Basic Step with Back-and-to-the-Side Breaks (BATTS)

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DT: Helmut, when do you lead the lady into this?

Helmut: The followers go back with their right on the first count anyway. We are just turning them so that they don't only go back but also to the side. At the same time we turn ourselves and instead of going forward with our first (left) step, we go back. Then we come back and do it to the other side.

DT: Kana, how is he leading you?

Kana: His upper body, torso and his arm, itís a very gentle lead, it should not feel anything forceful, it should feel very comfortable. He turns his upper body and my upper body which, as Helmut said, changes step from back to back-and-to-the-side.

DT: How much weight are you putting on the back step? It looks like you are more or less maintaining your axis over your front foot.

Kana: Yes, yes, I placed my right foot then left or back foot, quite strong to the floor, itís not just a little tap to the floor.

DT: When you back step and put weight on the back step foot, what happens with your other foot.

Kana: My front foot comes slightly off the floor so I am still changing weight from one foot to the other with every step I take.

DT: On the back step, because you are reaching, it looks like your knee is not bent, is that right?

Kana: No, it's bent. I think when you are going backwards, when your toe touches the floor first, your knee is flexed and bent. But, since you are going backwards and a little bit diagonally to the fifth position, your knee gets straightened quite quickly.

It is not just a touching
of the floor. For a
moment, the weight changes
to the reaching foot

DT: Helmut, whatís "fifth position."

Helmut: The Fifth position is borrowed loosely from ballet, with one toe on the back leg going behind the heel of the front leg.

DT: On all the break variations so far in this lesson -- side, forward and back-and-to-the-side -- the leader does the same as the follower. Is there such a thing as leading the follower to do a break, say to the side, while the leader does something else, say a break back?

Helmut: Yes, this would not be for beginners, but it doesn't matter which way the leader is breaking as long as he clearly leads the follower. For example, he could break sideways while he leads his partner to break forward.

The Keys:
When the lady goes back, the man -- instead of going forward -- goes back also and turns both himself and his partner so that the back step is on the diagonal behind the standing foot.

The lady's back step involves an actual weight change onto that back step, and is not simply a touch step (no weight change).

In some places, back-and-to-the-side variations are referred to as 5th positon breaks.

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