What's the name and meaning (?) of this figure?


Sorry if that question is silly, but I'm writing from a point of view of an amateur.

I saw that figure performed by Hanna Karttunen and Alex Da Silva very often. It comes in many variations, and in most cases not only it features dancer's flexibility, but to me it feels like there's much more to it. I've seen it performed by latin dancers, salsa dancers, tango dancers, and in most cases there's incredible tension between the couple, or at least that's the impression I'm having.

And it's that incredible combination of elegance and passion that made me ask that question - does this figure has a name and is there any specific meaning to it?

Thank you!




Well-Known Member
It's not a ballroom/partner dance figure. And in that picture, she's not wearing partner-dance shoes, she's in blocked toe shoes, which is where you'll normally see that. She's just en pointe in full develope (raising her free leg, in this case not AS far to full vertical as most ballerinas could do it, but far enough) while he provides some balance and support so she doesn't fall over. En pointe refers to her being in blocked shoes and standing on the blocks on the tips of her toes, develope is taking the free leg up and forward/sideways (rather than behind in attitude.) There's no meaning to it, but no figures have any meaning beyond what the choreographer dictates they mean in a particular context, other than showing off flexibility.
Thank you.

Please ignore shoes, I couldn't find the photo with the proper balroom shoes, but I've seen this movement performed many, many times by latin couples.

In different context this figure is indeed performed often by ballet dancers (I googled 'develope', indeed!), only in this case the control is, literally, in partner's hands. So that would mean that the male partner is showing off his female partner's flexibility. Both weird and exciting.

But thank you for the explanation. I've heard many times that, for example, "Rumba tells the story of seduction and...(whatever)", so I assumed each movement has a meaning and put together they tell the story. And that movement happened to be the most spectacular from my amateur perspective, so I wanted to investigate a bit more. Shame that there's no depth to it. Probably I'll just build my own meaning to it, just to justify it's visual beauty :)


Well-Known Member
Dance only means what a choreographer intends it to mean at the time. Figures and steps are just tools you use to impart meaning. It's like paint and canvas are meaningless, you have to actually paint something. A figure means what the person dancing it tries to convey and what the audience takes from it. There's no dictionary you're given that says "If you want to say 'seductive', do this."


Well-Known Member
..seen it performed by latin dancers, salsa dancers, tango dancers
We call these poses piernazos or caídas.

...Figures and steps are just tools... like paint and canvas are meaningless...
I do not agree, danceronice. These poses do have a history and contain an insinuating iconography. They all developed without exception on the dance floor before they became the figurehead of contemporary tango shows.


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