Type Turn, Combo
Level Level 5 Intermediate
Other Names The Octopus (when done twice or more), Reverse Pretzel
Comes From Butterfly Open Position, Hammerlock, Sliding Door
Leads To Butterfly Open Position, Hammerlock, Toss Away Spin
In the Pretzel, the leader and follower’s hands are connected in open position, and through a series of turns they turn back-to-back and then wrap around to Open Position.
There are two moves called “The Pretzel” and they look very similar, but they are opposites. The move where the lead turns first is “The Pretzel,” and when the follow turns first this is “The Reverse Pretzel.”
You may find one variation more comfortable than the other, and you may find one more ideal for your repertoire–so why not try both?
- Begin in Butterfly Open Position. Lift your left arm, rotate your hand grip in your partner’s hands (loosely) as you step with your Right foot to turn CCW (left). End this step in Hammerlock position (only momentarily), with your feet in a little more than shoulder-width stance.
- Step again, this time with your left, to a wide stance facing opposite your partner. Lift your left arm to let the follow pass under it. You will be back-to-back for a moment.
- Keep your feet stationary for this part, twist with your waist a little to face your partner slightly. Lift your right arm so she can pass to the other side. Follows will rotate to the left as they pass under the second time. You are now in Hammerlock on the other side.
- This step comes immediately after step 2, since the momentum will help carry your follow through to the other side.
- Step back with your left foot as you turn to the left, passing under your own right arm. This will take you back to Butterfly Open Position.
- A Cuddle will feel very natural to do next, so you could carry the momentum right into it.
- Step your right foot past your partner . Keep your grip but loosely, so the lead can move your arms where they need to be. At the end of this step you should be in Hammerlock position for a brief moment.
- On the next part, step your left foot next to your right foot, then right foot behind your lead’s heel to turn CW (right) to face opposite your partner, back-to-back.
- Carry that momentum to the other side to step behind his other heel with your left foot and pass under the lead’s right arm.
- Step right, left to turn CW again and face your partner.
- From Butterfly open position, lift your left hand and open it flat like a high-five. Use your right hand straight through at waist-level to guide your follow under that arm to get into hammerlock position. Loosen the hands to rotate your grip as you do this, and take a quarter-turn to the left.
- Lift your left arm and pass under it, then the right arm to pass to the other side. As you do the second pass, turn to the left so you are in hammerlock on the other side.
- Pass your right arm between you and the follow, with a loose palm grip to unwind the follow and return to open position.
- In step 1, some leads get stuck with their arm over their shoulder. All you have to do to fix that is put your arm back and in front of your follow.
- For the pretzel, think “I go, you go, you go, I go.”
- Stay tall, and maintain close contact by feeling the contact of your partner’s back brush against yours, back-to-back, in the middle of the move.
- If you do not use a loose grip, the turns will not work. If you struggle with that part, try practicing with interlocked fingers, or turning flat palm-to-palm with little to no gripping. It’s possible to do a pretzel these ways.
- Aim for smoothness and good connection rather than speed. Some leads will strong-arm their way through the move and end up injuring their partner or themselves. You don’t want to be one of those leads!
- If the follow is used to only the Pretzel, she may be confused by the directions of the Reverse Pretzel. The opposite may also be true. Leads who have not read this guide don’t know which one they actually do–they just know one feels “right” to them.
- The Octopus: do the pretzel twice in a row
- Pretzel Reverse-Pretzel Combo: Pretzel and finish with Cuddle, then undo the moves to do Reverse-pretzel.
- Some people will start with a reach behind the back and finish with the Pretzel. I consider this a Half-Pretzel. In my opinion, it tends to look sloppy because the reach behind is not an intuitive cue (it’s hard to look and feel for that hand that suddenly appears at your opposite side).