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Dr Phil's Dance Clinic
Sorting out the Quickstep Lockstep!
The Quickstep has as you know many figures, however, the lockstep is one of the most commonly used figures in Quickstep, and one of the earliest figures a beginner will learn. It is also, sadly, often one of the most misunderstood. How many of us have felt our Quickstep going along beautifully smooth, when we hit the lockstep and the whole feeling changes to a skipping feeling!
The lockstep consists of two backward steps for the follower, a crossing action and then an exiting backward step, and for the leader effectively two forward steps, a cross behind and another forward step. The issue occurs really on step two. The follower must take step two back instead of diagonally back which will assist with the crossing action as the left foot crosses in front. If the right foot does not travel back, but instead goes diagonally back, as the left foot crosses it creates a turn through the hips of the follower to the right, and then the whole step, which should otherwise be travelling in a straight line, starts to encroach to the right. To add to the chaos, the head of the follower then tends to turn right as well which makes the entire step rotate too far to the right. The damage from this is immense, and should be avoided at all costs.
A simple way of correcting this is to get the follower to imagine they are dancing on a railway track with each foot representing a track line. Now, take the first two steps down the same line or track, by doing this the left foot then has no option than to cross neatly in front of the right foot.
Likewise, the dancer must be encouraged not to allow the top of the body or the hip line to rotate to the right. This creates a disastrous problem and is very very difficult to correct.
The second thing to note is that as the left foot draws towards crossing the right foot, the heel must remain in contact with the floor. This slows down the crossing action and creates a deliberate and steady lock rather than a sudden jolt.
So, it is all about step two. Work on your number two and the rest will be fine.