Shoulder Lean

Type Lean
Level Beginner 3
Other Names
Comes From R-to-R Open Position, Belt Loop,
Leads To Open Facing,


This move begins the same way as the Bow & Arrow, but instead of the lead pushing the follow away, the lead makes the follow lean on his side. It can be followed up with some pretty dips and turns to make for a well-polished combo.


  1. Get into Open Facing RR. A good way to do this is with the Belt Loop, catching with the right hand at the end.
  2. Do a double outside turn, as the follow is completing the second spin, turn yourself clockwise (right) 90-degrees so you end up side-by-side with your partner to your left and her arm across your neck. Reach your left arm back and around her waist to hold her outside hip. Gently pull the follow closer to close the gap–you should be hip-to-hip.
  3. Step your right foot out to the right and lunge to that side. The follow will lean against you.
  4. Straighten your right leg and step it toward your left foot to come out of the lean.
    1. The easiest way to exit is with an Arm Slide to Open Facing. Release your right hand grip and let the follow trace across your back to catch your other hand. Rock step back like you would in an Open Break.
    2. A fancier exit is with a dip. See variations below.


  1. You will go from Open Facing RR to a double outside turn. When your partner interrupts the turn by bringing you to his side, you will feel him place his hand on your outside hip (left). This is your cue to close the gap between your hips and lean against his leg.
  2. During the lean, lift and tuck your outside foot (left) close to your standing leg knee (right).
  3. On the exit of the lean, place your outside leg right next to your standing leg. If the lead lets go of your right hand, let that hand trace his back across to his other hand. Rock step back like you would in an Open Break.



  •  The turn you do to get the follow’s arm across your neck is approximately 180-degrees.
  • You do not have to hold your follow’s hand next to her hip, even during the combo variation. Just maintain contact with her hip through the move and you’ll be fine. The addition of a hand hold there is an option for the follow to add more security to the move.


  • It is not necessary to place your left hand on your hip and hold your partner’s hand during the lean or the dip, but it may add more stability and control.
  • For the combo, depending on your partner’s stance and your posture you might not be able to turn with your foot tucked the whole time. If this is the case, straighten your leg first, then re-tuck your foot immediately after the turn.


  •  Shoulder Lean Combo
    • Lead:
      1. Perform the Shoulder Lean steps #1-3
      2. While you straighten your leg to come out of the lean, bring your follow’s arm over your own head to the front. Continue that arm movement to drape your arm over the follow’s head behind her neck for support in the next step. Meanwhile, you will also swing your left arm around to your belt buckle (keep contact on your follow’s lower back for support).
      3. Lunge like you did during the lean–same side. Bend at the waist to get more extension into the dip.
      4. Straighten your right leg and bring it next to your left again. When your follow is standing upright again, release both hands and push her inward with your left hand to perform a Free Spin. Rock step back on the Free Spin.
    • Follow:
      1. Perform the Shoulder Lean up until the exit.
      2. You will feel the lead initiate a turn–when this happens, lift your standing leg heel so you can turn on the ball of your foot. Instead of placing your foot on the ground, you will either keep it tucked or re-tuck it during the dip.
      3. After the dip, place your foot back on the ground beside your other foot. If he pushes off of your back with his hand, perform a Free Spin. Rock step after the spin.

2 thoughts on “Shoulder Lean

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.