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Dance Dictionary
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Social Dances

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B

Back Break Turn

Is a ½ Turn (180 degrees) in the opposite direction of the forward foot which returns you from whence you came, leaving the receiving foot in the same position on the floor but facing in the opposite direction.  Also see Break Turn.


Balancette

In American terminology the Whisk is called a Balancette. As used in Samba the vertical movement is down (1), up (a), down (2), down (3), up (a), down (4). It is executed by flexing the knees on the "down" movement and straightening the knees on the "up" movement.

Example

   
ODD
ODD
Count
&
a
1
&
a
2
&
a
3
&
a
4
Rhythm
X
x
X
X
x
X
Foot
L
R
L
R
L
R
Direction
S
Xb
P
S
Xb
P
Foot Pos
2
5
5
2
5
5
Turns
>1/4R>
>1/4L>
>1/4L>

The example step pattern can be executed repeatedly by making another making a 1/4R on the "&a" prior to count "1".

For diagram definitions see
Short Hand Terms or Annotation

See: YouTube-Whisk


Balboa & Bal-Swing

Balboa is one of the swing dances and is normally executed at high speeds.  It feels much better above 150 bpm.   Pure Balboa is basically an 8 beat dance with its basic Rhythm Units (2 beats each) being EVEN, ODD, EVEN, ODD.

Even Rhythm Units (2 beats) are executed as a Double Rhythm [XX] (step step) or Blank Rhythm [/ /] (no weight change).

Odd Rhythm Units (2 beats) are executed as a Single Rhythm [X /] (step hold) or as Delayed Single Rhythm [/ X] (hold step) or as Triple Rhythm [XXX] (step step step).

Intermediate and advanced dancers often mix the different Rhythm types during the same dance.

Bal-Swing is a term that is used wnen Balboa is mixed with othere swing dance moves from such dances as Lindy Hop. East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, etc.

3 Different Styles
Rhythm/Step Patterns

This can be very confusing if you don't know the difference between an Up-Hold and a Down-Hold. Remember Rhythm Units are 2 beats of music. A Down-Hold (AKA: Single Rhythm Unit) steps on the first beat and not on the second beat. An Up-Hold (AKA: Delayed Single Rhythm) holds (no step) on the first beat and steps on the second beat..

To make it even more confusing some other dance studios and instructors call

Definitions:
An "X" means weight change (Step)
An "/" means no weight change (Hold - Don't Step)

Down-Hold Pattern

Rhythm Units:
Double, Single, Double, Single
Footwork:
Step(1 2), Down-Hold [Step(3), Hold(4)], Step(5 6), Down-Hold [Step(7), Hold(8)]

   
EVEN
ODD
EVEN
ODD
Count
&
1
&
2
&
3
&
4
&
5
&
6
&
7
&
8
Rhythm
X
X
X
/
X
X
X
/

Up-Hold Pattern

Rhythm Units: Double, Delayed Single, Double, Delayed Single
Footwork:
Step(1 2), Up-Hold [Hold(3) Step(4)] Step(5 6), Up-Hold [Hold(7) Step(8)]

   
EVEN
ODD
EVEN
ODD
Count
&
1
&
2
&
3
&
4
&
5
&
6
&
7
&
8
Rhythm
X
X
/
X
X
X
/
X

Triple Rhythm Pattern

Rhythm Units: Double, Triple, Double, Triple
Footwork: Step(1 2), Step(3 & 4), Step(3), Step(5 6 ) Step( 7 & 8)

   
EVEN
ODD
EVEN
ODD
Count
&
1
&
2
&
3
&
4
&
5
&
6
&
7
&
8
Rhythm
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X

Language Confusion
"Delayed Single" v "Double"

You will see in some dance videos that the instructors refer to the "Delayed Single" as a "Double" ... Using the term "Double" is very confusing because there is only one step occurring in the two beats of music ... Skippy Blair's Universal Unit System defines it as a "Delayed Single Rhythm Unit" ... (Hold Step)

Also see: Swing Dance ... Balboa Dance Corner ... Wikipedia


Ball Change

One example is stepping back onto the ball of the left foot, with left leg bent, then quickly returning the weight to the right foot.  This could also be executed on the right foot.  It could also be executed in any direction. This is not a complete weight change from one foot to the other.


Ballet Terms

The following are a few ballet terms commonly used in social dancing. Please refer to reference books on ballet for more terms and complete definitions as they apply to ballet.


Ballroom Dancing

Competitive ballroom dancing consists of two recognized styles: American Style and International Style. Also See: Ballroom Dance Corner

American Style Ballroom

Patterns in American Style Ballroom can be danced in open or closed positions -- resulting in a Fred & Ginger look. There are two categories of dance: Smooth Style and Rhythm Style .

Smooth
Foxtrot
Waltz
Tango
Viennese Waltz

Rhythm
Cha Cha
Rumba
East Coast Swing
Bolero

International Style Ballroom

All patterns in international style ballroom are danced in closed position. There are two categories of dance: Standard Style and Smooth Style.

Standard
Waltz
Tango
Viennese Waltz
Slow Foxtrot
Quickstep

Latin
Cha Cha
Samba
Rumba
Paso Doble
Jive
--


Basic Rhythm Units

There are 5 Basic Rhythm Units/Measures . They are [Blank], [Single], [Delayed Single], [Double], [Triple].

For diagram definitions see
Short Hand Terms or Annotation

"Straight Count" Annotation

Blank Rhythm
(Even Rhythm)

   
EVEN
Count
&
1
&
2
Rhythm
/
/

 

Double Rhythm
(Even Rhythm)

   
EVEN
Count
&
1
&
2
Rhythm
X
X

 

Single Rhythm
(Odd Rhythm)

   
ODD
Count
&
3
&
4
Rhythm
X
/

 

Delayed Single Rhythm
(Odd Rhythm)

   
ODD
Count
&
3
&
4
Rhythm
/
X

 

Triple Rhythm
(Odd Rhythm)

   
ODD
Count
&
3
&
4
Rhythm
X
x
X

For diagram definitions see
Short Hand Terms or Annotation


Beat of Music

Heartbeat of the music - much like the heartbeat of an animal. Also see bpm (Beats Per Minute)


Blank Rhythm

Is an even rhythm Unit with annotation [ / /]. There are no weight changes (no steps) for a Blank Rhythm. However, there may be many other things going on without weight chances such as kicks, taps, ronde, point, etc.


Body Flight

Involves movement and styling to the music.  In its ultimate form, it is the reality of a dancer or dancers moving to the music as one mind and body (dancer & music) - all movements are fluid motions. When you are referring to the top dancers, a great deal of their dancing is executed at a meditative level wherein the dancer or dancers, the music and the dance floor, are the only things that exist in the world at that time.  They are carving out their own universe.


Body Lead

Refers to the Leader being Centered and leading through their Center Point of Balance (CPB) -- not by pulling or pushing primarily with their arms.


bpm (Beats Per Minute)

Refers to the tempo of the music.  That is, how fast is the music?

Please note that some writers refer to bpm as Beats Per Measure. It is easy to convert Beats Per measure to Beats Per Minute. In 4/4 time multiply by 4 or in 3/4 time multiply by 3.

Also see Beat of Music.


Break

A break refers to a "change of direction". The Break can be executed as a simple Break or a Break Turn. For a Break, the CPB only travels about 1/2 way between the feet then returns back to its original position where it was prior to executing the Break - this holds true for a Break or Break Turn. First you step to the ball of the Receiving Foot. The ball of the Receiving foot now becomes the Sending Foot which sends the CPB back to the original Sending Foot (which has now become the new Receiving Foot).


Break Ending

Refers to some fancy type ending to a Step Pattern and usually involves syncopations.


Break Turn (AKA: Spot Turn, Switch Turn or Military)

A Break Turn (AKA: Sport Turn, Switch Turn or Military Turn) is executed by the dancer taking two steps with a 1/2 turn occurring between the steps in the opposite direction of the Forward Foot (on the first step). During the first step the CPB and weight never goes completely over the Weighted Foot allowing the dancer to turn on both feet at the same time. It is similar to doing a Ball Change incorporated in a 1/2 turn.

Also See:
Break
Forward Break Turn
Back Break Turn
Progressive Break Turn


Breathing

Often many new dancers lose energy and get very tired while dancing. Changing breathing habits can help solve this problem. Dancers should breath through their mouth & nose to get more oxygen to the muscles. However, if not done correctly a possible problem will still exist.

Breathing correctly means that body actions should not change steady your breathing habits. Done correctly one's breathing will be continuous. If your breathing habits are affected by body muscle reactions then it is being done wrong.:

See:
Wikipedia - Breathing
Wikipedia - Nasal Breathing
Wikipedia - Mouth Breathing


Brush

A brushing of the ball of the Free Foot against the floor.  Consider the following example of a step pattern from Country 2-Step which gives the Count, Rhythm Pattern and the leaders weighted foot and Foot Positions.  Please note that the Brush occurs on counts 4 and 6.

Leader: Progressive 2-Step

   
EVEN
ODD
ODD
Count
&
1
&
2
&
3
&
4
&
5
&
6
Rhythm
X
X
X
/
X
/
Foot
L
R
L
L
R
R
Direction
F
F
F
T
F
T
Foot Pos
4
4
4
1
4
1

For diagram definitions see
Short Hand Terms or Annotation


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