Folk Dance Movement

By Dick Oakes


This is a pretty good sampling of the movements available to folk dancers.


STEPS

Bounce
Raise and lower the heels without leaving the floor.

Brush
A gesture by the free ft in which the ball of the ft contacts the floor as the ft is swung fwd or bwd.

Cabriole
A hop in which the supporting ft rises to meet the free ft in the air and the heels touch together.

Chug
An abrupt slide fwd, bkwd, or sdwd on either or both ft, usually accompanied by a plié of the supporting knee(s).

Cut
A quick displacement of one ft by the other.

Extend
The act of straightening a joint to its fullest range of motion.

Flex
The act of bending a joint (knee, ankle, elbow, wrist).

Hop
Begins with the wt on one ft, moves into the air, and lands on the same ft.

Jump
Beginning on either or both ft, springing into the air and landing on both ft.

Kick
With wt on one ft, thrust the other ft in any dir, depending on the requirements of the specific dance.

Leap
A change of wt from one ft to another with both ft being off the floor at some time during the change.

Lift or Lilt
Begins with the wt on one ft, moves into the air, and lands on the same ft except that only the heel of the supporting foot leaves the floor; usually danced with a straightening of the supporting knee and a lifting gesture of the free leg (a heel lift).

Pivot
A movement in which the body spins in place on the ball of the supporting ft or both ft.

Plié
A movement in which the body is lowered by bending (flexing) the knee(s) and ankle(s) of the supporting leg or legs.

Point
A gesture by the free ft in which the ft lightly contacts the floor without taking wt or creating noise and in which leg and ft are extended.

Scuff
A gesture by the free ft in which the ft is swung forward, brushing the heel on the floor.

Stamp
A vertical downward movement which strikes the heel or flat of the free ft on the floor without taking wt, but which creates an audible noise. Generally accomplished by lowering the body in a plié of the supporting leg and striking the floor with a flexed free ft without wt.

Step
A change of wt from one ft to another with at least one ft remaining in contact with the floor throughout the change.

Stomp
A vertical downward movement which strikes the heel or flat of the free ft on the floor without taking wt, but which creates an audible noise. Generally accomplished by lowering the body in a plié of the supporting leg and striking the floor with a flexed free ft with wt.

Swing
With wt on one ft, swing the other ft lightly in any dir, depending on the requirements of the specific dance.

Tap
A movement from the ankle which lightly strikes the floor vertically with the ball or toe of the free ft without taking wt.

Touch
A gesture by the free ft in which the ft lightly contacts the floor without taking wt or creating noise. Either knee may be flexed or stretched.


TWO STEP COMBINATIONS

Buzz
A series of steps where one ft leads continually and the other ft pushes, looking like limping or like a child on a scooter.

Gallop
A step forward with the leading ft, usually with a soft knee flexion, followed by a low leap into place on the trailing ft; usually danced in a series.

Heep-and-toe
Touch one heel to the floor, then the toe of the same ft. In some dances, the heel is touched fwd and the toe bkwd. In other dances, the heel is touched diag to one side and the toe is touched to the floor across the instep of the other ft.

Hop-point
Hop on one ft and, either at the same time or a beat later, point the other ft.

Hop-step
Begins with the wt on one ft, moves into the air, and lands on the same ft, followed by a change of wt from one ft to another with at least one ft remaining in contact with the floor throughout the change.

Push
(R) With wt on L, lift on ball of L (upbt); step sdwd R bending knee and releasing L with a slight thrust to L (dnbt). Step on L beside R to exactly repeat the step. May also start with opp ftwk.

Reel
(R) Step R dir in back of L heel (dnbt), hop R while swinging L bkwd in an arc (upbt). Knees should be well turned out. Step alternates. May also start with opp ftwk.

Run
A series of leaps, usually continuing in the same dir.

Skip
A hop followed by a step on the free ft, usually in an irregular quick-slow rhythm.

Shuffle
A brush fwd and bkwd with the free ft.

Slide, Glissade, Chassé, Sashay, or Slide-close
A step to the side with the leading ft, usually with a soft knee flexion, followed by a low leap into place on the trailing ft; usually danced in a series.

Step-bend
A step with either ft in any dir with a flex of the same knee on indicated ct.

Step-close
Step to one side with one ft, then bring the other ft up to it (may or may not have a shift of wt).

Step-draw
Step to one side, then lightly drag the other ft to the supporting ft (may or may not be with a shift of wt).

Step-hop
Change wt from one ft to another with at least one ft remaining in contact with the floor throughout the change, followed by a movement that begins with the ft with the wt, moves into the air, and lands on the same ft.

Step-swing
Step on one ft and, either at the same time or a beat later, swing the other ft in any dir, depending on the requrements of the specific dance.

Step-touch
Step in any dir, then lightly touch the other ft to the floor. The touch may be beside the supporting ft or in any dir.

Toe-and-heel
Touch one toe to the floor, then the heel of the same ft. In some dances, the toe is touched bkwd and the heel fwd.

Walk
A series of steps with one ft always in contact with the floor.


THREE STEP (OR MORE) COMBINATIONS

Balance
See the specific dance description for details.

Grapevine
Step on one ft across in front of the other, step on the trailing ft to the side, step on the lead ft behind the other ft, step on the trailing foot to the side. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk.

Mazurka
Step forward on one ft, step forward on the trailing ft (either next to to fwd of the lead ft), hop on the lead ft. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk.

Pas-de-Basque, Pas-de-bas, or PDB
(Pronounced: pah-dee-bah) Leap to one ft, step across in front of the supporting ft with the trailing ft, step on the lead ft in place. This is usually danced in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk.

Polka
(R) May be danced in any dir. Lift on ball of L (ct "uh" of preceding meas), step R (ct 1), step L next to R (ct &), step R (ct 2). Step alternates. May also start with opp ftwk.

Schottische
Step on one ft, close the trailing ft to the lead ft, step on the lead ft, hop on the lead ft. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk.

Threes or triplets
Three quick steps in place, alternating ftwk. Sometimes there is more emphasis on the first step or on the last step, depending on the requirements of the specific dance.

Two-step
Step on one ft, bring the other ft to the supporting ft and shift wt, then step on the lead ft again. This is usually danced in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk.

Varsouvianna
Sweep one ft across the other, step diagonally on that ft, and close with the trailing ft without wt, pause. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk.

Varsouvienne
Step forward on one ft, step forward on the trailing ft, step forward on the lead ft, point the trailing ft fwd, pause. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk.

Waltz
Step on the lead ft, step with the other ft, bring the lead ft to the trailing ft (with a change of wt). Usually danced in a series, repeating the action with the opp ftwk. Most often, the waltz is danced smoothly and lightly.

Waltz-balance
Step forward or backward on one ft, step on the trailing ft beside the lead ft while rising up on the balls of both ft, step again in place on the lead ft. Usually danced in a series, repeating the action in the opp dir with the opp ftwk.


Copyright © 2014 by Dick Oakes