Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hal's Roll

Last Saturday night we went out to Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association's annual Harvest Moon Swingout. Due to other conflicts we only made it to the Saturday night dance, but we had a blast! It was packed. And sweaty. ;) Stompy Jones from San Francisco played, and they always draw a crowd.

I nabbed this photo of us during a jam from Facebook (thanks Steve Hwan!). Right here we're doing the move we call "Hal's Roll" - named for its inventor, the amazing Hal Takier. Hal doesn't call it "Hal's Roll" of course. :) He just calls it the "Roll".
(I'm spinning when Chris jumps, so I'm always impressed
when I see later how much height he gets!)
What makes this move really exciting and stand out compared to most LA swing/bal-swing movements is the "pop" of energy on beat 2 (captured beautifully in Steve's photo above) - most bal-swing turns happen on beats three and four, but the Roll pushes it forward and the lead pushes the follow to reverse the direction of her turn on beat 2. This unique timing requires practice (and it helps if the follow is familiar with the move), but it's a real crowd-pleaser.

I don't think anyone's found footage of Hal doing the Roll in the 30's or 40's, but there is 70's footage of it. Maybe he didn't invent it until later? But even in his earlier days, Hal frequently used beat 2 to jump into his flashy moves, and that's part of why he looks so much more energetic than other dancers.

There's no sound in this clip unfortunately, but you can see Hal and Marge do the Roll, starting at 1:22.


  1. I'd like that move. Pity it's not clear from the clip (which I really like) what's happening on 8 and 1. Oh never mind... I don't think I've ever seen it, but it looks really cool. Will ask my teachers.

  2. I adore swing. Thanks for sharing!!


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