Helpful Teaching Hints

by Peter Waterson, Dual Fellow, I.S.T.D.


The Slip Pivot, as used here, adds an entirely new dimension to the dancer’s vocabulary, insomuch as the couple have to cope with using a pivot, (difficult enough when commenced in line), as a mechanism for getting back in line with partner on a backward action; a daunting task for the average gold medalist.
I like to teach this in Waltz first, approaching a corner after a Reverse Turn ending Diag to Wall. Ask the man to dance a Whisk, ending with his feet facing the new LOD. Have him dance a Pivot, with almost no turn, to end Diag to Center. As he does not have to worry about turning himself, he can concentrate on leading the lady back into line. Count this 1&23, so that the pivot occurs on a full beat of music. Since we have elected Waltz, we can now follow the figure with a simple Chasse to Right,
instead of having to cope with a Slip Pivot followed by a heel turn, as in Foxtrot. Basically, Fallaway Postion is
Promenade Position moving backwards, and the very name suggests a dropping, or falling backwards action. This must be
avoided at all costs and, to facilitate this, I would suggest a minor deviation from the standard technique by adding a slight sway to the left on steps two and three of the Fallaway.
When the couple is comfortable dancing the figure with very little turn, then introduce it into Foxtrot with increasing amounts of turn. THE MAN must understand that he should dance the Slip Pivot with a strong turn of his body to left as the RF slips back, a small step, with the toe turned in. If he is allowed to take a normal step back and then pivot, it will never feel comfortable. THE LADY must feel just a backward action over steps 1-3, not an opening out action. Although, technically, she
has an option as to which way to turn her head, it is crucial, in my view, that she keeps her head turned left throughout this figure. Tell her to pull her left shoulder backwards as soon as she takes her weight onto her RF on step 3, and keep pulling it back for the remainder of the turn. By applying the points outlined in this paragraph, I have found that most pupils float through this somewhat difficult figure with ease. I hope that you will try these ideas and achieve the same success.