Type Lift, Dip
Level Advanced 7
Other Names The Bell, Rocking Chair
Comes From Crossed Arm Slide
Leads To R-to-R Open Position


Whether you consider this a dip, lift, or drop, the Gravedigger is a stunning move. The lead gets to lift and swing the follower like a shovel!

This move depends largely on the follow. Leads, you might also need to call this one out when you are out social dancing so your partner knows it’s happening. This one is fairly easy once practiced, but I put it in the advanced category because you’ll have to practice before trying it on the social dance floor.


  1.  From the Crossed Arm Slide, Spinneroo the follow once to the right, and switch the grip of your top hand (right hand) so that you are in an arm wrestling grip. Your fingers should be on the top side. You only need to step to the left to widen your stance. If you set it up right, you are perpendicular to your follow, with some space between you.
  2. When the follow jumps up, grab her outside leg, and hook it in the crook of your elbow. At the same time, lower your right hand toward the floor, and lunge to the left–left leg bent, right leg straight. The follow will rest against your left leg at the pivotal point of the swing.
  3. Swing the follow back the other way, straighten your legs and release your left hand to set her back down on the floor.


  1. Grab the lead’s forearm near his elbow from underneath with your left hand. The grip is like you are trying to do a pull up with that one arm, palm toward yourself.
  2. Lift and bend your knee of your outside leg (right leg), at the same time step slightly forward and jump off your left leg. Keep your outside leg bent!
    • If you don’t feel comfortable jumping, just lift your left leg, and your lead will reach to pick it up.
  3. Stand back up when the lead sets you down.



  • If your follow is learning this move, or uncertain, you can place their hand right under your right forearm and tell them to grab on. Tell them to lift their leg, and reach down to pick it up instead of having her jump. 
  • The whole move hinges on you catching their outside leg (see what I did there?)
  • How far you swing your right arm down depends on your follow’s height, and your comfortability with the momentum of the move.


  • Do not, I repeat, DO NOT straighten your outside leg. This whole move depends on you giving your lead something to hook onto. So keep it bent, otherwise you’ll slide head-first to the floor. Ouch.
  • Do not throw your head backward into the jump. Let your lead swing you instead. Worst come to worst and he misses your leg when you jump, if you don’t throw yourself backward you will just kick the air and stay standing.
  • The best practice is to tuck your head down to protect it until you are aware of the conditions of this move such as height, leverage and momentum.



2 thoughts on “Gravedigger

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