How to body roll in west coast swing

Body rolls can add an extra dimension to the dance for both followers and leaders. Subtle rolls can be used to enhance the settling motion of the anchor, to initiate the movement out of a break, or to draw attention to an accent. The purpose of this drill is to develop the muscle control necessary to roll through the body in a controlled manner. Do this drill on a regular basis and not only will you have learned how to rock body rolls, but you will have way more control of your body in its entirety. What are you waiting for?! Try this drill and add more style to your dancing!

If you’re struggling with isolations and moving your body incrementally, take a peek at our article Learning Body Isolations first

Body Roll Drill

Stand approximately 1″ away from a wall, facing into the wall. Begin by pressing your hip into the wall, and slowly work your way up to your shoulder so that each part of the body comes into contact with the wall. (Not every part of the body may touch the wall, depending on your own shape, but the idea is to work your way up the body.) Once you have reached the top of your roll, work your way back down. Begin by peeling your shoulders away and continue downwards until your hip moves away from the wall.

Bonus Variations: Stand at an angle to the wall and practice rolling up and down your side. You can also practice standing with your back to the wall and rolling from your shoulder line down your back (and then up again).

Body Rolls and Connection

Previously we practiced the movements for a full body roll. To do a body roll in the dance, we need to add the connection to those movements.

The Drill: Stand about arms length from a wall and put your hands against the wall. Practice moving your body in a roll while keeping the pressure of your hands against the wall exactly the same. Focus on using your whole arm, from the shoulder all the way to the wrist, as a shock absorber to keep the pressure constant.

As you become more comfortable, you can try connecting to the wall with just one hand and adding in body shaping or rotation. Become aware of how far you can move your body before you can no longer compensate to keep the connection steady.

Bonus Variations: You can also practice hooking your hand on a surface (like the edge of the sink or the handle on the fridge door) in order to have an away connection. Again, explore your body rolls and other movements with the goal of keeping the connection constant.

Improve your spins with this drill!

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