Triple steps as variations?

Do you regard triple steps as a variation or a basic? My lindy basic starts with a rock step followed by a triple step. Some local teachers put the triple step first followed by a rock step but I think this is fairly unusual.

Locally, rock step followed by walk, walk is sometimes taught in beginner’s classes but it’s usually dismissed as something Ceroc dancers, Jivers and Rock and Rollers do and that adding in the triples is part of what differentiates Lindy Hop from other dances.

In a recent class I came across a different point of view in which triple steps were thought of as variations and the basic lindy rhythm was presented as rock step followed by walk, walk and some of the moves taught in the class were almost impossible to do if the follower put a triple step in. (Just to be clear these weren’t the sort of moves where the follower does walk walk or a triple step because of the speed of the lead, the moves needed the follower to do walk walk as a basic – or to be super skilled at noticing that the lead was doing walk walk I guess).

I have been to countless classes and been told numerous times that as a follower it’s important to keep the rhythm going, to go home  and drill rock step triple step, Sarah C made a similar point in comment a couple of weeks ago.  Consequently, rock step, triple step, is deeply ingrained into the way I dance.  I will do step, step rather than triple if someone leads me *really*clearly (and I am concentrating) or if the music is fast/I am feeling lazy but my default is to add in the triples.

It was an interesting class but I am left wondering what to do with this bit of information. Do I try walk walk as a default and really try to follow every step the leader is doing and only triple when the lead does? This seems a very restrictive style of Lindy. Will breaking my habit open up lots of new possibilities? Do I put this info into a box mental box marked interesting but not that helpful because most of the people I dance with aren’t that experienced and the follower holding the rhythm tends to make the dance go more smoothly. Am I just totally out of touch and is following the leader’s triple steps, rather than just doing them,  what most people do?




7 responses to “Triple steps as variations?”

  1. Sarah C says :

    When I said to drill the basics, it was because the follower was having trouble understand what to do with your feet. By all means – I experiment and try different steps all the time, but that WORKS because I understand where i need to be to get back ‘home’.

    You won’t know what to do with this new idea until you try it out in the wild. Don’t give a shit if you mess up a few times, or if it doesn’t work for you. Who cares?

    I don’t think it’s being a fuddy-duddy to declare a basic for Lindy Hop (step-step, triple-step, step-step, triple-step). But why not try new things when you feel like it? If it works, take it. If not, whatevs.


    • thorfy says :

      Oh yes. Although I am on the side of “there is no basic”, that isn’t necessarily a comfortable or easy place to dance from, and I honestly don’t believe anyone’s leading or following footwork when doing something like swing outs at 250+bpm. 🙂 Shapes, yes, footwork, I’m doubtful.

  2. Jaume says :

    Triple-steps should be the result, not the origin, of the body movement. Usually triple-steps should be sudden change of speed, an acceleration or deceleration.

    Like when you hold the 1,2 at place and you have two beats to reach the other side (but you have the tension to do so), so the triple-steps come naturally. Also, when coming at 1 and 2, the 3~4 triple are the way to stop.

    I think it’s a little more intuitive when you try to do walk, walk, but the triples are a result of what you feel. It’s what I try when I, badly, follow.

    But, even if the triple-steps are the result of the move the basic move is with triple-steps, even considering that they come from trying to do something else.

  3. Sara says :


    I think when I first learned, we were taught ‘rock-step, slow, slow’; hanging out on the 3,4 and 5,6 during the slows. Generally that was just to get the rhythm before shoving in the triples, though, I think. I don’t think we did moves like that.

    I see ‘rock-step walk, walk’ (or slow, slow) as “single time”, ‘rock-step kick-down, kick-down’ as “double time” and ‘rock-step tri-ple-step, tri-ple-step’ as erm, “triple time”.

    When dancing I change between all three. I do occasionally skip out the triples, if I just don’t feel them – and if it gets a bit fast and the music asks for it, I sometimes go into kicks.

    Not sure any of them are variations, they’re all base rhythms..? Maybe?

  4. thorfy says :

    I’m on the side of “there is no basic”. 🙂

    I like to view the triple step as a step, followed by a ball-change. Then there’s step-hold, or hold-step, or replace hold with a kick, and all these things do the same thing, which is put you on a different foot to the one you started on after two beats. Then there’s step-step, or rock-step, or kick-ball-change, etc, which puts you on the same foot after two beats.

    From the leading side of things, I can lead the footwork in absolute detail (and that’s very tricky both to lead and follow), or not, as a choice… and I would say that probably the majority of the time, most leads, myself included, aren’t leading the exact footwork, just a shape and position.

    In a way, it doesn’t matter if you triple, kick-step, hop-step, hold-step, so long as you’re communicating where you are in space with your lead, and mostly travelling in the shape and line and rotation being set up, they should cope fine. 🙂

    Also, you can isolate footwork to a greater or lesser degree – it’s entirely possible to do fancy feet and isolate it to such an extent that the person on the other end can’t feel any difference, or the flip side, to do footwork to such an extent that the lead comes along with you. My favourite follower-caused variation is a kick-ball-change as the 5-6 exit, which if done with the prep it needs usually causes me to do the kick-ball-change too, before I even know it’s happened.

    • sleepingglitter says :

      Interestingly, when I think about Balboa, I think about stepping or not stepping. When I think about Lindy Hop I think about shapes/keeping directions going, been a long time since I have consciously thought about what my feet are doing.

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