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16. Back Spot Turn
Fact Sheet
Official Name:Back Spot Turn
Dance / Level:Full Bronze American Style Waltz
Aliases:Spot Turn to Right, Natural Top, Fleckerl
Right Box (Natural) Turn, Side Hesitations, Open Break & Underarm Turn to Right

The Back Spot Turn is a right-turning spot figure danced in closed position, taken over two measures. It consists of two distinct steps danced three times. It can be repeated as desired.

On the first step, the man steps to the side around the lady with his left foot while turning turning to the right (clockwise). The lady follows by stepping forward in CBMP on her her right foot, between the man's feet.

On the second step, they continue turning to the right, the man crossing his right foot behind his left. The lady follows by stepping diagonally forward on her left foot. The continued clockwise rotation will cause this step to end to the side.

The next fours steps are two additional repetitions of the first two steps. This adds up to 6 total steps over 6 beats, or two measures. It is important to be aware of the difference between the two measures: The first begins with the man's side step (i.e. side-cross-side) while the second measure begins with his cross (i.e. cross-side-cross).

Being a spot movement, the Back Spot Turn has the luxury of beginning and ending on any alignment. However, this can as daunting as it is convenient: When following with a traveling figure, care must be taken to establish the proper alignment for that figure. For example, if following with 4-6 Natural Turn, the best alignment for man to end the Back Spot Turn is backing diagonal center. This would cause his step 4 of the Natural Turn to travel backing line of dance (owing to the additional 1/8 turn to right between the two figures as noted in the man's chart). Working backwards, if he is to turn the full amount (1 & 1/4) over the Back Spot Turn, he would want to begin this figure facing diagonal center against line of dance.

Because following the Back Spot Turn with a traveling figure is more difficult from the standpoint of alignments, it is recommended to dancers when first getting acquainted with this movement to follow with a non-traveling figure. The simplest of these are Side Hesitations or Whisks, or the 3-count Underarm Turn to Right (i.e. steps 4-6 of Open Break & Underarm Turn to R).

Note that the rise & fall column is missing from the man's and lady's charts. This is due to the fact that the Back Spot Turn is completely devoid of rise & fall. All steps are taken onto lightly flexed knees, with both man and lady remaining level throughout.

16b. Open Break to Back Spot Turn

By far the most popular amalgamation for the Back Spot Turn in Waltz is an alternating between one measure of Open Break and one measure of Back Spot Turn. The technique of each is affected by the other in such a way that the two together form a unique movement.

The Back Spot Turn is normally taken in closed dance position, with man and lady turning in a very tight circle. With the man's right hand on her shoulder blade, she can very easily feel and respond to the turning of his body in order to follow him through the figure. However, when preceded by an Open Break, the Back Spot Turn begins in open facing position, which adds a degree of difficulty in terms of leading and following the figure. From open facing position, the rotation must begin as a wider circle that spirals inward as they close up (Notice the slight difference in foot position on the first step of the Spot Turn). Also, without the benefit of the man's right hand on the lady's back, the burden of the lead falls to the LH-RH hold, where tone must increase in the arns and retract toward the body. This helps the lady feel that the direction of her first step should be forward toward the man's right side.

Following step 6 of the Open Break to Back Spot Turn, note that the first step of the next figure is indicated as right foot side (man) and left foot side & slightly back (lady). This would be the case if the figure were repeated, and the following movement were another Open Break. It is also the case when the figure is followed by an sideways-moving figue, such as an Opening Out or a Side Hesitation. But there are other possibilities as well, since this figure ends as in measure 1 of the basic Back Spot Turn (fig. 16a): It can be followed by measure 2 of the basic Back Spot Turn and repeated as desired, or followed b a forward step on the man's right foot into a figure such as the Right Box Turn.


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