Leading the Running Right Turn vs. Natural Spin Turn

Wayne Crowder

Wayne Crowder

by Wayne Crowder
Fellow, ISTD

We often hear the Running Right Turn in Quickstep being broken down into a Natural Pivot Turn, 1-3 of a Foxtrot Natural Turn, and a Running Finish. Problems occur when a couple dances step 5 of the figure. How does the Lady distinguish step 5 of the Natural Spin Turn with step 5 of the Running Right Turn? Both are similar actions, but the first requires a brushing action while the second requires a heel turn. The obvious answer is the Man’s lead.

How does the use of Rise & Fall close the Lady’s feet on step 5 of both figures creating a different result? ‘The Ballroom Technique’ states that both figures rise end of step 5, but fails to describe the actions in detail. Having said this, let us detail the Man’s Rise & Fall in both figures:

  • In step 5 of the Natural Spin Turn the Man rises to match the Lady’s rise. He waits for the Lady to rise, so to speak. He dances “up to” the Lady and then “lays back”, due to the side and slightly back foot position of step 6. His weight will be further back as he rises on step 5 to counter balance the position of the Lady.
  • In step 5 of the Running Right Turn the Man rises to place the Lady into her heel turn. He dances “well up” to the Lady due to step 6 being a side step. This side step shrinks the radius of the turn, bringing his left side around to his partner quicker, thus assisting her to close her feet for the heel turn. His weight will be forward as he rises on step 5 to execute his side step action.

The Man should keep his frame low when leading a heel turn in any dance, with careful consideration not to pull his partner out of her heel turn. The technique for the Running Right Turn is described with a right sway on 6. It may be helpful to instruct beginning dancers to provide a slight downward pressure with the man’s right hand on step 5 of the Running Right Turn, and carry the position through the sway on step 6.

Have the Man dance the Natural Pivot Turn several times and stop. Then have him dance the same figure with the Lady. This reinforces the downward feel of having just completed a pivot. Make sure the Lady is dancing a footwork of HTH on step 4. Next have him dance the Running Right Turn, using the Natural Pivot Turn feel to his lead. The Lady’s footwork of HTH on step 4 will act as a natural barometer, signaling when the Man is leading the heel turn properly. This adds another “leading tool” to his repertoire.