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American Rumba – Slow Underarm Turn

Learn how to dance the Slow Underarm Turn for the follower in American Rumba.

How to dance the Slow Underarm Turn

Timing

Rumba is counted in slow, quick, quick which equals 1 measure. The Slow Underarm Turn takes 4 measures to complete.

Leader’s Footwork:

Front Half of Box Step:

Starting in closed dance position – Left foot forward, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight. (slow, quick, quick)

Back Half of Box Step:

Right foot back. As you take this step raise your left hand to signal to the follower to turn.  Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left foot and change weight. (slow, quick, quick)

Front Half of Box Step:

Left foot forward, Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight. (slow, quick, quick)

Back Half of Box Step:

Right foot back. As you take this step the follower will finish their turn and you can lead them back in to return to closed dance position. Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left foot and change weight. (slow, quick, quick)

Follower’s Footwork:

Back Half of Box Step:

Right foot back, Left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left foot and change weight (timing – slow, quick, quick)

Slow Underarm Turn Right:

Left foot forward continue straight at your partner. With the next step you will start to turn. Right foot forward, Left foot forward, Right foot forward, Left foot forward,  Right foot forward.

With each of these steps you will be making a slow walking turn that is turning right around the center point, which is the hand connection between you and your partner. (slow, quick, quick, slow, quick, quick)

Back Half of Box Step:

Left foot forward straight at your partner. At this point you have finished the turn and will be lead back towards your partner. Right foot to the side and then close the left foot to the right foot and change weight. (slow, quick, quick)

Rumba Box Technique

Rumba is a rotational dance

When doing a simple step like the box you can create rotation with your steps. This allows for more dynamic in the dance. The rotation for the box step happens on the forward or back ward step. This rotation is generally towards the left.

To create the rotation of the step instead of taking a step directly forward or directly backward you will take a step forward and slightly side or a step back and slightly side.

With the addition of the side component it will allow the step pattern to turn.

Non Mirroring Step

When first learning to dance the rumba you will notice that many of the dance patterns have the follower mirror the leader or dance the natural opposite. 

With this step the leader and the follower are doing different steps from each other, which can make it more challenging for beginner dancers. 

With this step the follower must develop the ability to continue to keep time on their own because they do not have the mirroring/natural opposite cues to follow. 

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