On August 31 2009, which was the 52nd National Day of Malaysia, some fifteen dance enthusiasts gathered at the Kuala Lumpur Dancers' Association (KLDA) in Wisma OCM at Jalan Hang Jebat, KL to attend a dance workshop conducted by Aleksandr Zhiratkov and Irina Novozhilova of Russia. Aleksandr and Irina who were semi-finalists in the Ballroom Professional event at the Blackpool Dance Festival 2009; had on the evening before, won the Ballroom Professional title at the 7th Crystal Dancesport Championships 2009 held at the Shangri-la Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. There at this championship they swept aside the competition and mesmerized the audience with their dance artistry, dazzling power and fantastic floorcraft.
Aleksandr introduced us to the beauty of the Foxtrot and started off by discussing the character of the Foxtrot and contrasting it with the character of the other ballroom dances. He said the Foxtrot is an exquisite dance and has a happy and carefree character. As a comparison, Aleksandr likened the Foxtrot to a Rolls Royce - a car par excellence. He then mentioned the timing of the Foxtrot. Although the 'standard' timing for the Foxtrot is 1 2 3 4, Aleksandr said he preferred the 2 3 4 1 timing as it gives the dance a better rhythmic interpretation. (I'll have to agree with Aleksandr that the 2 3 4 1 timing gives a more rhythmic expression and I believe many advance dancers use the 2 3 4 1 timing when dancing the foxtrot).
The Feather Step, Reverse Turn and Three Step were demonstrated by Aleksandr. For the Feather Step, the first step on the right foot is taken on count 2. Aleksandr also mentioned the left side lead when taking the second and third steps and when and how to 'square' the body when preparing to dance the next figure. Irina demonstrated to the ladies the footwork of the Feather Step and Three Step. She emphasised the there should be a toe release and that the heel should be 'dragged' along the dance floor when moving back. Irina revealed that a common problem among lady dancers is that they tend to 'fall back' when doing the Three Step. She then proceeded to teach the ladies how to overcome this problem.
Aleksandr and Irina then showed us the posture, hold, shaping and the connection between the partners. They also touched on the topic of lead and follow. Both stressed that the man always leads and the lady always follows. Even in the Reverse Wave (which is basically a Three Step and Feather Step) where the lady moves forward and the man back, it is still the man who does the leading, they emphasised. The above were some of the pointers and gems of wisdom that Aleksandr and Irina imparted to us during the two-hour workshop. As a finale we were treated to a superb performance of the foxtrot by Aleksandr and Irina. It was an afternoon well spent for we learned so much about the foxtrot at this workshop.
> Dancing The Foxtrot - Mastering the Feather Step And Three Step