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Garth Notley conceived and built this website because dance should be shared.

The Dance Steps

We are lucky that, apart from the rare solo sequences, only a small number of basic steps are sufficient for almost any ball. Where solo sequences are required, it is acceptable for a dancer to use simple or complex steps as he or she is able. Don't over-elaborate to show off.

As Donald Francis says - "above all, dancing is a pastime to bring people together to enjoy themselves, to show respect and mix with a wide range of different backgrounds all with a common denominator of using our feet to design fascinating shapes on the floor. There will always be those who can do this with elegance and those who, as hard as they try, find it hard to reach the same level. A smile on a face is worth more than any discussion on step interpretation."

So don't worry. It is sufficient if your steps can be neat and timely. After all, anything too extreme or 'balletic' would have been looked down upon by the snobbish English ton!

Travelling Steps

  Chassé Step  
video


1) Tems levé and extend right foot forwards (or sideways or backwards) and take weight
2) Following foot closes behind leading foot in third position and takes weight
3) Leading foot extends again and takes weight
4) Hop with leading foot as following foot passes (or closes for sideways chassé) and begins the tems levé for the next step
Say: "and STEP CLOSE STEP HOP"

  Allemande Step or Drop Step  
video


1) The first step of the allemande step is a demi-jeté forward,
2) followed by closing the rear foot to third position behind the front foot, then
3) taking a step forward onto the half-toe of the original foot.
Say: "OVER CLOSE FORWARD"

  Waltz Travelling Step  
video


Three small steps, each foot passing the other, sinking the heels into a plié at the end of the last. (Forget the modern waltz!)
Say: "UP UP UP-down "

  Fleuret or Bouree Step  
video


Three equal steps, each foot passing the other, with a plié before the first step.

Forward momentum is maintained resulting a characteristic gliding rather than a skipping motion. Can be danced on a triple beat but usually on four beats.

The initial plié comes on the last beat of the previous bar, so that the first step of the three is taken on the first beat of the bar. This is made very clear in dance manuals of the 18th century. It is easy to teach in 3/4 time, but it is difficult to stop people making a fourth step when doing a fleuret in common time. There are THREE steps in a fleuret, not four. On the fourth beat the plié is made while moving one foot from rear to forward position and placing it, but not stepping forward onto it until the first beat of the next bar.
Say: "STEP STEP STEP PLIE" in common time.
Say: "STEP STEP STEP-plie" in 3/4 time

  Strathspey Travelling Step  
video


(Two bars - four beats)
1) plié and step forward with right foot
2) Close left foot to third position behind right
3) Step forward again (without plié)
4) Close left foot and pass the right calf, toe pointing down
Say: "STEP CLOSE STEP PASS"
Setting Steps

  Chasse Setting Step, Pas de Bas, or Demi-Balance  
video


(Two bars - four beats)
1) Spring (demi-jeté) to right. Transfer weight to right foot as left foot goes to 3rd position.
2) Weight on left and lift right foot briefly. Weight back to right foot to end bar.
3-4) Repeat to the left.
Say: "SIDE CLOSE SIDE and"

  Waltz Setting Step  
video


Step to the right, close with left foot, raise right foot briefly and then replace to take weight. Repeat back to the left.
Say: "SIDE CLOSE STEP"

  Long Balance  
video


(Four bars - eight beats - chassé sideways and jeté assemblé)
1) Tems levé and step right,
2) close left foot to right foot and step right
3) Jeté onto left foot into third position in front of right
4) Assemblé moving right foot in front of left.
5-8) Repeat to the left.
Say: "and STEP-CLOSE-STEP, LEAP and CLOSE"
When moving to the left, it is easiest to jeté onto right foot behind left and assemble moving left behind right.

  Balancé  
video


(Two bars - four beats)
1) Plié and step sideways to the right, onto the right toe.
2) Hold, then transfer weight and bring the feet together in 1st position.
3-4) Repeat to the left.
The balancé should rise onto the toe with the sideways step, hold it, then make a quick plié in order to repeat onto the other foot. It should not go UP DOWN UP DOWN evenly. It is much more subtle than that - a baroque dance step.
Say: "ONE and TWO and"

  Strathspey Setting  
video


(Four bars - eight beats)
1) plié and step to right
2) Close left foot to third position behind right
3) Step to right again (without plié)
4) Close left foot to behind right calf, toe pointing down
5-8) Repeat back to the left
Say: "SIDE CLOSE SIDE HOP"

  Schottishe  
video


(Eight bars - sixteen beats)
1-4) Strathspey to the right (side, close, side, behind)
5) Hop on left - Right foot point sideways toe off floor
6) Hop on left - Right foot vertically in front of left calf, toe pointing down
7) Hop on left - Right foot point sideways toe off floor
8) Hop on left - Right foot vertically behind left calf
9-16) Repeat everything to the left
Say: "SIDE CLOSE SIDE HOP BESIDE INFRONT BESIDE BEHIND"
Flourishes and Punctuation steps

  Jeté Assemblé  
video


(One bar - two beats, usually to finish a sequence of one, three or seven chassé steps)
1) leap from the front foot, moving the rear foot to the third position in front and landing on it, sliding the other foot to the side. It should reach slightly beyond second position by the end of the plié that follows the leap.
2) Leap off one foot and bring in the foot stretched to the side into third position in front.
At the lowest point of the plié that precedes the assemblé (and therefore the same plié as that which follows the jeté) the free foot must be stretched to the side.
Say "LEAP CLOSE"

  Balancé and Rigadon  
video


(Two bars - on four beats) This is not an even movement to one side and then the other, but an uneven (contre-tems) movement and often follows a balancé or contratems.
1&2) HOP STEP-STEP: Hop on left, raising right foot, toe pointed, to the side. Replace right foot, raise left foot, toe pointed, to the side and replace it (a smaller movement)
3) Jump in place
4) Plié and recover, OR take a small step to continue dancing.
Say "HOP STEP-STEP and JUMP and"

  Contratems and Rigadon  
video


This is the same movement as the rigadon but moving forward, so that the leg does not need to be taken out to the side. The basic movement should be followed by either a rigadon, another contretemps, a jump or a straight step to continue dancing.
Say "HOP STEP-STEP"
So, if you are continuing to move forward you can do "HOP STEP-STEP and HOP STEP-STEP" but when you finish, you should end with "HOP STEP-STEP and JUMP" or "HOP STEP-STEP and JUMP and STEP" the ‘and’ indicating slight plies before and after the jump

Notes:

  1. Many people find it difficult to distinguish between a ‘hop’ taking off and landing on the same foot, and a ‘leap’ or ‘jeté’ taking off from one foot and landing on the other.
  2. A jeté is a leap from one foot onto the other.
  3. An assemblé is a leap from one foot onto both.
  4. Tems levé in Regency dancing should be a small hop, raising one foot to fourth position forward.
  5. All steps should be done on the half or three-quarter toe.
  6. All leaps or hops should land on the half or three-quarter toe, the heel then sinking gently and silently to the floor.
  7. Feet off the floor should have toes pointed.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

I want to thank Ian Cutts who was kind enough to travel down to Winchester specially to dance these steps for me to film.

Thank you also to Chris and Ellis Rogers, and to Barbara Segal, for reviewing this page and letting me have the benefit of their great expertise. Any credit is due to them and any errors or omissions to my own inadequate understanding.

Finally I wish to take this opportunities to thank my many teachers, including especially Ellis Rogers, Stuart Marsden, Diana Cruicshank, and Anne Daye, to all of whom my debt is inestimable.

Thank you
Garth Notley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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