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Dances that use Alignments:

American Style

  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Foxtrot
  • Viennese Waltz
  • Peabody

International Style

  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Viennese Waltz
  • Foxtrot
  • Quickstep

Watch your P's

"Pointing" alignments, (designated by "P",) show up in the very first patterns of every syllabus, and are usually ignored; (one of several reasons that not everyone's dancing looks good even after lots of lessons!) NOT ignoring them increases the likelihood that you'll get where you want to go and look good getting there. PAY ATTENTION TO THE P's!

Where can you learn alignments?

Also See :

Closed Changes Natural Turns Reverse Turns Amalgamations

Hey! Did you know that all of these alignments and amounts of turn refer only to the feet? The body can (and usually will) be facing somewhere entirely different. Sorry.

TRUE: The acronym "LOD" stands for "Line of Dance", the counter-clockwise movement of traffic around the dance floor.

MAYBE TRUE: The acronym "LOD" stands for "Look Out, Dummy!", and is shouted at people who block the counter-clockwise movement of traffic around the dance floor.

SAY IT'S NOT TRUE: The acronym "PLOD" indicates a heavy, flat-footed step.


Dance Lingo

Untangling Technical Dance Terms

This article addresses terms used to describe the alignment of the feet, and how we use them to measure turn. For more techniques, attend Technique and Style class.

Break a leg!

Alignment : These are measurements used to describe the position of the feet in relation to the room. Alignments are used in the American Style Smooth and International Style Standard dances. The term "Line of Dance" or "LOD" refers both to the specific alignment (see chart, below,) as well as the general counter-clockwise flow of traffic around the dance floor.

Why they're important: Navigation! All of these dances are expected to flow with the traffic, and this requires the good dancer to know where he or she is going, right?

Graphical Chart of Alignments and Abbreviations: www.everybodydance.com

The terms used to describe alignment are:

  • Line of Dance (LOD)
  • Center (C)
  • Wall (W)
  • Against Line of Dance (ALOD)
  • Diagonal Center (DC)
  • Diagonal Wall (DW)
  • Diagonal Center Against Line of Dance (DCALOD)
  • Diagonal Wall Against Line of Dance (DWALOD)

modified by the terms:

  • Facing (F)
  • Backing (B), or
  • Pointing (P)

(The term "Pointing" is used to indicate a foot placement that is aligned differently from the direction that the body is facing; there are times when the foot should be placed pointing at the alignment you wish for your body to be facing on a subsequent step. Accurate foot placement makes you "sure footed" and prevents awkward-looking lines in the body.)


Waltz Natural Turn

As Man:

  1. RF fwd
  2. LF to side
  3. RF closes to LF
  4. LF back
  5. RF to side
  6. LF closes to RF
Facing DW Backing DC Backing LOD Backing LOD Pointing DC Facing DC

As Lady:

  1. LF back
  2. RF to side
  3. LF close to RF
  4. RF fwd
  5. LF to side
  6. RF closes to LF
Backing DW Pointing LOD Facing LOD Facing LOD Backing C Backing DC

I've added the italics to draw your attention to the pointing alignment on step 5 for the man and step 2 for the lady; these diagrams illustrate the do's and don'ts.

A correct alignment on step 5 (in black) ensures that the man is in a position to progress LOD. This common error aims the man directly across the path of oncoming traffic. Bad step5 leads to very bad step 6.

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