4a. Basic Grapevine
The grapevine is a sequence of "forward step - side step - back step - side step" (or "forward, side, back, side...") that is done by the follower when circling around the leader. It may be done to either side, but here it is to the leader's right.
The follower's part is -> Step Forward Pivot and
THE LEADER pulls the follower into a grapevine from her cross just as he would lead her into a front ocho (see section 3b for more details), but he continues rotating in a circle that causes her to take grapevine steps (forward, side, back, side, forward, side, back, side, etc.)
The leader does not need to turn his partner with his arms to get her to pivot into the various steps of the grapevine. She knows to take these grapevine steps because they are part of the arbitrary tango code. When led in a circle, followers tend to automatically do grapevine steps, unless they are emphatically led to do otherwise.
Look at that nice, full side step!
A side step follows every front or
back step in the grapevine.
side-etc., until the follower is
led to do otherwise
THE FOLLOWER should think of the front and back steps of the grapevine as front and back ochos, since they are all steps with pivots. The technique that is important to front and back ochos applies just as well to the front and back steps of the grapevine. (Review sections 3a and 3c for more detail.)
The hardest part of the grapevine is the back step. It can be difficult to rotate your hips around enough so that you can step straight back and stay on the circle of the turn. If you seem to be moving away from your partner as you do grapevines, examine the rotation of your hips at the back step. You are probably not rotating them enough and are therefore stepping away from him each time you do the back step.
Each step of the grapevine should be about the same size. Beginners have a tendency to take side steps that are smaller than the front and back steps. Make sure you take nice, full side steps.
Be sure to collect your feet each time you pivot. Bringing your feet together between each step allows you to pivot and step more quickly and makes your grapevines more crisp and polished.
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