Changes of directions are accomplished in smooth dancing by using an element called the "Contra Check". The "Break Step" element is the Latin equivalent.
The "Break Step" element is defined as: An in place change of weight in any of the 1st thru 5th foot positions. (Used to change direction.) Examples of Break Steps are:
The "Rock Step" is defined as: The shifting of weight back and forth from one foot to the other, in place. The term "Rock Step" is unfortunately used interchangeably with Break Step. However, the term Rock Step gives dancers a different image of what the action is supposed to be. Rock Step conjures up images of rocking chairs, where the weight rocks all the way in one direction then the other. The term Break Step instills a different image. It creates the image of stopping and changing direction. These two terms cause the body to perform two different actions. It is very important not to use these two terms to convey one movement.
The "Contra Check" element is defined as: A forward or backward step using Contra Body Movement (CBM)* to prevent further travel, it checks (stops) the momentum forward or backward.
Examples of "Contra Checks" are:
The Latin "Break Step" has a rebound action from the stopping step and the Smooth "Contra Check" has more of a stopping then resuming feeling.
* CBM is defined as: The turning of the body against the supporting foot in the direction of the moving leg.