Type   Position, Transition Move, Circle, Progressive, Turn
Level  Level 2 Beginner
Other Names Matador
Comes From   Butterfly Open Position
Leads To   Reverse Pretzel, Pretzel (lead Hammerlock), Basic Step (in Hammerlock position), The Lean (in Hammerlock position)


Hammerlock is a variation on the Outside Turn with both hands connected. The leader turns the follower so that one arm is tucked behind her back, and the other crosses in front of him.

Steps are given for the lead.

  1. Start in Butterfly Open Position.
  2. Lift your left hand and open it flat (high five). Guide your follow under that arm with your right hand. Maintain connection on both hands.
  3. As the follow rotates, turn yourself 1/4 turn to the left and bring both arms down to waist-level.
  4. You should be facing opposite directions.


  • This move will not happen if your thumb is gripping down on your partner’s hands.
  • It is critical that the lead rotates his right wrist with the palm turning downward in the follow’s hand when he initiates the turn.
  • It is also critical that the follow is pressing into her lead’s hands to maintain contact. Think about pressing outward.
  • Styling: Looking at one another can make the move fun and flirty.


  • This move can be completed with the lead rotating instead of the follow.
  • You can turn in a circle in this position.
  • You can reverse it to the other side.
  • You can progress forward or backward with your Rhythm Two Step in this position.
  • This is the first part of The Pretzel (or Reverse Pretzel). You can do any of the variations for any length of time and continue with the Pretzel as your next move, or unwind the way you came to finish the move.
  • The Matador: Do the Hammerlock one way, then the other way.
  • Matador Wheel: As above, but with a circle walk.
The Hammerlock prepares you for the pretzel. I call this combination the “Easy Pretzel.”

6 thoughts on “Hammerlock

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