Contact me


  Dance Events

 Picture Galleries

  Dance Conventions
    Swing Club Dances

 DJ Services

  What is WCS?

  Swing Dance Clubs

  Dance Shoes 

  Links to Other
    Dance Related

  Misc Articles of


Monthly Club

High Sierra Club Dance
Carson City, NV

BLSDC Club Dance
Reno NV

Capital Swing Dancers
Fair Oaks, Ca
(Sacramento area)

 Carson City Club
Weekly Dances

Reno Club
Weekly Dances
















































Skippy Blair's Dance Dictionary

"Dance Terminology Notebook"
Advancing Communication in Dance

With particular focus on California’s official State Dance:
West Coast Swing

Skippy Blair original © 1998 - Latest Revision 6-01-06

"a" COUNT -

(1) Professional DANCERS use the "pick up" count, the "&a" that is danced before the Downbeat. Musicians frequently speak of "Rolling the Count" - or the “Dancers Count” ("&a1 &a2"). This is an upper level count for Musicians, but a vital necessity, even at a BASIC level, for serious dancers. (2) Most musicians are more familiar with “Straight Count” - "1-e-&-a  2-e-&-a" - where the "&a" comes after the beat.  Pit Musicians (those who play for professional stage dancers) are more familiar with Rolling the Count.  (3) Professional Dancers usually learn to "Roll" the Count very early in their training.

Teaching Note:

Once referred to as "Magic Count", because of the difference it made in one’s dancing, Rolling Count  is part of the "Essence" of Classic West Coast Swing.   Rolling Count actually creates a more rhythmic performance in ALL forms of Dance.   It is an essential foundation element in both Samba and West Coast Swing.





(1) An ABSOLUTE PATTERN is one that is danced alone. It is the precise footwork that places the "Center Point of Balance" (CPB) in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME with the least amount of expertise. (2) It is important to note that the term "Absolute" does not refer to any specific Style or Discipline of dance. It simply represents any precise dance pattern that you wish to do, danced alone, without the complication or adjustment to a partner. (3) When any two people dance together we are observing an Adjusted Pattern.


(1) The "Adjusted" Pattern describes what we see when any two partners dance together. The "Adjusted" Pattern changes slightly from the "Absolute" with every Partner. (2) Keeping the Absolute Pattern in one's mind creates better form for both partners. (3) The use and understanding of Absolute & Adjusted Patterns in the training of West Coast Swing dancers, produces an excellence that is worth the effort. This technique works for every dance, but is most easily observed in Classic West Coast Swing.

Teaching Note:

When TEACHING, it is important to review the "Absolute" pattern before teaching a variation. When Dancers copy material from a Video, they are copying an adjusted rather than the "absolute" pattern.  Knowing, and being able to apply, "Rules of Movement" & "Rules of Music" allows a dancer to recreate an absolute pattern, having only observed an adjusted pattern




(1) "Emphasis" or "Stress" on one particular sound in the MUSIC. The most easily recognized ACCENT in MUSIC is when the accent occurs at the start of a new measure. However, it is usually even more noticeable on the first beat of a new phrase. (2) A Dancer can ACCENT (emphasize) any part of any step pattern in order to interpret what he hears or feels in the Music. The dancer is not required to accent every accented beat in the music. (3) Accents are individual “Hits” that do not interfere with the regular PULSE of the dance. Accents are “in addition to,” but not “instead of,” pulsing the dance.




(1) A term used for Swing Competitions (and other dance forms) to describe those moves which are sometimes illegal in some Classic or Traditional competitions.

(2) This includes dropping to one or both knees, deep splits, backbends, cartwheels, handsprings, lifts and flips.

(also see: DROP, SPLIT, LIFT)



(1) In Partnership Dancing the "ACTION" of the leader is felt and reacted to by the follower. (2) In West Coast Swing the primary lead takes place on the "&a" before count "1" of the next pattern. The reaction of the follower is to land on the beat of the music for count "1."  (3) Action/ Reaction also takes place if the follower does an unexpected syncopation which takes more time than the leader expected.  It is then the leader's responsibility to react in a way that both compliments, and accommodates that action.





(1) Includes all of the more difficult Syncopated Rhythms. (2) Any Rhythms that are more complex than the Primary and Secondary Rhythms.




(1) A move whereby one partner lifts the other into the air with a rotational movement that is primarily completed by momentum.
Full weight of one partner is supported by the other partner
                                                                                             (also see: LIFT)



(1) An "Out & Back" move like a shuffle in Tap Dancing, except that the foot does not hit the floor.  (2) Say "&a Kick and Step-Step" to a Count of "&a 1&a2.”  (3) Air Shuffles are used to precede a "Shorty George" (Swing, circa late 1930s). (4) Most little "Kicks" in Swing Syncopations  (if they are well executed) are actually "Air Shuffles."

(also see: KICK, SHUFFLE)



(1) A series of patterns that flow from one to the other. (2) Ideally, this "series" of patterns will fit into major phrases of the music

Teaching Note:
When teaching smaller amalgamations to any 4/4-time music, there is a formula that helps develop creativity in the dancer.   For Swing routines, first teach simple, whole phrases of 32 beats of music. ( Computed as: four 6-Beat patterns plus one 8-Beat pattern)  Next, teach a few 16 beat phrases. (Many dance tunes have 6 sets of 8 instead of four sets of 8.    Finally, add a few Rhythm Breaks (4 beats each)  Before long, the dancer will be able to fit those dance pieces to ANY arrangement of music.




(1) American Couples Dancing runs the gamut from basic Social Dance to Competition & Performance level. The distinguishing word here is "American".   (2) American style, according to Golden State Dance Teachers Association, refers to a style of dancing that moves easily from "open" foot position to "closed" foot position patterns, at every level of training.

Teaching Note:
Focusing on movement to music, GSDTA places patterns and styling as a secondary issue, compared to connecting the dancer to the music, and to each other, at every level.

Author's Note: There are certain styles of training where foot positions are “open” at one level and  “closed” at another level.  That method can slow down the development of the dancer.  Foot position selection is NOT what determines the level of performance.   “American Couples Dancing” brings Laure' Haile to mind.  As National Dance Director for Arthur Murray Studios in the 1950s, LAURE' influenced thousands of dance instructors.   It was a footnote of Laure's that gave validation to my wanting to change the way patterns were being counted in  Swing.   Laure’s Footnote simply read: “When teaching a Whip, even though the ladies Walk-Walk takes place on “5-6” -  in Private lessons, I find it extremely helpful to count  that “Walk-Walk” as “1-2.”   That statement made me realize  that my thoughts and ideas on COUNTING had been correct all along. The Universal Unit System® was the result of that realization and changed the way many dances would be counted - particularly SWING.   (To thousands of us who trained under Laure’ - she will always be our "First Lady of the Dance").          





(1) An Anchor is NOT a foot position and not a Rhythm. It is a partner connection in West Coast Swing, achieved when both partners place their CPB (Center Point of Balance) behind the heel of the forward foot.  (2) An Anchor is danced on the last two beats (last Unit) of each Step Pattern in West Coast Swing.  (3) A feeling of body leverage that balances the resistance of both partners.  (4) Each partner is responsible for establishing his or her own anchor.

Historical Note: The term "ANCHOR" was coined by GSDTA in the early 1960s to clarify the difference between the "resistance" desired at the end of a West Coast Swing Pattern, and the lack of resistance caused by the 1961 version of a "Coaster" Step. This is one of the major milestones that changed the face of West Coast Swing.

(also see: COASTER STEP)



(1) The Dance Count that comes half way between the beats when counting Straight Count: “&1&2- &3&4- &5&6- &7&8.”   (2) In Upper level Counting (Rolling Count: “&a1 &a2 - &a3 &a4,” etc.) the location of the “&” count CHANGES to encourage the CPB to move on the "&" count, allowing the weight change to take place on the "a" count.

Teaching Note:
The “&” count actually belongs to the “Center” of the body (CPB).   Connecting the “&” and the “a” allows the dancer to achieve “Measured Movement.”   That’s why it is referred to as the “&a”.  It is important NOT to call the “a” by itself, or the measured movement will be lost.  An understanding of Rolling Count can hasten the development of ANY dancer. Latin, Swing, Foxtrot, even Ballet, improves when the body achieves Body Flight through Rolling Count and Measured Movement.

(also see: "a" COUNT, BODY FLIGHT, COUNT)



(1) A name we assign to something that we want to remember, usually when we think that a name does not already exist.  (2) In DANCE we often assign names to patterns or moves that  we do not know by name.  (3) In COUNTRY LINE DANCES, someone sees an unfamiliar Line Dance and gives it a name.  Usually, the dance already HAS a name!   (4) Proper use of an arbitrary label is when we name a “move” after a place or a person.  (5) "Sharlot's Strut" was a valid "arbitrary label" because Sharlot Jansen (now Bott) designed and performed a pattern that everyone recognized as "Sharlot's Strut".  In California's West Coast Swing community, SHARLOT JANSEN BOTT, ANNIE HIRSCH, MARY ANN NUNEZ and TATIANA MOLLMANN, ( to name a few) have perfected moves that carry their names.  (6) "Kenny's Shag," once an "Arbitrary Label" for a form of St. Louis Shag, was made popular by the late Choreographer/ Dancer/ DJ/ MC, KENNY WETZEL.  KENNY'S SHAG is now known throughout the country.  (7) Many  Arbitrary Labels, through continued usage, have become standards.  SHORTY GEORGE SNOWDEN, a New York City dancer in the 1930s, was responsible for the "Shorty George."   That name is now a Classic move for Jitterbuggers, Lindy Hoppers and Swing dancers of all styles and ages.




(1) The time it takes for the mind to absorb, and the muscle memory to execute, that which has been taught. (Can be several days, weeks, or even months according to what has been taught.) (2) The "mileage" (practice time and absorption time) between lessons. (3) The name that many teachers use to describe the "5 or 10 minute" (observed and assisted) practice session - usually half-way through the class hour.

Teaching Note:
This "observed practice" is a planned time slot for the teacher to recognize general areas of development that can be stressed, following a planned “Assimilation Period.”



(1) A synonymous term for "style", "essence" and/or "presence" of a dancer. (2) A Ballet leg position (Back Attitude) where the foot, calf and outside of the knee is bent and pressed upward.

Teaching Note:
The "lifted" leg needs the added technique of pressing the inside of the thigh downward toward the floor.

(also see:: ESSENCE, STYLE)



A direction that calls for a 4th foot position or an Open 3rd.

                                     (also see: FOOT POSITIONS, FORWARD, SIDE)



(1) A Balance Step in Waltz is SINGLE RHYTHM in 3/4 time. The dancer steps on count "1" and, staying on that same foot, the body rises slightly on count "2" and slightly more on count "3". The free foot, on counts "2" and "3" touches the floor in 3rd foot position in order to "balance" the position. (2) A Balance Step in Samba is SINGLE RHYTHM in 4/4 time, and is called a Balancete’. The dancer steps on count “1” - does a slight lilt on “&” - and points the free foot back on count “2.”

(also see: SINGLE RHYTHM)



(1) Balboa is a Rhythm Dance composed of "8-Beat" patterns and "4-Beat" rhythm breaks. Basic Step: "Back, Forward, Forward, touch - Forward, Back, Back, touch" - The original form of EASY Basics has a "touch" on count "4" and count "8".  (Rhythm Pattern: "Double, Single, Double, Single." ) Balboa is a product of the late 1930s and early ‘40s and originated in Southern California on Balboa Island. (2) The Advanced Rhythm Pattern: "Double, Delayed Single, Double, Delayed Single" ("Back-Forward, touch-step, Forward-Back, touch-step) - with the touches on count "3" and count "7" of the "8-Beat” pattern - is the form currently being taught as the recommended basic. (3) Balboa has a Movement Unit of "Down-Down" - a rhythmic lilt that is really more felt than seen.

Teaching Note:
BOTH Basics are valid.
Each should be taught based on the level of the students -  how much time is available for teaching and/or - the style being danced where the student resides..

Historical Note : (A) The advanced form with a touch or kick on counts  "3" and "7" - became the STANDARD in the 1980s, through the efforts of JONATHAN BIXBY and SYLVIA SYKES, two dedicated teachers from Santa Barbara.  This is the most popular form today. Jonathan and Sylvia credit LOLLY  WISE and MAXIE DORF, two top Balboa aficionados, for working with them on re-constructing the patterns.  (B) Balboa came out of the BALBOA PAVILION at a time when the music was fast and the floors packed.  Fred Christofferson, Bart Bartolo, Natalie Esparza, Willie Desatoff, Harry Berlin, Sam & Dottie Dominguez and Ed & Inez Thompson all come to mind as "Balboa Greats" who were still dancing in 1997 - on the second update of this book, several are still at it in the year 2005.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Balboa dancers fell easily into the rhythmic, subtle bounce of the Balboa because they had been dancing Lindy and Truckin’, popular moves of the 1930s and ‘40s.




(1) The padded area behind the toes, meant to cushion the joints. . (2) A frequently misused term that suggests putting too much weight on the padded area of the big toe.

Teaching Note:
Dancing on the ball of the big toe creates bunions. Use the term Power Point instead of Ball of the Foot. Think of the padded area as a mountain.  In FRONT of the mountain is the “3 Toe Base” - BEHIND the mountain is the Power Point.  Don’t stand on top of the mountain. Use the appropriate spot for the move being made.

(also see: 3-TOE BASE, POWER POINT)



(1) A TAP DANCING term which means to make a quick weight change on the Ball of one foot, followed by an accented, loud, FLAT-footed landing, on the OTHER foot. The Free Foot is in the air as the dancer assumes a momentary "pose." (2) This term is used in the Universal Unit System® only in TAP dancing and MODERN JAZZ. (3) The Rhythm of the move is a “Delayed Double” and can be called as a “Hold & Step-Step” or a “Kick & Step-Step,” etc.

Teaching Note:
Sometimes erroneously used to denote a "Kick & Step-Step" or a "Hitch Kick." It is important to know that every "Kick & Step-Step" is NOT a "Ball Change." However, every Kick & Ball Change IS a “Delayed Double”.




(1) A term generally used to describe the Social Dances of the day. (2) AMERICAN BALLROOM DANCING, and particularly American Social Ballroom dancing, has made dramatic changes in the teaching of Dance. The most significant changes have taken place because of the discoveries of "Rules of Music" and "Rules of Movement." American dancing concentrates on musicality and interpreting "feeling" in the music. (3) International BALLROOM Dancing is taught mainly for Competition and has it's own unique style that does not lend itself as well, to social dancing.

(also see: SOCIAL DANCE)



A form of West Coast Swing that is different from that used by the general West Coast Swing dance community. Ballroom Swing usually refers to a STYLE of West Coast Swing that uses a "Coaster" step at the end of each pattern.

(also see: COASTER STEP)



A MUSICIAN'S term to denote the line that separates the measures in sheet music. It is a synonym for Measure. (1) When Musicians refer to a “12 Bar Blues” - they are describing 12 measures of music - or a dancer’s six “Sets of 8.”

(also see: MEASURE of MUSIC)








BEAT (of Music) -

(1) In Social dance, one beat of music refers to one "quarter note", which is how time signatures are measured. 4/4-time means that there are 4 quarter notes to one Measure of music. (2) Most forms of Social Dance: Ballroom, Latin, Salsa, Swing, Hustle, Nightclub Two Step, Line Dancing, etc. are all danced to 4/4- time music. There are 2 beats of music in every Dance Rhythm in each of those dances. There are 2 DANCE RHYTHMS to each measure of 4/4-time music. (3) WALTZ is the exception and is danced to 3/4-time music. One beat of 3/4-time music still equals one quarter note. There are 3 beats of music in one Measure of 3/4-time music, which translates to one "3-Beat" Dance Rhythm.




(A) BEATS per minute (BPM) refers to the tempo (speed) of the music, determined by counting the number of beats of music in 60 seconds.

(B) MEASURES per Minute (MPM) - A commonly used, but not as accurate method to measure the tempo of the music.

Teachers Note: Someone trained to hear “Beats per minute” will soon be able to determine a sizable range of tempos, in both 3/4 and 4/4-time music. Those trained to hear Measures per minute have a difficult time because 3/4 time music has only 3 beats per measure.  The ear cannot determine tempo in measures per minute because measures are different with different time signatures.   Also, the range of accuracy is much tighter with beats per minute,  than with measures per minute.



(1) Two Beats of Music with no weight changes. (2) The dancer needs to identify what is taking place on each of those two Beats of Music. Example: "Kick &a Point" or "Touch &a Hold", etc. (3) A Blank Rhythm is in the family of EVEN Rhythms because it ends with the Same Foot Free.

(also see: EVEN RHYTHM)


(1) The "lifted" look of a dancer who has achieved a connection between the "sending foot" and the "receiving foot" - to a point where the CPB seemingly “floats” across the floor. (2) That indescribable feeling of "two people” moving as one. (3) The "airborne" look, visible when two people achieve a connection through action and reaction. (4) In West Coast Swing, the action that follows the "elastic band" feeling of a properly executed anchor. (5) In Waltz, Body Flight is visible when two partners are "centered" - either moving down LOD or as they execute a turn.


A Body Lead
starts in the hand connection, but moves from the back of the shoulder, producing an even, firm, controlled lead that does not pull or yank.
A bent elbow on a leader, usually indicates an arm muscle contraction, which identifies "arm leads" instead of Body leads.



            Chart for Body Positions is not available in this printing, but will be available in the new set of Charts being prepared.  Target Date: January 2007.





(1) A popular 1940s move in Jitterbug and Lindy. The Verbal Pattern is : "Back Together &a Kick" - "Back Together &a Kick" etc. (2) The RHYTHM PATTERN is: "Syncopated Double - Syncopated Double" (3) The "Count" is "&a1&a2 - &a3&a4" . Boogie Backs are part of the SHIM SHAM and are also used in Lindy and other forms of Swing. Boogie Backs fall into the category of "Rhythm Breaks.”






A lilting Movement Unit of "DOWN &a DOWN" in the Center Point of Balance ("CPB") - (2) The weigh stays centered over one foot for 2 beats of music. It is likened to the movement of a bouncing ball with 2 bounces (lilts) for each dance rhythm. (3) Lilt is achieved by relaxing the knees on every beat of the music



BOX (Box Turn) -

           (1) A term used to denote a SQUARE floor pattern. (2) It is danced in Foxtrot, Waltz and Rumba where the actual Floor Pattern is in the shape of a Box. (a Square) (3) Example: Mans Rumba Box is: "Side together, forward & hold - Side together, Back & hold." - 8 beats of music. Sometimes called as: “Side Together Forward &a Side Together Back”

Teaching Note:
A Left Box Turn rotates left.  Leader starts with Left foot: : "Forward Side Together - Back Side Together."   (2)   Right Box Turn rotates right.  It still starts with the left foot, backing LOD  - but the call is:  "Back Side Together, &a Forward Side Together."    Box Rhythms rotate in the direction of the FORWARD foot.



(1) "Box Rhythm” alternates Double and Single Rhythm in any order. The Rhythm Pattern for GSDTA is: “Double - Single - Double - Single.”  (2) Box Rhythm, in 4/4- time, requires 8 beats of music.



An abbreviation for “Beats per Minute”

(also see: BEATS per MINUTE)



Popular in the 1970s, Break Dancing is a "Solo" dance with young dancers performing clever moves to music. This includes floor-spins on one's back, as well as robot-like moves. Intricate isolations and acrobatic moves are performed with great musical interpretation. Today, 2005, Hip Hop dancing has become more popular than Break Dancing, but each compliments the other.



A term used in the 1950s to define three simple, but specific, Rhythm Variations.

Historical Note: At Arthur Murray’s in the early 1950’s, this is what was being taught:

 (1) 1st Break Ending: "Kick & Step-Step" to replace a "Walk-Walk" in what was then known as Western Swing. (2) 2nd Break Ending: "Step Point, Step Point, Step" could replace the second triple in that style of Swing. (3) 3rd Break Ending: simply the 2nd break ending, followed by the 1st..

Teaching Note:
we have replaced the term Break Ending with words like “RHYTHM VARIATION” and “SYNCOPATION”. The term "Break Ending" originally referred to syncopations that took place at the end of a pattern. With today’s knowledge, we can replace any rhythm in any pattern using any Dance Rhythm that exists.



BREAK (Flash Break) -

(1) DANCE term used to describe outstanding moves that are not standard, but which accent specific parts of the dance for "show" appeal. FLASH BREAKS were popular in the 1970s and are described in detail in the 1978 dance textbook "Disco to Tango and Back"


BREAK (Hitting the Breaks) -

(1) In dance music, musical "Breaks" sound as if someone had actually stopped the music. (2) It may sound like the music stops, but the beat continues. Musical Breaks usually occur toward the end of a major phrase (2) "Hittin' the Breaks" is a phrase that became popular in the early 1970s, but gained more popularity in the 1990's as more and more dancers studied the music and started learning how to "Hit the Breaks." (3) "Breaks" in the Music are the strongest and therefore the easiest parts of the music to hear.

Teaching Note:
To choreograph a "Stop" (Pose) at a Break Point adds both interest and drama to the performance. However, it is also exciting when a musical break lends itself to an appropriate move that both compliments and counters the stop in the music. Concentrate on timing before teaching someone how to "Hit the Breaks." Many dancers have learned to hit the breaks before they clearly understood timing, phrasing, pulsing and centering.


BREAK (Latin Breaks) -

(1) A change of direction in: Cha-Cha, Mambo, Salsa, Contemporary Bolero, Mambolero, and International Rumba.) (1) An action where the "receiving foot " lands, ball of the foot first, returning the "Center Point of Balance" (CPB) to it’s origin. (2) In all of the dances listed above, with the exception of SALSA, the LEADER breaks on his LEFT foot on count "2" and on his RIGHT foot on "6." Salsa breaks on “1” and “5.”




(1) A change of direction that includes a turn in the opposite direction of the forward foot. Example: Step forward on the Left Foot, turn right and step forward again on the Right Foot. Verbal Call: "Forward Left, and Turn Right."
(2) This turn is popular in Cha-Cha and also very popular in Country Line Dances. It is frequently mislabeled as a pivot, simply because to the untrained eye it is similar to a basketball pivot.

Teaching Note:
A pivot turn in Basketball
does NOT place complete weight on the “breaking” foot. It uses the free foot to push the body in a different direction. That fosters bad breaking technique for dance.




(1) The "Breath" on the "&a" before each Downbeat is a term that was used predominantly in the 1960s in the early days of the Universal Unit System®. (2) It is still used to denote the "space" between the Rhythms. (Like the "space" between words to identify the words in a sentence.) Today that “breath” has become the “&a” at the beginning of each new Dance Rhythm.




(1) A "follow through" where one knee brushes lightly past the other.

(2) This “Brush” can take place on a beat of music, on an "&" count or on an "a" count, according to the styling and desired result for a particular dance. (3) Where the brush takes place differs with every dance and helps clarify the "essence" (characteristics) of each dance.

Teaching Note:
In many dance circles today, this technique has replaced brushing one foot past the other. Brushing the knee keeps the knees in better alignment, and still maintains good footwork Brushing one foot past the other tends to rush the footwork, and frequently allows the knees to be too far apart.

(also see: ESSENCE, TAP)



Well known for its comprehensive dance program in both American and International Dance. LEE WAKEFIELD, Director of the award winning Brigham Young Formation Team, is known for his ability to connect to the music. GSDTA is proud to have been part of Lee's early training in the Universal Unit System. His first competition was at a Golden State Ball. Lee was part of Lenore Hughes’ Cotillion in Modesto, California.



A slightly rounded frame that still maintains "connection" with a partner. Used in Swing and the Latin dances for specific styling. JACK CAREY of Corona Del Mar, California is noted for perfection of the "C" Frame in West Coast Swing.



(1) A popular, repeatable Syncopation in West Coast Swing. The RHYTHM is a Syncopated Double and is one of several "Rhythm Breaks.” The Verbal Call for this pattern is “& Step Point & Step Point”. The Count is : "&a1 &a2". The knee lifts are on the "&" count, the steps are on the "a" counts, and the "points" are on the beats of the music. (2) In the early 1980s, a simple form of Swing , repeating that particular Rhythm Pattern over and over, was called "California Shuffle." Soon, the dance disappeared, but the name stayed as a Rhythm Break in standard Swing and also as a standard term in Line Dance terminology.

(also see: SYNCOPATION )



(1) The "Call" for any specific pattern in any dance tells you "What to do." "Walk-Walk, Side Together Back," etc. is a Description of what takes place. (2) There can be a variety of calls to aid in teaching a pattern. The "Caller" can call out actual BEATS of music - or direction - or any accent that seems in need of calling. (3) "Call" is sometimes used as a synonym for "Cue."

(also see: CUE, VERBAL PATTERN )


CAMEL HIP (Boogie Hip) -

(1) A projection of the HIP to the SAME Side as the "Weighted" Foot. (2) Lining up the Left Foot with the Left Hip while the CPB stays centered. (3) If the "FOOT" steps "LEFT- RIGHT," the "HIP" will move LEFT RIGHT. A Camel Hip is used in dancing a Shorty George. (4) CAMEL HIP is the opposite of CUBAN HIP.






(1) Opening a "can of worms" is really "looking into areas that need more clarification." (2) When it comes to EDUCATION, the Rules of the Universal Unit System® allow us to explore all sorts of areas and come up with concrete solutions that would not have been possible without the discoveries that are the backbone of the “Universal Unit System". (3) The "Can of Worms" has become the Hallmark of GSDTA Teachers Training. The ARTWORK on the GSDTA Can of Worms is that of Seattle artist and dance teacher, DON BUTLER.

(also see: CAN of WORMS Caricature)





(1) Canter Rhythm is DOUBLE RHYTHM in 3/4-time. It was a popular Waltz Rhythm in the 1930's, but is seldom used today except in PIVOTS. (2) CANTER PIVOTS step on count "1" and count "3" of the Waltz measure. Stepping BACK on the left foot, the dancer pivots to the Right on count "1", rides through count "2" and steps on count "3." The pivots can continue through "4," ride the "5" and step on "6." (3) DOUBLE RHYTHM in WALTZ steps 2 times to 3 beats of music. DOUBLE RHYTHM steps on count "1" and on count "3".

Teaching Note:
Canter Pivots are great "Show" for competition and alternating Canter Rhythm with syncopations makes great creative waltz material.



(1) A highly stylized form of SWING, spawned in the early 1940s in the Carolina's. The Basic RHYTHM PATTERN is the same as in standard Swing. "DOUBLE - TRIPLE - TRIPLE." (2) This "mirror opposite" basic has both partners mirroring each other on the basic pattern. Both partners do a “Rock Step” on the 1st Rhythm, followed by traveling forward toward each other on the 1st Triple (a "Forward & together Back"). The 2nd Triple (Counts 5&a6) has a unique styling that is characterized by a "Step, Cross in front, Step", often described as a “Soft Shoe” Triple. (3) Quoting Charlie Womble and Jackie McGee, from Atlanta, Georgia: "In the early days this was a man's dance. He did all the turns and fancy footwork and her job was to make him look good." Charlie added that things are different today and both partners now have a more balanced role.

 Teaching Note:
Carolina Shag
has a distinctive styling with little action in the hips and upper torso. The focus is on the feet and legs. It is danced to Beach Music, which is also a great sound and tempo for West Coast Swing. The dance contains 6-Beat and 8-Beat patterns, has a “4-Beat” Starter Step and Rhythm Breaks and fits all the other standard criteria for Swing.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Feather Award recipients in 1994, CHARLIE WOMBLE and JACKIE MCGEE had been undefeated Shag Champions more than 10 years. In 2005, they are still fantastic dancers and are known as the Good Will Ambassadors for the Shag Community.










(1) Individual "Centering" is the ability to maintain perfect balance by controlling the "Center Point of Balance" (CPB) in relationship to the “Unit Foot.” The CPB moves prior to the weight change from the “sending” to the “receiving” foot. (2) Couple "Centering" is the ability to connect the CPB of both partners - to each other.




(1) The Knob that connects the base of the neck with the top of the spine. (2) Sometimes referred to, with tongue in cheek,  as the “Goddess” Knob.

Author's Note:
The reason for coining the term “Centering Knob” was the discovery that so many dancers were able to achieve instant centering simply by pressing that knob straight back. That action stretches the chest area and shortens the back area, resulting in great centered posture.



(1) The Solar Plexus is the “Center Point of Balance” from which all dance movement projects. (2) To locate your own CPB try this exercise: Stand with your feet together. Isolate your hip or abdomen or derriere, or even your head, and push any one of them about 6 inches to the left or right or in any direction. You will find that you can still maintain balance. If you move your Solar Plexus even 4 inches left or right - you will find that you must move your foot, because you have relocated your own center (CPB).  (3) Although Martial Arts and other disciplines speak of Center of Mass and Center of Gravity, the above exercise will tell you why we chose to coin the term “Center Point of BALANCE.”  The CPB is crucial to the Dancer.  (3)  A popular TV phrase in body shaping these days is “strengthening the Core.”  Their description of “Core” is the same as our “Center.” (CPB)

Teaching Note:
The more accomplished the dancer, the more you are able to observe the control that comes from the Solar Plexus.  Every well executed move originates from the CPB.

(also see:  CORE, UNIT FOOT)



(1) "The force tending to pull a thing outward when it is rotating rapidly around a center." (Webster's New American Dictionary) (2) This action takes place in several areas of dance. "Flyin' Lindy" - Swing - Spot Turns in Rumba and Cha-Cha are all prime examples..

Teaching Note:
Any move that requires Centrifugal Force can be practiced by two partners holding hands and simply revolving around in a circle with enough leverage away from each other to FEEL the body lift.




(1) "The act of certifying, by certificate or other means, to the validity of a persons qualifications" (from Webster's Abridged) (2) GSDTA Certification is a 3rd level of accrediting that attests to the fact that more than 200 hours of training has taken place, written examinations have been passed, and ability has been verified by video presentation of classes in action. Further accrediting is available to those who have passed the examinations and are teaching at Convention level. They have also passed an oral exam and have demonstrated the knowledge of how to break down any pattern in any dance by simply observing that pattern danced to music. (3) Certification is worth whatever the organization that "Certifies" says it is worth. Whatever constitutes Certification is signed by someone who attests to the fact that those qualifications have been met.

(also see: CREDENTIAL)



(1) A Latin Dance, with an "8 Beat" Rhythm Pattern that "Breaks" on count "2" and count "6." The real MUSICAL COUNT and the DANCE COUNT for Cha-Cha is "&a1 2 - 3 4 - &a5 6 - 7 8." (2) UCWDC, the leading Organization for Country Western Competition, made "breaking on 2" mandatory for competition starting in 1994. (3) American-style CHA-CHA has been "Breaking on 2" since the birth of Cha-Cha in the early 1950s. (4) COWBOY CHA-CHA and “COLLOQUIAL” CHA-CHA alternate Double and Triple Rhythm and they Break on "1" and "5." The Count is "1 2 - 3&4 - 5 6 - 7&8." This count is NOT acceptable in competition.

Historical Note: Cha-Cha is an outgrowth of Mambo and was first introduced as "Triple Mambo" in the late 1940s.. In order to "Break on 2" most Studios had a Count of "2,3 - 4&1". This count was used for many years and still continues in many areas today. However, with the discovery of the "8-Beat" count, about 1971, came the successful use of the full "8-Beat" mini-phrase. The unprecedented interest in Technique and Education in the ‘90s, launched the discovery of the true "Rhythm Pattern" for Cha-Cha and made dance history. The COUNT, as listed in (1) above, allows dancers to be aware of the foot placement of each count in the music.

Teaching Note:
Where to START is no longer the prime objective. HOW to LOCATE count "2" and count "6" at all times in the dance should be the focus of the dancer.  This concept  has revolutionized the teaching and the performance of Cha-Cha.  Dancers trained in the new count STAY on the correct beat with little or no effort, through the entire performance. (B) One popular Starter Step, with the man stepping "Side Left and Back Right” on counts “&a1&a2,” puts him on time, but OFF PHRASE for the entire dance. This same Starter Step becomes acceptable if the man waits and starts “side Left & Back Right” on counts “5 6” instead of “1-2”.   There is another "Starter Step" where the man steps "Side RIGHT" on count "1" and breaks forward on "2."  As an American dance - or in GSDTA curriculum, that is totally unacceptable - simply because the follower is taught to start any dance by centering her weight over her left foot and having her Right foot free. GSDTA suggests a Starter Step of: “Side-check” to the left on the “a” count - return to right foot on “1,” and then break forward on count “2” of any “Set of 8” beats of music.




A Ballet term that describes a style of execution that fits several different turns. Chaine' refers to the action of opening and closing the feet -as in the making of a CHAIN.

Teaching Note:  Chaine' really relates to foot positions rather than a step pattern, and the name can describe either a Pivot OR a Torque Turn. It is advisable in Social Dance to use the terms Pivot turn and Torque turn, rather than using the term Chaine'



CHALLENGE (Shine Position) -

(1) An OPEN Dance Position whereby one partner dances a Rhythm Break and the other either mimics the same step or does something else to TOP the first move. (2) The "Challenge" game started with CHA-CHA in the 1950s, but West Coast Swing soon adopted it. That form is found in many routines today. In 1994 this "style" of advanced Swing renewed it's popularity through the efforts of GSDTA Syncopation Specialist MARY ANN NUNEZ of Southern California.



(1) A Step that reverses the flow of the CPB and returns it "Home".
Different degrees of changes of direction have different names:

"BREAK" - a Change of Direction that stops the CPB, half way to the "breaking" foot and then returns it "Home."

"CHECK" - a more severe Change of Direction where the CPB is stopped one quarter of the way from the "checking" foot, by leaning slightly away from that foot, as done in Hustle, Samba or Peabody.

"ROCK" - requires TWO distinct weight changes. The CPB moves either Back and Forward - Forward and Back - or "Side and Return" to  original position. Each is done with a rocking action. The CPB only travels two thirds of the way toward point "B" before being returned "Home.”

“LUNGE” - a forward or side weight change where the CPB centers completely over the weighted foot.




(1) A distinguishing trait of a specific dance. (2) An outstanding feature that helps to identify the dance.

(also see: ESSENCE)



(1) Charleston - is a popular Rhythm Dance of the “Roarin' 20s" and early 1930s.  The Charleston is an American “Classic.”  It is characterized by High Forward Kicks, followed by Low Back Kicks. (2) Two Basic "Looks" are seen in the Charleston. One was danced as "and Step and Kick and Step and Kick" and the other as “and Kick and Step and Kick and Step.” (3) The standard Rhythm Pattern is "Single - Blank - Single - Blank.” Charleston has an "8 beat" pattern, with a rhythmic bounce on every beat. (4) The Movement Unit is a "Down-Down" rhythmic lilt.




(1) A Cha-Cha Pattern where one partner does a "Break Turn" and the other follows, as if they are chasing each other. (2) The Follower has 4 beats of music to see what the Leader has done and then mimics the pattern.

 (also see: CHALLENGE)


CHASSÉ (Pronounced Shah-say) -

(1) A "Side Together" using two beats of music, stepping once on each beat. (2) A Chasse’ is DOUBLE RHYTHM. (3) Step to the Side in 2nd foot position on count "1" and bring the feet together in 1st foot position on count "2.” (4) Chasse' means "to chase." The closing foot chases the moving foot. (5) In International Dance terminology, a Chasse' refers to a "triple" (3 weight changes), a "side together side.”




(1) A tight "Change of Direction" where the dancer's Center Point of Balance (CPB) is sent out, but the receiving foot catches the body, and becomes the “Sending Foot” as it lands - and sends the body back. (2) Checks are always done on “Toe Base”. Heel does not hit the floor.




(1) One who puts Routines together. (2) A stricter sense of the word refers to those who make their LIVING doing choreography.

Teaching Note:
It should be noted here that everyone who puts a routine together is not, in the professional sense, a choreographer. Choreographers are known by their works.

(also see: ROUTINE)



(1) The "content" of a Routine or a grouping of patterns, planned in a way that someone can repeat them at a future time. (2) The WORKS of a Choreographer. (3) Moves that are spontaneous and not planned, but fit the music well, are sometimes referred to as "spontaneous" choreography.



(1) A "2-Foot" move where both feet move forward at the same time and then back at the same time. (2) Place the Force Point in the bent knees to "Chug" forward and in the back of the knees to pull backward. Chugs are a popular move in the Charleston. They can be danced alone, or danced in parallel position with a partner.

(also see: SCOOT)



(1) In SOCIAL DANCE, the "CLASSICS" are those Dances which have made an impact on society and have withstood the test of time, having developed standard, recognizable step patterns and teaching techniques. (2) These dances become part of our dance heritage. (3) Charleston, Twist, the Stroll and the Conga are all dances that started out as Fad dances, and with time became Classics. Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Samba and Tango have long been considered Classics - and at this writing (2005) Salsa is well on it’s way to becoming a time honored "Classic.”




A standard dance position with the Lady facing the man, with his right hand placed on her back, just below (but not on) the shoulder blade. Her left hand is placed at the appropriate level for the dance being done. His left hand holds her right hand halfway between the two partners at her chin level for most dances and at her elbow height for Swing.




(1)  In Swing Dance Clubs, and more specifically in  Swing groups that define themselves as "WEST COAST SWING", a Coaster Step has been replaced by an “ANCHOR.”      (2)  In "BALLROOM SWING"  a Coaster Step is referred to as any “Back Together Forward.”    (3 This one simple term has become the dividing line for two very different, identifiable forms of SWING. The "Coaster" is still used in many venues of  "Ballroom Swing."  Competitions seldom overlap mostly because of the decided difference in the appearance and style of the dance.

Historical Note:   The history of the "Coaster" helps us to understand why it has been replaced.   In the early 1950s, The Long Beach, California Arthur Murray Studio boasted a staff of top Swing dancers.  Karma Haltom would "Coast" at the end of a pattern, turning her body on an angle as she swiveled back left and forward right before walking in toward  her partner.  To teach that style, the easiest form was to swivel the body and do a "Back together forward,” and then swivel to face your partner before walking forward into a new pattern.  The term "COASTER" applied to the movement and not the rhythm OR the direction of the feet.  Arthur Murray Studios adopted this style as part of its National Curriculum.   Over time, with revisions of teaching manuals, more and more technique was eliminated until finally, the SWIVEL was no longer in print.   The basic styling of the pattern was lost.   The definition began to include any  "Back together Forward"  and remains so in many places today.   

Teaching Note:
Today 2005 (and since 1978) in order to preserve the essence and characteristic of the dance, West Coast Swing Dancers (and particularly all GSDTA Teachers) use an "Anchor" rather than a "Coaster.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I thought it was important to include some of the process of  GSDTA not using the term “Coaster” in the GSDTA curriculum.  Many teachers asked “If you don’t use the term “Coaster” - what will you call a “Back Together Forward?”  My answer was “What do you call a “Side Together Side” or a “Forward Hook Forward?”  We should not name the direction of every Triple.  Calling the placement of the feet is a much clearer “Call” for teaching.




(1) A dance term that refers to a style that is danced by the masses, but not in the form accepted by formal competition.  (2) Colloquial Cha-Cha is a good example. This popular form of Cha-Cha “Breaks” on count “1” and “5” in the music. (3) Colloquial refers to doing whatever is happening in your particular dance environment.

(also see: CHA-CHA)



(1) A pattern in Samba that is a repetition of crossing one foot over the other, followed by backward traveling, pulling moves. The "Call" is "Kick &a Cross - and step pull and step pull - and step pull and step pull - through  8 beats of music.  (2) Although this started out as a Samba move, it has become a standard syncopation in Swing, Cha-Cha and several other dances.



(1) There are different levels of DANCE COMPETITIONS, determined by the size of area location. Example: The local weekly Nightclub Club contest, the monthly (more or less) CLUB contest, the State or Regional Championships, and National and International Championships.  (2) The real benefit of participating in competition is having a deadline to improve your craft.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: It is important to plant seeds of good sportsmanship early in the competition game.  Competition can be a grand experience or it can be a destructive nightmare.  Not everyone is cut out to be a Competitor.

(also see: JUDGING PANEL)



(1) Resistance that is toward each other, with enough "Action" that it requires a "Reaction". Example: In West Coast Swing, a PUSH BREAK requires COMPRESSION on count “3.” This allows the Follower to do many style variations that are not possible without this “Count-3” compression.




(1) In couples dancing, particularly SWING, the feeling of resistance between partners that makes action and reaction a possibility. (2) Although Swing partners may be connected through the hands, there is also a visible "connection" that extends from one partner's center (CPB) to the other partner's center.

(also see: CENTERING)



(1) Those Dances currently being danced by the general public in any specific "Era". Whenever we read the word "Contemporary,” we must determine the year of the observation. (2) The 1990s could easily consider "Country Dance" as Contemporary Social Dance. (3) The TWIST Era and the "BOP" Era, along with the JITTERBUG Era, all were considered Contemporary Dance at the peak of their popularity. (4) In every era and in every geographic location there is a "Contemporary" form of Foxtrot. The DANCE scene changes with time, but consists of the same basic Rhythm Units danced to 4/4-time music.




(1) An exaggeration of a normal walking step. (2) Example: The Left Shoulder pulls back slightly as the Left Foot moves forward. The Right Shoulder pulls back slightly as the Right Foot moves forward. (3) CBM is most easily visible in Tango, but is present in all forms of dance.

Teaching Note:
Dancers should know that the active shoulder pulls BACK, rather than thinking of the relaxed shoulder as moving forward. (2) Slight Contra Body Movement makes a decided difference in the level of West Coast Swing being danced. (3) It should be taught in closed dance position in basic Country Two Step and Foxtrot. When this is accomplished, all turns become easier and it eliminates the need for “Pre-leads” and “Preps.”



A Dance Position where both partners are traveling forward at the same time, hinged at the hip.




"A harmonious adjustment or action as in muscles producing complex movements." (Webster's New American Dictionary)

Teaching Note:
A few fortunate people seem to be coordinated at birth, but the average person needs some degree of coordination training. Everyone can improve coordination through training. Many schools teach the Dance Dynamics® Motion Study Routines developed through the Universal Unit System® as a foundation for Coordination Training.



(1) Those moves that demonstrate the ability to walk with the body upright, to a measured beat, arms swinging in the opposite direction of the moving foot. (2) Those skills that show dexterity of hands, feet and body.

Teaching Note:
The degree of coordination skills can be measured through observation by someone knowledgeable in the GSDTA training techniques. (B) Every form of coordination training includes rhythmic exercise, along with repetitious movement of different parts of the body. (C) Teaching Dance Rhythms can start as early as Kindergarten and performing them is a skill that lasts a lifetime. (D) Current public school sports programs reward those who are already coordinated, but do little to correct the inabilities of those whose bodies lack coordination. One of the primary goals of GSDTA is to aid in the training of Teachers who work in "early childhood education" and/or Coordination Training for any age.



A SAMBA pattern that is Single Rhythm with a "Call" of "Forward - Point back - Forward - Point back" The "Point back" presses the big toe into the floor, eventually creating a "Subtle Triple.”




(1) A popular word in exercise circles in 2004, 2005 & 2006.  Located in the area of the Solar Plexus, it includes the muscles that surround that area.   Exercises are taught to “strengthen the core” feeling the muscles pulling inward, toward the solar plexus, from all directions.

Author's Note: The excitement in GSDTA circles is that the description of "Core" (frequently used  on TV) corresponds with our description and location of Center Point of Balance (CPB).

                                                (also see: CENTER POINT OF BALANCE)



(1) A Dip - The Leader steps back on his left foot, lowering the weighted leg by bending the weighted knee. His Center Point of Balance (CPB) stays centered over the weighted foot. His free foot is extended forward. (2) The Follower does a “Natural Opposite,” stepping forward on the right foot, lowering onto a bended knee, as her left foot stretches straight back. (3) Medio Corte' refers to a lesser degree of a dip. Partner dances Natural Opposite.

(also see: DIP)


COUNT - LEVELS of Counting (for dancers, choreographers, and dance musicians.)

         (1) The 1st level of Counting is simply counting the actual Beats of Music as they are written and heard: "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8"  ( "Sets of 8.")   Dancers should first learn to count "Sets of 8" in the music, in order to establish the location of Downbeats and Upbeats.  (Musicians call these "Sets of 8" the Dancers count).  Pit orchestra musicians on Broadway are all familiar with counting "Sets of 8."    (2) The 2nd level of counting for dancers is to understand the beats of music in every dance pattern.  They start counting on "1" with every new pattern and count through the number of beats in that specific pattern.  The number of beats in a pattern will always come out to an EVEN number (2-4-6-8-etc.) The "Pattern Count" does not always correspond with counting the beats of the music, but will ALWAYS keep the dancer dancing on the correct beat.   (3)  The 3rd level of counting is great for choreographers - but difficult for many dancers - and absolutely not necessary for social dancing.  For those professionals  who can count the music, above all else, no matter what patterns are being danced, it certainly is advisable to count the actual beats of the music, without changing the count for patterns.  Some people learn this technique very easily.  Caution:  For some people, unless your basic dancing is ALWAYS solid on the Downbeat, counting in "8s" , tends to develop a habit of skipping an occasional  beat in a  pattern and winding up dancing on the Upbeat.  Use this level of counting only when it really WORKS for you.   These LEVELS of counting have nothing to do with Rolling or Straight count, which is a separate issue.  



             (3) The 3rd level is a ROLLING Count, sometimes referred to as the "Dancer’s Count."   (Musicians refer to it as "swinging the beat" - or "rolling the beat"). Rolling Count is counted out as: "&a1&a2 - &a3&a4 - &a5&a6 - &a7&a8.” (4) Every piece of music has a specific number of BEATS in each measure and in each Mini-phrase. There is also a specific number of beats of music in each Step Pattern in dance.

Teaching Note:
It is important for the student to know when we are counting beats of music in the MUSIC - or counting beats of music in a STEP PATTERN. The full range of "COUNTS" includes the "&" and the "a" counts. (B) It is also important to count actual "BEATS of Music” and not Foot Placements. Example: Triple Rhythm in 4/4-time can be counted as "&1&2" or as "&a1&a2" - but never "123.” (C) Each Dance Rhythm takes only two beats of MUSIC, with six possible steps (counts) in those two beats.  Musical Rolling Count helps develop the dancer's ability to coordinate all three body zones into their performance.  It also allows the dancer to progress to his or her own highest potential.


COUNT - ROLLING COUNT (Rolling Triple) -
Rolling count breaks each beat of the music into 3 separate parts: "&a1 - &a2 - &a3 - &a4" (through 8 beats of music). Musicians call this a “Dancers Count.” They refer to this form as “Swingin’ it” - which has to do with the "feeling" of the dance and not a particular KIND of dance.

Rolling Count is the secret to an upper level dance performance.
(2) Rolling Count produces what we call "3 dimensional" dance.



            (1) Counting BEATS of MUSIC using the "&" count between the beats.  "&1&2 -&3&4 -&5&6 -&7&8"   Straight Count also includes "1e&a - 2e&a - 3e&a - 4e&a etc."  This last one is a very "busy" count for a dancer and develops a "rushed" look in West Coast Swing.  It frequently gives the impression that the dancer is off- time.  STRAIGHT count  puts a ceiling on the dance and does not encourage rhythmic interpretation for Triples and syncopations.   




(1) "Country Swing" can be interpreted many different ways, according to where you live and who you ask. (2) The standard recognized Swing forms for Competition: any style of East Coast or West Coast Swing. (3) There is also a "4-Count" Swing and a Rodeo Swing that are sometimes referred to as "Country Swing" but these are not allowed in competition.




(1) A dance that is primarily "6-Beat" patterns which travel Line of Dance around the floor.. RHYTHM PATTERN is "Double, Single, Single” and the most popular "CALL" is still "Quick-Quick - Slow --Slow.” (2) Country Two Step is part of the Foxtrot "family" but is distinguished by the constant changing of the Lady's position as she is moved from "Cuddle" to "Sweetheart" to "Promenade" to Closed position, while she and her partner continue to travel Line of Dance. Underarm Turns and Spins further characterize the dance.

Teaching Note:
In a Basic Pattern, one knee brushes past the other knee, creating a “follow-through” on count “4” and count “6.” Dancers need to go beyond Quicks and Slows, and understand the entire COUNT: "1 2 - 3 4 - 5 6.” A popular trend for competition is to pulse the up-beats on counts "4" and "6".  This not only produces an exciting look and feel but also gives character and life to the dance.






(1) The most popular Couples Country Dancing includes: Country Two Step, Waltz, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and Cha-Cha. Country Dancing started its rise to popularity as a "contemporary" dance about 1978 -'79, with the popularity of the JOHN TRAVOLTA Movie "URBAN COWBOY.” (2) Country Dancing also includes LINE DANCING. (3) By 1994, Country had become the dance of the decade. Local and National Competitions, Conventions, the UCWDC, CWDI, ATCDA, GSDTA, NTA and NACDI had all contributed to the fact that COUNTRY DANCING was a major influence in Social Dance during the 1990s. (4) At the 1994 FEATHER AWARDS, three Country Personalities received awards. DAKOTA DAVE GETTY, for choreography; STEVE ZENER, UCWDC President for the best event of the year; and TOM MATTOX, for having the most impact on Country Western Dancing. Tom is credited with introducing West Coast Swing into Country Competition and is also known for having the largest “Country” Dance Club membership in the Nation.

Historical Note: COUNTRY CALENDAR was a popular Dance Newspaper, read Coast to Coast. Monthly columns by Skippy Blair kept teachers Up to Date in an “Ask the Teacher” column. Ernie Wheeler, owner and editor, served the dance community by also maintaining an 800 Information Line.




Same Foot Western Line Dance. Sometimes referred to as Cha-Cha breaking on “1.”







(1) "To give credence to" - (from Webster's Abridged.)

(2) Certificates are issued to attest to the validity of what the credential states. (3) Someone checking the credentials of an individual - be it by Certificate or by personal representation - should contact the organization or person who signed the credential to ascertain what the credential represents.




(1) When a dancer is ON TIME, not just at the start of a pattern - or on the Breaks - but on time ALL of the time, all the way through each pattern. (2) Except in rare circumstances, Critical Timing requires a Rolling Count. (3) The CPB transfers the weight precisely on the beat of the music. Simply having the foot hit the floor, in time with the music, does not qualify as being on time.




(1) “Critical analysis or evaluation of a subject” (from Webster’s New World Dictionary). (2) Dance Critiques from GSDTA: An analysis that seeks out elements that can immediately upgrade the level of performance.

Historical Note: GSDTA initiated the practice of Dance Critiques in the year 1985. They started out as a tool to add to the dance education of those taking GSDTA Teachers Training. Later they became more commonplace at competitions to advance the knowledge of competitors. In the year 2004, Critiques were added to the Certification process of the Judges Training through the National Dance Dynamics Certification Board, (NDDCB).

Author's Note: Although I spent many years working on the development of Judges Training, I find that doing Critiques is more rewarding than judging for me personally.. A good Critique can help a dancer develop skills to a new level. Judging is always painful for me because I have to evaluate one person’s development over another. I get excited over any dancer taking a step up - rather than scoring higher that someone else.


(1) A FOOT POSITION that represents a weight change The Free Foot crosses over the weighted foot, landing toe first next to the arch of the other foot. This is a backward crossing action. (2) For Annotation in the “Sheet Music for Dancers” a Cross is annotated as an X.




(1) A "Call" for a diagonal DIRECTION ( NOT a Foot Position) as in teaching a Grapevine. (2) Example: "Side Cross in front, Side Cross Behind.” Dancer travels in the direction of the foot that steps to the side.



(1) A "Call" for a diagonal DIRECTION ( NOT a Foot Position) as in teaching a Grapevine. (2) Example: "Side Cross in front, Side Cross Behind.” Dancer travels in the direction of the foot that steps to the side.



(1) A popular Swing PATTERN where the weighted foot swivels in the direction that the free foot is headed. The free foot then crosses over to execute a weight change. The name is actually descriptive, except that the SWIVEL comes BEFORE the CROSS. (2) A common "CALL" for this pattern is "&a Cross, &a Cross", etc. The swivels take place on the "&a" counts.

(also see: CROSS, STRUT, SWIVEL)



(1) Facilitating a Cross Turn relies heavily on "Turn Technique.”

(2) Example: In a LEFT CROSS TURN, the Right foot crosses over the Left foot, landing toe first, parallel to, and almost touching, the Left foot ( the Right knee is slightly bent). Pressing the heel of the Right foot and the Toe of the Left foot down into the floor forces the calves together as the right knee straightens. This action initiates a rotation of the body to the LEFT.

(3) This rotation will take the body three fourths of a complete turn. To complete the turn, the heel and toe pressures reverse.



(1) A projection of the HIP to the OPPOSITE SIDE of the Weighted Foot. (2) If the Feet are marching forward or in place, and the "CALL" is to step “LEFT RIGHT, LEFT RIGHT" the Hip will project "RIGHT LEFT, RIGHT LEFT.” (3) Cuban Hip is frequently referred to as OPPOSITE HIP Movement. (4) Cuban Hip is used in Upper level, American style, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Mambolero and several styles of Swing. (5) An International Latin Hip is a cross between a Cuban Hip and a Camel Hip.




(1) The smooth, controlled movement that takes place when a dancer uses a Cuban Hip action, staying centered over the Unit Foot. Cuban Motion allows to the body to move freely without the head going up or down. All of the hip action takes place in the abdominal area and is not governed by the knees.

(2) An International Latin Hip is a cross between a Cuban and a Camel Hip.



(1) Walking a straight line, single tracking, using Cuban Motion.



(1) A Dance Position that places the Lady to the man's side by looping one hand over her head and wrapping that arm around her. Neither hand lets go. (2) This position is popular in numerous dances that includes Waltz, Cha-Cha, Country and Swing..




(1) Calling out the name of a pattern before the pattern starts. (2) In a Line Dance, a "Cue" could be the naming of the next set of moves, called out on the last 2 beats of the previous set. Routines are often “Cued” during instruction.

(also see: CALL)



(1) In Dance, part of the Curriculum consists of a series of Step Patterns that show what is being taught at a particular establishment - or by a specific organization. (2) In GSDTA it also includes a series of Modules that represent the various areas of dance that are included in specific classes or Intensives.



(1) A form of Swing, popular in Texas, that does a "Double Resistance" on the end of each pattern. (2) TERRY RIPPA, noted dance authority in Texas-style Swing, describes the form of double resistance as a Syncopated Body Rock. (3) He describes the Basic level as doing a regular "anchor", followed by a "Hitch and Go" on counts "1&2" of the next pattern.

(4) The more advanced styling of this dance uses a very highly evolved Rhythm Variation on both the "anchor" of the previous pattern and the 1st Unit of the new pattern. The "Anchor" for the Lady only steps twice: Once on count "5" and again on the "&" count before "6.” Her next step is on the "&" count before "1.” She holds back for count "1" and steps on the "&" count before "2" and also on count "2.” The entire move is a continuous body ripple.




(1) A series of physical, rhythmical moves that set up a "feeling" of musical flow even if no music exists. A Dancer can dance to the rhythm of any sound or even an imagined sound. (2) Interpretation of Music through physical movement. (3) In Social Dance, these movements conform to rules and principles that govern each particular dance, according to the “Essence” of the dance.



(1) "&a1 &a2 &a3 &a4" etc. (2) This "rolling count" makes dancers FEEL the music at an early stage in their dance development.

(also see: "a,” "AND,” COUNT)







(1) The position of One Partner in relationship to the placement of the other Partner. There are primarily only 9 or 10 BASIC Dance Positions. Everything else is a slight variation of one of those positions. It is important to remember that NAMING these positions is an effort to help the student to learn and help the teacher to teach, not to confuse them by listing every possible position that can be made.




(1) The Rhythm Units that make up ALL Dance. (2) Every Dance Rhythm that can be danced to 4/4-time music is made up of the same two beats of music: One Downbeat and one Upbeat. (3) Fundamental Rhythms include: Single Rhythm (one step to two beats of music) - Double Rhythm (two steps to two beats of music) - and Triple Rhythm (three steps to two beats of music). (4) All of the various Rhythms, danced to 4/4-time music, as well as those danced to 3/4-time music are on the GSDTA Rhythm Chart.

Historical Note: In the 1950s, the only “Rhythms” available were called: Single Time, (Step touch) - Double Time ( Tap Step) - and Triple Time (Step 3 times). That was a start, but did not cover the spectrum of Dance Rhythms that we know today. There was no name for stepping twice. That was called a “quick-quick.” With the publishing of “Disco to Tango & Back” - the Universal Unit System made it’s first national distribution of the discovery of the Dance “Rhythm Units.” These Dance Rhythms have become standard in today’s teaching.




(1) The patterns and moves which a Dancer has committed to memory, and really OWNS. (Those patterns danced without special thought).  (2) The actual knowledge, concerning dance, of an individual dancer or teacher.

(also see: MUSCLE MEMORY)



(1) Dee Jay is short for "Disc Jockey" referring to the person who plays the music. (2) The term may have started with records, but remained through cassette tapes and CDs. And now the term “DJ” continues no matter what form the music takes: MP3’s - and more recently the “IPOD”  - which allows hundreds of songs to be carried in a small computer. (3) The better DJ’s have learned to not only make good selections for competition music, but have learned how to shorten the long introductions. Some have even adjusted the tempo of the music and re-recorded it - if it gives a better result for competition.



(1) In 4/4-time, those Rhythms which delay the weight change until after Count "1" - but still complete the appropriate number of weight changes by count "2.”   (2) DELAYED SINGLE: ( "Tap Step" ) delays count "1" and steps only on count "2.”  A popular Rhythm replacement in West Coast Swing.   (3) DELAYED DOUBLE: ( “Kick & Step-Step” ) In 4/4-time, a Rhythm that has NO step on count “1,” but steps on the “a” and the “2." 
DELAYED TRIPLE: ("Hold, step-step-step" ) does not step on count "1,” but steps on the "&" count, the "a" count and also on count "2.”   (5) In 3/4-time the completion of a Delayed Rhythm is by count "3.”

Teaching Note:
Delayed Rhythms
are Secondary Rhythms and should be taught after the Primary Rhythms are danced comfortably and understood.
                                             (also see: ADVANCED RHYTHMS, PRIMARY RHYTHMS, SECONDARY RHYTHMS and RHYTHM CHART)


An added clarification of "Direction."  (2) In the breakdowns for the Universal Unit System(R), a "FORWARD" Triple might need further direction of traveling the CPB forward diagonally right - or diagonally left.  This action would direct them toward a forward corner of an imagined square - or diagonally toward forward toward the center of the room.  Both concepts accomplish the same purpose. (3) Jazz, Motion Study, Line Dances and other dance forms can also travel on a Backward Diagonal.



(1) A Rhythm Break in Swing or an individual pattern in Jazz or Line Dancing. Can be danced in all DOUBLE RHYTHM or all SINGLE RHYTHM.   (2) The "Call" is similar to a Jazz Square, but the Floor Pattern is in the shape of a Diamond.  The "CALL" is "Forward, Side, Back, Cross."

(also see: JAZZ SQUARE)



(1) A forward move of the free foot, stronger than a "tap" but not a full weight change.  (2) A "DIG" usually takes place  on the beat of the music.



(1) A forward move, stronger than a "tap" but not a complete weight change.  (2) The RHYTHM for a "DIG STEP" may resemble a "Delayed Single,"  but is actually a “Subtle Triple.”  (3)  “Call” can be “&a Dig &a Step” -There is a very subtle weight change on the 2nd “a” count.



DIP - (Corte’) -

(1) An action where the leader's CPB is lowered, by lowering the supporting leg while extending the free foot straight forward or to the side. (free foot presses into the floor to maintain posture, control & balance).  Lady does the natural opposite, doing a lunge toward partner, with bent knee, while back foot is pushed straight back and down.


(1) When it refers to dance, GSDTA
considers foot placement and the change of placement of the CPB to be crucial.  (2) In the Annotation program, F= Forward,   B= Back,  S= Side,  X= Cross   and Hk= Hook.
These terms also relate to specific Foot Positions.
                                                    (also see FOOT POSITIONS, FORWARD, BACK, SIDE, CROSS, HOOK, DIAGONAL, CHANGES of DIRECTION)



(1)  Originally a term to describe a "Place" (A Discotheque) popularized in France in the 1970s.    (2)  Soon the term grew to include the MUSIC.  (3)  Later, it referred to the Dances that were danced to that Music -- Disco Two Step (now called Nightclub Two Step -1994)  and Freestyle Disco, etc.  (4)  The dance text  "Disco to Tango & Back,” 1978, includes a full spectrum “View” of the Disco era.




(1)  1st printed in 1978, this  Dance Text Book put the Universal Unit System® on the MAP.  (2)  Today (2005) this book is still used as the text for many social dance classes in Colleges and Dance Studios and is still one of the most comprehensive, timeless dance training manuals available.  In 2004, this book, now out of print, was designated as a collectors item.  USED copies, available from,  are selling for $80 to over $200.  The new version “Disco to Tango and BEYOND” will be available in 2006.  (see UNIVERSAL UNIT SYSTEM®)



(1)  In Dance, discoveries are made by studying minute details that unlock the secrets of excellent performance.  Look at a landscape, and it is not difficult  to see the tall  trees.   But a bird in flight lends charm to the picture, and a tiny red lady bug adds color and contrast.   It is frequently the tiny details that set something apart from the average.    

Teaching Note:
(A)  Discoveries
are made in the most unlikely places.  Answering a student's question often results in “discovery.”   (B) Some of the greatest discoveries have come from seemingly insignificant questions, asked in a training class and  explored to conclusion.  This process allows everyone to share in the "Joy of Discovery."  There is an ancient axiom that says: “Be attentive when someone asks you a question - The answer may be for you!”


DOT  (A Solid Black DOT) -

The Annotation for a weight change (a Step)  in the "Rhythm Annotation" of the Universal Unit System ®.




(1)  A Two hand, "out & in" Rhythm Variation in West Coast Swing.  It covers 4 beats of music which includes  the "2 beat" anchor of one pattern and count "1&a2"  of the next pattern.  (2)  In Dallas Push and Texas Whip "Double Resistance" is at the end of every pattern.  It is the main characteristic of the dance. 




(1)  In 4/4-time: Two weight changes to two beats of music,  stepping on the Down-Beat and again on the  Up-Beat  (as in Marching). 

(2)  "Double Rhythm" starts with one foot free and ends with the Same foot free.  (3)  It is an "EVEN"  Rhythm.   (4)  Double Rhythm in 3/4-time (Waltz) - steps on count "1" and count "3" of the 3 beat Rhythm (Canter Rhythm).




(1)   Dancing twice as fast as the tempo of the music.    "Double Time Two Step"  (Rodeo Two Step)  developed when dancers who ONLY danced Country Two Step were faced with very slow music.  Dancers made their Two Step fit the music by dancing twice as fast as the music was playing.    (2)  Historically, the term "Double Time" once referred to dancing a "Tap Step" instead of a Triple in Swing.  At that time (early 1950's through the 1960's)  that "Tap Step" was referred to as "Double Time.”  Many people referred to "Double Time Swing" as a form that was danced as: "Rock Step - Kick Step - Kick Step."   (3) Swing has advanced in technical knowledge and development to a point where a "Tap Step" is now referred to as a "Delayed Single.”   (4) In today’s terminology Double RHYTHM refers to two weight changes to two beats of  music, and Double TIME means dancing twice as fast as the music.




(1)   Walking Forward or Backward  as if there were two "Tracks" on the dance floor instead of one.   (2)  Double Tracking takes place when traveling forward or backward, if there is no Contra Body movement.

Teaching Note:
In dancing  West Coast Swing,  Double Tracking develops a space between the knees.  A slight "Contra-body" movement cleans up the space between the knees and produces a more centered, polished performance, particularly for the Follower.



        DOWNBEAT: (1) The 1st beat of any DANCE RHYTHM (2) The 1st and 3rd beats of a Measure of 4/4-time Music. (3) The 1st beat of a Measure of 3/4-Time Music. (4) Every "2 Beat" DANCE RHYTHM is composed of one "DOWNBEAT" and one "UPBEAT.” Every "3-Beat" DANCE RHYTHM contains 1 Downbeat & 2 Upbeats. (5) In 4/4-time, counts 1, 3, 5, and 7 are the Downbeats in an "8 beat" mini-phrase.   In 3/4-time, counts 1 and 4 are the Downbeats in a Waltz - “6 beat” Mini-phrase.

         UPBEAT: (1) The 2nd and 4th beats of Music in a MEASURE of 4/4-time music. (the 2nd beat of each “2-Beat” Dance Rhythm). (2 ) The 2nd and 3rd beats of music in each  “3-Beat” Dance Rhythm -.( each MEASURE of 3/4-time music).




(1)Pressing the free foot into the floor as the body continues to move, producing a firm resistance between the foot and the floor.

(also see: SLIDE)



(1)The foot action that connects the "Sending" foot to the CPB.  (2) "Drive" is a "Horizontal" move. (level, smooth, no up or down Movement Unit)




(1) When a Single Performer drops to the floor, head below normal waist level, as in a "sit" drop. (2) In a Couple Routine, when one partner supports the other who is being lowered toward the floor.  (3) 2005 Note from WSDC suggests that Drops are no longer considered an acrobatic move and drops should not be eliminated from basic competition, even when no lifts are allowed.



(1) A generic term that covers an entire "family" of Swing Dancing where both partners do a “Back - Forward” - rocking away from each other (opposition resistance) on the "rock step.”  (2) A Rhythm Dance that has "6-beat" patterns, "8-beat" patterns and "4-beat" Rhythm Breaks, originally danced to Big Band Music.  Today, East Coast Swing is danced to more than just Big Band music. It is danced to Contemporary music, Country, and Rock & Roll. The latest trend is to also dance it to slower music (like the Blues), and to add syncopations at the slower tempos.

Historical Note:  East Coast Swing was originally called "Eastern Swing" by the Arthur Murray Studios, who first recognized and organized the concept of uniform teaching.   East Coast Swing (name evolvement between 1975 and 1980), became the new name, following the change of "Western" to "West Coast" in the early 1960s.

                                                                    (also see: DANCE DENTIFICATION     CHART, LINDY, SHAG, NEW YORKER, WEST COAST SWING)





(1) "A component, part or quality that is basic or essential." (Webster's New World Dictionary)



(1) The essential, individual components of MOVEMENT that create excellence in the dance. (2) A "GSDTA" Teaching Module that isolates the "Elements" that have to do with how each movement of the body either contributes to, or detracts from, our dancing capabilities.



The essential, individual components of MUSIC that connect the dancer to the music in a way that makes the dancer the "visual part of the music.” (2) A "GSDTA" Teaching Module that isolates the various Elements of Music and Timing that have to do with connecting the Dancer to the Music.




(1) Refers to the Choreography of the first few bars of music, prior to an actual routine. (2) Sometimes refers to what the dancers do as they enter the floor even without Music. (3) In judging for competition, an entrance can simply mean "how the dancers start their routine.”

(also see: ENTRY)



(1) A "One Unit" or "Two Unit" preparation that precedes a specific pattern.  (2) A "transition" unit that allows partners to get into (or out of) a "SAME FOOT" Pattern for a "Side by Side."  (3) Could also be a synonym for entrance.

(also see: ENTRANCE)



Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary ( August, 1994 edition) states:  (1)  "That which makes something what it IS."  (2)  "The inward nature or true substance of anything.”.  (3) Intrinsic, fundamental nature, or the most important quality.  (4) The indispensable conceptual characteristics and relations of anything.


 ESSENCE of a Dance -(Skippy Blair interpretation)  -

(1) The quality that allows us to identify the dance, even if we could not hear the music (2) In DANCE, we define "Essence" as that particular "Look" or "Feeling" that separates one dance from another  (3) The feeling that the dancer experiences when he connects to a piece of music, while executing the specific dance form of that specific music.  . (4) Many dances have similar STEP PATTERNS, but it is the difference, not the similarity, that identifies the "Essence" of a dance.  (5) Essence defines the "flavor,” "excitement" and "individuality” of a specific dance.

Teaching Note:
The "ESSENCE" of a new Dance requires focusing on the differences" rather than the "similarities" to dances which are already familiar. Through the years, the professional dance community has taken many “sidetracks” - simply because they identified something new - as something they already knew.  Today we recognize that Salsa is NOT Mambo on the wrong beat - that Country Two Step was NOT Foxtrot starting in the wrong place - and that Niteclub Two Step is neither a Samba nor a Rumba.


ETIQUETTE - (Dance Etiquette) -

            (1) Correct Social Interaction at a place where people dance. Good manners should prevail in any social situation. (2) MEN: If you ask a girl to dance and she does not do well, cut back on your level of difficulty.  A dance should start out with something very basic and progress only at the rate that she seems to follow you.  It is unacceptable behavior to "instruct" her on how to follow you, or criticize ANY part of her dancing.  If she does something other than what you led, smile and take credit for the pattern.  No matter what - Be a gentleman.  (3) WOMEN: Accept a dance gracefully. Good, bad or indifferent, make those "3 minutes" memorable.  In class, or out, it is unacceptable behavior to "teach" someone something unless you are the teacher and he is the student. Even then, do NOT teach on the social dance floor.

Teaching Note:
There are many people who get frustrated with classes and fear asking someone to dance because of the criticism that follows. There is an old saying from Studio days: "Behind every man who can't dance, is a lady who told him he couldn't dance .” (B) On the other hand, there are many female dancers who "dance scared.”  They look hesitant and not sure of their dancing, because of constant criticism.  It is the responsibility of the teacher to also teach dance "manners.” (B) Seasoned Teachers respect these same rules.  A "New" teacher will often offer assistance to casual dance partners in an effort to "give" them something. Frequently it is NOT considered a gift - and not appreciated.



            (1) An EVEN number of WEIGHT CHANGES. Two beats of music that start with one foot free and end with the same foot free. (2) "Double Rhythm" and any form of Double Rhythm (Delayed, Syncopated) are all EVEN RHYTHMS. A "Blank" Unit is also an "EVEN RHYTHM" (Same Foot free at the end of the rhythm). "Even” Rhythms are interchangeable with any other "Even” Rhythm.   (3) DOUBLE RHYTHM is an Even Rhythm.  In Basic Double Rhythm, the CPB centers over each foot individually.

(also see: ODD RHYTHM)



(1) The last few bars of music when the dancers end their routine leaving the floor.  (2) A "Two Unit" Exit sometimes refers to the last four beats of a specific pattern. This is necessary when a pattern needs an “exit” to return to the proper foot, or to segway into another dance pattern.


EXCHANGE ( Rhythm Exchange) -

(1) Rule of RHYTHM EXCHANGE: Any EVEN Rhythm can be easily exchanged for any other EVEN Rhythm.  Any ODD Rhythm can be easily exchanged for any other ODD Rhythm.  EXAMPLE: In West Coast Swing, a popular Rhythm Exchange is to dance a “Tap Step” to replace a Triple Rhythm.  A “Kick & Step-Step” can replace any Double Rhythm.

Teaching Technique: Rules of “Rhythm Exchange” are a great help when doing choreography. After the basic “Odd for an Odd and Even for an Even” there is the upper level rule that  allows you to  change an Odd for an Even (or an Even for an Odd) as long as you do it twice. That puts you back on the correct foot.  Unlimited variations in Swing and Modern Jazz have come about through the simple rules of Rhythm Exchange.



(1) Putting 2 additional weight changes in any PRIMARY RHYTHM UNIT.  (2) "Extended" Rhythms are all Syncopations, but they are "Named" syncopations, which allows them to be more easily identified.   (3) An "EXTENDED DOUBLE" = FOUR steps to 2 Beats of Music.  An EXTENDED TRIPLE = FIVE steps to 2 Beats of Music. There is no Extended Single because an Extended Single would become a "TRIPLE."

(also see: RHYTHM CHART)



(1) Refers to making a "6-Beat" Pattern into an  "8-Beat" Pattern (or more).  Extended Patterns "extend" in increments of 2 Beats each.  (2) A Continuous Whip is an extended pattern that  places the extension within the framework of the pattern.  The extension starts on the third rhythm in the pattern. The third rhythm is  DOUBLE RHYTHM (“5-6”) and can be repeated several times.  (3) An Underarm Turn usually extends at the END of the pattern.  Either partner can place a firm hand during the anchor on “5&a6” and then push themselves away for a tight “&a7-hold 8.”  (4) Extensions are a comfortable way to phrase to the music.


FAD DANCES - Those dances which enjoy a SHORT period of popularity. (Usually classified in a particular ERA). Charleston, Twist, Hustle, Disco, Bossa Nova, Lambada etc. (Some dances, such as Cha-Cha, start out as a "Fad" dance, but their popularity stays and they become Standards).  Hustle, after several years of metamorphosis, has actually achieved "Standard " status.




(1) A term used when someone actually does a legitimate move, but does not understand what took place. (2) Being able to understand what takes place, allows you to repeat the move at a future time. (3) Example: Going from an Opposite foot move to a Same foot move requires doing a RHYTHM CHANGE for one of the partners. Exchanging an ODD RHYTHM for an EVEN RHYTHM does the job. (4) Many great pattern variations are produced from someone who creatively “Fakes it.”



(1) A circular sweep of the free foot on the floor. It can be an independent move initiated from the leg, or a total body move, where the connection of the leg to the CPB rotates the body into a Pivot turn.

(also see: HEEL FANS, TOE FANS)



(1) The annual Award Ceremony that honored dancers from all over the world - some for their dedication to the dance, some for their expertise, and some for exceptional performance.  (2) These awards, nominated by a prestigious panel, were voted on by the general dancing public.  (3) CAY CANNON, originator of the Awards, made an invaluable contribution to the dance world with this magnificent, star-studded event.  (see Author’s Feather Award (Skippy Bio) at conclusion of Terminology Notebook)


FIGURE FOUR - A move that places the free foot near the knee of the weighted foot forming the appearance of a FIGURE FOUR.

Teaching Note:
Make sure the pattern being done really requires a figure four.  A figure four is frequently NOT the most desirable look for the pattern being danced.  In a KICK SWIVEL, if the pressure of the weighted foot swivels BEFORE the return of the free foot, both knees will be facing the same direction, the execution of the pattern will be sharper and cleaner, and there will be no figure four.



(1) Special "Stops" - "Poses" - "Drops" - "Lifts" - "Freezes" (2) Dramatic pauses in the dance that coincide with the dramatic pauses in the music.

(also see: BREAKS)



(1) A "Centering" technique, particularly helpful in WEST COAST SWING, for learning flexibility in the dance.  (2) It also teaches the Follower to stay Centered to her partner, even at a very BASIC stage of development.  The same technique relates to many dances.

Teaching Note:
Have both partners imagine that they each have a Flashlight in their CPB, and that each of them should keep that Light focused on the CPB of the other partner. This basic technique adds control and form to even beginner Dancers.

(also see: CENTERING)



(1) A term used to denote that all of the body weight is distributed over the entire foot by the time the weight change has taken place (Like landing on all 4 wheels of a roller skate).  (2) Many "Triples" are danced "Flat and toe flat", as in Samba or Swing.

(also see: HEEL LEAD, TOE LEAD)



(1) A series of little hops where the Left foot hops to the RIGHT and the Right foot hops to the LEFT.  The "CALL is: "Hop Step & Hop Step" to a count of “&a1 &a2.”  (2) Flea Hop was originally made popular in the 1940s by Hollywood comedian PINKY LEE.

(also see: HOP)



(1) The degree of movement exhibited in the joints and muscles.

Teaching Note:
GSDTA has specific exercises that increase the Flexibility that is desirable for a dancer.. The Warm-Up exercises used in many Dance Classes not only increase Flexibility in the body, but also increases coordination which sharpens the mind and  retards the aging process.



(1) An ACTION of the ankle of the Free Foot.  (2) An extended Free Foot gives an extra "flip,” from the ankle, making an upward move on a beat of music.

(also see: STRIKE)



(1) A form of anchor in West Coast Swing (usually done by a follower) that swivels on a diagonal on counts "5&a6" and then swivels again to face her partner before starting a new pattern.  (2) Old-timers would recognize this style variation as the original "Coaster Step.”  (Not the Coaster of today.)

(also see: COASTER)



(1) The ability of a competition or show dancer to make use of the floor in a way that enhances the dance. (2) Being able to dance around the floor without interfering with other dancers on the floor.




FLYING LINDY (Flyin' Lindy) -

(1) A step pattern done in West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing and Lindy. It gets the name "FLYING" from the fact that the combination of centrifugal force and speed propels the body into a circular motion that forces a series of hops and leaps to replace the standard rhythm of the Whip. This "lifted" action makes the partners seem literally “airborne.”

(also see: LINDY)



(1) Routines of various cultures that have been handed down from generation to generation, danced to traditional music from the country of origin.


FOLLOW (Following) -

(1) The act of moving a fraction of a second later than the leader, and yet still be on time. (2) "Following" is accomplished in different ways for different dances, but certain concepts remain the same. Reaction to a "Lead" is the act of following.

(also see: LEAD)


FOOT PLACEMENT - A deliberate "action" that results in a weight change that ideally falls into a correct foot position.




(1) How the feet are placed in relationship to each other. (2) The Five Basic Foot Positions and their extensions make a big difference in the level of performance of ANY kind of dancing.

1st: Feet Together, Heels touching and toes about a thumb's-width apart.

2nd: Direct Side, Feet apart with the same extra distance between toes, rather than the heels.

3rd: Heel to Instep at an angle that allows both knees to face forward when (and if) they are bent.

4th: A Walking Step, one foot in front of the other, with a line through the center of the heel and the center of the big toe.

5th: Toe of one foot placed behind the Heel of the other foot.

(2) Hook and Cross are also Foot Positions. (3) Ballet Foot Positions use the same description, except that the turnout is extreme. (4) Jazz foot positions sometimes use the opposite extreme. In Jazz, 1st foot position frequently has both heels and toes touching each other.

Teaching Note:
The use of Jazz Foot Positions is not a good idea in Social Dancing because of the "toed in" approach that creates a balance problem.




(1) The proper use of FOOT PLACEMENT (Foot Positions) that takes place between one foot placement and the next. (2) Control of the FREE FOOT is as important as the placement of the weighted foot in assessing a dancer's footwork.




(1) The part of the anatomy that initiates the action. (2) Putting power into a foot or a hand or a hip to isolate the driving force and energy that gives precision and form to a movement.

 (also see: CENTER POINT of BALANCE)



A direction that indicates 4th foot position directly in front of - or directly behind  - the currently weighted foot. 

Teaching Note: In the Universal Unit System and Sheet Music for Dancers - the annotation uses simple, one letter  "direction." using only a capital "F" for forward.

(also see: BACK, SIDE)



(1) In any given Era, the Basic SOCIAL DANCE, danced to 4/4 time Music, alternating or mixing “Single Rhythm" and Double Rhythm,” or danced with one rhythm alone. (2) There are many varieties and styles danced at any given time, but the basic "Rhythm Patterns" will be similar for "American,” "International,” "Latin,” "Country,” "Niteclub" or "Ballroom.” Foxtrot will assume various names, according to the country of origin and the era. Slow Dancing, Two Step, Peabody, Westchester, Salsa, Slicker Dancing, etc. all fit the criteria. (3) AMERICAN Foxtrot uses BOX RHYTHM (alternating Double and Single Rhythm) and BASIC RHYTHM ( one Double Rhythm and two Single Rhythm Units), PLUS Rhythm Breaks of all DOUBLE or all SINGLE Rhythm. (4) INTERNATIONAL SLOW FOXTROT is a competition form of Foxtrot and uses a "CALL" that involves Quicks and Slows. However, the term "SLOW" in an International sense does not always fit with the standard terminology for a SLOW. In International terminology a SLOW sometimes steps on the Downbeat, but frequently steps only on the Upbeat. (5) COUNTRY TWO STEP is a form of Foxtrot to Country Music. The CALL is "Quick-Quick, Slow, Slow,” with a toe lead on the Quicks and a Heel lead on the Slows.

Teaching Note:
has discovered that all Foxtrot patterns are easier to teach, and flow more smoothly to the music, if ALL of the patterns begin with the DOUBLE RHYTHM UNIT. (B) GSDTA Teachers prefer the use of COUNTS, rather than Quicks and Slows because research has shown that students learn faster, and can reach higher levels of performance when they can identify with the beats in the music.

Historical Note: "FOXTROT" is so named because of the influence of Harry Fox, a New York Vaudeville entertainer. In 1913-14, Harry starred in a Flo Ziegfeld production and his little "Trotting" steps were a show-stopper. However, Oscar Duryea, a popular Dance Instructor of the day, actually introduced the dance to the public. He used Fox's routine from the show, but added some Walking steps (Single Rhythm) in order to make it more danceable and less exhausting.




(1) The firm posture that connects the dancers arms to the trunk of the body to form one solid but flexible base. (2) Proper frame requires the shoulder blades to be pulled back and DOWN. (The Key word here is DOWN). The "Down" movement lifts the CPB and "frees" the shoulders. (3) Correct "frame" telegraphs the "lead" to the partner that is following.




(1) The un-weighted foot. (2) The foot that is about to leave the floor. (3) "Even" Rhythm Units leave the same foot free. "Odd" Rhythm Units leave the opposite foot free.

Teaching Note:
The action of the "FREE FOOT" is crucial in establishing the character of the dance. In Box Rumba, on count “3” of the pattern, the free foot is still in 4th Foot position. In Foxtrot, on count “3” of the same pattern the feet will be in 1st or 3rd foot position, according to how the feet pass each other. Power in the free foot gives the dancer more control and adds a more professional look. (an often over-looked technique point).



(1) Dancing alone, or DANCING with a partner in front of you, but not in contact.



(1) A complete stop or “pose.” (2) In the SHIM SHAM, the 2nd time through, the dancers "FREEZE" all of the breaks until counts "7&8.” (3) There are several LINE DANCES, (some old - some new) that incorporate "poses" for as long as 3 or 4 beats of music.

(also see: SHIM SHAM)



(1) A "Side Cross Back" in the "Followers" part of a "6 count" pattern in West Coast Swing. (2) This name and description was popular in the 1960s.

Teaching Note:
The more modern adaptation of this move is now called a "Pull Cross" because of the up-dated technique.



(1) A smooth, projected movement, with the free foot barely skimming the floor as it moves toward the next foot placement. (2) An "ESSENCE" description of how to do the technique for SLICKER DANCING.



Golden State Dance Teachers Association -  (GSDTA)

(1) A “not for profit “ organization dedicated to the education and development of Dance Training through research and discovery. The organization focuses on "Rules of Movement" and "Rules of Music and Timing". The pursuit of that knowledge led to the discovery and development of the "Universal Unit System"®. (2) GSDTA currently provides on-going "Up-Date" Training and optional testing for Teachers and Judges (since 1961) . Certification is accepted by many Colleges, Park Districts, the Dance Dynamics Certification Board and the World Swing Dance Council . (3) National Headquarters for GSDTA has been in Downey, California since 1961 and continues to run it's offices from that location. Member "Associates" are all over the world. (4) GSDTA and teachers associated with GSDTA are responsible for the information and dissemination of information that made this publication possible.



(1) A series of steps that travel to the side, alternating "Cross Behinds” and “Crosses in front.” Example: "Side - Cross Behind, Side - Cross in Front.” Repeat until the desired number of beats of music has been completed ( Partner will be dancing Natural Opposite. (2) A Grapevine requires both a Back Cross and a Front Cross to be complete. It requires 4 weight changes. Grapevines are considered a natural RHYTHM BREAK and are used in some form in a variety of social dances.

(also see: RHYTHM BREAK, VINE)



(1) Dancing half as fast as the Music. (2) Particularly in West Coast Swing, dancers will "Half Time" a very fast piece of music by counting only the Downbeats as a count. (3) Example: A Whip is an "8 Beat" pattern. Dancing in "Half Time", the same pattern would take 16 beats of music to complete.



(1) The 1st measure in a Mini-Phrase of 8 beats of 4/4-time music. (2) The 1st measure in a Mini-Phrase of 6 beats of 3/4-time music.



HEEL CLICKS - An action where the weight is on the balls of both feet and the heels lift from the floor and hit each other.

(also see: HEEL FAN)


HEEL FAN - A move where the weight stays on the ball of the foot and the heels move out and back.

(also see: TOE FAN)


HEEL LEAD - A heel lead places the FORWARD half of the heel onto the floor and then transfers the weight onto the rest of the foot.

Teaching Note:
Concentration on the forward half of the heel
puts tone and power into the "Receiving Foot". Landing on the BACK of the heel inhibits body flow and puts the dancer slightly "off time" with the music.

(also see: TOE LEAD)



(1) A move where one foot steps back behind the other foot to initiate a pivot that will turn in the direction of the forward foot. (2) Heel Pivots only occur when stepping back. (3) Some Heel Pivots require bringing both feet together and turning on the heels of both feet at the same time. This is usually done in Foxtrot and Waltz. (4) Heel Pivots are currently (2005) popular in West Coast Swing because of the interest in Whip Pivots.

(also see: PIVOT)



(1) A traveling move (either Left or Right) where the weight alternates between being on both toes and then moving onto both heels. This move was popular in the 1940's in Jitterbug and also became popular in LINE DANCES.



(1) A "Pause" on one foot that takes more than one beat of music. Frequently called a "Balance" Step. (2) Any "Single Rhythm" Measure in WALTZ. (3) Hesitation sometimes refers to a specific School Figure.




(1) Control of muscles in the abdomen that are connected to the hip. (2) There are 3 levels of HIP CONTROL, the most difficult being NEUTRAL. In addition to NEUTRAL, there is a CUBAN HIP and a CAMEL HIP. In the training of dancers, loose hips are the hardest to control. NEUTRAL is the most difficult and is a preferred effect in many dances.

Teaching Note:
Neutral hips are preferable to "out of control" hips. Learning to control the hips with the abdominal muscles creates a smooth professional look, rather than the up and down movement that is created by alternating bent knees.


HISTORICAL In this Publication, Historical references include bits of information that are directly connected to fostering better understanding of the changes that have taken place in the Teaching and the Dancing of today.



(1) A "Body Action" that "pulls back" like the pulling of a rubber band . It is part of several dance forms. Swing "Calls" include "Hitch and Go" or "Hitch Step-Step" or "Hitch and Run".




(1) A popular Rhythm variation in West Coast Swing. The "CALL" is "Kick & Step-Step" or "Hold & Step-Step" (The Hitch refers to the Body Action - the fact that the body pulls back slightly, before it releases to step forward on the "Step-Step.”) It can replace any DOUBLE RHYTHM in several dances. The name of the RHYTHM is a DELAYED DOUBLE.

Teaching Note:
It is interesting to note that every Hitch Kick is a Delayed Double, but
every Delayed Double is not a Hitch Kick.

(also see: DELAYED DOUBLE)



(1) A beat of music where there is no weight change. (2) A Hold refers to the FREE FOOT and what the free foot is doing for that beat of music. (3) In a "2 beat" Unit, the hold can be on count "1" or count "2.” Example: In RUMBA there is a "hold" on the 2nd beat of every SINGLE RHYTHM UNIT. In West Coast Swing, it is possible to "hold" count "1" and step twice on “&a2.” This is a "DELAYED DOUBLE".




(1) A reference point in the dance. To "return Home" is to return to where the pattern started, or where that particular move started. (2) A popular call also used in Square Dancing and in LINE DANCES. (3) A return to a starting point in a specific Style Variation.



(1) A type of Country Dance Hall. (2) A type of Music that is played in Honky-Tonk Bars. (3) A form of Country Competition where the contestants can not do Routines and are not allowed to wear fancy costumes.

(also see: JUST DANCE)



(1) A foot position that places one foot behind the other in a way that requires the toe of the "hooking" foot to come in past the heel and nestle near the outside of the arch of the other foot.




(1) A popular move in Swing, Line Dances and Jazz Dancing. The CALL for a Hook Triple is: "Hook & Side Replace" counting "1&a2 - 3&a4.” (2) The HOOK is an actual "Hook"  (also see: foot positions). The SIDE refers to stepping to the side (2nd foot position) with very little weight, on the “a” count.. The REPLACE means placing the free foot where the forward foot has been. (3) EXAMPLE: Pick ONE SPOT on the floor. Place your Right foot ON THAT SPOT. HOOK the LEFT foot behind the RIGHT foot on "1.” RIGHT foot moves out to the side (very little weight) on the "a" count. Move the LEFT foot directly onto the original SPOT on the floor on count “2.” (3) The Rhythm Pattern for a Hook Triple is "Triple-Triple.”

Teaching Note:
) A poorly executed Hook Triple will slightly resemble a "Sailor Shuffle" if you are only observing the TOP half of the body. However, the identification is simple if you simply check the footwork. There is NO SHUFFLE in a Hook Triple and there is NO HOOK in a Sailor Shuffle.

(also see: "a" COUNT, SAILOR SHUFFLE)



(1) A "HOP" is executed on ONE FOOT. Standing on one foot, the body elevates (leaves the floor), either in place or moving, and lands again on the SAME Foot. (2) Annotation for a "HOP" is an OPEN CIRCLE, rather than a solid DOT.




(1) Movement to a specific count, driving Forward, Backward or to the Side, in a smooth line, propelled by the "Sending" foot.

(2) Vertical Rhythm that has been stretched "out" rather than "up".




(1) A form of Swing, popular in Texas, that does a "Double Resistance" on the end of each pattern. (2) MARIO ROBAU, noted dance authority in Texas-style Swing, describes the form as double resistance with a circular hip roll for the Lady, as she executes a "Syncopated Body Rock". (3) He describes the Basic level as being the same as DALLAS PUSH. (4) The more advanced styling of this dance uses a very highly evolved Rhythm Variation on both the "anchor" of the previous pattern and the 1st Unit of the following pattern. The "Anchor" for the Lady only steps twice: Once on count "5" and again on the "&" count before "6". Her next step is on the "&" count before “1.” She holds back for count "1" and steps on the "&" count before "2" and also ON count “2.” The entire move is a continuous circular body ripple.




(1) The Line Dance that started it all in the movie "Saturday Night Fever.” The Hustle Line Dance was danced to the music “The Hustle”. (2) The various forms of "Couple Hustle" that evolved in the 1970's included the Latin Hustle, New York Hustle, L.A. Hustle, Street Hustle, Same Foot Hustle and finally, the "3-Count" Hustle. (3) The "3-Count" Hustle was probably born out of the fact that there were several pieces of Hustle Music that were written in 3/4-time in the late 1970s.

Teaching Note:
(A) The majority of Hustle Music was (and still is) written in 4/4-time.
The educated pulse and count is danced in “2-Beat” Rhythms. The 1980s Hustle was taught as a "3-count" dance, but was still danced to 4/4-time Music. (B) The musical COUNT for the Hustle does not change the pattern structure, but DOES change the Rhythm Pattern and the Pulse of the dance. (C) A great "experiment" for Hustle Dancers is to do the "3-Count" Hustle to a medium fast WALTZ. You will find that the pulsing of 3/4-time music FITS the Dance. The musical count for the Hustle is attracting favorable attention because of its strong connection to the music, which makes the dancer FEEL the rhythm and excitement of the music. The RHYTHM PATTERN is “Double - Syncopated Triple - Rolling Triple.” Each basic pattern is six beats of music.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Counting Hustle in “2-Beat” rhythms achieved wide popularity through the early efforts of Jamie and Gail Arias, and Tom Mattox. Along with other dedicated GSDTA teachers, these three worked hard to help develop, promote, and exhibit what is sometimes referred to as "CALIFORNIA HUSTLE.”




(1) Bracing the knees back or bracing the elbows back too far produces hyper-extension. Straightening the knee does not mean hyper-extend. Straighten means to stretch them out, but not back.


IMPERIAL SWING - According to the words of MARIE COOK, a 22 year veteran of the St. Louis Imperial Dance Club, Imperial Swing is a highly stylized form of East Coast Swing. The identifying characteristic is the 1st Triple which travels forward in 3rd Foot Position.

(also see: East Coast Swing, Dance Identification Chart, Swing)


INSIDE ROLL (Inside Turn) -

(1) A variation of a Whip in West Coast Swing. On count "3" of a Whip, the man places his Left hand upward toward his Right shoulder. That leads the Lady into a Left Turn, under her own Right Hand. (2) The word "Inside" implies a direction and that direction is clear in the case of the Whip. (3) Used in other situations some definitions describe the Inside Roll as any time the man's hand comes between him and his partner to lead her into a turn (Inside Turn). Some describe the action of turning to the center of the room as an "Inside Roll.”

Teaching Note:
BOTH of the above descriptions confuse the issue
because the dancer can be led into a Left Turn or a Right Turn from the same position, depending on which hand is doing the leading. GSDTA strongly recommends staying with the terms "Left Turn" and "Right Turn," rather than “inside” or “outside” turns.

(also see: RULE, TOOL, TURN)



(1) There is a whole world of International dance that is geared to International Competition. It is a highly technical form with performances geared to technical precision. (2) This subject is included here to acknowledge those who participate in this particular discipline.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: International Dance has a discipline all it's own. This book is devoted to American Ballroom, Latin, West Coast Swing, Motion Study and Line Dancing. International dancers however, have gleaned a lot of information that is not only compatible, but also helpful in every aspect of their discipline - particularly in the area of critical timing.




Short for "Introduction." The start of the Music, and/or the opening of a dance routine (usually 8 or 16 beats of music). In choreography, it is very acceptable to dance an entirely different style for the INTRO. Example: a "16-Beat" Charleston "Intro" before a Quickstep routine, or a "32-Beat" JAZZ "intro" for a SWING Dance Routine.

(also see: EXIT)



(1) Inverted Units are described in the 1st edition of "Disco to Tango & Back" as a Rhythm Unit that reverses the usual order of Downbeats and Upbeats. The INVERTED Unit started with the Upbeat first (Inverted Units were necessary to accommodate the “2 3 - 4&1” that was the popular method of teaching Cha-Cha in the 1950s and '60s). The count graduated to "2 3 - 4&5 - 6 7 - 8&1.” That count is still in use today and that count is still a popular choice for teaching dancers how to START ON count "2.” GSDTA no longer uses or needs Inverted Units. PLEASE read the following Teaching Note.

Teaching Note:
The Inverted Unit ("2,3 - 4&1") has been replaced since the discovery of real musical count: "&a12 - 3 4 - &a56 - 7 8". This latest form of teaching produces dancers that not only start on the correct beat, but are able to stay on the correct beat of music throughout the entire dance. Dancers who learn the correct Dance Rhythms, consistently break on count "2” and count “6.”




(1) A form of Swing Dance Competition where the dancers do not know in advance who their partner will be. A name or number is randomly drawn to determine the partnership. It is called "Luck of the Draw.” (2) In 1994, the Jack and Jill Competition reached National Championship status. The stakes were high and the "Luck of the draw" was interpreted in a different way. Most Championships now allow two draws for individual "Call Backs" in the Preliminaries. Finalists are usually judged as couples.

Historical Note: At HANK & STANS in NORWALK, California (circa early 1950s), JACK CAREY ran weekly Swing Dance Contests. The top dancers always won, and pretty soon the contestants narrowed down to 3 or 4 top couples. They always won all of the money. New dancers were difficult to recruit. Jack wanted to encourage a variety of new dancers to participate. He had them put their names in a hat and draw for partners.. He called this new kind of contest a “Jack and Jill.” They have now been around more than 50 years.



(1) A square-shaped Floor Pattern that has four weight changes on the corners. (2) Example: "Cross Right over Left, Back Left, Side Right, Forward Left" and repeat. The pattern can start at any point of the square. The two basic forms include:. (2-a) "Forward Left, Cross Right over Left, Back Left, Step Side Right"  (2-b) “Forward Right, Cross Left over Right, Back Right, Step Side Left”

(also see: DIAMOND)



(1) A bouncy form of East Coast Swing, danced to Big Band Music. (2) Popular in the early 1940's, this dance is immediately recognizable in old movies by the “Flyin’ Dutchman” - lifting the girl onto the man's right hip, then left hip, then down between his legs, followed by straight up in the air. (3) Jitterbug is frequently described as the “athletic” form of swing dancing. (4) This style persisted into the 1950s with a slight change of music, becoming more Rock & Roll style Swing. (5) In the 1990s, that style was perpetuated by the "Rhythm Hotshots" from Sweden and the Lindy Hoppers from New York City.

Historical Note: The 1940s era saddle shoes and the 1950s poodle skirts are synonymous with the term "Jitterbug.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The late 1930s and early’40s was my introduction (Revision pending)




(1) An International style of Swing from the family of EAST COAST SWING. It has a "Bouncing Rhythm" that is danced to fast Swing Music. (2) A highly stylized form of Swing, developed abroad for International style Competitions.

Historical Note: "Jive" had it's origin in America in the Jitterbug era. However International Jive mixes the jumping "JIVE" style, usually reserved for teenagers, with Las Vegas style Latin Costumes and High Heels - a very different look and different dance than any other form of swing.




(1) A group of people that have been trained to place contestants in order of level of performance. In many instances they are even required to justify their decisions.  (2) All Dance Organizations have a judges training program. Golden State Dance Teachers Association trained dance judges for more than 20 years.  In 2003, the Dance Dynamics Certification Board (NDDCB) was formed specifically to conduct Certification Training for Judges.  This was approved by the World Swing Dance Council and supported by GSDTA.  (3) ANNIE HIRSCH, the most sought after "Chairman of Judges" for Swing competitions, is also chairman of the World Swing Dance Council.  She is one of the pioneers who pushed toward better training and fairness in judging Swing Competitions.

Teaching Note:
NDDCB Judges Certification Training focuses
on Elements of Movement and Elements of Music. That training allows Judges to divorce themselves from personal "style"  or name recognition and to recognize the level of every performance, as well as the “elements of music and movement that determine that level.




A movement whereby the body leaves the floor either starting or ending  on BOTH feet.

(also see: HOP, LEAP, SCOOT)


JUST DANCE - (currently being replaced with the term “Strictly”)

(1) A popular form of COMPETITION where all of the couples dance at the same time to the same music. Costumes and Routines are not allowed. This is a popular form for "entry level" competitors who would rather not learn routines

(also see: STRICTLY)


KENNY SHAG (Kenny "Speed Shag") - see ST. LOUIS SHAG



(1) The most difficult Unit in any dance pattern. (2) The “Key” that unlocks the secret of what makes that specific pattern work.

Teaching Note:
Isolating and practicing the KEY UNIT of any pattern reduces learning time and intensifies the most technical part of that specific pattern.

(also see: UNIT)


(1) In Social Dance Terminology a "Kick" means a movement with the FREE FOOT, usually projecting out from the knee, but staying close to the floor. (2) The FORCE POINT for a "Kick" is in the big toe, pointing DOWN for good footwork.  (3) There is also a kick that requires a free swing from the hip. (as in a Push Break "variation" in West Coast Swing).

Teaching Note:
Any form of a kick achieves a more polished look when using Rolling Count.
The kick goes out on the beat of the music, but needs the “&” count as a time frame for the kick to return, before taking the next step. Try these examples: (A) Say “Kick step-step” - and then do  “Kick step-step.”  The count will fall on “1&2.”  (B) Now say: “Kick & step-step” as you actually dance the “Kick & step-step.”  The kick is far more comfortable and professional when it has time to return (on the &) before the “step-step.”




(1) A KICK with the free foot, followed by a swivel on the weighted foot. This allows both knees to be facing the same direction before changing weight.  (2) Kick Swivels are used in SWING, CHA-CHA,  LINE DANCES and many other forms of dance.

Teaching Note:
If the SWIVEL does not take place before the free foot returns the free leg will form a figure four. This indicates that the swivel was late.

(also see: SWIVEL)


KICK WHIP (Carey's Whip) -

(1) A specific style of Whip in West Coast Swing, made famous by JACK CAREY of Corona Del Mar, California. (2) ). LEADER’S Pattern: "Back Left, turn Right" on "1 2" - "Lift the Left Knee" on "3" and step "Side Left" on "4" - "Stay in place and kick Right foot forward" on "5" - "Rotate Right" (centered over the left foot) on "&a" before "6" and "Kick back Right" on "6" - "Anchor" on "7&a8.” The FOLLOWER dances a standard WHIP: "Forward, Forward" on "1 2" - (turn right on "&a"), "Back, Together, Forward" on "3&a4" - (turn right on "&a"), "Back, Back" on "5 6" - "Anchor in Place" on "7&a8." It is important that she really move "Back" on count "5,” as this action turns the man around.

(also see: RELEASE WHIP)



(1) The "action" of pressing the back of the knees backward, without hyper-extending. This action is used in the Moon Walk and certain patterns in West Coast Swing. (2) The "brace" action tightens the leg as it braces the knee. Pushing the knee back too far can injure the knee.

(also see: KNEE POPS, MOON WALK)



(1) A stylized move, popular in LINE DANCES and in Swing stylings. (2) BOTH knees "pop" forward on the beat of the music. (3) In Alternating Knee Pops, one knee "pops" forward while the other braces back.




(1) A "Fad" dance that had a bright but short life in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  (2) The RHYTHM PATTERN is " Double - Single - Double - Single".  The "Call" is “Step Together - & Step hit -Step Together - & Step hit.”   (3) The "Essence" of the dance was the Hip Styling which used a smooth Cuban hip on each  "Step Together" and then a combination hip on the "Step Hit."  Each "Single Rhythm" had a Cuban hip (on counts “3” and “7” -  followed by an accented "Camel Hip" on counts “4” and  “8.”

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Lambada was a beautiful dance that was short lived. First, there was not enough Lambada music to make it viable. Second, media exposure focused on untrained dancers who portrayed the dance as vulgar and ugly.  Larry Kern and I made a Lambada Video that was very popular, portraying the musicality and beauty of the dance.



 LAMINU (Lambnu) -

A Slow-Tempo Dance, popular with Dance Teachers in the 1950s. The Movement Unit is "Down-Down" with a rhythmic lilt like that of Samba.  The Rhythm Pattern is "Double-Triple-Double-Triple.”   The Step Pattern is: "Back Left-Forward Right & Forward Side Together " - "Forward Right-Back Left & Back Side Together.”



LATIN DANCES - Standard Latin Dances include Bolero, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Mambolero, Merengue, Rumba, Samba, and Tango. Salsa has recently entered the arena as a standard Latin Dance. Tango is the only Latin dance that is not a Rhythm Dance.




(1) A LEAD is an INDICATION of direction. (2) A "Lead" should come from "Body Resistance" and connection of Frame (CPB), rather than strength from arm leads. (3) Most "leads" take place on the "&a" count prior to the beat. Some leads actually start on the Rhythm Unit before the move.

(also see: FOLLOW, SIGNAL)



A movement where the body leaves the floor, propelled by the "Sending Foot," and ends solidly on the "Receiving Foot".




(1) A Swing Pattern that leads the Lady from front to back,  past the man's Left side.  (2) A "6-Beat" Step Pattern with a Basic Rhythm of "Double, Triple, Triple".

Teaching Note:
This is one of the most crucial patterns for the LEADER to learn in any style of SWING, but particularly West Coast Swing. If the pattern is missed, or not mastered, the more complicated patterns that follow become difficult to lead.. Many advanced patterns come from that basic move. The Left Side Pass, in it’s classic form, teaches body lead on the “&a,” leverage, and control of the CPB on the “&a.”




(1) A "Step Touch", "Step Kick", "Step Hold" or any step on the Downbeat that is followed by an action on the Upbeat. (2) Two beats of music, in 4/4-time, with only one weight change that takes place on the Downbeat (count "1") of the “2-Beat” Rhythm.

(also see: LEFT UNIT)



(1) Three steps to two beats of music, starting and ending on the Left foot. (2) A Left Triple begins with the Left foot free and ends with the Right foot free.



LEFT UNIT (Left Rhythm) -

(1) A "Left Unit" keeps the Center Point of Balance (CPB) over the Left foot for the entire two beats of music. (2) At a Basic level, a Left Single or a Left Triple. (3) At an advanced level, an Extended Double could be a Left Unit, if the Center Point of Balance stays over the Left foot for the entire Dance Rhythm.

Teaching Note:
where to center the CPB in each Rhythm Unit allows the dancer to become more professional. Teach a student to think in terms of where to place the CPB rather than simply where to place the foot.




(1) A written plan that includes the objectives as well as the Patterns to be used to teach the class. (2) A chart that keeps track of what the students are expected to learn, along with the process that will accomplish the objectives. (3) Part of the lesson plan should include the music that will be used for the lessons - and the breakdown (phrasing) of that music.



(1) An away action that requires a "reaction.” (2) Leverage is an "Away" resistance that reaches a point where each person's balance is dependent upon the other. (3) Correct Leverage produces Body Flight.




(1) In Partner Dancing the term refers to fully supporting a partner, usually placing the partner in the air at shoulder height or above. (2) For an Individual Dancer, it refers to the "Lifting" of the CPB to obtain correct posture and Body Flight.

Teaching Note:
A Correct CPB LIFT gives the body "frame” but leaves the shoulders free, rather than rigid. The CPB should be the focal point of the lift. Lifting all the way up into the collarbone creates an unnatural, non-flexible feeling of rigidity.



(1) The 2nd measure of an "8 Beat" Mini-Phrase or the 2nd Measure of a "6 Beat" Mini-Phrase. (2) A Musician thinks in terms of MEASURES, but the dancer relates to the “8-Beat” MINI-PHRASE.




(1) (revision pending)


LINDY (Lindy Hop) -

(1) Today’s "Lindy", by definition and classification, belongs to the "family" of East Coast Swing. Classic Lindy has "Back Rocks” for both partners and travels in a circular pattern. (the circle sometimes resembles more of an oval which gives the illusion of a wide slot) (2) The Basic Rhythm Pattern is: "DOUBLE - TRIPLE - DOUBLE - TRIPLE", and the Count is "1 2, 3&a4, 5 6, 7&a8.”

Teaching Note:
In the early 1940's two styles of Swing came out of NEW YORK: The LINDY and the NEW YORKER. The LINDY was an "8 beat" pattern at Basic level and when you got good you did "6 beat" patterns. The NEW YORKER had a "6 beat" basic pattern and when you got good you learned "8 beat" patterns.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: FRANKIE MANNING of New York City, a top performer since the early 1930's, was brought out of retirement to tour the country to promote the dance and share vital Dance History with Swing fans. He is an American Legend.




(1) Country LINE DANCES swept the nation in the 1990's. They are often composed of a series of "Sets of 8" beats of music (The easiest are 4 "sets of 8"). (2) LINE DANCES have been part of our dancing culture for many years. From the SWING DANCE SCENE, the SHIM SHAM goes back to the late 1920’s and is still being danced today.

Teaching Note:
The Line Dance Community has become a community of it’s own. Today, not all Line Dances are choreographed to Country Music. GSDTA has been instrumental in the annotation of these dances, and the"8-Beat" Mini-Phrase has become common knowledge.

Author's Note:  I have personally enjoyed choreographing hundreds of Motion Study routines and Line Dance Routines. Tom Mattox and I, under contract with the record company, choreographed the original Boot Scootin’ Boogie.



           (1) A term created for West Coast Swing to determine the direction of the slot.  Many teachers were using the term "Line of Dance" to determine the direction of the slot.  That blurred the use of the term "Line of Dance."  (2)  At one time, the direction of the slot was thought to be a fixed slot  - one direction, without change.  With years of competition behind us and performances as prevalent as social dance, the slot is no longer fixed.  West Coast Swing uses a shared. controlled, and  ever-changing slot.  Socially, it is still considered good etiquette (particularly on a crowded floor) to use a fixed slot, in order to give people room on the floor without incident.



(1) LOD means traveling (dancing) counter-clockwise around the room. ( skating, horse races, car races, etc. all travel LOD) Smooth dances progress LOD. Rhythm dances are usually danced in a smaller area of the floor.


LINK - One extra Rhythm Unit (2 beats of music) that has been inserted between one pattern and the next pattern to form an amalgamation that phrases to the music or just to provide better continuity from one pattern to another.


LOCK - A Dance Position where the lady is directly in front of the man and her arms are "locked" firmly around her mid-section. Her Right Hand is on her Left Side and her Left hand is on her Right Side. The man holds her Right Hand in his Left Hand and her Left Hand in his Right Hand.




(1) A Dance Pattern, recognized by the stylized Forward or Backward, traveling move in Foxtrot, Tango, Waltz, Quickstep, etc. where one foot "Hooks" behind the other to form a "Lock" (Forward, Hook, Forward). Traveling backward, it is a series of "Back, Cross, Back.” (2) A Step Pattern where the forward traveling partner is repeating a series of forward "Hooks" and the backward traveling partner is doing multiple "Crosses.” see CROSS, HOOK)


LOCK WHIP (Basket Whip) -

(1) A Lock Whip is an "8 beat" pattern in West Coast Swing. The "Follower" has both arms crossed and "locked" in front, and the "Leader" is holding on to both hands from behind.





(1) A Forward or Side change of direction where the forward knee lowers the body slightly and the CPB travels all the way to the receiving foot before returning "Home.” The travel of the CPB is farther than a "Rock.” (2) A lunge does not move backward because it would become a Dip.






(1) A fast Latin Dance, popular in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. Mambo was the forerunner of "Cha-Cha". (2) An "8 Beat" Pattern that "Breaks on count "2" and count "6" of the 8 beat pattern. Mambo Music has a definite Heavy Measure followed by a Light Measure which together make up the "8-Beat” Mini-Phrase. (3) The "Rhythm Pattern" for Mambo alternates "Delayed Single - Double - Delayed Single - Double.” The "Verbal" Pattern" is: "Lift Step - Step-Step - Lift Step - Step-Step.” (4) The "Count" for MAMBO is "1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8.”




(1) A Latin Dance, blending the musical interpretation of Mambo and the feeling and tempo of Bolero. The Rhythm Pattern is the same as Mambo: :"Delayed Single - Double - Delayed Single - Double.” Surfacing in the late 1970s, its popularity continues to grow. (2) Mambolero, American Open Rumba and International Rumba all have  characteristics that overlap. They all "Break" on count "2" and count "6" of the music. They all accent, or "pulse" the Downbeat, and are danced to medium Slow Rumba and Bolero Music.

Teaching Note:
Advanced training and interest in advanced technique has spawned a generation of dancers who want to be creative and also technically correct. While Bolero was a beautiful and exciting dance, it has literally been replaced by the dances listed here. Many of the patterns are the same, but they all conform to the Latin feeling of the Break on "2" and "6.”

Historical Note: LARRY KERN, Feather Award recipient as the most popular male teacher in the USA in 19___, did much to spread the beauty and joy of Mambolero through Videos and in choreographing so many national winning routines.                          (also see: DANCE IDENTIFICATION CHART)


MARCHING - Stepping on every beat of the music with precise placement of the feet. Marching can be done at a basic level with no accent , or we can bring it up a level by accenting either the Downbeat or the Upbeat, according to the music being played, or the dance being portrayed.




(1) With the exception of Waltz, most SOCIAL DANCES are danced to 4/4-time music.   4/4-time music is written with four quarter notes to a measure. The Dancer breaks those four beats into "2-Beat" increments which identify the individual Dance Rhythms. (2) One Measure of 4/4-time music contains four "Quarter notes" or two "Dance Rhythms" ( 2 Units) each containing One Downbeat and One Upbeat. (3) WALTZ is written in 3/4- time. There are three quarter notes to a measure, and each Dance Rhythm is composed of three Beats of music. (One Downbeat & two Upbeats).



(1)  "Control of the action"
is what allows a dancer to dance either fast or slow and still keep excellent time to the music.  Steady use of "Rolling Count" allows the dancer to develop a smooth, rolling connection to the music.           (also see CENTER (CPB), ROLLING COUNT, TEMPO)





(1) A Two-Hand Rhythm Dance that steps on every beat of the music. "1 2, 3 4, 5 6, 7 8." (2) The "Rhythm Pattern" is "Double - Double" and the "CALL" for the Basic Step is: "Rock Step and Walk-Walk". (3) Country Music makes the dance look like Country Swing. Hustle Music makes the dance look like Hustle. Salsa music makes it look like a Two Hand Salsa from the 1970s.

Teaching Note:
This dance was called "Two Hand Salsa" in the late 1970's.   No longer viewed as "Salsa", the dance itself is still taught in small towns and large cities across the country under various names: “4 Count Swing” - “ 4 Count Hustle” - “ 4 Count Salsa” - and sometimes, simply “Fast Dance.” GSDTA came up with the name "Melange" because it means "a mixture of things” in French. This is appropriate since the same Dance takes on the "Look" and the flavor of whatever Music is being played. The dance is EASY, FUN, and is perfect for cruises, weddings or any other Social Dance situation.

                                            also see: DANCE IDENTIFICATION CHART)


MERENGUE - (1)  A popular Latin Dance in Arthur Murray's in the 1950s that featured a curious up and down motion, (straight leg - bent leg) - popularized by the story that it was the dance of a famous pirate ship captain with a peg-leg.  (2) The Rhythm Pattern for Merengue is "Double - Double - Double - Double." (stepping on every beat of the music.  Recent referrals to Merengue are really talking about a Latin dance in Salsa circles that also steps on every beat of the music.

                                                                          (also see SALSA VALIENTE')



(1) In 4/4 time a Mini-Phrase is "8 beats" of music. (2) In 3/4-time a Mini-Phrase is six beats of music. (3) The use of "Mini-Phrases" for Dancers identifies a specific number of beats of music. This is particularly helpful for any dance counted in “8’s” : Swing, Salsa, Line Dancing, Cha-Cha, Tango, Rumba, etc.

(also see: PHRASING)



(1) A semi-complete musical thought that is part of a Major Phrase. (2) Minor Phrases vary in length.

(also see: PHRASING)


MIRROR OPPOSITE (Mirror Image) - A dance move where if one partner steps back on the LEFT foot, the other partner will step back on the RIGHT foot, just as it would look if you were facing a mirror. The "Back Rock" footwork of a basic step in East Coast Swing is considered mirror image.




(1) A move made popular by MICHAEL JACKSON in the 1980s. This move can be seen in old movies by tap and jazz dancers, but Michael made the move and the NAME of the move popular in the 1980s and ‘90s. (2) The Moon Walk looks as if someone is walking forward in slow motion, although the dancer is actually traveling backward.

Teaching Note:
One knee is braced back, taking the body backward, as the free foot is placed on the ball of the foot, with a bent knee. This action alternates feet to produce a backward gliding movement. This move has been absorbed into the Swing Dance Community, along with many other forms of social freestyle dancing..

(also see: KNEE BRACE)



(1) Webster's New American Dictionary describes Movement as "A shift in Position." (2) A Movement UNIT is a shift of position of the CPB, within the framework of "2 Beats" of Music. If the CPB lowers on count "1" and rises on count "2,” it is a "DOWN-UP" Movement Unit.



MOVIES (Influence of) -

The Musicals of the 1940s, particularly those starring FRED ASTAIRE and GINGER ROGERS, contributed to the popularity of tap dancing but also to "Partner Dancing." "Ice Castles,” featuring VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE popularized Ballroom Dancing across the country. Musicals also contributed to the popularity of the Lindy, Jitterbug, and other forms of what we now call Swing. It is interesting that Charleston is popular in Mexico today because of the old movies of the 1930s that are shown every day in the theaters and parks. The HUSTLE flourished after JOHN TRAVOLTA appeared in "Saturday Nite Fever" - and MAMBO had a short flurry when "Dirty Dancing" hit the screen. Country Dancing spread like wildfire following the release of "Urban Cowboy.”

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Very DEFINITELY people are influenced by the movies they see. Movies do not reflect what already is. They might reflect the impressions of a FEW people, but MOVIES influence thousands of people. Fred Astaire did not tap dance because I did. I danced because I saw HIM dance. We need more Movies about DANCE and less horror stories!



(1) What the Muscles "remember" and can do "on their own.” Education and practice combine to make a dancer “OWN” a move. It is possible to understand many techniques that we are not yet capable of performing. Sometimes what we have learned intellectually has not yet become part of our muscle memory. Practicing a new technique that requires changing a former discipline requires "retraining" the Muscle Memory.



MUSIC (Social Dance music) -

(1) Any Music in 4/4-time or 3/4-time that is danceable. There are specific pieces of music that fit specific dances. (2) There is also music that encourage dancers to dance. (3) Some music is considered fun to dance to socially but is NOT acceptable for competition.

Teaching Note:
Many dancers can only dance to specific tempos. It is important that dancers learn how to stretch their abilities to include faster and slower music. They need to be able to enjoy themselves socially in ANY dance situation. Being happy wherever you are is a desired "ability" in itself.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The question arises many times where someone asks "Is this a Cha-Cha or a Rumba?" It is important to know the differences, but it is also important to know that many songs have a "crossover" sound. In the real world, the music will not always sound like it does in class, or at a competition. YOU are the dancer. Socially, do what you feel. There are times when you will see a CHA-CHA, a MAMBOLERO, a SALSA, a RUMBA and a WEST COAST SWING all being danced on the same floor to the same music. SOCIALLY, Who Cares ? Enjoy what you do! HOWEVER, it is important in Competition to have music that not only pleases the dancers, but is musically sound for the competition being danced.

(also see: DEE JAY, TEMPO)





(1) How dancers hear the music influences how they dance. (2) Most Competitions score a dancer on Musical Interpretation. Sometimes dancers concentrate only on the "Breaks" in the Music, while others concentrate on Phrasing. There are many different ways of expressing what one hears in the music. Each element of music and movement that "connects" the dancer to the audience creates a better performance.

Teaching Note:
It is important for the dancer to learn critical timing before learning to hit the breaks and interpret other sounds in the music.




(1) For the purpose of clarity, the following notes deal only with 4/4-time music. (1) Musicians have their own sheet music and "Rules" that apply to playing music, writing music, and reading music. (2) Dancers have a different set of Rules and require different sheet music in order for them to create more professional performances. Their sheet music allows them to write their dances and be able to read (or have someone else read) what has been placed on the sheet music. (3) Although dancers dance to the music, they work with a different but accurate count. The dancers count matches (but is not identical to) the musicians count. (4) Musicians think in "Measures" and Dancers dance to “2-Beat” Rhythms and Mini-phrases called "Sets of 8” (8 beats of music). The dancer differentiates between the Heavy Measure and the Light Measure, which together form the dancers "Set of 8.” (5) The Musicians "&" counts come after the beat. The dancer dances to a "rolling count" that demands movement just before the beat. Result: The dancers count "&a1 &a2." Every move the dancer makes must begin with the "&a" before each beat of music.

Teaching Note:
Consider that the dancer is another instrument in the band. (the visual part of the music). The dancers’ "Sheet Music" would not look the same as that of other instruments. A violinist seldom understands a Drum sheet. The Dancers’ Sheet Music can show every weight change in a specific pattern, or in a whole routine. Phrased "Skeleton" Sheets carry complete technical notes through the use of the "Dancers’ Count" ("&a1 &a2"). Anyone interested is welcome to request materials from GSDTA that further explain the connecting role between the dancers’ sheet music and the musicians’ sheet music.




If a pattern states only the LEADER'S PART, it is assumed that the FOLLOWER’S part is a NATURAL OPPOSITE. If HE steps FORWARD, on his Left foot, SHE will step BACK on her Right foot.




A lifted, controlled hip that uses neither Camel nor Cuban Hip Movement. This is sometimes more difficult that moving the hips.

(also see: HIP CONTROL)



(1) A style of East Coast Swing popular in the 1940s. Verbal Pattern: "Rock Step - Step Touch - and Step three times." Some of the dancers did all Delayed Singles, with a Verbal Call of "Rock Step - Tap Step, Tap Step." (2) New Yorker, Lindy and Jitterbug were the three names that were bandied about at that time and patterns overlapped in each dance. Everyone was considered a street dancer because very little instruction was available. The dancers taught each other.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: (A) This is one of the first dances I learned as a teenager on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1938. The New Yorker and Lindy were the popular dances of the day. The Dance Contests were called "Jitterbug" Contests. Dancers had no difficulty dancing with each other and although the styles looked a little different they all FELT the same - and the different styles were compatible.




(1) Originally called DISCO TWO STEP, this dance has become a Standard under the name Niteclub Two Step. (2) The Rhythm Pattern is "TRIPLE - TRIPLE.” The Step Pattern Call is "Back &, Forward SIDE - Back & Forward SIDE” to a count of: "&a1&a2 - &a3&a4.” (3) The "Essence" of the dance is the Pulsing of the Upbeat (on counts “2” and “4”), with a subtle upward lilt of the body on EVERY single beat of the music.

Teaching Note:
Once someone experiences the lilting lift of stepping back on count “1” and pulsing the upbeat, it is difficult to imagine dancing this dance any other way. Unfortunately, there are many very slow pieces of music that are NOT designed for this dance and so can feel more comfortable doing something else. Niteclub Slow Dance fits comfortably into an “8-Beat” Rhythm that is often mistaken for Niteclub Two Step.

AUTHORS NOTE: Buddy Schwimmer of Orange County California, was single-handedly responsible for the subsequent popularity of this dance. He was part of the Skippy Blair Dance Team when this dance first came out of New York and was in on the ground floor of its development. (3) One important personal observation was that each pattern started with the back step on count “1.” (4) Somewhere in the mid 1990s, because of the slow tempo of some of the contemporary Country Music, Niteclub Two Step entered the country scene in a different form. The sound is different and the dance is a totally different dance. The patterns have a kinship to many Rumba patterns. One Pattern consists of eight beats of music instead of four.




(1) The actual KIND of note that equals a given amount of time. One Quarter Note equals one BEAT of music in 4/4-time. (2) Dance Rhythms are made up of “2-Beat” Rhythms that are composed of two quarter notes. (3) Two Quarter notes = one Half note. Four Quarter notes = one Whole note.   (4) #3 is NOT vital information for a dancer. The DANCER needs only to know the value of a Quarter note.




(1) An UNEVEN number of weight changes within the framework of the “2-Beat” RHYTHM. (2) All forms of SINGLE and TRIPLE RHYTHM are “ODD RHYTHMS.” (3) An ODD RHYTHM begins with ONE foot free and ends with the OTHER foot free. (4) Odd Rhythms can be referred to as either a LEFT Rhythm or a RIGHT Rhythm.

(also see: "EVEN" RHYTHM UNIT)


ONE-HAND POSITION (Open Position) -

(1) Partners are joined with His Left hand holding Her Right hand - facing each other - but with some distance in between (as in open Swing).




(1) An "away" move where both partners are stepping back, away from each other, and then returning to each other. (2) All of the Latin Dances use Open Breaks. They are also used in Niteclub Two Step.

Teaching Note:
The secret of perfecting this move is in the "Lead" and the foot position. The man brings his left hand into his own "center" before leading his partner out and back. Both partners step straight back, behind their own foot, in 4th foot position. The action is one of the man releasing himself away from the Point of Connection while his partner does the same.




(1) In SWING, Open Position refers to a "One Hand" position, with the Lady at the end of the slot. This position is the same for Rumba or Cha-Cha when "Open Breaks" are indicated. Partners are connected by one hand.




(1) The Law of Opposition tells us that "Every ACTION has an equal and opposite REACTION.” (2) A Push meets with a Push. A Pull meets with a Pull. Pressing Down pushes the body Up (3) This "Law of Physics" is one of the fundamental Rules of good Dance Movement. (4) The Law of Opposition is sometimes stated in dance as “Matching the Resistance.”



OUTSIDE ROLL (Outside Turn) -

(1) A variation of a Whip in West Coast Swing. On count "4" of a Whip, the man places his Left hand upward and around as if moving a "Jump Rope.” That leads the Lady into a Right Turn, under her own Right hand. (2) The word "Outside" implies a direction, and that direction is clear in the case of the Whip. (3) Used in other situations, some definitions describe the Outside Turn as any time the man's Left hand leads to the Left or his Right Hand leads to the Right. Some describe the action of turning to the outside wall as an "Outside Turn."

Teaching Note:
Many times something that works in one situation is assumed to work in all situations. BOTH of the above descriptions can confuse the issue because the dancer can be led into a Left Turn or a Right turn from the same position, depending on which hand is doing the leading. GSDTA strongly recommends using the terms "Left Turn" and "Right Turn” which follows the rule: "Look in the direction of a Turn."

(also see: RULES, TOOLS, TURN)



(1) This term refers to a form of turn that centers the CPB directly over one foot while the other foot executes little "pushing" movements that keep the body turning. (2) There is a "Lilt" of the CPB that allows the CPB to stay over the weighted foot. There is a lilting Movement Unit of "Down - Down.” (3) Paddle Turns frequently start with a "Pivot" and then move into a paddle turn. (4) The Count is 1&a2&a3&a4, etc. with the centered, flat foot being on the beats of the music and the “paddle” foot being on the “a” counts.

Teaching Note:
Paddle Turns are best executed when the CPB stays solidly centered over the FLAT foot. Very little weight should be placed on the "pressing" foot, which stays slightly back and side of the centered, FLAT foot.

(also see: PENCIL TURN, SPIN)



(1) A "Body Position" that is on a diagonal, allowing one partner to step "outside" the other partner without getting side by side. (2) Right or Left Parallel can be demonstrated by having partners touch the outside of one partner's RIGHT Knee to the outside of the other partner's RIGHT Knee while staying "Centered" to each other. This produces a Right Parallel Position (3) Right Parallel requires the Right shoulder of both partners to be pulled slightly back as the right foot is placed forward. The Left shoulder is slightly back for a Left Parallel.



(1) Any one-hand move that takes the Lady past her partner either from front to back, or from back to front, without either partner going under an arm or spinning or rolling. (2) A pass is simply a pass - not a turn, tuck or roll.




(1) An exciting Latin dance, popular in International Competition. (2) It is characterized by a feeling of marching to the music and portrays the man as the matador and the lady as the cape.




(1) The Foundation "Step Patterns” in any given dance. (2) Basic Dance Patterns include the basic Rhythm Pattern, various directions (Step Patterns) and the "Essence" of the dance. (3) A Basic Dance Pattern is synonymous with "Step Pattern" and/or "School Figure."

Teaching Note:
A little extra time spent on Basics always saves time, energy and money.


(1) The Pattern as it would appear if it were stationary.  A Waltz Box is first demonstrated as a Square Box that does not move. However, once the dancer understands the diagram, it is pointed out that the box is danced with

a gradual TURN and is not actually danced as a SQUARE. 


(1) A combination of two or more Rhythm Units where no direction is stated or needed. (2) The RHYTHM PATTERN refers to the number, kind, and order of Rhythms within the framework of the whole Pattern. (3) The actual "sequence" of "RHYTHMS" that go to make up the weight changes
of any particular Dance. For Example: (4) The "Rhythm Pattern" for SALSA is "Double - Single - Double - Single" (8 Beats of Music - 2 Beats for each Rhythm). (5) The Rhythm Pattern for SWING is "Double - Triple - Triple "     (6 beats of Music). WHIP RHYTHM is "Double - Triple - Double - Triple" ( 8 beats of Music).  (5) Rhythm Patterns can be identical for several different dances.  The difference lies in the Direction, Foot Position, Style and Essence of the dance.  The Foundation Rhythm in any given dance, uses the most Primary Rhythm for that dance.  

Teaching Note:
Counting "1 2 - &3 4 - 5&6 " is a valid "Rhythm Variation" for WEST COAST SWING, but dancers develop a better "Pulse" and better body control if they FIRST master "1 2 - 3&a4 - 5&a6" - which is the Basic. Rhythm of the dance. Learning any advanced rhythm does not eliminate the need for continuing to use the basic rhythm of the dance.


(1) A combination of the Rhythm Pattern, Direction and Foot Positions.  (2) A "School Figure" - Any identifiable "Named" Pattern is a "Step Pattern."   (3) The smallest Step Pattern in any dance, danced to 4/4 time music is four beats of music.  (contains a starting rhythm and an ending rhythm).

D. VERBAL PATTERN - (Verbal Call)

(1) The Verbal Call is: What we "SAY" to describe the pattern being danced:  "Walk-Walk" and "Step Three Times." - "Side together Forward and Side together Back."  (2)  A variety of verbal calls can work for calling the same pattern.  We can "call" by counting - by direction - by accent, or whatever the teacher wants to emphasize at that moment.



(1) Any Pattern can be extended by adding an "Even,” "2-Beat" Rhythm at the end of the pattern. A "6-Beat" underarm turn in Swing can be extended to 8 beats by adding a "California Shuffle" (Step Point & Step Point) onto the end of the pattern. (2) Some patterns can also be extended by inserting, within the pattern, a series of Double Rhythm Units. A "Continuous Whip" is simply an extension of a Whip. Counts "5-6" have just been repeated to extend the pattern.

Teaching Note:
In this last instance, the extension actually created a new pattern. Knowing the "Elements of Dance", which includes extensions, gives birth to a wide variety of new variations in EVERY dance.



(1) A very fast form of Fox Trot that was popular in the New York area in the 1940s. The dance was composed of mostly Double Rhythm Units with a few Triples thrown in and was characterized by the abrupt "checking" action of the changes of direction. (2) King of the Peabody in New York City in the 1950s and ‘60s was JOHNNY LUCHESSE, then President of the Dance Educators Association in New York City.


PENCIL TURN - Turning in place on ONE foot while the other foot (the free foot) stays pressed close to the weighted foot - in 1st foot position - without really touching the floor.



(1) All music is made up of different kinds of phrases that join together to make a complete song or musical presentation. (2) A "Mini" Phrase ( in 4/4-time) is one "Set of 8" beats of music. (3) A Minor Phrase can be 16 beats or any smaller amount than 32 that completes a musical thought inside a Major Phrase. (4) A Major Phrase is a specific number of "Sets of 8" that have combined to form a "Chorus," "Bridge," “Verse,” or any other Musical grouping that is a complete musical thought. (While most dance music in 4/4 time phrases to sets of 8, occasionally there is an extra four beats or two beats within the phrase.

Teaching Note:
(A) Standard Basic Phrasing (the easiest form) is 32 beats of Music

(4 "Sets of 8"). (B) Standard "Blues" Phrasing is 6 "Sets of 8". Most songs today have “mixed” phrasing (random sets of 8 that are other than standard.) There is also music that has “irregular” phrasing where there may be sets of 8 - then maybe 4, 2, or any mixed numbers. ALL Music phrases to some specific Musical Skeleton. Learning how to hear and break down the phrasing in a piece of music allows the dancer unlimited creativity. This is vital information for a Competitor, Teacher or Choreographer.

(also see: MEASURE)



(1) Half a turn (180 degrees), turning in the direction of the forward foot. (2) Verbal Call: "Step forward - Step Back" as each step pivots for 1/2 a turn. (3) Partner Pivots require BOTH partners to be in 4th foot position, and to understand balance and leverage in order for them to travel down Line of Dance. Anything less than 4th foot position half turns is a "Pivot Turn," rather than a complete Pivot.

Teaching Note:
The partner who steps BACK is the one who sets the strongest resistance. Verbal: "He leads - She leads.” It is not that she is really leading, but that she understands the leverage as she steps back, and that Pivots done with a partner require a "50-50" involvement.




(1) The same movement as a Pivot, but does not require a full half turn. (2) Pivots can be danced in 4th foot position or in open 3rd. When traveling forward, the dancer steps forward LEFT turning LEFT - and steps back RIGHT to continue rotating LEFT.

(also see: BREAK TURN, PIVOT)



(1) The FREE foot (pointing foot) touches the floor with the toe, as in "California Shuffle.” (2) Frequently used in Swing Syncopations, the "POINT" is on the beat of the music and the STEP is on the "a" count before the beat.




(1) Standard, traditional POLKA has always been "Side Together Side & Side Together Side" with a little "lift" or "hop" on the "&" counts between the TRIPLES.   GSDTA teaches Polka with the following Call: “Hop- Step together Step - Hop- Step together Step ( to a count of: “&a1&a2 - &a3&a4” ) The Hops occur on the “a” counts before each Triple Rhythm.   (2) COUNTRY POLKA developed out of what was once called "Stop and Go" Polka. Later, Country POLKA became the common term for what many dancers call "Shuffles."   Shuffles are simply dancing traveling Triples, alternating Left and Right "TRIPLES."
Teaching Note:
If your student is involved in Competition, be sure to get a description of the dance and the "Rules of Competition."




(1) “Post” technique. (2) The area that stays still while both partners move to it or from it. (3) The invisible stationary point that connects partners with varying degrees of connection, leverage, or compression.   (4) Example: The Leader has a small post in his hand (like a short Ballet Bar) and the Follower is holding the same bar. The Follower is behind the Leader and as he steps forward he brings the bar with him for count “1.” The bar stays in place for count “2” and count “3.” She has been led into a Right Side Pass and so SHE moves the bar (post) with her as she steps back on count “4.” The net result is that he has not pulled her on count “2.” (5) Post technique was first credited to Carolina Shag notable, Charlie Womble.

(also see: CONNECTION)



(1) A Country competition Dance, popular in the 1980s and early ‘90s.

(2) MOVEMENT UNIT is "Down-Down" and the Rhythm Pattern is made up of Although the upper part of the body resembles SWING moves, the Rhythm Pattern does not qualify this dance as a form of Swing. (3) It is a RHYTHM DANCE and the Basic Pattern is an "8 beat" count that can be extended to 16 beats.

Teaching Note:
The easiest form is to start with one TRIPLE, followed by 3 sets of Extended Doubles. COUNT: "1&a2 - &a3&a4 - &a5&a6 - &a7&a8." It can alternate feet every 8 beats or stay over one foot for only 4 beats or as long as 16 beats. (B) A more polished performance is accomplished if each new foot shift starts on a Downbeat with a flat foot. Example: "Left & Right Left, & Right Left &Right Left - &a Right & Left Right - & Left Right & Left Right.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I remember years ago - teaching at a Country Competition in Las Vegas when the Pony was a brand new competition dance. The current champions were in my Teachers Training Seminar and demonstrated the dance for me. They stated that it was all danced on the Left foot for the Leader and the Right foot for the Follower. I stated that if the dance was going to survive, it would soon be danced on equal sides, alternating Left Patterns and Right Patterns. They let me know that this is the way the dance was done and they were the Champions. The dance “Scientist” in me would not let it go. I said that there are Rules of Movement and Rules of Music that will prevail, and if not today - the change would come tomorrow. That weekend, a new couple fro m the East Coast danced the Pony alternating Left Patterns and Right Patterns and took FIRST PLACE. RULES prevail.





The area in the lower groin that tightens and forms the foundation for the connection up through the Center Point of Balance (CPB) and into the Centering Knob at the base of the neck.

                                                              (also see Center, Centering Knob)



(1) An indentation on the sole of your foot, located between the big toe and the next toe - just below the ball of the foot. Just imagine a marble placed in that spot . You want to feel a rolling pressure start in the center of your heel and progress forward, through the Power Point, to propel your body forward. (2) There is also a Power Point in your hand. That spot is the indentation in the palm of your hand, located between the pointer finger and the middle finger. It is this area that creates a firm lead in closed position dances, without the need for fingertip leads or heel of the hand leads.



(1) Refers to the pressure exerted into the floor, pressing the balls of the feet DOWN - to move the body UP or propel the body "out." (2) The "press" is done by the "sending" foot. (3) There is also a "Press" by the non-weighted Foot that is used to maintain balance by pressing the floor. Example: In Tango, when the man does a "Dip" he also presses the free foot into the floor to maintain balance and assure that he is not going back too far. The lady Lunges forward, but "Presses" her back foot back and down into the floor to stabilize the position.

Teaching Note:
(A) In teaching West Coast Swing, GSDTA teaches the basic "press" during the first lesson. (B) “Press”
is vital to gaining control of the feet in basic patterns, in swivels and particularly in syncopations. (B) The 2nd form of "Press" mentioned above is also vital to West Coast Swing. In dancing Triples, the free foot presses the big toe into the floor on the "a” before count "2" and the “a” before count “4”.

(also see: "a" COUNT, SENDING FOOT)



(1) A Dance POSITION where the Man faces forward and the Lady, positioned on his Right side, is facing backward. Her Left hand is behind her back and connected to His Right Hand. Her Right Hand is across in front of him, connected to His Left Hand. (2) This position can reverse to the man's Left side and her Right arm will be behind her back, etc. (3) A popular Dance PATTERN that includes several arm loops and wraps, some form of Pretzel is found in most dances.




(1) Those Basic Rhythms which are the easiest to learn and should be learned first: SINGLE RHYTHM, DOUBLE RHYTHM, TRIPLE RHYTHM, and a BLANK.




(1) Sometimes danced in Skaters Position, Conversation Position, or Side by Side Position. "Promenade" refers to two people traveling down LOD with the Lady on the man's right side.

Teaching Note:
is a "Family" of Positions, and that is the cause of conflict in its identification. It is preferable to call each "promenade position" by its individual name (Skaters, Conversation, etc.)

 (also see: DANCE POSITIONS)



(1) A Rhythmic contraction in the body that feels like you are the heart beat of the dance. (2) A regularly recurring accent. (3) To accent all of the Upbeats or accent all of the Downbeats in a specific dance. (4) Swing dances PULSE the Upbeat. Cha-Cha breaks on "2" & “6” - but PULSES the Downbeat.

Teaching Note:
(4) Sometimes the music might be pulsing a different beat than the dance being done.
Resist the temptation to follow the pulse of the music. Each dance has its own specific Pulse that significantly raises the level of the performance of the dance!





PUSH BREAK (Sugar Push) -

(1) A Basic, “6-Beat” West Coast Swing Pattern that requires "Compression" on count "3." (2) The RHYTHM PATTERN is "DOUBLE - TRIPLE - TRIPLE" although there are many places where the pattern is taught with a “Tap Step” on counts “3&a4.” Latest Current Breakdown: His Pattern : "Back together - Forward together Forward - Anchor in place."  Her Pattern: "Forward, Forward - Forward, in place, Back - Anchor in place."

Teaching Note:
Teaching Triple Rhythm (instead of a Tap Step) lays the foundation for "Placing the body in the right place at the right time with the least amount of expertise." (B) This foundation pattern is a great example of isolating the "Key" Unit in a Step Pattern. The Key Unit is the second Unit, counts "3&a4". The Leader steps "Forward & together Forward" on counts "3&a4" in order to create compression. The Follower steps "Forward & together Back" on counts "3&a4." In order to create compression on count "3."




(1) A Popular "call" for DOUBLE RHYTHM. (2) Stepping two times to two beats of music, once on the Downbeat and once more on the Upbeat.

(3) The original discovery of the "2-Beat" rhythms goes back to the Arthur Murray days when all patterns were counted in Quicks and Slows. (4) Basic technique for "QUICKS" is usually stepping ball of the foot first.

Teachers Note: Quicks only come in pairs. There can be no such thing as one "Quick." GSDTA does not advise the use of Quicks and Slows in teaching, preferring to use real musical count to attain higher levels of development, even during early training.







(1) Dancing "Real Time" is what we usually dance. We dance to the actual beat of the music. If a pattern takes six beats of music, we count to "6." In Swing the count would be "1-2, 3&a4, 5&a6.” A "6-Beat" pattern in Foxtrot could be simply “1-2, 3-4, 5-6." (2) Many dancers take pride in dancing “HALF-TIME” to very fast music. This is a particular skill. A “6-Beat” pattern in Half-Time takes 12 beats of music because you only count the Downbeats.




(1) Returning your foot to where it just came from. (2) Example: In dancing a “Rock Step” the call could be “Rock-Replace.”



(1) "To oppose - to keep from yielding to." (Webster's New World Dictionary). (2) Any time one object touches another object there is a degree of "Resistance" created. It is this degree of resistance that becomes important in the dance

Teaching Note:
The natural tendency to "yield" to a "lead" rather than to match the natural resistance is a real problem for new dancers. Resistance is NOT pushing or pulling. It is a matching "reaction" to the "action" of the lead. (B) The opposite extreme to "yielding" is being stiff and "unyielding" which creates even more of a problem. Matching the connection, from one person's "center" to the other person’s center is ideal.

Authors Note: Around 1970 GSDTA started using the term “Leverage” to correct the loss of completion that dancers experienced when doing lunges. The process worked, and the word stayed.




(1) A regular recurrence in the music of grouped strong and weak beats (Down-Beats and Up-Beats). (2) A specific Dance Rhythm such as Single, Double, or Triple Rhythm. (3) "Rhythm" is sometimes used to describe a "Steady" Rhythm, an "irregular" Rhythm, or could even refer to a specific Dance Rhythm, such as: Waltz Rhythm, Cha-Cha Rhythm, etc. Rhythm is often used in the sense of "I've got Rhythm," referring to a rhythmic way of moving to the music.

Teaching Note:
In teaching DANCE, it is important to use the word "Rhythm" in tandem with another word:

(Dance Rhythm - Rhythm Unit - Single Rhythm - etc.)

Study all of the various ways we refer to Rhythms, and  keep that word separated as a referral to the "2-Beat" Dance Rhythms.  It has been shown that clarification on "Rhythms" - as opposed to the single word "Rhythm" makes a big difference in the learning and understanding of the dance. .                                                                                                                  (also see: EVEN RHYTHM, ODD RHYTHM, RHYTHM UNITS)



(1) A "4-Beat" separate pattern that "Breaks" from the standard Rhythm of a particular dance, either to complete a phrase, add variety to a routine, or because something in the music dictated a particular feeling. (2) SINGLE RHYTHM BREAKS - variations of "Slow - Slow", "Step Kick & Step Kick," etc. Count: through 4 beats of music. (3) DOUBLE RHYTHM BREAKS - various Pivots, Grapevines, Diamonds, Rocking Step, etc. Count: through 4 beats of music. (4) TRIPLE RHYTHM BREAKS - Hook Triples, Shuffles, etc. Count: through 4 beats of music.

Teaching Note:
Some form of "RHYTHM BREAK" is present in every Social Dance at every level. It is important to realize that Single, Double and Triple Rhythm Breaks are actually a "Family" of Rhythms. Any Syncopation that is repeated in sets of 4 beats of music is classified as a RHYTHM BREAK. Example: California Shuffle: "Step Point & Step Point" is counted "&a1 &a2." Doing TWO California Shuffles creates a 4-Beat Rhythm Break: "&a1 &a2 - &a3 &a4."



(1) Those Dances which are confined to a specific area rather than progressing Line of Dance around the room,. (2) At a social level, Swing, Salsa, Cha-Cha, and Rumba are the most popular "Rhythm Dances". (3) Contemporary Free Style and most styles of Nightclub dancing are also classified as Rhythm Dances because they do not travel around Line of Dance. (4) Most Rhythm Dances have a Movement Unit that creates a rhythmic lilt or bounce. However, that is not the criteria for the classification. Swing can be danced with a bounce, or be perfectly smooth, but it still remains a "Rhythm Dance".

(also see: SMOOTH DANCES)






RHYTHM UNITS (1) The number of weight changes that take place in a "2-Beat" increment of music. (2) Rhythm Units (Dance Rhythms) form the foundation of the Universal Unit System®. Dance Rhythms are the foundation for every dance.




(1) Exchanging one "Odd" Rhythm for another "Odd" Rhythm, or exchanging one "EVEN" Rhythm for another "Even" Rhythm is the easiest form of Rhythm variation. (2) Substituting any one COMPATIBLE RHYTHM in a particular Step Pattern. The LOOK and the TIMING is altered, but the Step Pattern remains generally the same.  Most of the time what appears to be a new dance step is merely a Rhythm or Style Variation of something you already know. Being able to identify the individual Rhythms allows us to incorporate what we "see" into what we "do." It also alerts us to the problems in our own dancing, as well as how to fix the problems.

                                  (also see: EXCHANGE,  STYLE VARIATION)


"&a1 &a2 &a3 &a4 &a5 &a6 &a7 &a8"

(also see: COUNT)





(1) A Basic Pattern in West Coast Swing that takes the Lady from a back anchor position (behind the man) to a front anchor position, facing him. She passes on his RIGHT Side. (2) A Right Side Pass travels from behind the man to in front of him, with a “Handshake” connection.

(also see: LEFT SIDE PASS)




RIM WHIP (Wayne's Whip) (1) An 8-Beat Whip that became an overnight "must do" move in West Coast Swing in the 1990’s.. WAYNE BOTT developed this particular move for competition, and describes it as FOLLOWS: The Follower executes a standard Whip Pattern of "Double - Triple - Double - Triple". The Leader leads the Follower into a 5th Foot Position on Count "6." On count "6" she is released to continue her travel on the "Rim of a Circle" on "7&8." The Leader's "Matador" Style begins on "5" with the upper body twisting toward the Follower through count "7" with the lower body catching up on "8."

Authors Note: WAYNE & SHARLOT BOTT, Huntington Beach, California, are two accomplished dancers who put their hearts and their talents together and created a style that has made an impact on the Swing dance circuit. That elongated style has been emulated from coast to coast. As GSDTA representatives, they have been responsible for teaching many "Elements" classes and Judging sessions that are qualified through GSDTA and NDDCB.



(1) A Body Movement that starts in the feet and rolls the body upward to the head. (2) Ripples first became popular in the Mambo era and then grew more popular with the subsequent rise of CHA-CHA in the middle 1950s.

Teaching Note:
An exercise for learning Ripples: Stand facing a wall, in Open 3rd foot position, with the weight on your Right foot. Step onto the Left foot with the big toe of your Left foot touching the wall. Next, press your left knee to the wall, then your left hip to the wall, and Center Point of Balance (CPB) to the wall. The last move is to press your uplifted chin to the wall. Practicing this drill will produce a ripple.

(also see: WAVE)


(1) The elevation and lowering of the body that takes place to achieve the Characteristic of a given Dance.  Rise and Fall is most closely identified with the WALTZ.   (2) The Rise and Fall in Waltz varies with the TEMPO of the music.. The largest Rise and Fall happens in the slower tempos and lessens, in degrees, as the tempo increases.

(also see: WALTZ)



(1) A DANCE Term that requires two equal weight changes.  (2) a change of direction where the "receiving foot " lands ball of the foot first, stopping the "Center Point of Balance" (CPB) and returning it to it’s origin.  A Rock allows the CPB to travel a little farther than a Break, but less travel than a Lunge, before the CPB returns to it's starting point.  
There is some form or variation of a Rock Step in all styles of Swing.

Teaching Note:
The degree of the action of the CPB determines whether the move is a Rock, a Break, or a Check. The footwork (heel or toe placement) is merely a refinement and style preference.



ROCK & ROLL (1) As is the case with so many dances, Rock & Roll was first the MUSIC. A Jitterbug style of dance, grown out of the 40's, became known as Rock & Roll, the DANCE. This is a very popular style of Swing in Europe..



(1) A "Street Name" for Double Time Two Step. (2) The identifiable characteristic of this dance is the syncopated fast footwork. Regular Country Two Step is danced to a Rhythm Pattern of “Double - Single - Single.” Country dancers usually call it as: "Quick-Quick, Slow, Slow." That is six beats of music. In that same time frame (6 beats of music) Rodeo Two Step doubles the number of weight changes.

Teaching Note:
Dancing twice as fast as the music changes the Rhythm of the dance. The Double-Time Rhythm steps on "1&2 - 3 4 - &5 6". (That's 8 weight changes to 6 beats of music).





(1)  Musicians term for "Rolling the Count" - a synonym for "Swingin' it" or what musicians call the "Dancers Count."  (2)  Placing the individual counts in sets of 3 instead of 4, by counting: 1&a, 2&a, 3&a, 4&a, etc. instead of the standard:  1e&a. 2e&a, 3e&a, 4e&a. 

                               (also see COUNT, ROLLING and STRAIGHT)




ROPE - Popular in the 1970s, the Rope referred to the action of two-hand, multiple arm wraps, using Rope styling. The Rhythm Pattern is simply “Double - Double” and is a series of “Rock Steps” and “Walk Walks.” In the 1970s the dance was called Le Roc in France, and Contemporary Jive in the UK. GSDTA christened this particular dance form as “Melange” in the late 1970s.




(1) A form of Social "Group" Dance that dances Routines to specific pieces of music. These routines are standard Ballroom and Rhythm dances, such as Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Swing, and Cha-Cha. (2) Attire for Round Dancing is usually similar to Square dancing.   Frequently, Square and Round dancing are planned for the same event.



(1) A series of Step Patterns and Amalgamations that have been joined together to fit a particular piece of music. (2) Several Step Patterns, joined together, form an AMALGAMATION. Several Amalgamations joined together with LINKS and RHYTHM BREAKS form a complete ROUTINE. (3) A good routine will almost always include an Opening, several Amalgamations, one or two Highlights, a Climax, and an Exit. (4) There are different kinds of Routines. "Teaching Routines" are for making classes interesting and material easy to learn. "Group Routines" are for training Teams. "Performance Routines" are for Competition or Show and can be Solo, Couples, or Teams.

Teaching Note:
should always be geared to the expertise level of the dancer. For Classes, Routines should include appropriate level material - along with enough technical areas that will improve the students' dancing.




(1) A "Feeling" that takes place on the "away" resistance when two Swing dance partners have a proper "connection." (2) A technique for explaining the similarity as well as the difference between East Coast and West Coast Swing. The "Rubber Band effect takes place on the "Rock" of the "Rock Step" in East Coast Swing. The effect is experienced on an "&a" count, just prior to count "1" of a new pattern in West Coast Swing,.




(1) In Dance, a list of how certain actions produce predictable reactions. Collectively, Rules are usually discoveries of what already exists. (2) The fact that these rules already exist does not necessarily mean that the information is readily available. These rules have to be sought after, observed, uncovered, and dissected until their secrets unfold, allowing us to consistently reproduce each discovery and put that knowledge into a teachable format. This process allows others to share the benefits. (3) In the field of dance, the pursuit of excellence necessitates research into the established Rules of Movement and Rules of Music that already exist.. (4) Rules that are decisions rather than discoveries yield in time when true discoveries are made. Example: A ball bounces, not because someone made a decision that it should bounce, but because when we drop a ball we can observe that it bounced. Further discovery leads us to the rule that the harder we throw the ball at the floor, the higher it will bounce.

Teachers Note: Golden State Dance Teachers Association has pioneered research and development that has resulted in Discoveries that supply information to thousands of teachers all over the world. Ongoing "INTENSIVES" serve as incubators for creative minds. Studying Rules of Movement and Rules of Music & Timing prepares teachers to reach new heights in the teaching and understanding of their art. Nothing is quite as exciting as finding new "Pieces of Gold" lodged in the most unlikely places.

(also see: DISCOVERY, TOOLS)


RULES OF MOVEMENT - A "GSDTA" Teaching Module that isolates the "Elements" that have to do with how each movement of the body either contributes to or detracts from our dancing capabilities.


RULES OF MUSIC & TIMING - A "GSDTA" Teaching Module that isolates the various "Elements" of Music and Timing that have to do with connecting the Dancer to the Music.



(1) AMERICAN BOX RUMBA - the most used Social form of Rumba. The "8-Beat" Rhythm Pattern is "DOUBLE - SINGLE - DOUBLE - SINGLE." For those still using Quicks and Slows, the "CALL" is "Quick-Quick, Slow - Quick-Quick, Slow." The Hip Action is a "Cuban Hip" (Opposite Hip styling). (2) AMERICAN OPEN RUMBA belongs to the Mambo and Cha Cha Family. It Breaks on counts "2" and "6" of the "8-Beat" Pattern. This dance is sometimes called Mambolero. Open Rumba and Mambolero both use "Cuban Hip" styling.

(3) INTERNATIONAL RUMBA also belongs to the Cha Cha Family. It Breaks on "2" and "6" and has a similarity in many Patterns to Mambolero. The difference is in the Hip Styling. International Hip styling is a cross between "Cuban Hip" and "Camel Hip" characterized by a "locked" hip on each back "Break."



Stepping quickly on the balls of the feet, one step after the other, with the free foot actually leaving the floor. (2) A "Run", is danced in DOUBLE RHYTHM, stepping toe first on every beat of the music ( usually in 4th foot position).

(also see: WALK, TROT)



(1) "Step Kick and Step Cross" - "Step Kick and Step Cross" First: Step Side Left on the Left Foot on "&." Kick diagonally Right with the Right Foot on count "1." Retract Right foot on "&," and step Right foot close to Left foot on "a." Now Cross Left foot over Right foot on count "2." Repeat sequence: starting with the other foot: "Side Right" on the Right foot for counts "&a 3 &a 4." (2) A “Hook Triple” is often mistakenly called a "Sailor Shuffle" because of the similarity of the "Look" when a hook triple lists to starboard like a drunken sailor. The "Kick" in the "Sailor Shuffle" is actually an "Air Shuffle."

Teaching Note:
There is no Shuffle in a Hook Triple - and there is no Hook in a Sailor Shuffle.

(also see: HOOK TRIPLE)



(1) "Salsa" means "SAUCE" and initially it referred only to a type of MUSIC (Disco Music with a LATIN BEAT).  (2) By 1978 SALSA had evolved from being just MUSIC and had become several different forms of Salsa dances. GSDTA defined those "forms" in the 1978 edition of Disco to Tango & Back by using the names: "Salsa Picado," "Salsa Valiente," and "Salsa Suave." (3) In the year 2005, what we described as Salsa Picado is being called Cumbia. What we described as Salsa Valiente is being called Merengue.  What GSDTA called Salsa Suave in the 1970s, is now called simply SALSA. It has a Rhythm Pattern of “Double - Single - Double - Single.”   Salsa Breaks forward on the Leader’s left foot on count “1” and back on the right foot on the Leaders count “5.”   SALSA pulses the Downbeat and has a Call of:  “Forward, Back - Back & Hold,” followed by “Back, Forward - Forward & Hold.”

Teaching Note:
Observing Similarities,
it is very easy to mistake Salsa for Mambo. However, focusing on the Differences, it is easy to distinguish one dance from the other.

Authors Note: Salsa went through a “counting” crisis when it first became popular. Like many other dances in their early days, the dancers counted weight changes, rather than beats of music. The early count for Salsa was “123 - & 456.” GSDTA spent much time and effort in Teachers Training, concentrating on MUSICAL count. The second stage found teachers counting “123 & 567.” Little by little, the dance teachers started matching the full musical count.  The degree of timing developed rapidly as the counting became more solid.  The top level Salsa teachers today are counting “1 2 - 3 hold 4 - 5 6 - 7 hold 8.” This eliminates rushed timing, hastens learning, and allows creativity to develop at a faster rate.




(1) A Traditional Latin Dance, composed of 4-Beat Patterns, which are usually danced through "Mini-Phrases" of 8 beats of Music. (2) The Rhythm Pattern is made up of two ROLLING TRIPLES. Count: "&a1 &a2 &a3 &a4".

Teaching Note:
For beginning SAMBA it is a good idea to practice the "Movement Unit" using Single Rhythm. The "Movement Unit" of Samba is DOWN on Count "1" and DOWN again on Count "2," creating a rhythmic Lilt that is more felt than seen. (3) The characteristic “Lilt” has been removed from International Samba. The "lilt" remains in Cuban and American Samba. The excitement of Samba focuses on relating the feeling of the music to the dance.




(1) Designed by GSDTA, this popular dance of the 1970s was a two hand dance where both partners started with the Left Foot. The Rhythm Pattern was: “Double - Single - Triple” (2) The call was “Swivel, Swivel - Step and STAMP - Back Together Forward” . The Dance stayed popular for about eight years, and some of the older folks still do the “Same Foot Hustle” today.

Historical Note: The Same Foot Hustle came about as a Fluke - and wound up being the most popular form of Hustle that many Southern California dancers would know in the 1970s. Born in the Golden West Ballroom in Norwalk CA, the “Call” was “Step twice - Step Stamp - & Back together Forward.” That call was already being used for a form of Hustle that used a standard concept: Leader started dancing with his Left foot and Follower started with the Right foot. Frequently both partners stepped on each other. For one of our shows at the Golden West Ballroom - I choreographed a routine where both partners started with the LEFT foot. It looked great and it felt great. It was easy to do and easy to teach. Sometimes the call was simply “Step-Step - Step Stamp - and Step 3 Times” - That “Same Foot Hustle” became the standard Hustle for the Golden West Ballroom and is still remembered and danced today, by those from that era.



(1) A style of Lindy. (2) A Swing-related "Side by Side" move that incorporates Kicks, Hops, and Drops.

1-2 = Kick Forward Left on "1" and Step "Together" (Left Foot) on "2"

3-4 = Kick Forward Right on "3" and Pull Right foot to left knee on "4" 5-6 = Tap Right toe way back on "5" Hook Right, Kick Left foot on "6"

7-8 = Lift Left foot to Right Knee on "7" Tap Left toe way back on "8"

This is one of several versions. The "CALL" for this one is:

" Kick &Together - Kick & Pull - Tap Back & Hook - Lift & Tap Back"

Teaching Note:
Each "Tap" is way back and down (deep drop on the weighted leg). This entire Pattern has a "Movement Unit" of Down-Down, with a Rhythmic Bounce or Scoot. The CPB goes "Down" on every beat of music." Practicing the Movement Unit first is a standard GSDTA rule. The Savoy is a classic example that proves this point. Without the “lilt”, this pattern will not work.



(1) The accepted pattern for a particular Organization or School.

Teaching Note:
In all disciplines, the "school figure" should be as close to an "Absolute" Pattern as possible.




(1) A Country Western Dance, composed mainly of Vines and Scoots. (2) Socially, the most popular among several Schottisches is the "Sweetheart Schottische," a 26 count, same foot partner dance that moves LOD and is done to medium-slow music.

Teaching Note:
Socially, the original phrasing is a fun, easy way to teach and to dance.

 AUTHOR'S NOTE: My personal introduction to the Schottische was in the German Dutch Community in New Jersey in the 1930s. Their Schottische was phrased to 4 "Sets of 8" by dancing 3 Vines and 2 scoots, followed by 3 Vines and 2 Scoots that started to the other side.



(1) A "Mirror Opposite" of a Grapevine. Whereas a Grapevine is a "Natural Opposite," a "Scissor" has both partners crossing in front at the same time and both partners crossing behind at the same time.

(also see: GRAPEVINE)



(1) A forward move on the weighted foot (or feet), propelled by the action of either the free foot kicking forward (as in Schottische), by a knee lift (as in Boot Scootin' Boogie), or by a body action (as in popping both knees forward to do a "2-footed" Scoot). (2) A "Scoot" is a lesser degree of upward movement than a Hop, but is part of the same “action” family.



(1) A "Kick & Back Together," usually repeated in a series traveling backward. The Count is "&a1 &a2" with the Kick on count "1" - lift on “&” and the "Back Together" on "a2". Clap your hands on count "2" (the Upbeat) and you are dancing part of the SHIM SHAM.

(also see: SHIM SHAM)



(1) A forward swing of the lower leg allowing the heel to hit the floor. The scuff is usually performed on a beat of music rather than on an “&” or an “a” count.


SECONDARY RHYTHMS - (1)  The set of "Dance Rhythms" (Units) that GSDTA suggests be taught, once the Primary Rhythms  have been learned: (2) Secondary Rhythms include:  A. “Delayed Single" (could be a "Tap Step.") B. "Delayed Double" (could be a "Kick & Step-Step")
C. "Extended Double" is "Step -Step & Step-Step." D. Basic Hop" can be either a "Step Hop" or a "Hop Step."



SEEDS -  (GSDTA terminology)

(1) Teaching fundamental basics in dance is "Planting Good Seeds." (2) It is important to teach material in the proper order. The teachers who first introduce students to dance are planting seeds that determine the future of that particular dancer. (3) Teaching Grade 5 material to a Grade 1 class, or fancy material that requires upper-level technique, are two examples of planting seeds that will eventually grow weeds.

                                                                       (also see: WEEDS)


(A) - SENDING FOOT:  (1) (1) The foot that presses into the floor to project the body (the CPB) in the direction that the dancer wants to go. Use of the 3-Toe Base is crucial in developing a good Sending Foot.

(B) - RECEIVING FOOT: 1) The foot that receives the weight from the "sending foot". (2) How the receiving foot "collects" the body weight depends upon the dance being done, the direction of the move, and the rhythm being danced. Examples: Triple RHYTHM usually receives the body weight on the ball of the foot first.  In Rumba, Cha-Cha, Mambo and Salsa, all steps are received ball of the foot first. Single Rhythm in the Smooth Dances generally steps heel first. (3) When correctly mastered, control of the sending foot results in the transfer of weight (the CPB) happening on the precise beat of the music.

Teaching Note:
The connection
between the sending foot, the CPB and the receiving foot needs to start on Lesson one.   "Walk Like a Dancer" is an excellent article on this subject. 




A Dance Position where the man is behind the Lady, holding the hand of her rounded Left arm - at shoulder height - in his own Left hand. He is holding the hand of her rounded Right arm, at shoulder height, in his own Right hand. Man can be directly behind or slightly off center.




            (1) The actual lined sheets, complete with G-Clef that allows the dancer to annotate any dance being done.  (2) The title of a complete course in Annotation through GSDTA.  (Sheets are available through GSDTA)



(1) A "6 count" pattern dance, popular on the East Coast, during the late 1930s and early 40s. It has a call of "Rock Step, Tap Step, Tap Step." (2) All forms of Shag have a lilting Movement Unit of "Down - Down."

Historical Note: Fast Music, and crowded dance floors, made SHAG on the East Coast and BALBOA on the West Coast popular at the same time.






(1) A style of strut that swivels before each step. (2) Usually danced in Shadow position, man slightly off center behind the lady. The Lady is on his right side with the back of her right hand pressed into the small of her own back. Swivels are on each "&" count, before the beat. The steps are on the beats of the music. (3) SHARLOT JANSEN BOTT, Huntington Beach California, winner of many National Competitions - including the prestigious U.S.OPEN - made this move popular from coast to coast in the 90s..

(also see: STRUT)



A rapid "shaking" of the shoulders, popular during the Roarin' 1920s, that is accomplished by pulling the left shoulder BACK on every beat of the Music. This action allows the right shoulder to recover into a back move on each "&" count before every beat.


SHIM SHAM (Shim Sham Shimmy) -

(1) A "Line Dance" from the 1930s and early 40s. New York Swing Dancers still do this dance every week at their Club events. The "craze" migrated to California and has become the "thing to learn" if you're a Swing Dancer. The original version came from Tap Dancers, as did many of the "Rhythm Breaks" and "side by side" variations that are used today in Swing Dancing. The 1994 version includes "Stop time" - with the end of the routine featuring "Scoot Backs," "Camel Walks," and the "Shorty George." (2) FRANKIE MANNING is credited with the original version. Frankie, at age 91 (in 2005), was still teaching the Shim Sham and the Lindy. (3) Once considered a most difficult dance to learn, the Shim Sham is now available on DVD, using the Universal Unit System®. This method allows the Shim Sham to be taught in one or two hours, rather than weeks.

Author's Note: (1) My first introduction to the Shim Sham was in 1935, on the famous STEEL PIER in ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey.  Three black tap dancers did a phenomenal job of song and dance that included a slow "Soft Shoe" called the SHIM SHAM.  As a tap dancer I picked up quite a bit of the routine.  (2)  Many years later, it would be my privilege to perform the Shim Sham with Frankie Manning at Boogie in the Mountains, in New York.



(1) An "Open" position with partners facing each other, having no hand contact. (2) The name comes from the fact that in Cha-Cha, a popular move in the 1960s was to "Do your own thing" in open position. It was your time to "Shine." Today you can “shine” in several dances, particularly Salsa and Swing.


SHORTY (Shorty George) -

(1) A series of "Walking" Steps using a "Camel" Hip & bent knees (late 1930s & early ‘40s). (2) Named for Shorty George Snowden of New York. (3) Part of the 1990s version of the  "Shim Sham".

(also see: CAMEL HIP, CUBAN HIP)



(1) That extra degree of performance that sets the dancer apart from the crowd. (2) In competition, Showmanship is described as "How well you sell what you do." Contestants are cautioned to keep the performance in good taste. Recent decisions allow judges to deduct points for vulgar moves or for costumes in poor taste.



            Triples traveling Line of Dance



A direction that moves the CPB directly left or right in 2nd foot position




(1) A Dance Position where both partners are facing the same direction, with either no hand contact or connected by one hand. (2) A Classification in Swing, Country and Cha-Cha Competitions to showcase the dancers as they both face the audience. Most of the time both partners use the same foot at the same time. Points are usually given for how well the partners are synchronized. Kicks should be at the same height. Hands should give duplicate gestures.


(1)  A verbal "Call" for direction, like in a Grapevine.  (2) It is NOT a foot position and not an actual CROSS (which IS a foot position).



         (1)  A verbal "Call" for direction, like in a Grapevine.  (2) It is NOT a foot position and not an actual CROSS (which IS a foot position).



(1) Any form of verbal or visual "cue." Finger presses, pats on the hand, pokes in the back and verbal commands are all considered SIGNALS but are not classified as LEADS. (2) In a competition where lead and follow is important, signals will mean deducted points if detected. (3) Patterns that are not leadable (ones that require signals) should be reserved for people who are familiar with each other’s signals, and should not be used socially.



(1) ONE Step to TWO Beats of Music, stepping on COUNT "1" and doing a hold, brush, touch, or any other move that is not a weight change on Count “2/” ( 2) A "Slow" for those who the language of "Quicks" and "Slows".






           A Dance Position where partners are both traveling forward with the Lady on the man's right side. Their hands are crossed. His Right hand in handshake position is connected to her Right Hand. Both of their free hands form a Left Handshake.. Left hands are connected on top.




(1) The name for a repetitive "Hop Step." Skipping includes a series of "Hop Step & Hop Step" moves, counted "&a1 &a2."

Teaching Note:
In teaching - particularly in teaching children how to "SKIP" - it is important to note that teaching someone to SKIP is a “3-Stage” process. The 1st stage starts with a plain "Step Hop" alternating a "Step Hop" on the Left foot with a "Step Hop" on the Right foot:  "Step Hop and Step Hop." (Each Step Hop takes place on one foot to 2 beats of music). The 2nd stage is a series of "Hop Step & Hop Step," alternating Left and Right Hops. ( each "Hop" takes place on one foot, followed by a "Step" on the other foot). Each Hop & Step still takes 2 beats of music. The 3rd stage is to teach "Hop Step & Hop Step" to a count of "&a1 &a2." It has now become “Skipping.” (B) A "Hop" is simply a greater degree of a "Scoot."  Skipping is a move that can be accomplished with either "Scoots" or "Hops" with varying degrees of "lift." (C) Skipping  develops coordination skills, which actually aids mental coordination.

Author's Note: GSDTA has a DVD that teaches people how to Skip. It is priceless for teaching children. Parents should be aware that some children need help with their coordination in order to keep up their academic skills.  Skipping is a vital coordination skill.




(1) Home of the Birth of the Universal Unit System® 1958. (2) A "Practice Ground" for many top Swing Dance contestants and Teachers in the late 1950s and early 60s. Dancers like "Marc & Marge" Peters, "Jerry & Gloria” Igo, "Jack & Lorraine” Cary, "Gayle & Eileen" Allen shared patterns and exchanged ideas every Sunday afternoon. This was the forerunner of starting SWING CLUBS in the Southern California area.

Historical Note: Teachers Training in the early 1960s spawned some top winning dancers and professional teachers who went on to achieve national recognition. The Universal Unit System® was the training background that gave these young teachers a foundation upon which to build. Buddy Schwimmer, award-winning dancer, choreographer, and teacher is still teaching all over the world. Lynn Vogen, Feather Award winner for Choreographer of the Year, has long been known for her work with young people. She too won many awards including the L.A. Swing Club finals with Larry Kern as her partner.  Andrea Kluge, now residing in Santa Barbara, gained a reputation by winning Swing competitions on the Al Jarvis TV Show. She did this, complete with aerials, while wearing 3-inch heels! Sheila Blair & Corky Elser, top teachers and contestants in the 1960s, won many Latin and Swing competitions - including the prestigious Star Ball. Later, Sheila Blair and Larry Kern headlined in Las Vegas. Today, Larry is still dancing professionally in the world-famous Palm Springs Follies. In the 1960s Pat Armstrong (Skippy’s daughter) and Mike Mikita won the New York World's Fair Teen Competition in all three dances: Waltz, Swing and Cha-Cha. At the age of 17, Pat had become the youngest certified teacher in GSDTA. She logged more than 300 hours of teachers training and taught International and Latin classes for Master International Teacher Jim Cane in Santa Monica, California.

Authors Note:  Pending


SLASH ( / ) -

(1) The Annotation for one Beat of Music with no weight change.

(2) A maximum of 2 slashes can exist in any "2-Beat" Rhythm Unit.

(3) A maximum of 3 slashes can exist in any "3-Beat" Rhythm Unit.

(also see: ANNOTATION)



A form of smooth Fox Trot that allowed no closing of the feet. The main object was to glide smoothly around the room without moving the body up or down. TIFF PAYNE stood out as the top performer, contestant and demonstrator of Slicker Dancing in the 1940s and ‘50s.



(1) A move on one or two feet where the dancer gains enough momentum to glide across a slick floor In a static pose. The body continues to move without benefit of weight changes. (2) Today (2005) there are many slides in West Coast Swing.

(also see: GLIDE)



(1) A type of Pivot. (2) Standing on the LEFT foot, allow the RIGHT foot to slip back past the Left foot where it will start the rotation for a back "pivot turn" to the LEFT. The Right Foot passes close enough to touch the Left foot, making it seem as though the moving foot actually turned the weighted foot as it passed by.

Teaching Note:
The Left shoulder pulls back to initiate the rotation at the same time as the Right foot hits the floor on count “1.”.

(also see: HEEL PIVOT, PIVOT)



(1)) The term used when teaching or dancing different forms of Swing. Basically, Lindy and East Coast Swing travel in oval shapes and circles. West Coast Swing basics start in a slotted area, sometimes described as the man being in the center and the lady traveling from one end of the slot to the other. Slotted dances do not move around Line of Dance but are confined to smaller areas.   (2) Other dances are sometimes taught in a slot at basic level,  simply to make the dances easier to learn (ie: Hustle, Cha-Cha, Salsa.)



(1) A Popular "call" for Single Rhythm. (2) One Step to 2 beats of Music, stepping only on the Downbeat. (3) Term no longer used in GSDTA terminology.  GSDTA uses real count for clarification of better timing.




(1) The latest popular name for a Contemporary form of FOX TROT that is danced socially to slow music.  Sometimes danced using all Single Rhythm, the more creative dancer alternates DOUBLE RHYTHM and SINGLE RHYTHM.   (2) "Slow Dancing" is the latest name that is being used to legitimize a dance that has been done forever, but has seldom been recognized as a formal social dance.  In every era, in every country, there is a dance that alternates Double and Single Rhythm to 4/4-time music.. Slow Dance appears under various names, but is included in GSDTA curriculum as a vital, fundamental form of “Partner Dancing.”                            (also see: FOX TROT)



Those dances which progress around the dance-floor LOD ( Line of Dance.)                   (also see: FOX TROT, TANGO, WALTZ, etc.)


SOCIAL DANCE (Couples Dancing) -

(1) Refers to those dances which can be danced with a variety of partners and still be led and followed in a relaxed, easy atmosphere.



(1) The Solar Plexus is a dense cluster of nerve cells and supporting tissue.  It is the largest autonomic nerve center in the abdominal cavity and any blow to that area causes great pain. (Google dictionary search)   
The area located above the naval, nestled under the soft area, just below where the ribs meet. (an area about the size of a fist).  (3) The Solar Plexus is the location of the CPB (Center Point of Balance) which is the core of all movement in upper level dancers.




(1) One dancer dancing or performing alone. (2) One dancer can also do a small “solo” spot in either a group routine or a couples routine.





(1) A full rotation on one foot  (360 degrees or more)



(1) A STEP PATTERN in several social dances: Waltz, Country Two Step, Samba, Tango, Fox Trot, etc.  (2) The pattern that is created on the floor as the man alternates Left and Right parallel rhythms that adjust to the appropriate dance.  Example: In Waltz, the man does a "Left Right Left" in Right Parallel, followed by a "Right Left Right " in Left parallel. (3) A SPIRAL TURN is a Foot Styling that describes the free foot placement in a rotating Torque turn.  Example: A Spiral Turn steps forward Left, turns slowly to the right (on the left foot) without lifting the free foot from the floor. As you complete the turn, the Right foot has spiraled around the Left foot and is in front, ready to move forward.

(also see: PARALLEL)



(1) An acrobatic move where the weight of the CPB goes down toward the floor, while the dancer has one foot moving forward and the other foot moving backward.  (2) There are also Side Splits.



(1) The act of focusing on one spot as you pivot down a straight Line. The body rotates at a different speed than the head. The head stays riveted, facing one direction while the body rotates. At the last second, the head snaps around to face the original spot.

Teaching Note:
An exercise to learn "SPOTTING”:  Stand with both feet together facing a mirror. Keep the eyes focused on your face in the mirror. Slowly rotate the body to the left as far as you can. (little tiny steps in place make the rotation easier). When the body can no longer revolve without moving the head, STOP the body and rotate the head all the way around to face front. Finish the move with a fast rotation, allowing the body to catch up with the head. This exercise develops flexibility, control, and facilitates learning to Spot..


SPOT TURN - A circular pattern in Rumba, Cha-Cha and Mambo that alternates a 5th foot position and a 2nd foot position for the man, while the lady walks, prancing toe first, forward toward his left shoulder.  Momentum gathers as both partners keep their CPB’s focused toward each other, leaning slightly away from each other as they complete the circular pattern.

(also see: "C" FRAME, CHA-CHA, RUMBA)


SQUARE DANCING - A style of “Formation” dancing whereby the dancers - dressed in early country attire - follow a "Caller" who guides them through the dance formations.  Designated as California's official Folk Dance, on the same date that West Coast Swing became the official Social Dance.



(1) An "action" that makes a noise with a flat foot hitting the floor, without a change of weight.  (2) A "Stamp" is a "noise," a "sound," but NOT a weight change. 

                                                                             (also see: STOMP)



Those dances that have withstood the test of time as a current social dance.  (1) If you go to a BALLROOM, you expect to dance the Fox Trot, Waltz, Tango, Rumba, Samba, Swing, and Cha-Cha, among others. (2) If you go to a COUNTRY DANCE you should expect to dance Country Two Step, Line Dances, Country Waltz, and Swing, among others.


The area of the foot that gives you complete balance. 
Standing with the feet apart, place the weight between the Power Point and the front part of the heel.  It will seem as if your weight is centered into the arch of the foot.

            It is also important that the weight be distributed over the inside (not the outside) of the foot.




(1) In Swing Dancing, the 2 TRIPLES that signify to "Get ready - Get set" before the "GO" that starts the pattern.   VERBAL CALL: "Step 3 times and Step 3 times" to a count of "1&a2 - 3&a4"  (2) The STARTER STEP is only 4 beats of MUSIC.  (3) The pattern, or body movement, that prepares the dancer to start dancing.  In SWING, this four beats of music allows the dancers to determine the tempo of the music and prepare to dance.  (4) The more accomplished Swing Dancers seldom "step out" the starter step. They merely move their torsos a little forward on counts 1&a2 and she moves back on 3&a4, while he anchors in place. Having established the feeling of the beat of the music, they then move into an appropriate pattern in the dance.

HISTORICAL NOTE:  It is important to note here that the discovery of the “4-Beat” STARTER STEP changed dramatically the way Swing is taught all over the world. In today's dancing community, it is difficult to find dancers who remember when WEST COAST SWING counted the "Rock Step" or the lady's "Walk-Walk" as counts "5, 6."  (That was in the early 50s and remained for many years after that)    GSDTA curriculum started every pattern on counts "1-2" starting in 1958.   Every WEST COAST SWING pattern today starts with the Lady's "Walk-Walk" on counts "1-2."   All over the world today, almost all  teachers of Swing teach a Starter Step prior to the first pattern.

Teaching Note: (2006)
As the world started adopting the fact that the follower should start FORWARD, following a starter step - Starter Steps
have been changing to place the follower into a position that allows her to travel forward on count "1" of the first pattern.

Author's Note:  It is important to note that the long awaited  "22 Foundation
Pattern - 2 disc -DVD"  (2005)
has now become a standard for hundreds of teachers who teach West Coast Swing.  This DVD has replaced our West Coast Swing Videos I, II, and III, that most teachers used for the last 15 years.  (Available online at   under "Product."
                 (also see: EAST COAST SWING, WEST COAST SWING)



(1) A Weight Change from one foot to the other foot.  (2) One Solid Black DOT is the Annotation for a Step in the UNIVERSAL UNIT SYSTEM® 

Teaching Note:
The word STEP is frequently used as a "stage" of something - or is meant to refer to a Step PATTERN.  In teaching dance, it is preferable to clarify certain words as specific to the dance.  Reserve the word STEP for meaning one weight change.






(1) St. Louis Shag was made popular in California by "DJ"/ Dancer/ Choreographer KENNY WETZEL  (2) This "8 beat" pattern dance has a Rhythm Pattern of "Triple - Blank - Single - Double.”  (3) The Verbal Call is "Step Three Times - Kick, Hop - Step, Stamp - Rock, Step.”  (4) The Movement Unit is "Down - Down" with a rhythmic bounce on every beat.




(1) A loud flat-footed "Sound" - made with the free foot.   (2) a COUNTRY version of STAMPING the foot.

Teaching Note:
A well-executed STOMP (or STAMP) is a sound.  It hits the floor with a FLAT foot, as a result of the action of bending the knee of the weighted foot.

(also see: CHANGE, STAMP)





(1) Those dancers, usually from the 1940's era, who learned to dance without benefit of formal Instruction. There were no places to get instruction.  We all taught each other, and that is a form of instruction in itself.  (2) Those dancers who pride themselves in being self-taught.

Teaching Note:
is one of the most basic forms of learning.  Most dancers are not aware that hours and hours of "Just Dancing" is, in itself, a form of instruction.  In REALITY there is no such thing as a "Street Dancer" today, unless they are dancing something that nobody else is doing.  If the dance has any kind of FORM, it is learned by instruction, observation, or just dancing until you get it right.



(1) A division of Competition where partners do not use routines and are not aware of the music that will be played for the competition.  Costumes are not allowed.


STRIKE - (1)  An advanced styling move in CHA-CHA, SWING or TANGO.  (2)  A "striking" of the foot backward, as if striking a match. The free foot pushes down and back and poises momentarily in the air before the next weight change.

(also see: CROSS & STRIKE)


STROLL - (revision pending)



(1) A "DOUBLE RHYTHM" walking step:  The knee lifts on the "&" count before each step and the foot lands toe first on each beat of the music.  Body is erect and stretched tall.  (2) Prancing, with very definite, firmly-planted steps.


STYLE VARIATION - CHANGING the foot position or styling of a particular Step Pattern without altering the RHYTHM pattern.




(1) Specific or characteristic manner of expression, execution, construction or design.  (2) Specific STYLING can relate to a type of Dance: Rumba styling, Samba styling, Swing styling, etc.  OR to an individual expression characterized by a dance personality: an "Annie" move, a "Mary Ann" or "Sharlot" move, etc.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Annie Hirsch, Mary Ann Nunez, and Sharlot Jansen (now Bott) are three professional Dancers/Teachers who made significant contributions to female styling of  West Coast Swing in the 1990s.   More have joined the ranks since then, most significantly, Tatiana Mollmann.



(1) Those TRIPLES that FEEL like a Triple in the dancers CPB, but are danced with little or no movement in the feet.  An observer does not see or hear the three weight changes, but the dancer feels the movement and a "practiced eye” can see it take place.

(2) Many "West Coast Swing" and "Nightclub Two Step" dancers use SUBTLE TRIPLES as a form of styling.  (3) A "Dig Step" that is slightly stronger than a "Tap Step", has become a "Subtle Triple."

Teaching Note:
Carlito Rofoli,
Orange County, California, is known Nationwide for his "Subtle" movement in West Coast Swing. His Dancing and his Teaching have earned him the Title "MR. SMOOTH.”

(also see: DIG, TRIPLE RHYTHM)


SUGAR FOOT (Swivel Walk) -

(1) An action where the Left foot swivels to the right before the right foot steps forward.  The Right foot lands and swivels to the Left before the Left foot steps forward. (2) In the 1940s this move was a popular “Boogie” move for Lindy dancers, whenever the girl walked forward or stayed in place doing Double Rhythm.  (3) These are now called "Swivel Walks" and are used occasionally in all forms of swing.



SUGAR PUSH (Push Break) -

(1) A "two hand" 6-beat, West Coast Swing pattern that brings the girl in and takes her back out again without turning left or right. (2) As the style of Swing changed, the "sugar foot" styling was no longer  standard and around 1980, the pattern started being called a PUSH BREAK.




(1)  A 1940s move that is part of the "Big Apple." (a circular Line Dance of that era).  (2)  the Suzy-Q is a series of cross swivels, characterized by the hands being clasped in front of the body with each elbow straight out to the side.

Teaching Note:
The elbows, moving Right and Left, counter-balance the swivels.  (B) The "Call" is  " Swivel Cross - Swivel Step"  to a count of "&a1 &a2."   With the weight on the ball of the Left foot, swivel to the left on "&" and Cross the Right foot over the Left foot on count "1,"  firmly planting the Right HEEL into the floor.   Swivel on the Right HEEL to the Right on "&" and step back Left on count "2" (repeat).  (C) The elbow pulls to the Right on count "1" and to the Left on count "2".

(also see: CROSS SWIVEL)



(1) A Dance Pose in both Couples and Solo Dancing.  (2) In solo dancing the dancer is positioned on the toes, head pulled back, with arms stretched back, hands turned palms out, chest and CPB pressed up and Forward.   The Swan position came from the form in a "Swan Dive."   (3) In Couples Dancing, the Lady is in the same position as the "SOLO" description, except that the man is behind her, holding both hands, which allows her to really "stretch" the Swan pose. This pose is used in many Slow Dances and also in a Reverse Push Break in West Coast Swing.



(1) The reaction of the shoulders following the drive of the "Center" (CPB).  The CPB travels toward the weighted foot, and then the shoulder FOLLOWS.  (2) A good SWAY can be achieved in any Smooth Dance by centering on the receiving foot and having the shoulders complete the action on the Upbeat.


SWEETHEART (Promenade) -

A Dance Position where the Lady is on the man's Right side with her right hand connected to his Right hand behind the Lady’s right shoulder.  Her Left hand is connected to his Left hand at her left shoulder.  The arms are rounded and the hands are lifted to shoulder height or a little above (Sweetheart can also be on the man’s left side.)




(1) Swing, as defined by the Swing Dance Council, is an all- American Rhythm dance consisting of basically 6 or 8-beat patterns that cover either a circular or slotted area on the dance floor. Swing incorporates Underarm Turns, Side Passes, Pushes, and Whips plus Rhythm Breaks, Syncopations and Extensions of the same.

Teaching Note:
Different dances are born in different parts of the world at the same time. Dances come about because dancers interpret the music of the day.  Swing Music of the 1940s gave birth to a wide variety of dances we have now come to categorize as Swing.

Author's Note: In the 1990s communication among various styles of Swing Dancing was brought about largely through the success of Jitterbug Magazine (editor Cay Cannon of Laguna Beach, CA) and the efforts of the Swing Dance Council.




(1) An action that takes place on the weighted foot. (2) The weighted foot presses into the floor with the ball of the foot, releasing the heel of the weighted foot. The heel moves left or right as the press takes place on the ball of the foot.

Teaching Note:
The technique involved in developing good swivels requires concentration on the weighted foot rather than on the free foot.    The "Swivel" takes place on the "&a" count before each weight change.



SYNCHRONIZE -  (1) The act of 2 people doing the same thing at the same time.  (2) Side by Side Routines should be "synchronized."



(1) Dance Rhythms (Rhythm Units) that change the Basic Rhythms by stepping on the "&" or the "a" count, and doing something else (a "tap," "kick," “ hold,” etc.) on the actual Beat of the Music.



(1) The "rearrangement" of the metered beat. (2) For the Dancer, it is the rearrangement of the weight changes within the "2-Beat" Rhythms. (3) Stepping BEFORE the beat (on the "&" or the "a" count) and then stepping again, or doing something ELSE on the actual beat of the Music. Example: Count: "&a1." Lift your knee on the "&," step on the "a" and "Kick" on count "1."   Kick again on count “2.”   This is a "Syncopated Single."

Teaching Note:
The understanding and teaching of Syncopations has developed significantly.   In West Coast Swing in the late 1970s, a petite dancer, known as "Little Annie," had people awe-struck over her syncopated footwork.   With the benefit of "The System," we were able to break down all of the interesting variations that fascinated the dancing world.  Those were the start of an endless progression of syncopations.  "Little Annie" is ANNIE HIRSCH, current president of the World Swing Dance Council. Annie lives in Corona Del Mar, California.




Both partners turning in the same direction at the same time on the SAME foot.

(also see: TURN CHART)



(1) There are primarily THREE styles of Tango being taught today (2005).  American Style Argentine Tango and International Tango both progress "Line of Dance" around the room.  (2) Tango Argentino, which is currently referred to as Argentine Tango, is more of a Rhythm Dance that moves wherever the mood leads. (3) American Style Argentine Basics are "8-Beat" Patterns with a "Rhythm Pattern" of "SINGLE - SINGLE - DOUBLE - BLANK."  (4) The Show "Tango Argentino" in the late '80s spawned "Tango Clubs" all over the United States and Europe.  That particular style is "The" style of the 1990s.  
have thrilled audiences all over the world with their Precision, Footwork and Musical Interpretation.   (6) Year 2005: Miriam Laricci & Hugo Patyn are the toast of every town they visit - throughout Europe and the Americas.

Teaching Note:
In teaching basic American Style Argentine Tango, most of the teachers  we interviewed had been taught the popular "Call" of: "Slow, Slow, Quick-Quick, Slow".  "Discovery" teaches us:  the last "Slow" in that call is NOT a "Slow" but is actually two whole beats of music with NO weight changes.  Counts "7 & 8" can be a "Touch and hold" or a "Drag and hit" or whatever styling you prefer.  It is actually a "Blank Rhythm Unit."   (see: DANCE IDENTIFICATION CHART, RHYTHM CHART)



(1) A touching of the free foot to the floor without changing weight. The most recognized use is a "Tap Step" (Delayed Single) in West Coast Swing.  (2) Tap Dancing (Performing Arts) is also referred to as simply "Tap."

Historical Note: Many of the old-time tap dancers who learned to Swing dance are convinced that syncopations were absorbed into Swing from Tap Dancing, mainly because of the similarity of the Music and particularly of the beat.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: As a tap dancer on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey, there is no doubt that my ability to create syncopations at the sound of a riff in a piece of music is due to my background as a "Hoofer."  Most  Syncopated Rhythms actually FEEL like tap dancing.

(also see: DIG, TAP STEP)



(1) The "Call" for a "Delayed Single" Rhythm Unit. The "Tap" is on the Downbeat and the Step is on the Upbeat. (2) A "Tap Step" is a Secondary Rhythm and should be taught after all the Basic Rhythms are understood and danced.

(also see: DELAYED SINGLE)



(1) Instructing someone in a way that produces a skill that the student wants to learn. (2) Showing (or demonstrating) is a basic form of teaching but is not complete by itself. Showing only reaches the small percentage of people who have the ability to copy what they see. (3) Knowing the essence of a dance, and being able to relate that information by demonstration, verbal communication, and "hands on" physical practice.

Teaching Note:
There is a saying that helps the Teacher develop patience and understanding: " You may have demonstrated, explained and written down the pattern, but you have not TAUGHT until the student LEARNS."







(1) A discipline to achieve a specific goal. (2)  .............(3) Examples include: Foot Placement, Force Points, Body Alignment, Hand and Arm Placement, "Basic Rhythms" and "Syncopations" that are on time -- all in relationship to the "Center Point of Balance" (CPB) and to The MUSIC.




The speed of the Music (Nothing more, nothing less). Tempo is determined by the number of Beats per Minute.

(also see: BEATS per MINUTE CHART)





(1) The specific words used in any given discipline.

(2) The words that define the boundaries of that discipline.

Teaching Note:
Mixing Ballet terms, Basketball terms, International terms or Jazz terms, unless they are identical, is a real hazard in teaching Social, Swing, Latin, Country and/or Line Dancing.  A student of Social Dance should not have to learn several languages.  A Plié in Ballet is really MORE than just bending the knees.  In social dance language a "Knee bend" is simply a "Knee bend."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: TERMINOLOGY is our greatest communication tool. The terminology for the UNIVERSAL UNIT SYSTEM® has spread world-wide in it's 40 years of existence.  Literally hundreds of words, coined by GSDTA,  have been "clarified" and absorbed into the extended Dance Community.  (3) GSDTA has been foremost in research and development of "Terminology,"  with a sincere effort to confine the "words" to the world of American Social and Competitive Couples Dancing.




THREE TOE BASE  (3-Toe Base) -

(1) The big toe and the two toes that are closest to the big toe. (2) This relatively new dance term has gained considerable popularity in the swing dance world over the past 12 years.

Teaching Note:
Teaching a dancer to step in the center of the heel (of the sending foot) and press through the “3-Toe Base” is a great help in teaching centering.  It creates better balance, keeps a dancer from dancing pigeon-toed, and keeps the weight from centering over the outside of the foot.



(1) "Double Time" means dancing twice as fast as the music. (2) “Half Time” refers to dancing only half as fast as the music. There are very fast pieces of music where a dancer can dance swing by counting only the Downbeats.




(1) In the 1950s, "Time" was used to denote differences in the Rhythms in Swing Dancing at Arthur Murray Studios. (A) "Single Time" referred to dancing  “Step touch - Step touch.” (B) “Double Time” referred (in the 1950s) to dancing "Tap step - Tap Step."  (THIS term has a totally different meaning today.) (C) "Triple Time" meant dancing  “Step 3 times - Step 3 times.”

Historical Note: In the realm of dance, these terms were not described as “Rhythms” until after the publishing of “So You Want To Learn To Dance?” by Skippy Blair in 1964.  After 1968, even Laure’ Haile referred to “rhythms” (instead of single time, double time, etc.)  She also referred to “dots and slashes” in her later writings, instead of her original use of long and short dashes which represented Quicks and Slows..




(1) Knowing the actual Counts where the weight changes are taking place. (2) West Coast Swing Syncopations are almost all taking place on the "a" count rather than the "&" count. Seeing that count on paper, or hearing the count as you step, makes you more aware of "Time Placement".

Teaching Note:
Try not to tell a student how long to "hold" a specific step. Rather, tell them the count where the weight change takes place.. Here is a poem that clarified the problem at a Teachers Intensive:

Please don't tell me how long to hold the beat.

Tell me where the COUNT is, so I can place my feet.




(1) The "3/4 or 4/4" that appears on sheet music to tell us how many beats of music are in one measure. (2) Waltz is written in 3/4-time, which tells us that there are three "quarter notes" to one measure of music. All of the other Ballroom, Country, Latin and Swing dances are written in 4/4- time. That means that there are four "quarter notes" to one measure of music. (3) The TOP number tells you how many beats of music in the measure. The BOTTOM number tells you what KIND of notes. (4) There are a few exceptions to the rule, but they do not affect the dancer. Some Sambas and a few other dances are sometimes written in 2/4 time, but the dancer still dances in "2-BEAT" INCREMENTS and the "8-Beat" mini-phrase will be counted the same in 2/4 time or in 4/4 time.

(also see: MUSICIANS NOTE)



(1) "Control of the speed of the action." (Webster's New American Dictionary) (2) In Dance, we add: “Control of the speed of the action - while centering over the weight changes, based on the various Dance Rhythms.” (3) Timing in Syncopations requires the "kicks", "points", etc. to be ON the beat of the Music, while the "Steps" (weight changes) take place on the "a" counts. (4) In a Dance Competition, timing is based on the ability of the dancer to transfer weight on the correct beats and counts of the music.

Teaching Note:
If you have ever watched a really difficult gymnastic move, that received a rather lukewarm applause - and then observed another couple executing a rather simple pattern where the crowd roared to its feet, you have probably witnessed what is referred to as “Critical Timing”. ( precise timing) This phenomenon can be taught starting on Day One. Get the dancer to think in terms of body movement rather than foot placement. Particularly in SWING, the feet can hit the floor on time, and the dancer still be off time if the CPB lands late.




(1) A common term in "Footwork" that refers to the "Ball of the Foot". The ball of the foot lands first and lowers to the heel. All patterns in Mambo, Rumba, Cha-Cha and Mambolero are "Toe" leads.

(also see: HEEL LEAD)



(1) a Weight Change where one foot lands in 1st foot Position, changing weight as it lands. (2) Example: a "Side Together" is a "Call" for two complete weight changes. That is Double Rhythm, stepping to the side on count "1" and bringing the feet together on count "2".


TOOLS (Teaching Tools) -

(1) Something a Teacher uses that is in addition to a specific Rule - in order to accomplish a desired result. There are wonderful Teaching Tools available. Example: I might tell a Lady who kept her eyes on the ground, to "Look at the Ceiling". This was for a specific person - to fix a specific problem. The statement did not create a Rule. (2) Tools are something we use to fix things.

(also see: RULES)



(1) Stepping forward on the Left foot to turn Right and still continue moving in the direction you were traveling (as in count "2" for the Lady in a West Coast Swing WHIP). (2) Stepping forward on the RIGHT FOOT to turn LEFT (The reverse of a Pivot Turn). (3) From a stationary position, one can "Torque" the top half of the body in one direction in order to TURN in the opposite direction.




(1) The feeling created when the bottom of the "sending foot" grips the floor to send the body in a new direction. (2) Imagine a "tire tread" on the bottom of your shoe.






(1) THREE steps ( 3 weight changes) to TWO Beats of music.

(2) A "LEFT Triple" steps "Left & Right Left". A “RIGHT Triple" steps "Right & Left Right.” (3) In 4/4 time, "Basic" Triples are counted: "1&a2", "3&a4" , "5&a6" and "7&a8". (4) In 3/4 time, a WALTZ can be counted: "1 2 3 & 4 5 6" OR using Rolling Count  “&a1 &a2 &a3 - &a4 &a5 &a6”

Teaching Note:
Keeping the CPB over the Unit Foot is a Rule that works wonders for teaching technique, even at Basic level. Stepping Left & Right Left, the CPB stays over the Left foot for the entire Triple. That exercise develops good Triples in Basic Swing Classes.




(1) The name of a pattern in West Coast Swing. This "4-Beat" Rhythm Break is danced in a one hand, open position, with the Lady at the end of the slot. (2) He steps "Left Right Left and Right Left Right", staying in place while he leads the lady into a "Right & Left Right and a Left & Right Left. The Count is: "1&a2 - 3&a4" He swivels the lady to her Right on "&a" before "1" and to her left on the "&a" before count "3".

Teaching Note:
This is an excellent basic pattern for teaching any form of Swing. It teaches the man to lead the lady from his center, rather than arm leading. This pattern teaches the lady how to press her foot down into the floor, creating a swivel action, keeping the knee pointing in the same direction as the foot. This action teaches both partners how to “center” over the "UNIT FOOT" in order to make the Triples feel more comfortable and controlled. This is the first pattern taught in the GSDTA curriculum in all forms of Swing.




(1) The Rhythm Pattern is "DOUBLE - TRIPLE - TRIPLE" and the "Count" is "1 2 - 3&4 - 5&6".

Teaching Note:
This dance is the same as Regular Country Two Step, except that the Single Rhythm Units have been replaced with Triple Rhythm Units.




(1) "Trots" are all DOUBLE RHYTHM running steps - stepping on every beat of the music - and danced on the Ball of the foot.

(also see: RUN, WALK)



(1) A Dance step from the 1940s that steps straight ahead and then moves the Toe out to the side (Weight centered on the heel). (2) Step forward Left on count "1" and do a "Toe Fan" on count "2." Step forward Right on count "3" and do a "Toe Fan" on count "4." (3) A characteristic Hand Styling for Truckin' is to shake the pointer finger in the air, in time with the music and each foot placement.

Teaching Note:
Truckin' has a Movement Unit of "Down-Down".
When any dance has a Movement Unit, it is important to teach that movement FIRST. The movement is part of the "Essence" of the dance. TRUCKIN'' was easy to do in the 1940s because the dancers were already familiar with the movement. It was the same movement as the "subtle bounce" in the Jitterbug and Balboa. Truckin' was part of the "Big Apple" in the 1940's.




(1) A term that covers many different moves that have essentially the same basis for execution. (2) In SWING, any kind of TUCK (East Coast, West Coast, Imperial, etc.) can be done if the lady turns left before turning right. Example: SHE counts "1-2, 3&a4" (turning left on 3 and right on 4) and completes the pattern with counts "5&a6".

Teaching Note:
There are moves in Country Two Step and Fox Trot that SEEM like TUCKS or PRE-LEADS, but are actually brought about by dancing Contra-Body on the beat before the Right Turn.





TWO BEAT INCREMENT ("2-Beat" Increment) -

(1) The smallest measurement or "UNIT" of Dance. (2) All step patterns, in all dances danced to 4/4 time music, are composed of two or more specific Rhythms. Each Rhythm is confined to one  “2-Beat” Rhythm Unit.

Teaching Note:
Line Dancing, Social Dance, Country Dance, Ballroom Dance - no matter what kind of dance (to 4/4 time music) it will be easier to teach and easier to learn if you break the patterns down into specific "2-Beat" increments.




A dance position where both partners are joined by both hands. His Left Hand to her Right and His Right hand to her Left. If no further clarification is made, it is assumed the Lady is facing the man, as in Swing.




An early form of Fox Trot that got it's name from stepping twice (Quick-Quick) before stepping once (Slow) The original Fox Trot was all "Quicks".0




(1) The smallest increment of Dance. (2) Two Beats of Music in 4/4-time or 3 beats of music in 3/4-time. (3) For the ANNOTATION of a Unit, each RHYTHM UNIT is encased in a rectangle for easy identification.




(1) "FLASH CARDS" designed to visually note the RHYTHMS in the ANNOTATION SYSTEM of the UNIVERSAL UNIT SYSTEM®. (2) These visual aids are particularly helpful in public education, or anywhere the teacher can have the cards displayed where the student can see the number of weight changes in each rhythm. The CARDS facilitate learning and also contribute to developing creativity at it's most basic form.



(1) A LEFT UNIT keeps the CPB centered over the Left foot for two beats of music. A RIGHT UNIT keeps the CPB centered over the Right foot for two beats of music. (2) At a Basic level learning the concept of "Weight over the Unit Foot" will produce better centered "Triples" that look more professional. (3) A Left Triple keeps the CPB over the Left Foot. A Right Triple keeps the CPB over the Right foot. (4) A Double Rhythm Unit splits the CPB to alternate or vary the placement of the CPB within the 2 beats of music.

Teaching Note:
Basic students
who learn how to use the UNIT FOOT in relationship to their "Center" (CPB) reap great rewards when more advanced material is performed. This concept trains the dancer to think in terms of how to move the body, rather than where to place the feet. It is the Body that dances. Foot placement is the underpinning that supports the center.

(also see: TRIPLE RHYTHM)



(1) A method of training dancers that emphasizes connecting the Dancer to the MUSIC - starting on lesson ONE. "The SYSTEM" concentrates on ELEMENTS of MUSIC and TIMING and ELEMENTS of MOVEMENT. (2) This "System" isolates the components and covers ALL forms of dance, Social level to Performance level. (3) This is the Trademark for the teaching system and system of ANNOTATION that is the basis for Certification through the Golden State Dance Teachers Association.

(also see: RHYTHM CHART, the FORWARD in the front of the book)





(1) The Grand Daddy of National Swing Dance Conventions. Every Thanksgiving week-end, for 17 years, the event was held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Ca. (2) Founders and Organizers for the 1st 17 years were Jack and Mary Ann Bridges. (3) The year 2000 celebrated the 18th annual Convention. In 2003 a new Board of Directors has taken the event to an even broader scope and changed the location.







(1) The action of the CPB in each "2-Beat" Rhythm, in relationship to the leg action: "Down-Up" - "Up-Down"- "Down -Down" - "Up-Up."
Vertical Rhythm is the foundation for a MOVEMENT UNIT.  (3) Samba has a Movement Unit of "Down-Down" in opposition to Niteclub Two Step, which has a Movement Unit of "Up-Up."






(1) A shorter version of a Grapevine. (2) A "zig-zag" move that fits into many different dances. A Basic Vine example: "Side, Cross Behind - Side, Touch" to a Count of "1 2 - 3 4". Most Line Dances use 3 steps with a "Touch", "Brush, "Heel", "Stomp", or "Kick" on Count "4" to free the other foot to reverse the direction.




(1) A Dance Walk in Fox Trot is usually SINGLE RHYTHM (1 step to 2 beats of music). The "CALL" could be "Step Brush - Step Brush", stepping forward on Count "1", brushing one knee to the other on Count "2" - stepping forward again on Count "3" and brushing through on Count "4". A Fox Trot "Walk" is almost always danced with a "Heel lead". (2) “ Walk-Walk” is DOUBLE RHYTHM and is an important term in West Coast Swing. The followers part of most West Coast Swing patterns start with a “Walk-Walk”

Teaching Note:
In WCS, in order to be able to center properly over the correct foot, the weight should land in the arch area on counts “1 - 2” of the pattern. Many dancers choose to land toe first because it allows a smooth look with the least amount of effort and expertise. Landing on the front part of the heel produces stronger centering and body flight  However, heel leads take more effort and control to keep from landing on the back of the heel.

(also see: RUN, STRUT, TROT)



(1) A Dance done to 3/4 time music (One Down Beat and Two Up Beats).
(2) The characteristic of Waltz is the Rise and Fall. The degree of Rise and Fall changes with the tempo. The slower the tempo, the greater the Rise and Fall.  (3) AMERICAN WALTZ consists primarily of "6 beat" Patterns that match the Music when each new pattern is started on the "Heavy" Measure. (4) COUNTRY WALTZ is primarily medium tempo but has a wider range in the slow tempos. This leads to a variety of syncopations Country Waltz is distinguished by patterns that pass the feet in a progressive drive around LOD. The essence and character of Country Waltz is further enhanced by the country dress code, complete with hats and boots. (5) INTERNATIONAL WALTZ is the slowest form, and therefore uses the most syncopations to fill in the time slots. Slow music requires a greater degree of measured movement. (6) VIENNESE WALTZ is the fastest variety, and uses a lot of SINGLE RHYTHM rather than Triples. (7) Both American and Country Waltz are medium tempo and share overlapping tempos in both the slow end and the faster tempos.

Teaching Note:
It is important to count all six beats of each pattern. If counted in "3's", dancers have difficulty recognizing the "extra 3's" that may appear in the phrasing of the music.  Count "1 2 3 and 4 5 6". Counting “6’s” conditions the Leader to recognize when he needs to change footwork to match the phrasing of the music. Waltz is performed at it’s best when counted out in Rolling Count. (&a1 &a2 &a3 - &a4 &a5 &a6)




(1) A Body Ripple that starts at the top and Ripples down. (2) Waves were very popular moves in Swing in the 1990's. (3) An exercise for practicing a "Wave": Standing with your back flat against a wall, with right heel against the wall and Left foot forward: Keep your back pressed to the wall. Now, trying to keep your back pressed against the wall, Press your chin straight forward , stretching toward your forward foot. As the chin reaches its full stretch, press the head up and back toward the wall. A Ripple effect will start at your chin and go down to your feet.

(also see: RIPPLE)


WEEDS - Why have the word “WEED” in a Dictionary of Dance ? By popular request. A "WEED" is something we plant in the minds of students when we give them anything less than the best we have to offer. We are guilty of "Planting Weeds" when we:

(1) Count patterns by counting steps or moves instead of beats of music.

(2) Teaching Patterns without relating the pattern to a beat of music.

(3) Assuming people "Just want to have Fun" - People DO want to have fun, but they also want to learn.

Teaching Note:
This little poem prompted the request for this clarification.

Be careful of the seeds you Plant:

No matter how much you water the seed -

If you PLANT a weed - you GROW a weed.

(also see: SEEDS)



(1) The "supporting" foot. (2) The foot that supports the "Center Point of Balance" (CPB) with full weight.




(1) A highly stylized form of Swing that is identifiable by two main characteristics: (a) it is a slotted dance distinguished by it's love affair with syncopations and musical interpretation (b) The follower does a "Walk-Walk" traveling forward on counts "1" and "2" of each pattern. (2) In the 1950's, this dance was called "Western Swing" - "Sophisticated Swing" and sometimes simply "Slot Swing" in the Chain Studios. Many Studios still use those names today. (3) West Coast Swing was declared the official State Social Dance of California on October 1st, 1988.

Teaching Note:
West Coast Swing is an evolving dance that is consistently “up-to-date!. Today, this dance requires a "50-50" partnership. It is an "educated" dance where the "follower" needs to know as much about the dance as the "leader."  West Coast Swing is one of the few that reflects the social attitudes of the day: Although HE is the leader and sets the tone of the dance, SHE has the freedom to interpret the music and use syncopations in patterns that he might not even know (or care to know). This "Partnership" can be compared to Jazz musicians, where one person goes off on a tangent while the other players keep the beat. West Coast Swing is literally a "High Tech" GAME played to music.

Historical Note: The name "WEST COAST SWING", didn't surface into mainstream Swing Circles until the middle 1960's. In 1958, with the opening of the Skippy Blair Studios in Downey, California, "Western" Swing" was not a salable item (Nothing Western was popular in Downey in 1958). We told the Chamber of Commerce, and anyone else who would listen, that "Western" really meant "West Coast". Jim, editor of the Herald American remarked: "then why don't you say that ?" The new ads advertised West Coast Swing (1958).   When the GOLDEN WEST BALLROOM opened in Norwalk, California, "West Coast Swing" was on the Marquee as the Dance being taught every W3dnesday night.  (for 13 years - 1967 through 1980).





WHIP (The Dance) -

The style of Swing that is done in Houston and other parts of Texas.

(also see: HOUSTON WHIP)


WHIP (The Step Pattern) -

(1) An "8 beat" Step Pattern in all forms of Swing. Standard Whip Rhythm is “Double, Triple, Double, Triple”. Rhythm Variations include: Tap Steps, Kick Steps, etc. (2) In East Coast Swing, the Whip is a circular pattern that revolves 1.5 times. It is released on "7&8". (3) In West Coast Swing, the release is on count "4" in a Release Whip, and on count "5" in a Power Whip. (4) Basic West Coast Swing Whip "Call": (4-a) He: "Back Left, Turn Right" on "1 2" - "Back &, In Place, Side" on "3 &a4" (Start rotating right on Count "4" - and rotate through “4&a”) - "Cross on 5, & Side 6" (This places him in a crossed position with the right foot crossed over the left foot) -& an "Anchor in Place" on "7&a8". (4-b) She: "Forward, Forward" on "1 2" - (rotate right on "&a") "Back &, Together, Forward" on "3&a4" - (rotate right on "&a") - drive "Back &a Back" on "5&a 6" - "Anchor in Place" on "7&a8". (5) It is important that she really drive Back on count "5”, followed by another Back step on 6". This action turns the man around. It also contributes to a better Continuous Whip.



(1) A World-wide, non-profit organization, dedicated to "Communication" and "Education" in the World of Swing Dancing. (2) Our  National Headquarters is currently in Corona Del Mar, California, and we have Associates all over the world.  (3) Training Seminars for Teachers, Judges and Serious Students has kept the "Discovery" process alive and well for many years.  For current information, Board of Directors, Events etc. go online at:  



(1) a two hand Dance Position that has the Lady in the center with the man's arms surrounding her.   (2) Cradle and Cuddle are two alternative names for the same move. (3.) Cliff Gewecke suggested that in that “WRAP”  is the last word in our Terminology Notebook, perhaps this paragraph really  IS the WRAP!



(1)  GSDTA  teaches 3 separate Body Zones. but recognizes and teaches only one "Center Point of Balance"   (2)  The HIP ZONE covers the top of the hip bone down to where the hip socket connects to the leg.  (3)  The SHOULDER ZONE goes from the top of the shoulders down through the lower edge of the rib cage.  (4) the CENTER ZONE ties everything together by overlapping the lower edge of the ribcage and the upper tip of the hips.  By tying the Zones together, the body achieves a lifted, more professional look, with a greater degree of control.


PLEASE NOTE:  Major updates (additions and/or re-writes) have been performed on 5-29-06.   Minor updates will not be listed.