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10. Cross-Body Lead
Fact Sheet
Official Name:Cross-Body Lead
Dance / Level:Intermediate Bronze American Style Waltz
Aliases:Crossbody Lead
Left Box (Reverse) Turn

The basic Cross-Body Lead is a 3-Step pattern similar in many ways to steps 4-6 of a Left Box Turn, with the following exceptions:

  • The man turns to promenade position over steps 2-3, leading the lady to return to closed position on the end of step 3.
  • The lady dances 3 forward steps, turning to closed position on the end of step 3.
  • The dancers can turn up to 5/8 to left over the 4 steps that include the first step of the following figure, which is 1/4 more than can be accomplished by dancing the second half of the basic Reverse Turn, and 1/8 more than the Left Cross Turn.

For all intents and purposes, the Cross-Body Lead is a substitute for steps 4-6 of Reverse Turn, meaning it can be danced in any situation where 4-6 Reverse Turn can. All precedes and follows suggested for the 4-6 Reverse are also suggested for the Cross-Body Lead. In fact, the extra rotation possible with the Cross-Body Lead gives it additional possibilities for following figures.

In addition to moving down line of dance, the Cross-Body Lead can be taken toward diagonal wall, diagonal center, or even straight toward center when the flow of traffic permits.

The most basic version of the Cross-Body Lead as written in the chart remains in closed contact position, and turns the same 3/8 to left as steps 4-6 of Reverse Turn. Danced in this way it is primarily a teaching figure, one used to learn the basic principles of the movement. The Cross-Body Lead is more useful in a practical sense when variations of turn and dance position spacing are applied.


The normal amount of turn for the Cross-Body Lead is 3/8 to left, with man stepping forward toward diagonal wall as the next figure begins. Alternatively, up to 1/4 turn to left can be made between step 3 and the first step of the following figure, in order to end moving down line of dance or toward diagonal center. In this case, the man would step forward in CBMP, lady back in CBMP.

The Cross-Body Lead can also be used to change direction, in a manner similar to the International style Reverse Corte. The first step of the following figure would then be taken back on the man's left foot in CBMP, with the lady stepping forward on her right foot in CBMP, outside partner on the man's right side. This could be the first step of a Back Twinkle, or a Reverse Twinkle if taken in the corner.

10b. Open Cross-Body Lead

The Cross-Body Lead takes on a different quality when danced in a non-contact or semi-closed dance position. Here, instead of promenade position, the man opens to a true cross-body position over steps 2-3, similar to the Cross-Body Lead used in the rhythm dances such as Rumba and Mambo. The separation between man and lady, coupled with the accelerated rotation toward the end of the figure, make it an ideal set-up for a lady's Underarm Turn to Left (See Cross-Body Lead to Underarm turn to L).

If the couple has begun in closed contact position, they must separate on the first step of the Cross-Body Lead. However, it is preferable when circumstances permit to separate prior to that, such as over steps 1-3 of a preceding Left Box Turn.

When studying the charts, pay particular attention to the technical differences between the two variations of Cross-Body Lead, especially to the dance positions and frame, man's and lady's sway, and lady's amounts of turn.


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