Selecting Anchors for Linear Patterns

West Coast Swing Online Anchor Step

More advanced dancers know how to select an anchor variation that compliments their momentum from the pattern. In this exercise, you’ll start to think about anchor variations that work for linear patterns.

For this drill, linear patterns are patterns that don’t involve rotation immediately before the anchor. For instance, a push break is a linear pattern for both leaders and followers. On count 4, the leader is stepping straight forward towards the follower and the follower is stepping straight back away from the leader.

On the leader’s side, all the push break variations are linear patterns: sugar tuck, push break with an inside roll, etc. For followers, linear patterns include the basic whip and variations like the basket whip because those moves have the follower move straight backwards into the anchor.

Linear patterns are great for linear anchor variations because those variations continue the shape of the pattern. An easy variation is to use a delayed single rhythm by pointing the anchor foot on a back diagonal on the first beat of the anchor and then stepping in a closed third position on the second beat. Off a basic push break, the leader would point somewhere between 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock with his right foot on 5, then step in third foot position on 6. The follower would point with her left foot on count 5, aiming for somewhere between 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock, and then would finish the anchor in third foot position on count 6.

The Drill: Practice dancing linear patterns with a linear anchor variation. When you feel comfortable associating linear anchor variations with linear patterns, try dancing a mix of patterns. On the non-linear patterns, dance a standard anchor; on the linear patterns, dance your linear anchor variation. The goal of this exercise is to train yourself to reach for a linear anchor variation when you dance a linear pattern. Once you are on the social or competition floor, you don’t want to have to think about whether you have picked the right variation.

If you are a more advanced dancer, try coming up with additional linear anchor variations. You can do a linear smear (step without transferring weight under yourself on count 5, brush that foot backwards, and then step with a weight transfer on 6), a lock step triple, or any number of other variations.

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