Back Slapper starting in Domino Position
A right underarm turn...
He travels to the other side
and extends his right arm
(view blocked), which puts
her into position and
communicates to her
He has a right-to-right
handhold which is opposite
of what he needs to assume
normal closed position, so
next he ...
...leads a free turn
("free" is short for
... like so, in closed
dance position (hand on
her back, left-to-right
handhold (always man
first in naming, so
man's left to lady's right))
Monique: This one, like most of the more advanced figures in Polish-American polka, is not a traveling figure.
DT: So you have to get out of the line of dance to do it.
Monique: The non-traveling ones, yes. The dance progresses ordinarily in an oval around the room, and the non-traveling steps are done in the corners or in the center. Either of those places is out of the line of dance.
Morley: The trick to doing this well is to be "back slapping" a moving partner and to do that the leader must start moving around the follower before she comes out of the underarm turn?
DT: Underarm double turn?
Morley: Here it's 2 1/2 turns, yes. But it could a single turn, or rather 1 1/2 turns.
DT: After the first "slap" -- she slaps you -- the rest are "slaps" on a moving partner? Morley: Yep, they all are. We might do more than 4 "slaps" ordinarily, but we are trying to keep the videos concise.
DT: Monique, does this figure work better by starting in the Domino or cape position?
Monique: That brings up a good point. The back slapper figure itself -- and many of the figures we are discussing -- can be done from many "entrances", and there are many "exits". Here, we just need a right-to-right handhold and we can go right into it. We do not have to be in domino. Any right-to-right will do. But domino has us already in a right-to-right handhold, so it works well.
DT: By being in domino, you are cross-handed already.
Monique: Yes, the usual hand hold, right to left and left to right, has already been changed to cross-hands -- Domino is always cross-hands.
DT: Do either of you know why it's called domino, or is this another of those terrible terms that provide no clue that anyone can remember?
Morley: It doesn't have to do with the game dominos. Domino was a polka-like dance around the turn of the century, and the side-by-side position was the rest step for that dance.
DT: I was afraid of that.
Monique: In some countries it is also called la Varsovienne which literally means a girl from Warsaw, which references the domino dance.
DT: In ballroom, swing and country western, I've heard it called the cape position -- that is, like a gentleman helping a lady on with her cape.
Morley: Yes, but you will never hear it called that by polka dancers, -- at least in our experience.
DT: Could back slapper be started in other than domino position?
Monique: Sure, but it works smoothly in domino.
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