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American Style Waltz
Six-Count Underarm Turn
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4. Six-Count Underarm Turn

The Six-Count Underarm Turn is a unique dance figure popular with social dancers and wedding couples. Whereas the majority of underarm turns in the bronze syllabus are completed in 2 to 3 steps, this underarm turn with its broad and gradual nature takes a full 6 steps to complete.

The man begins leading the turn as he steps back on his right foot, typically following steps 1-3 of a Left Box, LF Closed Change, Hesitation, or other similar pattern (For a complete list of preceding figures, click on the "Preceded By" tab). By lifting and slightly extending his left hand outward, he creates space for the lady to dance underarm. With gentle pressure from the right hand on her back, he leads her to walk under the raised LH-RH hold while he dances a RF Closed Backward Change. By the end of the third step she will have passed underarm, and by the fourth step the couple should be in side-by-side position. Steps 4-6 are effectively a Box Turn from side-by-side position (forward, side, close), where man and lady turn to face each other.

Because this is a spot figure, it may be danced on any alignment and in any part of the room. However, as spot figures go, it does tend to take up a considerable amount of space, so it should be used sparingly and only when there is ample space on the dance floor.

Variations of Turn

The recommended amount of turn for the Six-Count-Underarm Turn is, as written in the chart, 3/4 to left for lady (man turning 1/4 to left over steps 4-6). However, there are popular variations to this amount of turn that suit different situations:

  • Lady takes 1 full turn over steps 1-6; Man has no turn. This is the most compact variation of the turn, so it's well suited to small, crowded floors. It's popular with social dancers and wedding couples, and is often taught to newcomers to simplify the concept from a teaching perspective. In this version, the lady will take 6 forward walks in a circle, rather than dancing a side-close action over steps 5-6.
  • Lady and man each take 1/2 turn over steps 1-6 (1/4 each over 1-3 and 1/4 each over 4-6). This is the broadest and most voluminous version of the figure, popular with competitors and show dancers who like to occupy the maximum amount of space. It begins in a similar manner to a Cross-Body Lead, with the man opening his left side away from the lady.

STEP#COUNTDESCRIPTIONNOTES
Begin Closed position.
 
11Right foot back.Lift left hand and begin to lead lady to turn to her right. 
22Left foot side & slightly back.Continue leading lady to turn to her right under raised LH-RH hold. Release right hand from lady's back. 
33Close right foot to left foot.Continue leading lady to turn to her right under raised LH-RH hold. Then lower joined hands after she has finished passing underneath. 
 
41Left foot forward in side-by-side position.Begin to turn to left. 
52Right foot side.Continue turning to left. 
63Close left foot to right foot.1/4 turn to left over 4-6. End in closed or open facing position. 
STEP#COUNTDESCRIPTIONNOTES
Begin Closed position.
 
11Left foot forward.Release left hand from man's shoulder. 
22Right foot forward.1/8 turn to right under raised LH-RH hold between 1-2. 
33Left foot forward.1/4 turn to right under raised LH-RH hold between 2-3. 
 
41Right foot forward in side-by-side position.1/8 turn to right between 3-4. 
52Left foot side.1/8 turn to right between 4-5. 
63Close right foot to left foot.1/8 turn to right between 5-6. End in closed or open facing position, according to man's lead. 
1-3 Left Box (Reverse) Turn>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
LF Closed Backward Change>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
LF Forward Hesitation>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
LF Side Hesitation>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
1-9 Forward Changes O.P.>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
1-9 Backward Changes O.P.>> Six-Count Underarm Turnstep 1 of Six-Count Underarm Turn taken with lady outside partner on left.
1-3 Left Cross Turn>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
Side-by-Side Changes>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
Side-by-Side Changes>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>4-6 Left Box (Reverse) Turn
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Right Box (Natural) Turn
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>RF Closed Forward Change
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>RF Closed Backward Change
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Six-Count Underarm Turn
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>RF Back Hesitation
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>RF Side Hesitation
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>Side Whisk to R
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Open Break & Underarm Turn to Right
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>4-12 Forward Changes O.P.man turning 3/8 to left, lady turning 1/8 to right over 4-6 Six-Count Underarm Turn, to prepare outside partner position, or turning the normal amount and taking step 4 of Forward Changes O.P. in-line
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>4-12 Backward Changes O.P.
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Cross-Body Lead
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Promenade Chasseman & lady each overturning 1/8 over 5-6 of Six-Count Underarm Turn to end in promenade position
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>4-12 Twinkles to PP and CPPMan and lady turning 3/8 over 4-6 Six-Count Underarm Turn to end in open promenade position.
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>4-12 Progressive Twinkles to PP and CPPAt a corner, lady turning 1/2 to right over 4-6 Six-Count Underarm Turn, to end in open promenade position, ready to move toward diagonal center of new line of dance.
Six-Count Underarm Turn>>4-6 Left Cross Turn
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Promenade Crossman & lady each overturning 1/8 over 4-6 of Six-Count Underarm Turn to end in promenade position
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Underarm Turn L. from Closed Position
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Underarm Turn to Left from Promenademan & lady each overturning 1/8 over 4-6 of Six-Count Underarm Turn to end in promenade position
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Cross-Body Lead to Underarm Turn to Left
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Side-by-Side Changes
Six-Count Underarm Turn>> Side-by-Side Changes Backward


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