Friday, November 8, 2013

The Bronze Smooth Syllabus Is Insane

Ok, so I haven't seriously danced smooth competitively in about a year and a half. I jumped from maybe starting Silver to Novice/Prechamp due to landing an incredibly awesome partner (yay being tall). When it came time for routines, we actually made up the majority of our choreography ourselves, then had our coaches tweak/rearrange the routines to make them a little more continuous. A lot of what we used was actually syllabus, just with more "interesting" frames and styling. I was chatting with a few open-smooth friends of mine the other evening, and I realized that almost nobody else in the room knew more than half the smooth syllabus.

Most people, I've come to realize, basically learn the international syllabus, then maybe any combination of the following: Underarm Turn, Explosions, Butterflies, Fan, MAYBE some Shadow. But there is so much more! And beyond all this cool stuff, there are plethora of steps in BRONZE whose International equivalents are considered Gold steps. So let's take a look at some


I have cited a few of the rules in case you were freaking out about adjudication.

Disclaimer: Yeah, not everyone places these steps in their syllabus, and there are a bunch of syllabi floating around. To the best of my knowledge, the majority of these steps still fall within the syllabus restrictions. Many competitions and syllabi - including the official NDCA syllabus[1] - will not use a comprehensive list of approved steps, but instead use a list of "restrictions", ie, "No Fallaways", "No lines except Corte", etc...

The Moves

Tango - Rock and Corte

Here's a very gentle video of the figure:

But you can style the heck out of this figure. It's basically a "Quick-Quick" Contra Check (provided it's not too "liney"[2]), followed by a Back Corte. 

Waltz, Tango, and Foxtrot - Promenade Pivot

That's right, a pivot. In Bronze. In 3 dances. And don't let the video title fool you - it's Bronze according to the syllabus.

Granted, it's only one (no continuous pivots[3]), but it beats closing, rock turning, then opening back up to promenade in my opinion.

Waltz - Promenade Hesitations

You may not think these are very interesting, but #1, it's basically a Challenge Line, so you can make it cool, and #2, it's something other than Chasse from PP.

Tango - Twist Turn

Sure, it's also Bronze in International Tango as well, but this is still a pretty cool step. Must more interesting than Closed Promenade Turning Left, if you ask me. It also gives the follow a much easier signal to change her head from Promenade to Closed.

And if you're nervous about the other steps thusfar, this one is actually in the NDCA syllabus by name[4].

Viennese Waltz - Fleckerls

Yup. You heard me. Fleckerls. As in, the last syllabus figure in the last standard dance (V Waltz)? Yeah, that's a Bronze step in American. Granted, you can't chain the Reverse and Natural together using a Contra Check (although V-Waltz is the only dance where Picture Lines are not explicitly restricted, it is implied by Picture Line being permitted in Silver[5]) - instead, you would use a Whisk/Fifth Position Break. But still. Fleckerls.

BONUS: In syllabus, you're allowed to have the lady curtsy once before starting[6].

Don't forget Silver

And although this post is about Bronze Steps, let's not forget that there is more to Silver than just adding shadow position. There are a host of line figures, the change of place, Cobra Fans, Continuous Pivots, and more!


So just remember, if you're trying to get to Open and fast as possible just so you can do some lunges, a bit of separate work, and maybe an few aerial rondes, make sure you stop and smell the syllabi along the way.


NDCA Rules:

1. Restriction 2
2. American Tango - Bronze, Restriction 5
3. American Waltz - Bronze, Restriction 5
4. American Tango - Bronze, Figure 13
5. American Viennese Waltz - Silver, Restriction 2
6. American Viennese Waltz - Bronze, Restriction 10

Here's a great resource that includes many steps that fall into the restrictions, but are not explicitly named in the syllabus:


  1. I.MISS.SMOOTH!!! Great post btw

  2. Competed in the amateur portion of the Washington Open in May and had to abide by NDCA approved steps. We bounced their steps against the Fred Astaire syllabus which is what we followed and figured anything not forbidden like Step 10 in Bronze, the Knee Lift was OK.