Beginner Moves Dictionary

 

Almost Neck Break:

Starts off left to right. Guys signal this move by holding their right hand up in a “stop” signal as both step back from the return. Ladies step into guys right so they are looking over the guys right arm, facing in opposite directions. Guys then throw the ladies right hand back so that she steps around and you catch her right hand in your right. Once the guys have caught the ladies right hand, they turn her in a clockwise direction. She has already turned clockwise to be standing facing the same direction as you so you are in fact just continuing her spin in the same direction. We try to make this a very smooth move by eliminating the pause in between as much as possible BUT, ladies, do not anticipate and spin off before the guy gets your right hand. You will feel insecure and he won’t be able to help you. Guys you can use your left hand on the ladies left shoulder blade to GENTLY encourage the turn. Return your partner changing back to a left to right hand hold.

Arm Jive:

This is a double hand hold move guys so remember to run your hand down the ladies arm as you return her to take up the double hand hold. We pause here for half a beat before starting the Arm Jive.  Guys you just bring your right arm back and swivel to your right, this will bring the ladies left arm forward and swivel her to her right also. Next bring your left arm back and swivel left, now right arm again. Now bring your left arm up for a First Move exit. Step the ladies under your raised arm and then return as usual.

Around the waist: 

Simple little link move. Footwork is the same as man break thru but the arms change. Guys left hand to ladies right. Guys are going to take three steps through the middle while ladies take three steps around them BUT as the guys take their first step they swap the ladies right hand from their left to their own right hand, they should be starting to turn her. On their second step they completely turn their back on their partner and they swap the ladies hand back to their left. The third step is to face each other again and then return. There is no signal here as the guy never lets go of the ladies hand and thus, never loses control of the move (well that is the theory!).

Back taps:

 We are now in a right to right hand hold and everyone has stepped back, girls left and guys right. Guys, swing your right arm across to your right hand side so that the lady steps in front of you with her back to you. Tap her gently on the back. Now swing your arm back to your left so that your back is to the lady and she taps you on the back. Repeat the move so that you each tap twice. On the fifth beat, bring your arm through to the right but not as far. The lady should be slightly turned to her left ready for a clockwise spin. Give her a gentle “flick” to your left, stepping feet together as she spins. Catch her right hand with your left as she faces you again and step back. Return her as normal.

Basket step across:

Double hand hold. Guys raise their left arm and wrap the lady into their right hand side. Pause. Now step 1 + 2 + 3 + . Girls are stepping backwards and guys forwards BUT take small steps. Once you have completed the 3 steps around, guys release their right hand and take it up and over as they step to their right. They then offer that right hand over the top of the left. Girls you step to your left as he staps to his right. So you have now swapped sides and girls are standing on the guys left hand side. We walk again but this time guys step back and girls forward, still with small steps, for 1 + 2 + 3 +. Unwrap the lady by letting go with your left hand and gently pull back on your right hand. Exit the move with a first move exit by raising your left hand with a flat palm. Ladies step to face and match the flat palm before stepping under and back on their right foot as guys step back right. Return as normal.

Basket walks:

Double hand hold. Guys raise their left arm and wrap the lady into their right hand side. Pause. Now step 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +. Girls are stepping backwards and guys forwards BUT take small steps. Once you have completed the 4 steps around. Unwrap the lady by letting go with your left hand and gently pull back on your right hand. Exit the move with a first move exit by raising your left hand with a flat palm. Ladies step to face and match the flat palm before stepping under and back on their right foot as guys step back right. Return as normal.

Bumps & step across:

Another left to right hand hold. Ladies step into guys right hand side and guys you need to push the ladies right hand back firmly. Girls you should step out so that you are standing side by side with your partner, facing the same way. Guys then lead the lady to step in to your right side and “bump” before stepping back out. Step in and bump again and step back out. Now we need the step across. Guys now need to lead their partner to step across in front of them. Girls step left, right, left. As the girls step across, guys should step across behind them so that they swap sides. Now do the bumps again from this side. Step in, bump and step out. Step in, bump and step out. Once again we step across. This time girls step right, left and right. Guys again step through behind the girls. We are exiting this move with a first move exit. So guys hold your left palm up and flat as you lead your partner to face you. Girls step in and match his flat palm with your right palm. Step under and back and then return as normal.

Catapult:

This is a lovely, rotating move. Starts off right to right. Guys bring your right hand down and then over the lady’s head. She should now be standing behind you, facing your back. As she steps back, guys hold their left hand out to their side and lunge forward slightly. The idea is that the lady needs to step through to get to the guys hand. As she takes the guys hand and steps past him, he flicks the lady into a clockwise spin. As she completes the turn, catch her right hand with your left and return her.

CJs:

This move starts like a first move. Ladies step into the guys right hand side, open out and then step in to start the CJs. This is a pivoting move. Both first step to face their partner then pivot out so that they are hip to hip. They then pivot to face and pivot out again twice more (6 CJs). After the 6th CJ, guys raise their left hand to signal a first move exit to finish the move. Exit and return as normal.

Cleaver:

A double hand move so guys remember to take up double hands on the return from the previous move. To do this smoothly, run your hand down the ladies left arm as she returns so that she knows it is double hands. Now as you step toward each other, guys take both your hands up and over so that you both have your left hand behind your head and right arm over your partners head. From there we just go for a walk in a circle stepping first on the right foot and then step together with the left. Walk for three counts and then step apart allowing her right hand to drop into your left. Use a reverse spin exit and prepare for this by bringing her right hand to YOUR right before spinning her in a clockwise direction. Catch her hand and return her as usual.

Comb Stroll:

Let’s go for a walk. As we said, this is a right to right hand hold. You have both stepped back from the return and guys are going to step side on to their partner putting her right hand over their head and onto their own right shoulder. Guys turn so that your left hip is against the ladies right hip.They offer the ladies their left hand as they do this and they should hold her hand close to her right hip. Pause for half a beat and then you both step right, left, right and left. After the fourth step guys step out to their right, away from the lady, applying light pressure to the ladies hip to encourage her to step out to her left. Guys have let go with their right hand and now catch the ladies right hand with their left as they step apart. Girls you can help here by trailing your right hand down the guys left arm as you step apart. That way it is a simple thing for him to take your right hand and return you. Both step back.

Crossed Arm jive:

This is a right to right hand hold move so guys you need to swap hands at the top of the return BUT you also offer your left hand underneath your right as you face each other. You should now have a double hand hold, right to right and left to left. To start the armjive, guys bring your left arm back slightly to encourage the lady to swivel to her right. Bending the knees and using the ball of your foot makes the swivel easier. Guys you swivel to your left as she swivels to her right. Now guys bring your right arm back to swivel the other way (guys right ladies left). Third arm jive is back to the left and then straighten up on the fourth beat bringing both the ladies hands to your right to prepare for a flick spin exit. Catch her right hand in your left as she completes the spin and return her as usual.

Eskimos (single, double, single):

Left to right hand hold. Eskimos start off like a first move with ladies stepping into their partners right hand side. They open out as usual but when the guys lead their partners back to face him, he keeps his left hand low and leads his partner to rock onto her right foot as he rocks onto his left foot. He then rocks back onto his right foot as she rocks back onto her left. They both now step back. The next Eskimo is a double. Guys lead their partner back to face them and lead her to once again rock onto her right foot as he rocks onto his left, she then rocks back onto her left as he rocks back onto his right. She then rocks onto her right as he rocks onto his left and then she rocks back onto her left foot as he rocks back onto his right (phew!) THEN they step back. Finish with a first move exit and return.

First move:

Starts off guys left hand to ladies right. Guys step back right as ladies step back left. Guys then lead ladies to step into their right hand side. They should now be facing in opposite directions with the guys right hand on the ladies waist and ladies left hand on the guys shoulder. The next part of the move involves the guy bringing his left hand down to encourage the lady to step back on her right foot. At the same time the guy opens out by stepping onto his right foot so that he is perpendicular to his partner. Now guys lead your lady to step in to face you and raise your left hand, flattening the palm. This is her signal to step under his left arm and exit the move. As she has turned on her right foot she steps back right as the guys step back left. Guys then return their partner by leading her to step back under his arm and step back left as the guys step back right.

First Move Checks:

A nice little variation that gives you lots of “think” time between moves! Starts off left to right as for a normal first move. Both step back, guys right and girls left. Girls step into his right hand side. Both step back with outside feet back and inside feet together and pointing forward. Now here is where it starts to vary from a normal first move. As you lead the girls forward to face you guys, keep your left hand at about waist height and don’t flatten the palm. You are going to “check” your partner here and lead her to step back again. You may find that slight pressure from the thumb helps get the stop signal across. We do this twice and then on the third step to face, we raise the left hand with flat palm and allow the lady to exit. Return her as normal changing to a right to right hand hold for the next move.

First Move Pushspin:

As the name indicates, this is a first move variation. So we are all apart from our return. Girls step in to your partners right hand side. Now guys lead the ladies to step back on their right foot by bringing their right hand down and back toward their right hip while turning them with pressure on their left hip. Now as you bring them to face you guys, you keep the left hand low (instead of raising and flattening as in a normal first move) and you push against the ladies left hip to spin her clockwise. Catch her left hand with your right and we all step back. Simple!

First move triple step:

Oh no the dreaded triple step that we all worked so hard to lose. Well we want it back, but just for this one move. Here goes! It starts off as a first move with a left to right hand hold and stepping in to your partners right hand side. Then we step back as normal. Now as we step in to face each other, we triple step. For those of us who have never jived, a triple step is a step facing each other but moving sideways with a 3 & 4 beat. Keep your steps little and quick. We triple step back again and step back. Now repeat the move. Back step, triple step, triple step, back step. Now use a first move exit to finish. On the return change to a right to right hand hold for the next move.

Half windmill:

This is a right to right hand hold so guys remember to swap hands at the top of the return. Now guys you are going to lead the lady down your right hand side and under your right arm. You do not turn guys but the ladies turn as they step through. As soon as she is behind you, swap her right hand into your left and lead her back out along your left hand and under your left arm. Once she is facing you again, bring her hand across to your right side and spin her into a reverse exit. Return her of course.

Hatchback:

This move is similar to the yoyo and starts off the same. It is a right to right move so you need to swap hands at the top of the return from the previous move. As you step to each others right hand side guys then bring their right hands across their chest. You should now be standing side by side facing in opposite directions. Ladies should put their left hand on the guys right shoulder for balance. Guys now throw tghe ladies right hand out so that she spins in a clockwise direction. He steps to face her as she completes the spin. Catch left to right and return your partner.

Jive Kicks:

Right to left hand hold. Starts off like a first move with ladies stepping into guys right hand side and then guys leading his partner to step back. This is where it changes. Guys lead their partner to step back in to face them but as they do, guys kick out with their left foot and ladies kick forward with their right foot. Then guys kick forward right and ladies kick out left. Now repeat. After the fourth kick each, both step back and then repeat the whole move. We finish this one with a first move exit. Return your partner of course. There is no signal for the jive kicks so just tell your partner guys. This is probably the safest way with all kicks moves anyway. We don’t want bruised shins!

Kick ups:

Starts off left to right. We have stepped back from the return so our first step is into our partners right hand side. From here we open out as usual. Now as we step onto our inside feet, we kick toward each other with our outside foot (girls right and guys left). Guys need to kick out to their left slightly as girls will kick straight forward. Now put the kicking foot down and with the other foot, kick away from each other. The third kick is toward each other again BUT after this kick you need to pause for half a beat before stepping back. Now repeat the move. Kick toward, kick away, kick toward and step back. Now use a first move exit to finish the move.

Lady Rock Arounds:

Starts off with a left to right hand hold. Guys lead the ladies to their right hand side, raising their left arm as they do so (left arm should be over your head guys!). Guys need to step to meet their partner but then they mark time on the spot. Guys place the back of their right hand on their partners back to guide them around. Ladies are stepping right together, right together, right together, right together. Once they have stepped for 4 counts they should be by their partners left side. From here guys drop their left arm and swing it slightly back to prepare their partner for the return. Both step back as usual.

Mambo Walks: 

This is a left to right move. We have stepped back from the return so we now step into a ballroom hold. Guys start off stepping forward left and girls back right and we take 4 steps. When we stop, guys should have their weight on their right foot and girls on their left, this will enable you to “mambo” out on the other foot. So to mambo, we rock out onto the opposite foot (guys left girls right). The anchor foot stays where it is, but we shift our weight off it. So we rock out and back, pause and then step out the opposite way for the next mambo. There is always a pause in the middle of this move. We do 4 all together. After the fourth guys push the ladies right hand back so that they step back on their right foot to give them room to return.

Man Break Through: 

This is one of our favourite link moves and is one that, I am sure, you will learn to love! The signal for this one is the guys right arm bent at the elbow with palm flat and facing the floor. Guys are going to take three steps through the middle with girls taking three steps around the outside of the guy. It is important that the guys right arm goes over the top of the joined hands or else you will get tangled. Once you are facing each other again, return your partner.

Manhattans:

This is one of our favourite moves and is one that, I am sure, you will learn to love! The transition into this one is a little tricky although the move itself is simple. So guys you will need to “catch” your partner on the return so that she doesn’t step back. You take up a ballroom hold for this one and guys your first step is forward left as she rocks back on her right. You then replace the weight on your right foot and rock back left as she rocks forward right. Last rock is the same as the first, guys forward left and girls back right. Now guys you lead a return but keep your right arm near the ladies waist to let her know that the Manhattans are continuing. Guys step feet together as the ladies return catching her once again and repeating the move. Guys you will need to angle to face your partner as she completes her return. Do one more set of Manhattans (so three in total) before dropping your right arm on the final return and allowing her to step back left as you step back right. Now even though this is a simple rocking motion, it is important that you transfer weight on each step to keep in time with your partner!

Neckbreak Walks:

Starts off left to right. Guys you signal this move with a “stop” signal with your right arms you step back from the return. Girls when we see this, we step straight forward so that we are looking straight over the guys raised right arm. Guys you now push the ladies right arm back firmly so that she steps back on her right foot. She needs to raise her left hand so that you can catch it as she turns. You should now be facing the same direction with the guys left foot back and girls right foot back. This is where we start our walk. Guys you are steering the walk using the ladies hands so that as you step ,with your left foot, toward her bring her right arm forward so that she steps toward you on her right foot. Now you turn away with your right foot forward and her left foot forward. Repeat this step for walks 3 & 4. On 5 you need to bring the ladies right arm further forward to prepare her for a spin. Her hand should be just above her forehead for a balanced 1.5 spin exit. Once she is facing you again, bring her hand to your right for a reverse spin. Return as normal.

Octopus: This is a double hand move. We have both stepped back from the return so guys are back right and girls left. Guys now raise their right arm and step through the middle, turning their back on their partner. Girls step around them, maintaining double hand hold for as long as possible. You both step back as you face each other again. Now guys raise their left arm and girls step through. Let’s repeat so he goes and she goes once again. This time as you step apart guys brings both the girls hands across to their (the guys!) right to prepare girls for a flick spin exit. Guys catch the ladies right hand with their left as she completes her spin. Now return her.

Open Salsa:

As you may have guessed this is a salsa move. So it is important to get the timing right. This starts off left to right. Girls step in to the guys right and they both open out (as a first move) then as the girls step to face their partner, guys flatten their left palm and push the ladies’ right hand back firmly, so that they end up standing side by side in the open position. At this point girls should be back right and guys back left. Now step to face each other but pause for one beat before stepping out the opposite way. Girls should now be back left and guys back right. Step in again and pause before stepping out the other way. This time when the girls step in, guys raise and flatten their left palm to signal the end of the move. We use a first move exit here to step out of the move. Return as normal.

Palm Spin Off:

This is a left to right hand hold move. Guys you signal the move by holding your right hand out to the side, palm up. When we see that ladies we step in to our partners side, taking that offered hand in our left hand. We are now side by side facing in opposite directions. Guys now push the ladies right hand back firmly, so that she steps out to be facing the same way as you still side by side. Now guys you swing her left hand back so that she steps to face you, at the same time raise your left hand with flat palm. As they step in the ladies raise their right hand, with flat palm, to match yours. You then “block” with the left hand before swinging her arm back through so that she steps back out. Repeat that swing & block twice, BUT on the third “block” you increase the pressure slightly as you are both going to spin away from your partner (Guys anti-clockwise, girls clockwise) pushing off each others hand. Catch the ladies right hand with your left guys as you both complete the spin. Return as normal.

Pivots:

As this is a double hand hold guys should take up double hands as the lady returns. You are now apart having just completed the return. Lead your lady into your right hand side. From here you will both bend your knees and pivot so that you are now on each others left side. Step apart. Step back into each others right and pivot to the left again. Step out. We now do a flick spin exit. To do this guys bring both the ladies hands over to your right hand. This should get the ladies weight onto their left foot, leaving their right foot “unweighted” and ready to spin. Flick the lady, gently, to your left so that she spins in a clockwise direction on her right foot. Make sure you let go of both hands as she spins. As she completes the spin, catch her right hand with your left and return her as normal.

Pretzel:

We are back to a left to right hand hold here. Guys, turn side on and offer your right hand behind your back. Ladies step in taking that offered hand. You should now be back to back. Guys, take your right arm over the ladies head without releasing her hand. Next step around and take your right arm over your own head. You are now facing each other again. Now return your partner as usual. It is important in this move to keep your arms relaxed so that no-one gets a sore shoulder.

Promenade:

Starts off left to right hand hold. We are all stepped back from the return, guys right & ladies left. Step in to each other’s right hand side. Guys maintain a ballroom hold with your right hand on the ladies waist. Girls, hold your left arm straight out, or if room is a problem, place the back of your left hand on your left hip. Standing side by side we pause for half a beat. Then step right together, right together, right together. After the thrid step together guys lead their partner to step back right by bringing the ladies right arm back and putting slight pressure on the ladies hip. Then turn her anticlockwise once and return to the ballroom hold to repeat the move. Again pause for half a beat. Step again right together, right together, right together. This time you step the lady back and prepare for the spin but this becomes the return. So step back from each other at the end of this turn.

R/H Comb:

Pretty obviously, this is a right to right move. You have both stepped back from the return and guys now step toward their partner, turning side on, raising her right hand and putting it over his head and onto his right shoulder. As he places her hand on his shoulder he pushes against her right hip with the back of his left hand. They step apart and he catches her right hand with his left as it falls from his shoulder. Return her as usual.

Scissor American Spin:

This is a left to right move and guys instigate it by bringing the ladies right hand through the middle. This encourages the lady to pivot on her left foot and prepare to spin on her right. Ladies should extend their left arm out (if there is room) and spin in a clockwise direction. Guys can spin here or not, as long as they are ready to catch the ladies right hand with their left as she completes her spin. Return as usual.

Secret Move;

This is a right to right hand hold move so guys need to swap into a right hand hold as they return their partner. Aim for the top of the return guys! Signal this move by holding your left hand in front of you with the palm facing your stomach. Make sure there is a little room between your palm and your stomach so that the lady can take that hand. Ladies step in and take the offered hand. You should now be standing side by side facing in opposite directions. Guys now straighten their right arm out so that the lady pivots around to be facing the same direction as the guy. Guys now bring their right hand back in front of their forehead so that the lady is now facing him again. Guys you need to step in slightly here so that the lady faces you more easily. Now turn the lady in a clockwise direction, dropping your hands to the lady’s waist level as she faces you again. Bring both your hands to your right hand side and then flick the lady into a clockwise spin releasing both hands as she goes. Catch her left hand with your right and return her as normal.

Shoulder pass:

Left to right hand hold. Footwork is the same as the man break through but different arms. We have all stepped back from the return and guys lead the lady to their right as they step through. On the first step guys place the ladies right hand on their right shoulder. Guys turn their back on their partner as they move through the middle. Girls are stepping around the outside as guys pass through the middle. We take three steps, facing each other again as we take the third step. Return your partner and take up double hands for the next move.

Side to side:

This is a left to right hand hold move. We have both stepped back from our return (guys right and girls left) so that our weight is on our back foot. At this stage we are facing each other. Guys now swing their left arm through, turning side on to their partner and putting their weight on the left foot. At the same time they bring their right foot forward and point the toe. Girls, you put your weight on your right foot as you turn sideways and point your left toe with your left foot forward. Now step back out so that you are facing each other again while stepping guys right foot back and girls left foot back. Now repeat the side to side. Step back again and then complete the move with a traveling return. Girls you are going to step through so that you end up on the opposite side. Guys you raise your left arm as you would in a normal return, return your partner and step back.

Springer throws: 

This is a right to right hand hold move. Guys signal this move by holding their left hand behind their back with flat palm facing out. Right hand comes across in front of the guys stomach as the lady steps into his right side, placing her left hand against the guys left hand behind his back. They are facing in opposite directions at this stage. Now guys straighten their right arm out, which encourages the lady to step back so that they are side by side and facing the same direction. You should release the ladies right arm as you straighten your own right arm guys. Once you have opened out, guys flick the ladies left hand to spin her anti-clockwise while you turn anti-clockwise at the same time. As they face each other, guys catch right to right again to repeat the move. To finish guys catch left to right after the second springer, return their partner and step back.

Sway:

A right to right move. Guys you signal a Sway by holding your left hand out at waist level. When we see that signal girls, we step in to the guys, turning our back on them and flinging our left arm out straight. Guys you need to catch that arm or you are going to wear it! As soon as we are standing side by side and facing the same way, we both rock back on our outside feet. Guys your bring the ladies left arm back to her right hip as she sways back. We then sway forward (bring her arm out). On the second Sway back, guys bring the ladies hand up and over her head as though she is smoothing her hair. Then as you both sway forward, you offer your left hand back in front of her. We sway back once more, with the arm low again, and then step out ready for a hip spin. At this point the guys should release the ladies left hand entirely so that she is free to spin to her right (guys you put a little pressure on the ladies right hip to encourage this) and you catch her right hand in your left to finish the move. Return here of course!

Throwaway:

Left to right hand hold. Guys signal the move by holding up two fingers on their right hand, bunny ears or peace if you like! As the lady steps in to the guys right hand side she keeps her right arm straight. Guys place their two fingers on the ladies right wrist and flick her into a clockwise spin. Guys can spin or not here. As the lady completes her spin, catch her right hand with your left and both step back (right foot). Return your partner as normal and both step back, guys right and ladies left.

Toe heel cross:

This one starts with a double hand hold but a safety grip guys (hands at shoulder height). And you are facing each other but not too close! Guys will start with their weight on their right foot and toe heel with their left before crossing left over right for the cross. Girls you do the opposite. Start with your weight on your left foot and toe heel with your right before crossing right over left for the cross. Now repeat but with the opposite foot. Guys right foot toe heel cross. Girls left foot toe heel cross. Now repeat from the top so that you do four in total. Finish with a first move exit.

Travelling Push Pulls:

This is a double hand hold move so as you return your partner, offer your right hand to her as you step back. As with most double hand hold moves, you will find it easier if you stay fairly close to your partner. Guys first step is back on their left foot with ladies stepping forward right. Guys should bring their left elbow back as they step back. This will bring your partner’s right arm forward and encourage her to step forward right. Next step back right guys, ladies stepping forward left. Guys then step forward right and ladies back left. Then guys forward left and ladies back right. To finish we do an American Spin. So guys drop the right hand hold and bring your left hand through the middle. This should put the ladies weight on to their left foot ready for a spin, clockwise, on their right foot. Guys you can spin here if you like. If you do so, you will be spinning anticlockwise on your left foot. You both step back after the spin and step back.

Underarm walk through:

Starts left to right. We are all back from the return, guys right ladies left. Guys raise their left arm and step underneath turning their back on their partner. Girls step around the guys as they go but do not spin! You should take 3 beats to step through. There is no need to break the hand hold in this move. Once you are facing each other again, return the lady as usual.

Wurlitzers:

As the girls returns guys signal the Wurlitzer by holding their right hand out with their palm facing up. Girls step in and take his hand. They are standing side by side here facing in opposite directions. Guys push her right hand out, leading her to step out so that they are side by side facing the same way. He then brings the ladies hand slightly forward to prepare her for an anti-clockwise spin. He catches her right hand with his left as she completes her spin and signals the Wurlitzer again.Repeat the first Wurlitzer and complete with a first move exit.

Yoyo: 

This is a right to right hand move so guys remember to swap hands at the top of the return ready for this one. To begin this move we step in side by side (similar to a first move) but guys take the ladies right hand straight across your chest and cover it with your left. This is the yoyo signal. As this stage you are facing in opposite directions. Next guys straighten your right arm and girls step back so that your right foot is behind. Guys should step back left. Now guys bring your right arm forward so that girls step to face you. From here it is an underarm turn for the girls on their right foot, stepping back right as they finish. To exit use a reverse spin so guys take the girls right hand to your right before spinning her clockwise. Catch her right hand in your left as she completes her turn and return her as usual.