Ballroom Dancing – Foxtrot Swing and Sway

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 60,969
    Professional dance instructor Terry Dean breaks down the foxtrot swing and sway.

    Terry Dean

    Terry is the owner and principal male dance instructor of Terry Dean’s Dance Studio, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has been teaching ballroom dancing for 30 years and opened his own successful studio following a 19 year career with Arthur Murray Dance Studios. Terry has received accolades for his choreography and has been honored as Virginia State’s Top Studio and Top Teacher twice. He and his staff teach students of all levels, whether they are interested in social dancing, exhibition dancing, or competitive ballroom dance sport. He has led many of his students to win top level gold medal competitions, and he is pleased to share his expertise with you today.

    Hi, I am Terry Dean from Terry Deans Dance Studio. Were teaching the Foxtrot. In foxtrot, were going to have an action which we call Swing and an action which we call Sway. Swing is going to be an action when were going forward and back, like youre on a swing. When you go forward, your hips go forward and when you go back your hips go back as if you were sitting on a swing. What happens is, like Cindy is demonstrating, when my hips go forward, her hips go back, and when my hips go back, her hips come forward. This is swing. One of the things that youll find out is that when you learn swing properly, you have to go down on your legs and youll be able to take longer steps if you swing. So the idea in all of the smooth dances is to get really long steps. So, when Im stepping forward, I go down and I swing and get a really big step; when I swing back I can really reach back far and get a big step as long as Im swinging. And of course if were in position, we swing, we swing, we swing, swing, swing, swing, good! Next one is going to be Sway. Sway goes from side to side. So, as I step to my right side, my body will sway, my right side will lift up. As I go to the left side, my body will sway, my left side lifts up. Im always going down in the knees and swaying up - and sway, and sway and sway. Of course when the man sways in one direction the lady sways the other. So Im going to my right, shes swaying to her left; if Im swaying to my left, she is swaying to her right. Sway, sway, very good. Now we kind of put it into the dance step so that you can see what it looks like with the basic step. And Im going forward, Im going to swing forward, and I go side Im going to sway to my left her right. Swing and Sway. So the idea is, if I did it flat, it would look like this; step, step, side step, step, step, side step - very flat and there is no upper body movement. If I do it with Swing and Sway, my body goes down and then sways up. It gives it a much more dimension from left to right and right to left; swing and sway. That Swing and Sway is very important to make your foxtrot look elegant. The next thing were going to do is the basic left turn, so you can maneuver around the floor.