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American Viennese Waltz
Open Break & Underarm Turn to R
8. Open Break & Underarm Turn to R
Fact Sheet
Official Name:Open Break & Underarm Turn to R
Dance / Level:Intermediate Bronze American Viennese Waltz
Aliases:3-Count Underarm Turn to Right, Outside Underarm Turn

This figure is a combination of two movements, each taking one measure (3 beats) of music.

The Open Break

The Open Break is a movement similar to a Side Whisk to R. taken in open facing position with a LH-RH hold. But rather than dancing a Whisk, or foot crossing action on 2-3, man and lady take the rock step directly back away from each other. The movement gets its name from its primary purpose, which is to "break open" or separate from closed to open position. Therefore it is typically begun in closed position, with both man and lady taking step 1 to the side and slightly back to finish in open facing position. However, when the Open Break begins already in open position, step 1 should be taken straight to the side.

Stylistic Embellishment

A popular interpretation of the Open Break in Waltz is to turn to open counter-promenade position over steps 2-3, taken with sway in the direction of the connected hands (man to left, lady to right). The man's turn is as follows: 1/8 to right between 1-2. Slight body turn to right on 2. Then 1/8 turn to left between 2-3, body turning slightly more. End in open facing position. Lady's turn is natural opposite.

The Underarm Turn

The Underarm Turn is a movement consisting of 3 steps, whereby the man dances a Side Whisk to L. while leading the lady to turn to her right under a LH-RH hold, completing 1 full turn by the end of the third step. It is very similar to the basic Underarm Turn to R. as seen in the Beginning Bronze Cha Cha and Rumba syllabus.

So commonly are these two movements danced in succession that the combination of the two is considered a single figure, which is called Open Break & Underarm Turn to R. The Open Break is an ideal entry into this underarm turn because it allows ample space for the turn. Nonetheless, it is not an absolute requirement to precede the Underarm Turn to R. with the Open Break. Other acceptable solutions exist in the Bronze syllabus, which you can see by clicking on the "Preceded By" tab above.

A popular substitute for the Open Break is an Open Hesitation. After stepping side & slightly back on beat 1 to end in open facing position, man and lady can omit the rock step and remain with position held for beats 2-3. This is best taken as a "Checked Hesitation", where the non-weighted foot remains pointed to the side rather than brushing or drawing toward the weighted foot. The Open Hesitation may be danced with no turn to end squarely in open facing position, or turned (man to R., lady to L.) up to 1/8 to end in open counter-promenade position.


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