Step Training: Breakdown School
Learning by doing ("Cut-in-three" introduction)

Please read my main breakdown article for the basic breakdown ideas and terms. Now I will show and explain to you the one way of teaching for my intermediate step choreography Soaking Wet (Part 1).

I have composed following pattern (look at the animation or the video for more comprehension). Now I'm starting the decomposition.


March Over The Corner + Kick + Turn 4/4 (R8)
Half Knee Lift Reverse (L5)
Half Mambo (L3)
Repeater (Knee - Pendulum - Knee) (R8)
2x Kick (LR8)

This pattern contains two full turns and is suitable for an intermediate or advanced class. My subjective difficulty level for this pattern is 6 of 10 points since this pattern contains no cross-phrasing. The regrouping of the moves is not necessary. The first 16 cts contain no change of leading leg.

I will now reduce the moves to the basics and look for the way to layer to the advanced moves. At this time I won't determine how the entire pattern will be put together. Let me do this later.

The first 8 cts are obviously the same as the marches and kick at the floor. But if you start teaching this move with something like

3 Marches floor + Kick (R4)
4 Marches floor (L4)

nobody can follow you from the beginning. I need to go to the step basics in this case. Basically you have 8 counts with a change of leading leg. It's always easy to layer something like this from Repeater 3 (cue: "repeater three"). Then you can do:

2 Marches floor (2R)
Kick (4R)
2 Marches floor (2L)

as visual preview without anybody has to follow it from the first time (cue: "stay repeater"). Then layer marches diagonal forward over the corner and back (cue: "diagonal"). And finally layer the full turn (optionally, cue: "right/left shoulder" and show the proper shoulder for the turn).

The second 8 cts are to teach together. Don't cut two odd count moves. Since this 8 counts have a change of leading foot you can also start teaching it from the Repeater 3. Then you layer to the Repeater (Knee – March Back – Half Mambo) and finally you layer the first 5 counts to the Half Knee Reverse. Both transformations can be easily done by the visual preview.

The last 16 cts of the pattern are ease to teach from the

Repeater 3 (R8)
2x Kick (LR8)

So we have basically the following pattern for the choreography:

Repeater 3 (R8)
Repeater 3 (L8)
Repeater 3 (R8)
2x Kick (LR8)


You can start teaching the choreography with this entire pattern since it has a change of leading leg and your breakdown will be balances from the first move on. Then you can layer the first three Repeaters step-by-step to the final moves as discussed above.

Problems on this teaching progression will be the borrowing repeaters at the beginning and the complexity of layered moves when layering the moves at the end.

You can cut the pattern in two blocks: 16+16 cts. Start teaching by the last 16 cts and then add the first 16 cts. In this case you will also have in the intermediate class the same problem of the complexity of layered moves when layering the moves at the end of teaching progression.

Note: you can't teach the first 16 cts separately from the second 16 cts since this breakdown will not be balanced. Please read my article about balanced training for more details on balanced training.

The best way to put the moves together is cutting the pattern in three blocks: 8+8+16 and layering them before making a join (pre-layering). Every block has a natural change of leading leg so I can teach them separately.

You can start teaching the first 8 counts with

Repeater 3 (R8)
2x Basic (LL8)

and layer the Repeater 3 to the diagonal March and Kick. Two basics are only the holding pattern now and will be removed later. Always repeat this block alternating right and left to provide balanced step training. You will see that you don't need as much cueing as for any other way of teaching. Then start teaching the second 8 cts with

Repeater 3 (R8)
2x Basic (LL8)

again and layer the Repeater 3 to the Half Knee Reverse. These two basics are also only the holding pattern now and will be removed later. Then teach the last 16 cts of the pattern starting with

Repeater 3 (R8)
2x Kick (LR8)

and layer the Repeater 3 to the final move.

Now you put all three blocks together (cue: "all three together"). First repeat every block right and left then cut in half. When cutting in half I get now an 48 cts pattern. Here you can add four kick more to get to the 32 cts boundary and then start the entire pattern left.

Finally you have to remove all four basics (cue: "no basics") from the pattern et voila.

This is the easiest application of the powerfull "cut-in-three" breakdown method.

Author:Alexey Contact:alexey at stepcenter dot com
Views:27013 Written on:2003-07-20