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7. Change of Direction

The Change of Direction is a simple, left-turning 3-step figure that allows dancers to turn a corner, to the counts "Slow, slow, slow". There are two versions of the Change of Direction: One that's typically taken at the side of the room, moving toward diagonal wall and turning 1/4 to end moving toward diagonal center, and one that's taken around a corner, turning either 3/8 or 1/2 to end moving toward the new line of dance, or diagonal center of the new line of dance, respectively.

The figure starts like a type of Waltz Forward Change, with man stepping forward on his left foot, then diagonally forward on his right, turning to the left. However, this is done without rise. The left foot should then close to the right, without weight, before continuing on to the final step, a forward walk on the left foot. This last walk acts as a sort of "prep step", preparing the dancers to begin a Feather Step in the new direction. The lady's part is the natural opposite.

One notable peculiarity of the Change of Direction is the timing, or more specifically, the duration. The "Slow, slow, slow" timing takes a total of 6 counts, which reverses the phrasing of all of the steps to follow: Slow counts, which are typically danced on beats 1,2, subsequently fall on beats 3,4, while the quick-quick counts reverse to beats 1,2. Therefore, "Slow, quick quick" timing becomes "Quick quick slow". Some dancers are not bothered by this, but many are. For those who are, the solution is to add one extra "slow" count during the foot closing action between steps 2 and 3. It is such a common practice that although it's not officially part of any medalist syllabus, it is almost always allowed as a matter of musical interpretation.


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