“Three Steps” – by Chris Bruce

Chris and his wife Monika at a Dancesport competition.

"The Three Step"


DK Ballroom Instructor Chris Bruce demystifies some footwork inconsistencies.


"Okay, we’ve been dancing for a while now. 

Basic Waltz and Quickstep routines were a breeze. Nailed the beginner Cha Cha Cha and Jive routines. We’ve dipped our toes into New Vogue with the Military Two Step and Mayfair Quickstep; even learnt (drum roll) a “Championship” New Vogue dance – the Evening Three Step!

We must surely be ready now for the Everest of ballroom dancing – the Slow Foxtrot!

Feather Step – tick! Reverse Turn (including Feather Finish, no less) – tick! Now for a Three Step: Heel, Heel-Toe, Toe-Heel (H, HT, TH) ...what?!!  

Our New Vogue teacher spent half an hour drumming into us that our Evening Three Step starts with a Three Step…and the footwork is Heel-Toe, Toe-Heel, Heel (HT, TH, H)! Aaargh! Which one is correct?

Well, both are. In standard ballroom, a Three Step is a Foxtrot figure and has footwork of H, HT, TH. New Vogue dancing has its own style of Three Step with footwork of HT, TH, H. 

Life (and ballroom dancing) would be so much easier if every term had just a single meaning. However, like the English language, our ballroom jargon has ambiguities and exceptions. If we take careful note when we come across them, we can save ourselves from confusion down the track. 

So, the next time your instructor asks you to dance a Three Step, think about the dance you’re learning  and what the footwork will be."