The anchor is arguably the essential element of west coast swing. In your beginning classes, your instructor almost certainly spent a fair amount of time talking about the standard anchor: a triple in third foot position.
A true anchor is not a specific foot position; it is a connection that occurs at the end of a pattern. So, any combination of footwork or body movement that produces the correct connection can be an anchor. This flexibility—along with the fact that every pattern ends in an anchor—makes the anchor a logical place to begin introducing variations into your dance.
TAKE ACTION>> Download our 5 Anchor Step Variations Video
1 – Side-and-Third Anchors
To be an anchor, any anchor variation must maintain the away connection that characterizes the anchor. The standard third foot position anchor is designed to make that connection automatic. We’re going to start changing the anchor with a variation that ends in third foot position in order to make it as easy as possible to sustain that connection. Thus, this drill will work on the side-and-third anchor. Learn the Side-and-Thrid Anchor
2 – Cross-and-Third Anchors
The next anchor variation is the cross-and-third anchor. This variation is tricky because the feet come towards your partner on the first beat of the anchor, but you still need to keep your body back. This drill will work on maintaining the proper anchor connection during this variation. Learn the Cross-and-Third Anchor
3 – Hook-and-Third Anchors
In the cross-and-third anchor, you learned to move the start of the anchor towards your partner without changing the connection. The hook-and-third anchor does the opposite: you start by hooking your anchor foot behind your supporting leg, and the key is to keep your weight back even as you recover from the hook. Learn theHook-and-Third Anchor
4 – Back-and-Third Anchors
In addition to taking the first step of your anchor either side, you can check backwards. The back-and-third creates a great leg line, but can be tricky to perform while maintaining the anchor connection. Learn the Back-and-Third Anchor
5 – Anchors Ending to the Side
So far, our anchor variations have played with the first step of our triple. We’ve worked on keeping the anchor connection regardless of whether the first step crosses in front, moves to the side, or hooks behind.
As you practiced those variations, you may have felt a bit awkward in returning to a third foot position to finish the anchor. There’s a reason for that: the first part of the variation built some energy with the shaping to the front/side/back, and now you need to go somewhere with it. These variations will give you that somewhere to go with that energy. Learn the Anchor Ending-to-the-Side
BOUNS – Anchors Ending in a Cross
Our last variation introduced anchors that ended to the side. Another common ending position is the cross, in which the anchor foot is crossed in front of the other leg. This ending position occurs in a lot of more complicated anchor variations, such as the side-and-cross; for this drill, we’ll focus on a simpler version with a third-and-cross. Learn the Anchor-Ending-in-a-Cross
TAKE ACTION>> Watch 5 ways to style your anchor step
Advanced Anchor Steps
For concepts like moving your anchor and more detailed styling… check out our blog Moving your Anchor Step. It’s a more advanced concept and contains some more advanced resources.
- STYLE YOUR ANCHOR STEP – Did your miss our free anchor step styling video? Download it here!
- STYLE ALL OF YOUR WCS – We have a great page for Leaders or Followers? Check out our Styling Resource Page!
- IMPROVE YOUR MUSICALITY! – Check out our WCS Musicality page. It has tips and tricks to connect your dancing to the music!