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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 11-04-2005
Title : Feathering in Foxtrot
Article: Dancing Tid-bits #219, Thursday, November 4, 2005.
Today's Topic: Feathering in Foxtrot: by Hilliers

Another eye opening Lecture from Stephen and Jennifer Hillier at Dancesport Academy of Michigan and what a wonderful evening of learning and dancing. Thanks to Pam and Alex who bring the world's best to our studio.

The topic "Feathering in Foxtrot" may suggest that we were going to do different types of Feather, such as Feather Step, Feather Finish, Feather Ending, Curved Feather, Back Feather, Hover Feather and what not, but it turned out that they had something more important on their minds and "Feathering" was a very suitable action to learn all basics, not only in Foxtrot but many other Ballrooms Dances.

Slipping of Bodies? It may sound a little strange initially because most of us learn that once you attain that "hold" where the lady is slightly to man's right, this relationship should not change. I used to feel guilty that many times in dancing, specially outside positions I was shifting and slipping my body but last night it was very comforting to hear from one of the world's best dance teachers that this is normal and even good technique. Please don't take me wrong; I am not talking about creating a wide silhouette where we are absolute side to side position creating a thick line. What is meant here is that as we dance, our bodies are in a constant state of "Flux" and some shifting either side to side or up and down will have to happen to create "Shape and Comfort" in dancing.

The best example of this action was shown and practiced in following 2 steps.

Preparation for Feather Step: The purpose of a preparation step is that we gain some momentum before hitting the gas to go 60 miles an hour. So with 1234 we can prepare for a nice Swingy Feather step. On 1 RF to side, 2 start closing LF to RF, on 3 brush LF to RF and on 4 LF forward in preparation for start of the Feather step. Feather step is of course (man) RF forward, LF forward, left side leading and RF forward in CBMP. Lady reciprocates.

What I learned last night, that by the time you finish the prep step your bodies have slipped quite a bit to left resulting with your Right Side so much more to her Right side. Alsothere is pronounced winding of the upper body turning left almost facing Center before you lower and step forward LF in preparation to swing RF forward as the first step of Feather. It might be said that at this point our bodies are twisted.This creates a lot of CBM energy from left side and creates a dynamic picture.

Natural Weave: From a closed position after ladies heel turn we are backing DC and this is where outside positions are involved. Again Men! as you start to step back LF on step 4, you should have slipped your body to left (or she will) in order to do a Natural Weave or even better an extended Natural Weave with a beautiful Thin Side Silhouette of 2 bodies.

In the end I might say we might have exaggerated these concepts but doing that, it creates more impact in our brain and later you make it as natural and comfortable as you wish.

Best Wishes, Max