West Coast Swing Dance Steps

Swing is one of the best loved dances at all times. It is a happy and carefree dance that has taken the world by storm. Lindy Hop is the original swing dance, but in just a few years time, it has then since spawned several variations of it— one of which is the west coast swing dance steps.

What differentiates the west coast swing dance steps from the others? Well for one thing, the west coast swing is a slotted dance. What this means is that the dancers are given a particular space to dance in—a slot. The couple dances up and down a solitary track throughout the dance. Some people say this came about because Hollywood movies that were shooting scenes with these dances needed them to stay in focus. Some just think its proper etiquette to establish your own place so as not to disturb the other dancers.

Whatever the reasons, you need to have excellent partnering skills to be able to pull this off competently. The man is the lead and he is responsible for signaling his partner to dip/twist/turn, change direction or transition to the next step. The woman on the other hand should be yielded to the man. She cannot “pre-determine” where she wants to go, this is what’s called back leading. Judges know how to spot back leading and will deduct points for it.

The 2 main proponents of the west coast swing dance steps are the sugar push and the anchor step. For the sugar push, the man takes 2 steps back with the left foot and then the right foot. He taps the left foot with his right foot, then steps forward with the left foot. The woman’s step is the mirror opposite— left to right and forward to back, and vice versa.

The anchor step is a common punctuation to an end of a step. It is done in small movements and is a variation of the triple step. The man positions the right foot at an angle behind the left foot and rocks back and forth. The woman again, does the opposite– she puts her left foot at an angle behind the right foot and shifts her weight back and forward.

The west coast swing dance steps are danced in an open dance position. This means that the couple is facing each other, lightly holding hands. There are other dance steps that are also used in the west coast swing like the underarm pass or the right side pass, left side pass, tuck pass and whip. When you learn these steps, break it down and master each component well before you put it all together with your partner. Practice often and it won’t be long before you find yourself doing the west coast swing effortlessly and beautifully!

The west coast swing dance steps are pretty simple to do once you get the hang of it— and they are absolutely fun to watch and learn. Grab a friend and enjoy dancing this exciting dance today!


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