Fleckerls Made Easy: The Secret

madmaximus

Well-Known Member
#1
Fleckerls Made Easy: The Secret
A few tips for sailing through this dreaded Viennese Waltz figure.

(Extracted from the SECRET SAUCE article series for Ballroom Dancing, written by MadMaximus, soon to appear in MyGoToPlace.com--arriving soon at your favorite browser.)
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There is nothing that freezes a ballroom dancer's heart like the prospect of doing Fleckerls--especially on a competition floor. And who wouldn't cringe at the very notion of falling down, getting stepped on, and getting dizzy and wobbly? I think that Fleckerls have a well-earned bad reputation for difficulty, because when we first begin to learn this figure, we tend to think about it as a spinning figure, instead of a lateral one. The result? We end up with a death grip on our partner (who's arm is probably going numb), totally disoriented, and cross-eyed.


But with proper instruction and technique, Fleckerls can be your friend. And when danced correctly, it becomes really EASY! (Now, truth be told, Viennese Waltz is the only dance in which I've fallen--a number of times in fact; you think I'd learn my lesson. But I think of it as a badge of honor, if you will. And while I don't relish the thought of crashing, I know I'll probably crash again soon--can't help it, I love the dance). So, to help you gain new perspective on how easy this figure is, I will share with you some specific technique hints to improve your dancing. First, here's a few obvious tips on how to tame this beautiful figure:
  • Do the Fleckerls in the middle of the room.
  • The easiest way into the Fleckerls is from a Reverse Turn. This has the added bonus of making it easy to get to the center of the floor.
  • Sequence the amalgamation this way: Reverse Turns, Reverse Fleckerls, Contra Check, Natural Fleckerls (and then exit into), Natural Turns.
  • Keep your body parallel to your partner's.
  • Stand tall--stretch!
  • If you're holding on to your partner like there's no tomorrow, then you're not doing the figure properly.
  • If you feel centrifugal force, then you're not rotating around your partner.
Fleckerls are 2-measure 6-step figures (one version for the Reverse Turn and another for the Natural Turn (for details, see your nearest technique book). It is done approximately like this, for the men:
  • Measure 1: Cross-Front, Side-Step, Cross-Front
  • Measure 2: Side-Step, Cross-Back, Side-Step.
(For the lady's part, simply do Measure 2 when the gent is doing Measure 1, and Measure 1 when the gent is doing Measure 2.)


The Secret Sauce
  1. Draw a circle on the floor about 15-30 inches in diameter (use chalk or tape--something temporary).
  2. In the middle of the first circle, draw a smaller, second circle (about 5-12 inches).
  3. Note (the more advanced you are, the smaller the circle).
  4. When you are dancing Measure 1, make sure that the foot doing the Cross-Front is within the smaller inner circle for all 3 steps.
  5. When you are dancing Measure 2, make sure that the heel of the foot doing the Side-Step touches the edge of the outer circle--making sure to stay within the circle.
  6. When performing a side-step, create centrifugal momentum with your leg so you can pivot on the standing leg.
  7. Dissipate the centrifugal force on the torso by pivoting on the standing leg properly and keeping your topline parallel to your partner's.
  8. First, practice this alone, then very slowly with your partner, increasing the speed and rotation as proficiency settles in.
If you follow these instructions, the chances that you will step on your partner becomes very low indeed.

I hope you enjoyed this short article. If it proves helpful to you, then pay me forward by helping somebody else with their Fleckerl technique.
And let them know that you learned it right here.


MadMaximus
 
#4
Nice writeup! Would you recommend an alternative way of staying parallel as pointing centers towards each other while doing steps. I've been doing so with practice partner and seems to help. Also, seems to make circular steps happen without thinking about it.
 

madmaximus

Well-Known Member
#5
Nice writeup! Would you recommend an alternative way of staying parallel as pointing centers towards each other while doing steps. I've been doing so with practice partner and seems to help. Also, seems to make circular steps happen without thinking about it.
Try this:

During practice, look down at your standing foot and make sure your belly-button is right above the standing toe and pointing exactly the same way--build the position (position of the feet, hips, & topline) of your partner from this point, and then go to the next position, and so on.

The challenge you have to practice and get nailed down is synchronizing both partner's feet exactly so that you're always square.

Your shoulder rotation must not fall behind the feet and hips rotation, in fact it must be ahead somewhat.






m
 

madmaximus

Well-Known Member
#8
Addendum:

Number 5 should read:

"When you are dancing Measure 2, make sure that your feet do not touch the inner circle and that the heel of the foot doing the Side-Step touches the edge of the outer circle--making sure to stay within the circle."
 

DrDoug

Active Member
#9
When performing a side-step, create centrifugal momentum with your leg so you can pivot on the standing leg.
Do you mean "create momentum with the leg taking the side step" or "create momentum with the leg that is free upon completion of the side step"? Likewise, do you mean "pivot on the standing foot while taking a side step" or "pivot on the foot you will be standing on upon completion of the side step"? An example spelled out in terms of R and L could help clarify this.

Thanks!
 

madmaximus

Well-Known Member
#10
Do you mean "create momentum with the leg taking the side step" or "create momentum with the leg that is free upon completion of the side step"? Likewise, do you mean "pivot on the standing foot while taking a side step" or "pivot on the foot you will be standing on upon completion of the side step"? An example spelled out in terms of R and L could help clarify this.

Thanks!
One thing agonized over when writing about technique is what to include in the description, in such a manner that enough is conveyed and that the reader doesn't do an over-exaggeration of the technique--the principle of do no harm, I suppose.

The short answer to your question is that the pivoting (standing) foot and leg crossing or side-stepping have very little to do with creating the needed momentum--the hips, in coordination with the shoulders and legs have more to do with it (through minute well-timed movements).

The role of the legs and pivoting action is to maintain or even increase the momentum.

The technique I described was meant to get a dancer started on appreciating the forces at play and the precision required to get the figure going--hence the somewhat intentionally ambiguous description.

For the advanced student, however, a different view of the figure (and its component movements) is required: the series of steps have to be described and studied as a continuum composed of a series of minute corrections to create and ride the momentum through in relation to a body in front of the dancer.

Such a detailed description requires quite an investment in time that I am, unfortunately, unable to invest today.

If it helps you at all, try to examine how your hips and shoulders (which should be constantly trying to catch up with each other during the rotation) react to each other when taking a side step and a cross; examine how pivoting the standing foot in coordination with a hip rotation can accelerate the movement.

The natural ability is there, we just need to find a way to tap it.






m
 

wooh

Well-Known Member
#11
Dance instructor decided that she needed to kick our butts and added reverse fleckerls to our choreography. So will be printing out Max's instructions and testing them out. :)
 

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