From Academic Kids

A redowa (RED-oh-wah) is a turning, leaping waltz step that was most popular in Victorian era European ballrooms.

It is danced in 3/4 time (like most waltzes), with the couple turning approx. 180 degrees every bar; so a full rotation of a redowa is accomplished in 6 beats.

A basic redowa step contains one long reaching step and two small leap-steps. The long reaching step can be danced on either the 1 or the 2 of each bar of music, depending on what feels best with the tune that is playing (I suppose dancing it on the 3 is possible, but I haven't run into music that makes me want to dance it that way, so I've never tried it).

The couple generally starts in closed (waltz) position with the outside hands pointing line of direction. To begin a redowa, the leader will take a small leap step around in front of his/her partner with the left foot (the leader would then be facing back line of dance), then take a long scooping step straight back with the right (bending the knee of the left leg, keeping the torso upright and good frame in the chest, collarbone, and arms), then a small leap step with the left and then the right to finish the rotation (leader is now facing forward line of dance). The leader then starts the second half of the full rotation with a long reaching step forward with the left leg (bending left knee, etc. reaching under the follower, with turnout, of course) and then two more small almost in-place leap steps with the right and left to complete the full rotation. The follower does the same exact step, only starting on the opposite portion of the sequence. So the step itself does its rotation along with line of dance (facing line of dance and back line of dance), but it is easiest to get into the step starting facing along (perpendicular to) line of dance. Good strong frame is essential for making this step work, so keep your chest open, your hands soft but your arms strong, and bend your knees. The bigger the bend, the more reach you can put in your step, and the more distance you can cover; bend a lot with good frame and you can lap other waltzers several times in one song! =^)

When done well (i.e. with a partner who has a good frame and whose step length matches yours), dancing a redowa can feel like flying, only turning and with music. It can be energetic, hypnotic, dizzying, and very much fun; it can also be frustrating and confusing to learn, but it is well worth the effort!


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