This is the first of a series of Round Dancing articles contributed by Chris & Terri Cantrell. They have been cueing and teaching Round Dancing in the Denver area since 1982. They have served on the Board of Directors of the Universal Round Dance Council (URDC), Technical Advisory Committee (URDC TAC) and held many other positions with URDC. They have also held a variety of positions within the Colorado Round Dance Associaiton (CRDA). They enjoy choreographing in their spare time, their most recent choreography includes: Dancing Princess, This Can't Be Love, Besame Cha, I Wanta Dance With You, Tango Lasita, and Dueling Tango.

Five Points of Contact

by Chris & Terri Cantrell

This is a compilation of information from, Ballroom Dancing (A.E. Moore), Technique of Ballroom Dancing (Guy Howard), Just One Idea (Len Scrivener) & various personal contacts. This column is devoted to help promote comfortable dancing. - Chris & Terri Cantrell

For Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep Five Points of Contact for the Closed Hold

The following ideas have been collected in order to assist you in comfortable dancing and are not meant to be absolutes. The body alignment for closed position in the modern rhythms (waltz, foxtrot, & quickstep) is all-important in terms of dancer's comfort & confidence. It also extends to their ability to execute some figures. This position involves contact between the partners at 5 points.

Contact Point #1 - The first point of contact is the man's left and the woman's right hand. The man's left arm should be held up with the elbow bent fairly sharply. His left wrist should bend slightly to the side with his palm facing the woman. This will cause his fingers to be parallel to the floor. The woman should approach the man with her palm facing his and her fingers up and her elbow relaxed. Her hand should contact the man's at the fleshy part below their thumbs. She should then gently fold her fingers over the man's hand between his thumb and forefinger. The man should wrap his first two fingers gently around the woman's hand and tuck his last two fingers into his own palm. Partners should keep their thumbs up and parallel or may gently fold them over being careful not to clamp down on their partner's hand. The woman's wrist will break slightly.

Contact Point #2 - With the woman's left arm held to the side and slightly forward, man should place his right lower forearm under the woman's upper arm near her armpit. He should apply slight upward pressure and the woman in response should apply slight downward pressure. Man's right hand is not yet touching the woman's back, but his fingers and thumb should be together and his wrist should bend slightly downward. The woman should stand slightly to the man's right side and both partners should turn slightly right face relative to their feet. This keeps the right side of each person off their partner. Using only these first two points, it is possible for a couple to dance many of the easier dance figures in the modern rhythms. This is a useful exercise for you and your dancers.

Contact Point #3 - Man then folds his right hand around to gently touch the woman's left shoulder blade. Be very careful not to use this point to squeeze the woman, but rather it should be a gentle point of contact, often used to indicate to the woman leads into various figures.

Contact Point #4 - The woman places her left forearm and hand on top of the man's right arm. She should gently hold his biceps with her thumb and middle finger, being careful not to clamp down. Her hand should be turned slightly outward from the wrist. If points 2, 3 and 4 have been made properly and if the partners are holding their arms up, then no light will be seen between the man's right arm and the woman's left arm, excluding elbow overlap due to height differences of the partners. During this entire exercise keep shoulders relaxed and stand erect rather than leaning over your partner.

Contact Point #5 - The last point of contact is a gentle connection between the right side of lower rib cages of each partner. Keep in mind the slight right face turn mentioned in point 2, in order to keep your right side off of your partner. The woman should not feel like the man is leading her with his belly, rather she should feel the lead coming from his upper legs up and under her body.

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