Lady's Comb

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Starting with hands low

Before approaching her
to comb, the leader
creates some distance

One high & one low --
the arms are relaxed

The man has to be close
enough to reach behind
the lady's head. Notice
how close his left foot
is to her. He is not
gripping her hand, but
rather their hands are
touching with gentle
pressure

Another angle -- Man
releases neck-high. He
doesn't hesitate to release
but has a smooth con-
tinuous sweep with his hand

DT: The idea in the titling of this move is that the ladyís hair is being combed?

Kana: Uh huh.

DT: When that hand goes up in the air, Kana, how do you know itís going to be a comb instead of an underarm turn? [Ed: see Figure 8, Lady's Underarm Turn.]

Kana: He brings my right arm in front of my face rather than to my left side, kind of making a loop in the front of my face, so I already know that itís not underarm turn.

DT: I see he doesnít let go of your other hand?

Kana: Uh huh, he is keeping it down.

DT: Helmut, are we seeing in the video that you are allowing the distance between Kana and yourself to increase just before the comb?

Helmut: Yes, that creates space for the arms, for the arms to come up comfortably.

DT: You hold the hands waist to hip-high. Is that generally the practice in latin dances?

Helmut: Yes, it keeps the leads clear. If you raise the hand, it means the lady is going to go under.

DT: In social dancing, do followers have trouble with this figure?

Helmut: No, I don't think so.

DT: What about people coming to salsa from other dances, is it easier for them than for brand new dancers?

Helmut: If they come from couple dancing it will be a little easier for them. But if they are ballet or jazz or tap, it's a different dance entirely because in those you dance by yourself. With a partner you have 4 legs, 4 arms and 2 bodies and they all have to move together.

The Keys:
The man does not leave go of the lady's "non-combing" hand, and brings the combing hand across her face. These two elements make it clear to the lady that she will not be doing an underarm turn. Otherwise, if the gentleman's arm goes up, the lady generally turns under.

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