This is the second in a series of short descriptions of waltz variations taken from 1930s sources, specifically, in this case, the 1936 edition of Lillian Ray's Modern Ballroom Dancing. See the previous post in this series for a quick note about the basic waltz of this era as well as descriptions of the Waltz Walking steps and Step Arch Waltz from the same source.
This time I will discuss an easy hesitation called the Dip Waltz, Ray's step diagram for which is shown at left (click to enlarge). The man's footwork is depicted; the woman dances opposite. It's a six-count (two-bar) sequence that can be summarized as "step-step-cross, back-side-close," with the second bar effectively being a backward box step. The first bar consists of two walking steps forward (left, right; the woman dances backwards right, left) and then a cross of the left foot in front of the right, described in detail as:
Cross the left foot over and in front of the right foot with a pronounced dip or bend of the right knee, at the same time lift the right foot to the left of the left foot slightly and sharply off the floor.
After the crossing step, the fourth step is simply replacing the right foot (woman's left) where it was before and then continuing with a side-close as in a normal backward box step.
This third step is what distinguishes the Dip Waltz from a 1910s-style "step-rock back" hesitation. The man is crossing his left foot in front while the woman crosses right behind, but it is not a step in which the dancers come left shoulder to left shoulder. The dancers stay fairly square to each other, and make the foot cross without changing the angle of the upper body. The crossing foot remains parallel to the line of dance while the other one flicks off the floor. The crossing step is more forward than sideways; too far to the side and the legs end up tightly crossed (uncomfortable and unattractive).
Two quick tips for leading this move from a standard 1930s waltz:
(1) The "step-side-close" pattern of the basic must be broken by the man driving strongly forward on the first two steps to cue the woman to step straight backward. Care should be taken to make sure these steps are straight along line of dance; avoid the temptation to step diagonally to the side on the second one.
(2) The cross itself is not difficult to lead with an attentive follower, but in order to make room for the man to comfortably make the crossing step it helps if he shortens his second step slightly to allow extra space to open up between himself and his partner.
The backward step-side-close sequence of the final three beats follows easily after the crossing step.
Because the Dip Waltz progresses only two steps forward in six beats, followed by four steps which keep the dancers fairly stationary, some care must be taken in using it on the dance floor so as not to cause a crash. But that same stationary quality makes it a convenient move to use as a brief pause to temporarily slow down forward motion if the dancers are crowding up against a couple ahead of them in the line of dance.