and how to reconcile that with what you might read in a
Re: First 3 of a Natural Turn
Posted by nloftofan1
8/20/2014  7:46:00 AM
O.K., I think I see what is confusing you. You interpret Alex Moore's "Make three eighths of a turn on each three steps" as making 3/8 of a turn on EACH STEP. That isn't what Moore said (he could have said it more clearly). He meant: make three eighths of a turn on each GROUP of three steps. 3/8 (total) on steps 1-3, 3/8 (total) on 4-6, etc. Three eighths of a turn in one measure is the normal amount of turn in quite a few figures in Standard.
Re: First 3 of a Natural Turn
Posted by socialdancer
8/20/2014  8:43:00 AM
Interestingly, the first edition of Alex Moore's "Ballroom Dancing" also from 1936 appears to be subtly different, it says "Amount of turn. Make one-third of a turn on each three steps ". This was not changed to 3/8 until the 6th edition in 1951.

As Telemark says the amount of turn is described over each _group_ of three steps, not per step, so the total turn would have been 2/3, later changed to the 3/4 that we need to adhere strictly to the diagonals as now defined.

When reading Moore's technique it is important to read everything, preferably several times. He discusses inside and outside of turns in the General Note of the Natural Turn as man, and says: "For the same reason, the continuance of the turn on the ball of the foot on the 2nd step of the forward turn is much more marked than in the backward turn."

Finally, Moore's footprint diagrams generally make things very clear, particularly in showing any turn on the standing foot as the next step is taken. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
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