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6. Hammerlock
The term Hammerlock is a reference to both a dance position and the figure in East Coast Swing that incorporates this position.

The hammerlock position is one where man and lady stand facing each other, no more than a few inches apart. All hands are joined: Man's left hand to lady's right, and man's right hand to lady's left. The most interesting feature is the the lady's left arm, which is wrapped around her lower back, the joined RH-LH hold being held at or near her right hip.

The hammerlock position is achieved by beginning in open facing position with a two-hand hold, and dancing an Underarm Turn to Right without releasing either hand hold. The LH-RH hold is taken over the lady's head as in a normal Underarm Turn to Right, while the RH-LH hold is kept low at the lady's waist, gradually wrapping around her back as she turns. In order to easily wrap behind her back, the lady's arm must first be rotated inward, the top of the arm turning toward the body. The man can easily lead this by lowering the hands slightly, then gently twisting the lady's left hand counter-clockwise before allowing it to bend at the elbow and begin to wrap.

Like all other figures in beginning and intermediate bronze East Coast Swing, the Hammerlock follows the simple 6-count "Chasse, chasse, rock step" formula. The figure actually spans two 6-count groups: The first an Underarm Turn to Right to achieve the hammerlock position, and the second an Underarm Turn to Left to return to a normal, open facing position. The hands are never released at any point during the course of the figure.

For the most part, the foot positions are nearly identical to that of a basic Underarm Turn to Right / Underarm Turn to Left combination, with one notable exception: The rock step taken in hammerlock position at the end of the Underarm Turn to Right. The position allows very little leeway for partners to rock directly back away from each other without overextending the arms and/or distorting the body line. At the same time, the hooked arm restricts the dancers from turning all the way to fallaway position as they might in a normal closed hold. So the rock step should be taken with the back foot (man's left / lady's right) crossed behind in 5th position, a very small step toe to heel. When coupled with the proper "ball, ball-flat" footwork on the rock step, this technique will allow for an easy and comfortable Hammerlock.


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