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 sidewd on either or both feet, usually accompanied by a plie 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 weight 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 weight on on ft, thrust the other ft in any dir, depending on the requirements of the specific dane.
 
Leap A change of weight from one ft to another with both ft being off the floor at some time during the change.
 
Lift or Lilt Begins with the weight 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.
 
Plie 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 weight 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 weight, but which creates an audible noise. Generally accomplished by lowering the body in a plie of the supporting leg and striking the floor with a flexed free ft without wt.
 
Step A change of weight from one foot to another with at least one foot 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 weight, but which creates an audible noise. Generally accomplished by lowering the body in a plie of the supporting leg and striking the floor with a flexed free ft with wt.
 
Swing With weight on one foot, swing the other foot lightly in any direction, 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 foot without taking weight.
 
Touch A gesture by the free foot in which the foot lightly contacts the floor without taking weight or creating noise. Either knee may be flexed or stretched.


Two-Step Combinations

Buzz A series of steps where one foot leads continually and the other foot pushes, looking like limping or like a child on a scooter.
 
Gallop A step forward with the leading foot, usually with a soft knee flexion, followed by a low leap into place on the trailing foot; usually danced in a series.
 
Heep-and-toe Touch one heel to the floor, then the toe of the same foot. In some dances, the heel is touched forward and the toe back. In other dances, the heel is touched diagonally to one side and the toe is touched to the floor across the instep of the other foot.
 
Hop-point Hop on one foot and, either at the same time or a beat later, point the other foot.
 
Hop-Step Begins with the weight on one foot, moves into the air, and lands on the same foot, followed by a change of weight from one foot to another with at least one foot remaining in contact with the floor throughout the change.
 
Push (R) With wt on L, lift on ball of L (upbt); step sidewd 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 bwd 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 direction.
 
Skip A hop followed by a step on the free foot, usually in an irregular quick-slow rhythm.
 
Shuffle A brush forward and backward with the free foot.
 
Slide, Glissade, Chassé,
Sashay, or Slide-Close
A step to the side with the leading foot, usually with a soft knee flexion, followed by a low leap into place on the trailing foot; 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 foot, then bring the other foot up to it (may or may not have a shift of weight).
 
Step-draw Step to one side, then lightly drag the other foot to the supporting foot (may or may not be with a shift of weight).
 
Step-hop Change weight from one foot to another with at least one foot remaining in contact with the floor throughout the change, followed by a movement that begins with the foot with the weight, moves into the air, and lands on the same foot.
 
Step-swing Step on one foot and, either at the same time or a beat later, swing the other foot in any direction, depending on the requrements of the specific dance.
 
Step-touch Step in any direction, then lightly touch the other foot to the floor. The touch may be beside the supporting foot or in any direction.
 
Toe-and-heel Touch one toe to the floor, then the heel of the same foot. In some dances, the toe is touched back and the heel forward.
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 foot across in front of the other, step on the trailing foot to the side, step on the lead foot behind the other foot, step on the trailing foot to the side. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opposite footwork.
 
Mazurka Step forward on one foot, step forward on the trailing foot (either next to to forward of the lead foot), hop on the lead foot. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opposite footwork.
 
Pas-de-Basque,
Pas-de-Bas, or PDB
(Pronounced: pah-dee-bah.) Leap to one foot, step across in front of the supporting foot with the trailing foot, step on the lead foot in place. This is usually danced in a series, repeating the action with the opposite foortwork.
 
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.
 
Schottishce Step on one foot, close the trailing foot to the lead foot, step on the lead foot, hop on the lead foot. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opposite footwork.
 
Threes or triplets Three quick steps in place, alternatiing footwork. 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 foot, bring the other foot to the supporting foot and shift weight, and step on the lead foot again. This is usually danced in a series, repeating the action with the opposite footwork.
 
Varsouvianna Sweep one foot across the other, step diagonally on that foot, and close with the trailing foot without weight, pause. Usually done in a series, repeating the action with the opposite footwork.
 
Varsouvienne Step forward on one foot, step forward on the trailing foot, step forward on the lead foot, point the trailing foot forward, pause. Usueally done in a series, repeating the action with the opposite footwork.
 
Waltz Step on the lead foot, step with the other foot, bring the lead foot to the trailing foot (with a change of weight). Usually danced in a series, repeating the action with the opposite footwork. Most often, the waltz is danced smoothly and lightly.
 
Waltz-balance Step forward or backward on one foot, step on the trailing foot beside the lead foot while rising up on the balls of both feet, step again in place on the lead foot. Usually danced in a series, repeating the action in the opposite direction with the opposite footwork.


Copyright © 2011 by Dick Oakes