Swivels in cha-cha & swing

Note: I give private dance lessons. (Bay Area, Sacramento, Roseville) Please contact me for details.  You can call me at 925-eight-eight-eight-4392. — Phil Seyer

A swivel is a sexy move that can add a lot of spice to your dancing. Swivels can be used in most dance styles, but they are especially effective in cha-cha-, swing, salsa, nightclub two step — often called “rhythm dances.”

To do a swivel step, you step on the ball of your foot and then pivot on the ball of your foot turning your body to the right or left.

Below is a very good video that shows how to do pivots in cha-cha. (Another move called the cross over break is also demonstrated.

Before I show you a video, let’s discuss the basic swivel action.

Notice there are really only two cha’s  in cha-cha — that’s why dance teachers call it cha-cha, not cha-cha-cha.

Follower’s swivels
After the cross-over break, the follower does two cha-cha- steps and then starts the swivels. For the first swivel  she steps to the right onto the ball of her right foot
on beat 1 of the music:

Above you see the follower with her toe pointed to the
right as she steps onto the ball of her right foot on beat 1.
Leader’s left hand is extend to help make this happen.
What is not shown here is that she then immediately pivot
to the left on the ball of her right foot for the rest of the beat 1.

By the start of beat 2, follower has completed the pivot and
she is stepping on the ball of her left foot as you can see below:

Beat 2: Stepping on ball of foot, toes pointed to left (at first)

Leader extends right hand to bring follower
into beat 2. She then swivels to her right as leader
extends his left hand.

The start of beat 3 will looks similar to beat 1 as follower has completed
her swivel to the right.

Start of Beat 3  (photo above)

This makes 3 slow sexy swivels. Next comes 2 quick swivels on the cha-cha beats. The follower finishes the swivels by stepping onto the left foot (with no swivel) in preparation for a repeat of the cross over break.

In review, here’s what the follower does. Numbers shown are beat of music.
1. Step on ball of right foot, swivel to left. (slow)
2. Step on ball of left foot, swivel to right. (slow)
3. Step on ball of right foot, swivel to the right. (slow)

4. Step on ball of left foot, swivel to the right (quick)
&. Step on ball of right foot, swivel to the left (quick)

1. Step on left foot — do not swivel. (slow)
2. Cross over break — into underarm turn or other pattern.

Cha-cha Video. Here is the video so you can see how it all fits together:

This is just one way of integrating swivels into cha-cha. There are many other options.
Notice that the leader does not need to move his feet when the follower is swiveling: all attention will be on her — for obvious reasons — she is the star of the show. The leader plants his feet and uses his arms and upper torso rotation to lead the swivels.

Progress Check

What’s the purpose of the leader?

- – -
To bring happiness to the follower. The leader’s purpose is the follower’s pleasure.
If the leader leads well he doesn’t need to show off his own fancy steps.

Note: I offer private dance lessons in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in the Sacramento, Roseville, Auburn area. Please give me a call if you would like to set up some private lessons. You can reach me at 925-eight-eight-eight-4392. — Phil Seyer

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