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American Style Rumba
8-Count Underarm Turn
6. 8-Count Underarm Turn

A very popular figure with social dancers and wedding couples is the 8-Count Underarm Turn. Spanning 8 counts, or 2 measures of music, this underarm turn is decidedly unhurried, with the lady taking an easy stroll around a wide arc.

The man's foot positions are nearly identical to those of a basic Rumba Box. He will dance a total of 2 boxes, or 4 measures, taking the normal SQQ rhythm throughout. As he steps back on his right foot for the second half of the Box, he lifts his left hand begins leading the lady into the underarm turn. The next half-Box is taken with 1/4 turn to left, to end facing the lady. The couple then returns to closed position during the final half-Box.

After dancing the first half of a Box, RLR (SQQ), the lady takes 4 forward walks around a curve, LRLR (SQQ, S), passing under a raised LH-RH hold and completing about 1/2 turn to right over the 4 steps. She then turns another 1/4 to right to face the man, stepping side-together, LR (QQ). This is followed by the second half of the box, LRL (SQQ), where the couple returns to a closed position hold.

Variations of Turn

As described in the man's and lady's technical charts, the 8-Count Underarm Turn is taken with the lady turning 3/4 to right over measures 2 and 3. However, it is also possible for the man to lead the lady to turn as little as little as 5/8 or as much as 1 full turn. He must then adjust his turn accordingly, so that they end up in open facing position at the end of the turn. For example, if the lady turns 5/8 to right, then the man will turn 3/8 to left to face the lady. If the lady takes a full turn, the man will not turn at all.

Instead of taking a chasse, or side together action on steps 8-9, the lady may instead dance two additional forward walks, for a total of 6 walks in a circle starting from step 4. This variation of foot positions is often taught to newcomers, as it simplifies the lady's part conceptually. It works best when the lady takes a full turn while the man takes no turn.


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