Index of pages of LBDC Website FAQs

Glossary of Ballroom Dance Terms


  1. A weight change that closely simulates a common movement or technique. See Pivot Action.

  2. A movement assigned a step number in the chart, that has no weight change associated with it. Example: steps 2 and 3 of the Quarter Turn Left for Leader, in Quickstep


Refers to the direction the feet are aimed relative to the room and to the line of dance. Alignment is used in Ballroom because dances progress around the dance floor See also CHART TERMS and ALIGNMENT DIAGRAM.


A combination of two or more movements, components. or complete figures.

Amount of Turn

A measurement in fractions, of how much turn is made on one foot, or between two or more steps. The amount of turn, therefore, is determined by the feet (not body). See also CHART TERMS and AMOUNT OF TURN DIAGRAM


The natural up and down" effect of the body when stepping from foot to foot. As the feet divide, the body moves closer to the floor. As the feet collect, the body returns to normal height. One can observe the arc effect and compare height differences, with feet apart vs together, by walking toward a mirror Note Rise & fall are affected by arc.


Center of rotation. There are three axes:

  1. The point between two feet that twist, around which both sides of the body rotate evenly also called Central, or Spinal Axis:

  2. The point on one fixed side of the body, around which the free side rotates, also called Side Axis;

  3. The point outside the perimeter of the body, in other words a point around which both the Leader and Follower may rotate, but neither occupy, also called Outside Axis, or Shared Axis.

Backward Walk

The precise, specific way to take a backward step in the Ballroom dances, which is essential for moving with grace and power. The example below uses the RF moving backward. The technique is the same for the LF.

  • Stand in an upright position with the feet together. Weight is on the LF, poised slightly forward.

  • Begin by swinging the R leg backward from the hip joint, first with the ball of the foot in contact with the floor, then extending the foot so the toes skim the floor. As the toes of the RF move past the L heel, the toes of the LF begin to release from the floor, commencing to transfer weight onto the ball of the RF.

  • At the fullest extent of the stride, the weight is equally divided between the ball of the RF foot and the heel of the LF, with the R knee slightly flexed and the L knee straight.

  • The LF then commences to move backward, first with the heel and then with ball of the foot skimming the floor.

  • As the LF moves backward toward the RF. the R heel will lower slowly and with control.

  • When the weight is fully taken onto the RF, the LF will be almost closed to the RF without weight.

  • In Tango the feet will be slightly lifted off the floor and placed into position, rather than skimming the floor. See also: Forward Walk.


The correct distribution and maintenance of body weight in order to maintain equilibrium Ballroom Dances. The official International Style term for the following Five dances: Waltz, Tango. Foxtrot. Quickstep and Viennese Waltz. All of these dances travel around the floor along the Line Of Dance The term previously used for these dances was “Standard', and is still used interchangeably with Ballroom.


Making the transition smooth and seamless from one figure to the next, or from one dance position to the next. This is accomplished by adjusting body position, balance or weight during the last few steps of a figure.

Blocks of Weight

The five primary sections of the body, (arranged vertically in a standing position), including the head, shoulders rib cage, hips and legs.

Body Contact

The area of physical contact between the Leader's and Follower's bodies, (normally, right-front to right-front contact made from the upper the abdominal area to the base of the nb cage of each partner), while dancing This is the proper body relationship used when dancing any of the five Ballroom dances while in Closed Position See also: DANCE POSITION DEFINITIONS and CHART TERMS.

Body Flight

The natural release of body weight, from a swinging action, over one or more steps Body flight is found in the swing dances Waltz. Foxtrot. Viennese Waltz and Quickstep.

Body Rise

Elevation of the body created by straightening the knees and stretching the front of the body, with or without foot rise.

Body Swing

A pendular-type swinging action of the torso used in Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep to varying degrees. (Sometimes called Pendular Swing).

Body Turn

The amount of turn of the torso when it differs from that of the feet. Body turn is used for function as well as for snape and style See also: Body Turns Less and Body Turns More.

Body Completes Turn

When the body “catches up” with the amount of turn made by the feet, typically on the third step of the back half of a turn in which the feet close.

Body Turns Less

When the feet turn more than the body, typically on the side step, (the second step), on the back half of turns.

Broken Sway

  1. A body sway that does not result from the natural swinging action of the body Example: The checked Tipple Chassé, under turned - at a corner, in Silver level Quickstep.

  2. A sway used on Picture Lines, where the sway is toward the un-weighted leg and foot. Example: The Oversway, in Gold level Tango.

  3. An incorrect dropping of one side of the body during a normal sway.

Brush/Brushing Action

The action of closing the moving foot to the standing foot and then out again, between weight changes.


  1. The middle of the dance floor, (an imaginary line called the Center line, running through the middle of the room, parallel to both the line of dance, and to the dancers nearest wall).

  2. An imaginary place in the core of the body, from which a dancer moves and connects with a partner. Depending on the dancer and style of dance, one's center is located somewhere between the solar plexus and just below the belly button Movement is initiated from the center, allowing the energy to flow through a toned frame. Placing the center correctly over the standing foot is essential in achieving good balance

  3. Center of rotation or the axis. (the place in the body, that is the most still while everything else orbits around it).

Challenge Line

A picture line that has the look of a strong Promenade Position, with Leader on left foot and Follower on right foot. Typically, in the swing dances, there is also a strong sway made in the direction of the standing leg.

Change Step

A figure consisting of three steps used in Waltz and Viennese Waltz to change from left turns (Reverse Turns), to right turns (Natural Turns). Also called Closed Changes.


There are three different methods, as follows:

  1. Two steps, in which the first step is taken sideways and the second step closes to it.

  2. Three steps, also taken sideways, in which the feet close on the second step out of the three.

  3. Any number of sideways steps in which the feet close on the 2nd. 4th. 6th step, etc.


A step with a distinct stopping action, generally for the purpose of changing direction. An example is the 4th step in the amalgamation known as 1-4 of a Reverse Turn into Basic Weave, under notes for: Reverse Turn with Feather Finish. (figure 2) in Foxtrot.


A series of figures or movements arranged together to create a dance routine.

Closed Finish

Describes the ending of a figure in which the feet close on the last step. An example of a Closed Finish is: Steps 4-6 of Reverse Turn in Tango.


Bringing the knee and/or foot of the free leg underneath the body, and close to the standing foot, so that all blocks of weight are lined up before the next step is taken.


Identifiable parts of a figure that are listed in the summary column of the charts. An example is 1-3 of a Natural Turn in either Waltz or Quickstep.


  1. The lowering of one’s center, resulting from bending the knee of the supporting leg. in order to properly commence a movement, or figure

  2. A momentary lead, felt through the frame, on one or both sides of the body, which can only occur when both partners have their weight poised forward This connection creates a spring like energy used to initiate or accelerate the Follower’s backward progression, or to slow or stop the Follower’s forward progression.


A means of communication between partners, either visually or by a physical point of contact, that makes leading and following possible. Good connection includes:

  • A toned frame.

  • Good posture and body alignment

  • Compression or light arm tension with one's partner when appropriate.

  • Keeping one s center engaged and focused on the partners center.

Contra Body Movement

Abbreviated as CBM, this is the action of turning the opposite side of the body toward the moving leg. Contra Body Movement occurs only on directional steps, and is generally used to commence turns. See: CHART TERMS.

Contra Body Movement Position

Abbreviated as CBMP. this is a forward or back foot placement where the moving foot is placed on the same track or across the track of the standing foot. Frequently confused with Contra Body Movement because of the similarity of the names. Contra Body Movement Position is not a turn of the body, but rather a placement of the foot.


The ability to maintain balance and stability throughout the body while dancing.


Corté is a Spanish word meaning cut'. which is part of the name of certain Ballroom figures An example is the Back Corté in Tango.


Count, also called timing, allows dancers to keep their dancing in time to the music. Each dance has a unique count that defines its feel and character See also: CHART TERMS and MUSICAL INFORMATION CHART.


The act of each partner stretching to the left with equal and opposite body weight, connected through the frame, (especially during turns and spins), in order to maintain proper balance and/or rotational speed in the partnership.

Cross Turn

A component in Viennese Waltz and Tango consisting of three steps, where the LF crosses in front the RF on the forward half of a Reverse Turn The left foot crosses in front of the right foot on the third step.

Curve of Progression

A counter-clockwise circular line, or oval shaped perimeter of travel around the center point in the room Used exclusively in Viennese Waltz, this curved perimeter track influences the shape of the normal *line of dance used in the other Ballroom dances The stated amounts of turn used in the charts for a full Natural, or full Reverse Turn, in Viennese Waltz, represent divisions of a 360- degree turn These amounts of turn are consistent only during the time in which these figures are being learned and danced straight down the room. They are given expressly for the educational purpose of acquiring the technique for each of the figures Once accomplished in these skills students then go on to learn that dancing the figures along the curve of progression" will always result in slightly less than a 360-degree turn for each full Natural Turn, and slightly more than a 360-degree turn for each full Reverse Turn.

Dance Position

The physical orientation, (one of several positions), of the Leader s and Follower s bodies and/or feet in relationship to one another, while dancing. Example: Closed Position, Promenade Position, etc. See also DANCE POSITION DEFINITIONS and CHART TERMS.

Diagonal Movement

A blending of directional and lateral motion of the moving leg.


  1. An alignment term meaning the dancer is moving in one direction, but the foot is aimed in a different direction. One of the most common places this occurs is when taking a step in Promenade Position. An example is step 1 and 2 of the Closed Promenade in Bronze Tango As Leader, the alignment is Facing DW and the direction is moving along the line of dance.

  2. The general course of movement of one or more steps of a figure toward a given Alignment. See: CHART TERMS.

Directional (Step)

Indicates a step that moves either forward or back Both side steps and closing steps are non- directional.

Directional Swing

A movement of the body and leg. either forward or back See also Swing.


Drawing the free leg toward the standing leg with pressure on the inside edge of the ball of the foot. Drags may be used in any dance but are a characteristic action of the Drag Hesitation in Gold Waltz.


Varying qualities such as speed, height and intensity of movement in order to create interest and excitement.


A standardized pattern of steps, as outlined in the charts. A figure may comprise as few as two, as many as ten (or more), steps Some figures consist of movements. (actions without changes weight), combined with steps.


A quick double-acf/on of the leg. (from the knee down). The foot sharply retracts from the floor, then softly returns.

Floor craft

A skill Leader’s develop to maneuver around the dance floor in a safe yet agile manner, avoiding collisions with other dancers. Followers also participate by squeezing the Leader s upper arm to signal any unseen danger.

Follow Through

The passing of the moving leg and foot underneath the body between steps, for better balance, timing and control.


The ability of the Follower to react correctly to the signals given by the Leader through physical and visual cues.


The particular figure (or figures) that can logically be danced after any other given figure. This is determined either by 1. the figure's ending alignment and/or 2 the figure's ending dance position.

Foot Position

  1. This refers to the direction of the moving foot in relation to the standing foot and the body. It does not refer to the path the foot takes to arrive at its destination, as this may differ from the final position See also: CHART TERMS and FOOT POSITION DIAGRAMS.

  2. The five positions of the feet as taken from ballet. In Ballroom, the feet are mostly kept parallel (not turned out), except for the foot that steps back into a 3rd or a 5th position, and sometimes in 2nd position.

  • 1st Position: Feet closed, (parallel).

  • 2nd Position Feet apart as when stepping to the side, (either parallel, or turned out).

  • 3rd Position: Heel of the front foot to the instep of the back foot, (back foot turned out).

  • 4th Position Feet apart as when stepping forward or backward, (parallel).

  • 5th Position Heel of the front foot to the toe of the back foot, (back foot turned out).

Foot Pressure

Applying a small amount of weight into the floor with the free foot.

Foot Rise

Elevation of the body by using the calf muscles and the ankle joint by pushing up onto the ball or toe of the foot and releasing the heel from the floor


Describes the part(s) of the foot/feet that make contact with the floor while stepping. See also: CHART TERMS.

Forward Walk

The precise, specific way to take a toward step in the Ballroom Dances, which is essential for moving with grace and power. The example below uses the LF moving forward. The technique is the same for the RF.

  • Stand in an upright position with the feet together Weight is on the RF. poised with weight over the center of the foot.

  • Begin by swinging the L leg forward from the hip. first with the ball of foot in contact with the floor then with the heel lightly skimming the floor with the toe raised As the L heel moves past the R toe. the R heel begins to release from the floor commencing to transfer weight from the RF to the LF.

  • Atthe fullest extent of the stnde, the weight is equally divided between the heel of the LF and the ball of RF foot, with the L knee straight and R knee slightly flexed.

  • As the weight moves onto the LF. the RF then commences to move forward, first with the toe and then the ball of the foot skimming the floor.

  • The L toe lowers slowly as the feet come together and weight is fully transferred to the LF.

  • In Tango the feet will be slightly lifted off the floor and placed into position, rather than skimming the floor.


The esthetic and functional aspects of the proper dance hold, used by Ballroom dancers, in order to retain a “front to front', yet slightly offset relationship. This distinctive relationship is characterized by the use of specific contact points, with an elevated hand clasp on one side of the partnership and. depending on the dance, a specialized arm cradle on the other. Ideally, in all the Ballroom dances, the elbows of both partners are held high and wide. Specific amounts of tone are then generated through the spine, upper torso, shoulders and arms, in order to optimize communication between Leader and Follower, and also to present a graceful and elegant top line.

Free Leg/Foot

Opposite of standing leg. This is the leg or foot with little or no weight, which is therefore ready to move. Also called moving leg or foot.

Heel Lead

A forward step in which the foot is flexed and the heel is the first part of the foot to touch the floor.

Heel Pull

A type of heel turn in which a step is taken backward, on the LF, transferring weight from the toe to the heel, then turning R on the heel of the LF As the turn occurs, the R heel pulls back to end slightly to the side of the LF. The RF then moves slightly farther to the side (small step), first on the inside edge of the foot, then the whole foot.

Heel Turn

A turn taken with the weight over the heel of the supporting foot A step is taken backward (toe heel), turning on the heel As the turn occurs, the heel of the free foot pulls back and closes to the standing foot, remaining parallel throughout The weight then transfers to the closing foot at. or near the end of the turn.


A step taken in which progression is temporarily stopped and weight remains on the spot for more than one beat.


A step with a feeling of elevated suspension, taken on the ball of the foot by one or both partners, used to change direction or rotation, allowing time for the moving foot of one or both partners to brush toward (or to) the standing foot.

Inside Foot

The foot closest to your partner when in dance positions such as Promenade. Right or Left Outside Position or other times when not in Closed Position.

Inside of a Turn

Usually the back part of a turn in which the person moving backward travels less on the side step to allow their partner to pass by. In the swing dances, a sway opposite to the direction of the side step often accompanies the turn.

In Line

Sometimes referred to as Feet in 4 tracks, or The 4 track system. The RF of each is aimed between the two tracks of their partner's feet while dancing, i.e.. the RF forward step is taken between partner's feet.

Lateral Swing

A movement of the body, with or without the leg. to the side. See Swing.


This describes how the Leader communicates to the Follower what should be danced. Good leading is created in the Leader s body movements and shapes, in connection with the Follower, and through the use of tone in the frame. Leads must be initiated slightly before the Follower needs to perform the action or step.

Leg Swing

The action of allowing the moving leg to swing freely from the hip when stepping forward, backward, sideways or across to create greater movement


Rise and fall over the course of two steps. An example of lilt in the Bronze syllabus occurs over steps 2 and 3 of the Three Step in Foxtrot.


Refers to an aesthetically appealing position of the dancer(s) where the correct body alignment. stretch, and position of arms and legs result in a beautifully polished and finished appearance.

Line of Dance

Refers to the direction of movement in a ballroom that tracks parallel to the walls and continues counter clockwise around the room, by turning 90% to the left at the corners, which insures all couples dance in the same direction.


The action of coming down from a position of rise by using the knees, hips, ankles and feet.


A strong wide step in any direction in which there is a deep bending of the standing leg and the free leg is extended in the direction opposite to the step.

Metronomic Swing

Movement of the body or part of the body that emulates the swinging action of a metronome The upper portion of the body travels at a faster rate of speed than the lower body. It is most often used on forward and backward steps in the swing dances. Waltz. Foxtrot Example Step 3 of the Closed Impetus in Waltz Foxtrot and Quickstep.


See Direction.

Moving Leg/Foot

See Free Leg/Foot.

Natural Turn

  1. Any dance figure that turns to the right

  2. One of the named syllabus figures in Waltz and Foxtrot

No Foot Rise

Abbreviated NFR indicates that the dancer should rise through the ankle, knee and hip joints but should not rise to the ball or the toe of the foot In the example of step 1 of the back M2 of the Reverse Turn in Waltz, the foot remains flat until the weight is taken on to the next step At that time the heel will be released from the floor. The heel of the step with no foot rise' will not release from the floor until weight is taken on the next step NFR is also used to indicate the use of TH footwork on certain back steps for the Follower, in Foxtrot, where the rise that the Leader makes is matched by the Follower through the ankle, knee and hip joints, but where no rise is made to the ball or the toe of the foot, either during the step or prior to the lowering of the heel at the beginning of the step. An example of this is on step 2 of the Three Step in Foxtrot.

Open Finish

Describes the alternate ending of a figure where the last step is taken with the feet apart in Right Outside Position.

Opposite Sway

The inclination of the body toward the moving leg (instead of away from the moving leg, as in normal sway) An example is on the Tipsy in Gold Quickstep.

Outside Foot

The foot farthest away from your partner when in dance positions such as Promenade, Right or Left Outside Position, or other times when not in Closed Position.

Outside of a Turn

Usually the forward part of a turn where the person moving forward travels more on the side step in order to pass by their partner. In the swing dances, a sway opposite to the direction of the side step often accompanies the turn.


See Figure.

Pendular Swing

Movement of the body or part of the body that emulates the swinging action of a pendulum: The lower portion of the body travels at a faster rate of speed than the upper body. It is most often used on side steps in the swing dances: Waltz. Foxtrot. Viennese Waltz and Quickstep. (Sometimes called body swing).

Picture Line

A dance figure (i.e. Overs way Contra Check) characterised by changing shapes in a stationary position to create a beautiful photo moment.


An inclination of the body resulting from directional swing, either forward or backward along the sagittal plane Forward Pitch is when the top of the body is farther forward than the hips Backward Pitch is when the top of the body is farther back than the hips. Regardless of the direction of pitch, it is important for the dancer's good posture (blocks of weight aligned) to remain un-affected.


  1. A turn on the ball of the standing foot without changing weight. The free leg is held forward or backward in Contra Body Movement Position (CBMP).

  2. More generally used to describe a turn on the ball of one foot, where the body rotates at the same relative speed.

Pivoting Action

The movement that occurs on a right foot forward pivot for Leader or Follower. Pivoting action is different than a pivot in that the left foot is not held in Contra Body Movement Position (CBMP), but is allowed to move slightly to the side.


  1. An extension of the free leg. with the foot placed on the floor without weight. The heel is raised so that only the toe in contact with the floor

  2. A stretching of the foot to create a clean, straight line from the shin bone to the toes. (The opposite action is a flex).


An alignment term meaning the body is facing a different direction than where the foot is aiming, (not to be confused with point, which is a position term. See Point). See also CHART TERMS.


The correct positioning of body weight in relation to the feet It can also refer to the general appearance of the dancer as a whole.


The correct alignment of the body's blocks of weight: head, shoulders, rib cage, hips and legs. One of the most important aspects of good dancing, posture is responsible for good balance and a professional appearance.


The particular figure (or figures) that can logically be danced before a given figure. This is determined either by

  1. the figure's starting alignment and/or

  2. the figure’s starting dance position.

Prep Step

An action or weight change that prepares the dance or certain figures. Common examples of Prep Steps" for starting the dance are the Feather Step in Foxtrot, the Natural Turn in Waltz, and the Quarter Turn in Quickstep. In these instances, the Leader takes a LF forward walk and the Follower takes a RF back walk This is used because it is more comfortable for the Leader to step in the outside track (rather than stepping between Followers feet) when starting the dance. An example of a Prep Step" while in the middle of the dance is the last step of the Heel Pull in Foxtrot.

Pressure (Foot Pressure)

The use of a small amount of body weight, partially applied, by one or more parts of the free foot, against the floor Usually for the purpose of providing stability for stopping, or while the standing leg performs a complex action requiring greater balance and control.

Reverse Turn

Any dance figure that turns to the left. One of the named syllabus figures in Waltz.

Rise & Fall

The continuous elevation and lowering of the body through the feet, ankles, hips and legs Rise & Fall is used to varying degrees in all the Ballroom Dances except Tango See also: CHART TERMS Rock A shifting of weight from foot to foot, such that the second step is taken in the opposite direction from the first.


A circular action of the free leg performed as an embellishment, either on the floor or in the air. When danced on the floor, the circling leg is usually straight with the toe pointed and the inside and/or outside edge of toes in contact with the floor When danced off the floor, the leg may be straight or bent with the toes pointed.


A turning movement of any or all parts of the body, independently, or all together. There are three planes of rotation:

  • Sagittal plane of rotation This is rotation forward or backward (as in forward or backward pitch).

  • Coronal plane of rotation This is rotation to the right or left side (as in right or left sway).

  • Horizontal plane of rotation This is rotation (as in right or left turn).

Rotational Swing

A movement of:

  1. One side of the body around the axis of the standing hip.

  2. Both sides of the body around the axis of the spine See also: Swing.


The stretching of the body and arms into various curves and angles for dramatic effect, to create correct dance positions or to prepare for a movement.

Side Leading

The action of taking a forward or backward step with the entire side of the body moving with the leg; the opposite of Contra Body Movement. (CBM). Common places where side leading occurs are when preparing to step in Outside Position or when creating Promenade Position. Most commonly shown as: Left side or Right side Leading.

Slip Pivot

A type of pivot used to change from Fallaway Position to Closed Position in which the Leader takes a small step back on the left foot and Follower takes a small step back on the right foot, then pivots to the left while slipping the left foot from a Fallaway Position relationship to a Closed Position relationship. This is often followed with a pivot to the left for both Leader and Follower in Closed Position.


A turning action on the ball of one foot in which the body and feet rotate at the same relative speed. A pivot is also a type of spin, but meets specific requirements in order it to qualify as a pivot See Pivot.


Abrupt motion, (as contrasted with smooth motion), characteristic of certain moments in Tango.

Standard Dances

See Ballroom Dances.

Standing Leg/Foot

The leg/foot that is holding the majority of weight so that the other leg or foot is free to move Step(s): Stepping

  1. A change of weight from one foot to the other.

  2. A casual term for figure.

  3. A chart element, signifying the Step Number", (used to identify each weight change or action in a figure).


A lengthening of the muscles to create sway or extension.


Describes from one' to "three" parts of a directional step The separation (or divide), the transfer of weight at greatest distance (or midpoint), and the closing action (or collection) of the feet, as a forward or backward step is taken.

Supporting Leg/Foot

See Standing Leg/Foot


A chart element, naming portions or components of each figure for easy reference. See CHART TERMS.


Sway is the inclination of the body away from the moving foot and. if there is turn involved, towards the inside of a turn. Sway is used in Waltz. Foxtrot. Quickstep and Viennese Waltz to counterbalance the force of swing In the charts sway is expressed, as either R (right); L (left); or S (straight = no sway). See also; CHART TERMS.


A free movement around a fixed point. Used in the swing dances (Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep), this is a way of moving body weight from foot to foot in which one part of the body acts as an anchor point from which the free leg and/or the rest of the body, or a part of the body, is moved See also; Metronomic.

Swing and Pendular Swing

There are three main planes of swing:

  • On the sagittal plane, it is called Directional Swing Movement of the body and/or leg forward or backward

  • On the coronal plane it is called Lateral Swing- Movement of the body and/or leg to the side

  • On the horizontal plane, it is called Rotational Swing-. Movement of one side of the body around the standing hip.

There are many more swinging actions that we have throughout our bodies when we dance For instance, the swing of the Leader's right hand around the right elbow when opening to promenade position We have an infinite amount of small "swinging" actions in our bodies to create the overall look of a "swinging" body.

Swing and Sway

Sway counter balances all forms of swing except rotational swing Therefore the greater amount of swing, the greater amount of sway is needed to balance the swinging action Sway only exists without swing in the case of "broken sway".

Swing Dances

The four Ballroom dances that use swing and sway: Waltz. Viennese Waltz. Foxtrot and Quickstep.


A foot turn with the weight on the ball of one foot. Not to be confused with a spin or a pivot, each of which involve turning the body at nearly the same rate of speed as the turning foot. Neither is it like a twist, where the weight is between two feet A swivel is a foot turn made from the hips down Therefore, the feet usually turn faster than the body Typically, both feet are kept parallel during a swivel. There are three main relationships of the free foot to the swiveling foot at the time of turn. The free foot may:

  1. collect toward the swiveling foot.

  2. be extended, either to the front, side, or back of the swiveling foot.

  3. be kept on the same spot on the floor, (with light pressure). throughout.


To deviate from the basic timing of a dance by dividing a beat of music into two or more parts For example, the basic timing of Waltz is 1-2-3. but the Chassé from Promenade Position in Waltz contains the syncopation 1-2-&-3.


To touch the inside edge of the ball of free foot to the floor without weight, (usually to the side).


A quick, yet very light, double-take motion of the head, neck and spine, resulting in a new dance position Ticks are commonly seen in Tango. It is best not to execute ticks until prudent care is taken to learn proper tick technique.

Toe Release

The correct action used when stepping backward: The toe of the front foot lifts from the floor leaving only the heel in contact with the floor. Normally the toe of the front foot lifts from the floor before the heel of the back foot is lowered.


The correct use of muscles to support the limbs and body structure, and maintain a good frame and connection with one’s partner.

Top Line(s)

In the Ballroom Dances. this refers to the overall look of a couple’s frame, head position and back line.


  1. An imaginary line on which a given foot moves while dancing. See In Line

  2. A line of direction a dancer takes around the room See Curve of Progression and Line of Dance.

Tum(s) / Turning

Turn is rotation, left or right. with one or both feet, and/or the body, or the head. In the charts, turn is always made by the feet, (and not the body), except where indicated by the term Body Turn(s).

Twist / Twist Turn

An action in which the feet start in a strongly crossed position as a result of stepping either in front or behind the standing leg. then while distributing weight evenly between both feet, unwind the feet and body by rotating.

Under turned

A term used on certain turning figures, when less turn is made than the standard amount given in the chart.


A syllabus figure that has been changed, in one way or another, yet retains its basic characteristics.

Viennese Turn

See Cross Turn.

Weight Change(s)

The action of shifting weight fully from one foot to the other.

Wind, Winding, and Winding Up

Winding Up is used prior to commencing a figure that turns (or where the first step has considerable turn). It is created by rotation starting from the ankles up and reflected in the upper bodies counter to the direction of the turn of the next figure This is done in order to provide greater rotation, momentum, and to help to complete the turn It also serves to show a greater range of motion.